Remote working policy

1. Policy statement

  1. This policy is guided by the commitment to provide the highest standards of quality, particularly in relation to our student experience and research together with our strong sense of purpose. The policy supports the strategic aim to be agile, able and aligned and also our commitment to sustainability, by improving our estate provision and reducing traffic on campus.
  2. We are committed to supporting a flexible approach to both the way we work and to our office accommodation, as a way of meeting both the University's and our employees' needs. The option to work remotely builds on the existing flexible arrangements in place and is intended to enhance effectiveness, efficiency and work life balance by giving staff more choice, where possible, about how and where they work. For information on flexible working, see the page on types of flexible working.
  3. The policy is underpinned by the University's equality, diversity and inclusion principles. We are committed to working together to create a university community where diversity is recognised, valued and celebrated. Ensuring flexibility and consideration of individuals' needs enables all staff to make a positive contribution to the University and to achieve their potential.
  4. Remote working may be an option in some circumstances, however, where staff wish to work on campus,this will be accommodated [1]. Managers will discuss individual needs, preferences and circumstances with their staff to reach a decision on working arrangements through balancing needs, preferences and circumstances with the requirements and deliverables of the role.
  5. Our ways of working will be adaptable rather than remaining static, we will continue to seek ways to innovate or improve how our services are delivered. Decisions about ways of working will be the subject of regular and specific discussions with colleagues and stakeholders. Ways of working will not be permanent and will adapt to meet needs.
  6. We have a positive attitude towards health, safety and well-being in line with policy and legislation. The University promotes a healthy and safe working environment for our staff, students and visitors. Any alternative way of working must give due consideration to the physical health and safety of our staff as well as the importance of nurturing good mental health and wellbeing.

2. Scope

  1. The Remote Working policy applies to current and future staff of the University of York where:
    • the contractual or 'normal' place of work is the University campus or designated University site
    • all or part of their role is suited to remote working.
  2. Certain roles or duties within a role cannot be fulfilled remotely, examples include manual and practical tasks such as grounds maintenance, cleaning, laboratory work or supporting on-campus student open days.
  3. Only in specific circumstances may staff work overseas remotely and any such request to work overseas remotely will be considered in the context of the overseas employment guidance. For further information on Overseas Employment, see the overseas employment guidance page.

3. Aims

This policy aims to:

  1. Build on the positive aspects of digital upskilling; digital collaboration and agility giving staff more opportunity to work remotely as an option.
  2. Enable managers and staff to jointly agree remote working arrangements (if the role or duties can be fulfilled remotely) which strike the balance between the requirements of a role and individual preferences, without compromising the need for a vibrant collaborative University community and the quality of contribution/work the individual makes, together with enabling current staff, new staff, and staff earlier in their career, to benefit from working collaboratively in person with experienced colleagues.
  3. Support the attraction, recruitment and retention of talent across a wider UK recruitment market, building on our existing world-leading quality of the University's research and outstanding teaching.
  4. Widen our potential talent pool to other parts of the UK recruitment market, increase diversity among our workforce, most notably with regards to gender, ethnicity and disability, where there is currently under representation in some roles across the university.
  5. Promote inclusive work practices, which take into consideration individual circumstances, responsibilities and needs, to allow staff appropriate home and work life balance.

4. Definitions of remote working

  1. The suggested types of remote working that this policy covers includes:
    • Campus as the main place of work with occasional remote working from home.
    • Remote or off-campus space as the main place of work with occasional working from campus.
    • A flexible combination of remote and campus working, depending on the requirements of the role, for example a student-facing role will likely need greater on-campus presence during term time.
  2. All working patterns are subject to agreement with the line manager through consultation with individual staff members. It is envisaged that all roles will require sufficient presence on campus throughout the year, for example, face-to-face teaching; undertaking research; collaboration; team building; to attend meetings where there is a requirement to be physically present; events, and to ensure University provided work equipment is maintained (as appropriate).
  3. Remote working could include the home, an office hub/ business park, library or other appropriate space within the UK.

