The purpose of this guidance is to provide a framework within which staff and their managers can agree arrangements for working from home on an ad hoc basis.

It is recognised that in some roles, owing to the nature of their duties, it may not be an appropriate option to work from home. All requests to work from home must be agreed in advance with the manager.

This guidance covers certain fundamental principles which must apply and which should be understood by staff and their managers.

Staff working from home must adhere to all University policies in the same way as in the workplace.

Managing your work

Quality and quantity of work and time taken to complete it should be consistent whether working at home or at the University. Staff working from home should be working in alignment with their personal and team objectives, which have been agreed with their manager.

Regular catch-ups and review of work will continue to take place with all staff, irrespective of their place of work.

A member of staff who is working from home should consider their own effectiveness at home and how they will manage potential sources of interruption.

Working hours

Staff should give consideration as to how they manage their working day. There is a risk when working from home that staff work longer hours, as there is not the same trigger to switch off if they don't have to travel home.

Staff are responsible for managing their working hours effectively. They should record the fact they are working from home either through the MyView system or in another tool, and should record their actual working hours in line with departmental arrangements.

Managers have a responsibility to monitor their team working hours, and raise any concerns with the member of staff at the earliest opportunity.

Where working from home is combined with specific activities, for example meeting a plumber, taking a delivery or attending an appointment, the time used for these should be covered by (unpaid) lunch break, negative flexitime adjustments or TOIL.

In accordance with University policy, for work extending over a six hour period, a 30 minute minimum unpaid break is required.

Availability and contact

During the normal working day, staff working from home must be as contactable as they would be when in the workplace. Therefore, the member of staff working from home and their manager must ensure access to effective and continuous communication channels, to ensure that personal interactions between team members can continue and that staff working from home can contribute effectively at work.

Normal working practices still apply when working from home:

  • Staff working from home must be available on email during their working hours
  • Staff must always make it clear to colleagues where they are working (for example, by stating this in Google calendar) and how best to contact them (via email and specific phone number).
  • Meetings may take place using appropriate technologies to facilitate the participation of staff working from home, for example the use of Google Hangouts
  • If staff regularly use a shared mailbox, they should be equally available via email when working at home and respond to queries in as timely a manner as if they were based in the workplace
  • If you are unwell and unable to work you must follow your normal departmental sickness reporting procedure.

Security and data protection

When working from home staff must use a mobile device provided by the University eg their work laptop or a laptop loan. This will enable the University to manage security and data protection risks. University equipment may not be used by anyone who is not both a member of staff of the University and specifically authorised to use the device in question.

If you are unable to use a mobile device provided by the University, you must follow the Policy for safe use of University information on all devices. This includes:

  • If using a personal device, you must access your desktop and files through the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)/Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Any personal device must either be dedicated to you or have separate accounts for different users. It must be securely configured with automatic updates enabled, anti-virus installed, disk encryption enabled and a screen lock configured that requires a password.
  • Documents should not be downloaded to personal devices. Where they have been, they must then be uploaded into your Google Drive, so they can be accessed securely in the Cloud, and then deleted from your personal device immediately.

Staff are responsible for ensuring the confidentiality and security of University property and all University information, files, documents, data etc. within their possession or to which they have access, including both paper and electronic material. Please see the following policies and guidelines for further information:

All staff should have completed the mandatory Information Security Awareness training (available via the Learning Management System), normally within their first week at the University and in any event before working from home.

It is recommended that paper documents are not taken home, however, when paper documents are required for home working, they must:

  • Be kept secure when in transit between home and work, eg never leave a briefcase or laptop unattended
  • Be kept secure at home. It is recommended that work related documentation is kept separate to personal domestic information, and work-related files and documentation ideally be kept in a lockable filing cabinet
  • Staff must never take the only copy of a document home with them, or take home signed originals

Equipment and expenses

The University will not provide additional IT equipment (such as monitor, keyboard or mouse) above the provision of a University mobile device, as mentioned in the section above, or provide any furniture for the home-working environment.

Staff are responsible for ensuring that they have suitable telephone and broadband services at home, and for contacting the service provider in the event of any technical issues.

If staff have a business need for a mobile phone then the business case for a University procured phone should be made in the usual way.

Staff working at home are expected to cover the cost of telephone calls, broadband services, monthly tariff charges for a personal mobile and any increase in domestic bills such as heating and electricity.

Staff working from home may not claim travel expenses between home and the University Campus, as their 'normal place of work' remains the University.

Health and safety

Each member of staff working from home is responsible for the condition of their home-working environment. The environment must be conducive to such work and all of the necessary equipment should be fit for purpose.

Setting up the workstation correctly (including desk/table, chair, and the PC or laptop) is equally important when working away from the workplace and the same principles apply.

Therefore, homeworkers must complete the online computer workstation training and assessment.

Insurance

University insurance

The University's insurance takes into account the fact that staff may be able to work from home.

  • The University has Employers' Liability Insurance which covers its legal liability for personal injury to staff while acting in the course of their employment. This cover extends to situations where the member of staff is working at or from home.
  • The University has Public Liability Insurance which covers the legal liability of the University and its staff for injury and/or property damage to third parties caused whilst on University business. This cover extends to situations where the member of staff is working at or from home.
  • Incidents which may result in claims against the University's insurance cover must be reported to the line manager of the member of staff. Major incidents must be reported immediately by telephone to the line manager of the member of staff or as soon as is reasonably possible if the incident occurs outside office hours.

Home insurance

Staff working from home should also check with their insurer, to ensure that home working does not invalidate their policy(ies). Incidents resulting in a claim against the home worker's own insurance cover must be advised to their insurer.