Guidance for Staff

Guidance for Staff

The University is keen to introduce hybrid working for teams where this is appropriate.  This recognises the commitment to have flexibility for staff and the introduction of our Homeworking Policy to cover occasional, regular and permanent homeworking.

Your manager will confirm the organisational parameters which are the minimum service delivery factors that need to be met by all team members.  You must be prepared to compromise on ideal hybrid working preferences to meet both service delivery parameters and needs of other staff members in your team.

Your manager may hold a workshop with your team to discuss hybrid working in more detail and to:

  • Consider expectations regarding physical distancing and what impact this has on availability of on-campus office accommodation for the team;
  • discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by hybrid working in your particular team context (at this time, maintaining physical distancing will be a key context for us all);
  • discuss the organisational parameters which the team need to work around;
  • ask you what hybrid working options you would ideally like to have in place (n.b. if you prefer you can discuss this confidentially with your manager);
  • jointly discuss possible solutions when organisational parameters and hybrid working preferences appear to conflict;
  • consider compromises which enable as many team members as possible to get as close to their ideal agile working arrangements;
  • discuss practical issues such as how team meetings and communication can work effectively for instances of a mix of on campus/remote working;
  • agree a communication methodology that works for you and your broader team.

It is acknowledged that not everyone will want to work in a hybrid manner as and when a return to on campus working is possible. You may wish to return to what was your normal work pattern on campus pre-Covid lockdown and if this is the case then this will be possible as and when it is appropriate, determined by Scottish Government guidance. It will still be important that you are included in discussions about how the team overall will work going forward.

Hybrid working for teams will be trialled for teams during the 2021/22 academic year. There will be regular reviews as to how it is working in practice and any agreed regular or permanent homeworking arrangements will be subject to a trial period of 3 months.

Further considerations for staff
  • The University will move back to on campus working as a possibility for all staff as and when Scottish Government guidance proposes this on the basis that it is safe to do so. Those with approved home working arrangements will continue under their agreed terms.
  • Arrangements for working on campus will be in line with the health and safety measures that have already been taken and are constantly reviewed in line with guidance.  Despite this, it is appreciated that the prospect of working back on campus may be challenging for some and you may wish to discuss this with your manager and/or HR Partner.  Remember that we also have in place the Individual Risk Assessment process including the Covid Age Questionnaire.
  • You may wish to discuss with your line manager if you wish to work from home on an occasional, regular or permanent basis (unless there are already arrangements in place to work off campus on an occasional basis as applies to many members of academic staff).  Once on campus working resumes, it is anticipated that permanent homeworking will be rare. 
  • Be aware that Heads of School/Directors/managers must prioritise the operational needs of the University and the requirements of the role but also balance individual staff preference, supporting a flexible approach to hybrid working as far as reasonable.
  • Be aware that the overall duties of the team and your duties and responsibilities will not change because of hybrid working, therefore where your role requires ongoing engagement with students, not only in a formal teaching setting, this will continue to be expected. In addition, you will be expected to be contactable during agreed working hours.
  • Remember that Homeworking is an agreement in respect of where you work.  Your normal days and hours of working will continue, albeit your manager may be able to agree to some flexibility about working hours if these still mean that service requirements are met.  If you wish to formalise a request regarding working hours or days you may wish to consider the Flexible Working Procedure. 
  • Where you have a hybrid working arrangement remember that you still need to inform your line manager if you are off sick, intend to travel abroad, and to request annual leave as per the normal procedures.
  • Be prepared to compromise to best fit the needs of the University and your team.
  • If you have reasonable adjustments in place for disability related reasons, these will not impact on decisions or opportunities regarding hybrid working, and any adjustments should be available where the member of staff is working.
  • Save for disability related reasonable adjustments, there will be no ‘priority’ reasons which would allow one member of staff hybrid working arrangements in priority to another member of staff.
  • Personal travel arrangements including distance to work will not be a consideration in relations to decision making for hybrid working.
  • Where hybrid working arrangements are agreed this will be confirmed to you by email and where you have requested regular or permanent homeworking and this is approved, you will also be asked to sign a Homeworking Agreement.
  • In the event of any disagreement you should discuss with your Head of School/Director/line manager who will endeavour to resolve issues locally and without undue delay.  Should there still be ongoing disagreement, this should be escalated up the line-management route.
  • Before any return to working on campus remember that you will need complete the return to campus induction training before any return to working on campus.
Setting minimum parameters for a team

Your Head of School/Director/line manager will consider and discuss with you/the broader team organisational parameters which the team need to work within to ensure service delivery.  These will vary according to team, but examples may be:

  • some or all staff members need to be in the office for at least two days a week (this will help to retain a sense of team but may not be possible until the end of Covid-19 restrictions).
  • Some or all staff need to be in research laboratories for a minimum specified period each week.
  • some or all staff members need to be in for specific activities that cannot be done remotely.
  • For service delivery, some team members need to be physically present in the office, laboratory or other work location during certain times.
  • For service delivery and when students are back to being taught on campus, teaching staff will be required to teach on campus rather than from home.
  • Staff duties within their role remain unchanged therefore if there is an expectation of a presence on campus to support student engagement, outwith teaching duties, or staff engagement this will continue to be required.
  • at least two team members to be present in the office, laboratory or other work location during the core hours (for larger teams, this may be a far greater number) including for lunch cover.
  • all team members need to be together on campus at least twice a month (again, important for team cohesion but will be unlikely until the end of Covid-19 restrictions).
  • all team members need to be contactable during core hours on the days that they are working, for example between 10am and 4pm, unless different days of working are agreed.

Organisational parameters will be unique to the circumstances in which you and your team operate.

Where requests for Hybrid Working cannot be accommodated for teams/indviduals
  • You should approach discussions regarding hybrid working recognising that you may need to compromise and that your request will be considered in the context of the team.
  • While your preferences must be considered and as much flexibility as possible provided to you, service needs take precedence. It may therefore be the case your individual preferences cannot be accommodated. 
  • If you have concerns, these should be discussed with your manager in the first instance to establish if a solution can be found. 
Where staff would prefer to work on campus

Where teams or individual members of staff would prefer to work all their normal hours on campus and not work remotely from home, as and when Scottish Government Guidance allows, on campus working will be accommodated.  There will be no requirement to work remotely if teams/staff do not wish to.

Reviewing hybrid working arrangements
  • Hybrid working is being trialled during the academic year 21/22. Arrangements will be regularly reviewed during the trial to ensure that they meet the needs of all parties and to enable changes to be made when required. 
  • When reviewing hybrid working arrangements consideration will be given to what has worked well, what has not worked well and what changes could be made.
  • Feedback from managers, staff and the trade unions will be captured throughout the trial.