5. Principles

  1. We embrace a hybrid approach to delivering on our commitments by determining which tasks are best delivered on campus and which can be successfully achieved remotely.
  2. Managers and staff will work together to determine suitable working arrangements that take into account the needs to collaborate with team(s): the wider university community; role requirements and deliverables as well as individual preferences and personal circumstances. Irrespective of the working arrangements that are agreed, they must be underpinned by the policies and legal obligations of the university. Staff working remotely must adhere to all University policies in the same way as if they were working from campus including the established data protection and IT security practices.
  3. We trust people to make the right decisions about how and where they work rather than micro-manage. Performance is not defined by physical presence. If work can be accomplished in another way that delivers the service effectively to our stakeholders, then this will be encouraged by managers. Conversely, if changes bring negative effects, we expect colleagues to be willing to adapt their working arrangements.
  4. Broadly speaking, the expectation will be that meetings which involve cascading information; more formalised committees or transactional style meetings would take place digitally. Meetings which involve a collaborative, creative or discursive style would be better suited to in-person meetings. The meeting chair will be responsible for making the decision about the most suitable format for the meeting, taking account of the nature of the meeting; number of attendees; whether alternative methods of communication could be better utilised.
  5. All staff will attend campus, on average, at least one day per week and it is expected that all work will take place between 8am to 6pm unless agreed otherwise by the line manager[2].
  6. Managers will hold individual meetings with their staff to discuss individual working arrangements under this policy, including any individual support that may be required, and this will be captured using the remote working agreement template (template will be made available mid-June 2021).
  7. The quality of the work we do together with the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff remains at the forefront of all decision making with regards to work locations.
  8. University departments will provide all reasonable support and assistance to facilitate seamless remote working, including office equipment and other practical support, plus HR and OH advice and guidance.
  9. Remote working will not be a contractual right; staff may be asked to attend campus on any of their working days, sometimes at short notice and managers will determine where tasks are best undertaken. It is important that staff factor this into their planning for remote working.
  10. Managers and staff will continue to embrace technology and build on digital skills to enable visibility and accessibility to support high quality work, regardless of location. Managers and staff will commit to arranging and undertaking training and development to enable an increase in skills and knowledge in this area, providing appropriate adjustments to staff workloads to allow for such training, as appropriate.
  11. All remote workers, including those who only work remotely occasionally, must complete the online computer workstation training and assessment and take personal responsibility for their own health and safety alongside the university management's responsibility as an employer, in accordance with the University's Health and Safety policies and procedures. Further information can be found on the Health and Safety Services webpages.
  12. Staff should not use hazardous substances for University work or research at home.

6. Expenses and equipment

  1. Where an employee chooses to work remotely, the University will provide all reasonable equipment to facilitate that choice. It will be the employee's responsibility to ensure a reliable and stable internet connection can be maintained, however advice on this can be sought via the University's IT team. Employees are expected to carry laptops and other similar portable devices onto campus when required. All employees are encouraged to claim tax-relief if working from home and can find details of how to do this on the relevant government web pages. No expenses will be payable in respect of working at home.

7. Responsibilities

Role Accountable for
Heads of Department
  • Providing oversight and guidance to department managers on the tasks that are best delivered on campus and which can be achieved remotely.
  • Supporting the continued development of digital and remote working skills for all managers and staff.
  • Regularly reviewing departmental arrangements to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Developing effective communication channels for effective management of remote teams.
  • Promoting an inclusive culture for all staff, and considering any additional support that individuals may have.
  • Promoting a culture of wellbeing across the department whilst using this policy.
Line Managers
  • Determining which tasks are best delivered on campus and which can be achieved remotely, or by some combination of the two.
  • Giving full and serious consideration to individual preferences, needs, rights, and circumstances through discussion with the member of staff.
  • Make inclusive, fair and transparent decisions about working arrangements, free from bias or favouritism.
  • Giving early consideration to working remotely in recruitment activity.
  • Keeping a written record of the working arrangements discussion with the employee.
  • Maintaining regular communication with their employee(s) through remote or face-to-face one to ones, remote team meetings and other more informal channels of communication.
  • Continued development of digital and remote working skills.
  • Ensuring members of staff have the appropriate equipment and reasonable adjustments available to work remotely.
Human Resources
  • Regular review of this policy or in response to revised legislation and applicable standards and guidelines, whichever is sooner, to ensure that this policy still meets the University's needs. Such reviews will be conducted in partnership with the campus Trade Unions.
  • Providing guidance and advice to the individual, the line manager and the Head of Department on any aspect of the remote working policy.
  • Reflecting this policy in recruitment activity such as job advertisements.
  • Discussing individual preferences, needs, rights and circumstances with their line manager.
  • Working in accordance with the agreement reached with their line manager and maintaining a flexible approach to their work and working environment.
  • Continued development of digital and remote working skills
  • Maintaining regular communication with their line manager and team.
  • Reporting changes of personal circumstances that could affect remote working to their line manager as soon as possible.
  • To follow all University policies whilst working remotely including taking personal responsibility for health and safety and a duty to care towards University property.

8. Supporting guidance

Supporting guidance has been produced to help managers and employees with the practical application of the remote working policy:

Guidance for managers on conducting remote working discussions

Remote working guidance for employees

9. Approval

Approved by UEB on 18 May 2021

Implementation: 27 September 2021

10. Monitoring and review of policy

This policy will be reviewed after 6 months in the light of the evolving nature of hybrid working; staff feedback and the changing requirements of the University to ensure that this policy still meets the University's needs.

Review by date

February 2022

Related Documents

Please note that this policy replaces all previous guidance on remote/home working. This policy is not contractual and is not intended to be incorporated into individual terms and conditions of employment. It may be subject to review, amendment or withdrawal.


  1. Where staff have University of York campus as their base in their contract of employment.
  2. There may be exceptional circumstances where a colleague has a different pattern of attendance at campus, this must be discussed in advance with HR before any agreement is reached. Exceptionally if an employee is based 100% remotely from York, the contract of employment will reflect this.

Document control

  • Approved on: 18 May 2021