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Human Resources

 

Please also see the following guides available on the HR Coronavirus Guidance and Resources page:

  • Guidance for Managers: Managing Your Team Remotely
  • Remote Working Guide for Individuals

The University has developed the following homeworking protocol to mitigate the potential disruption caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Working arrangements  

  • You should discuss with your line manager to what extent your normal duties can be carried out at home; homeworking in some roles is likely to be impractical. In these circumstances, your line manager will need to consult your institution’s local continuity plan to identify alternative cover for the work in question, particularly for business-critical activities. You may also be asked to undertake alternative duties wherever reasonably practicable and within your capabilities.  

  • If you are working from home, you may have unplanned caring responsibilities for dependants during this period (e.g. due to school, nursery or nursing home closures). In these circumstances, it is anticipated that staff and line managers will need to exercise a certain level of flexibility in order to accommodate this unusual situation.   

  • Where possible, consideration should be given to flexible working arrangements around your caring responsibilities, for instance, altered working hours and/or patterns. We recognise that this will be dependent on your personal circumstances and may not be possible in some cases. Any proposed new working arrangements should be discussed with your line manager to determine the practicalities. If your line manager agrees that working from home is not practicable your absence will be treated as paid leave by reason of coronavirus.   

  • Employees may also be entitled to take emergency leave (see the University’s Special Leave Policy for details on eligibility). You may also wish to take the opportunity to request annual leave at this time.  

Health, safety  and  insurance  

  • You should report any changes in your health to your line manager at the earliest opportunity.  This would include Coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other sickness or health issues (e.g. pregnancy, accident, injury, disability or work-related stress).   

  • You should ensure that you have access to a safe homeworking environment in which you can carry out your duties.  

  • You should follow the Safety Office guidance on Setting up a Home Workstation. 

  • You should also read the University’s guidance on Computer Health.  

  • Institutions will reimburse your telephone costs where appropriate and strictly by prior agreement. Please see the University’s Expenses Policy Additional Measures during the Coronavirus outbreak. However, you are encouraged to use free virtual means of communication as listed below (e.g. Microsoft Teams for communicating with colleagues within the University).  

  • You will be responsible for all other normal costs associated with your place of residence (e.g. heating, lighting and broadband and any home insurance to cover loss or damage to personal property in use whilst you undertake work duties).  

Communication   

  • It is anticipated that meetings will be conducted via virtual means during this period. Meeting organisers should allow for adequate breaks between meetings, particularly given that the majority of participants will be managing home-working, together with home-schooling and other caring responsibilities.  

  • Homeworking over a sustained period of time can lead to feelings of isolation. You should ensure that you are in regular contact with your team throughout, including maintaining one-to-ones and team meetings and continuing to collaborate with colleagues remotely.  

  • You are recommended to view the University’s guidance on looking after your wellbeing and mental health in response to coronavirus, which can be found at https://www.cam.ac.uk/coronavirus/wellbeing.

Home working  tools and  set-up  

  • Your department should identify whether University equipment, such as laptops or mobiles, could be made available to you during the homeworking period for work purposes.  You must take reasonable steps to safeguard this property and return it at the end of the homeworking period, or earlier if requested.  

  • If you require access to University-only websites or applications such as CHRIS or CUFS, you can use the UIS VPN service (see https://help.uis.cam.ac.uk/service/network-services/remote-access/uis-vpn) to connect a laptop or desktop computer to the University’s network.  

  • You can access your email via one of the following URLs:  

  • Some institutions run their own email services and users should refer to local instructions.  

Resources  

Confidentiality and Security whilst homeworking   

  • You should continue to mindful for the threat posed by malicious or scam emails that may be received in the coming weeks, purportedly relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). You should also confirm that an unfamiliar caller is who they claim to be by verifying with another colleague or your line manager.  

  • The same work security procedures need to be followed if working from home. This may include locking your screen and putting paperwork in a safe location out of view and reach of other household occupants.   

  • Confidential papers which are no longer needed should be shredded after use. If you do not have access to confidential shredding facilities at home, please keep such paperwork secure and return it to the University to be confidentially shredded at the first available opportunity.  

  • It is still important to remain compliant with data protection laws (GDPR/DPA 2018) and security best practice when working from home, whether you are working on your own computing equipment or the University’s.  Please read the important security guidance about working from home and keeping safe online to prevent compromising the security of the University’s data (see https://help.uis.cam.ac.uk/service/security/wfh-security).  

  

Last updated: 7 April 2020