Return & resume
Ways of working
Please note: Glasgow moved beyond Level 0 on 9 Aug 2021. Please ensure you read our Beyond level 0 web page. Information on this page will be up-to-date with the most recent developments.

Guidance has been produced to outline the University’s procedures in relation to staff and other persons returning to the workplace, detailing what changes and control measures have been implemented in University buildings. For further information and guidance on the Return to Campus process and requirements please visit our safe return to campus web pages.

Take a look at our COVID-19 University Buildings New Working Arrangements.

Frequently asked questions

References to ‘campus’ in these FAQs refer to all physical University locations where University staff routinely work including AFRC, PNDC, Stepps etc, although additional local guidelines may be in place in certain locations as a supplement to this guidance.

It does not include third party sites where staff may be called upon to work or visit for a short period for certain assignments. However, if colleagues feel that the third-party sites have not made suitable provision to reduce risk, they should raise their concern with their line manager or the third-party stakeholder.

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General return

At the current time, any colleagues who can work from home should continue to do so.

Some staff who undertake roles which can only be done on campus, including Security, Accommodation Services, Cleaning and Trades staff, have continued on campus throughout the lockdown period and we are exceptionally grateful to them for this. Some colleagues in roles which can only be done on campus have not been working in recent months but are now returning as the lockdown eases. These colleagues will be fully supported, for example through return to Campus induction and rigorous risk assessment, with their safety and wellbeing being the University’s key priority. 

For other colleagues, the University’s Executive Team is overseeing a gradual and phased return of staff based on several factors in line with the Scottish Government Advice and its Strategic Framework, and its guidance for universities. These factors include the ability to open the relevant physical workspaces safely, the number of staff who can be in any one building or workspace while maintaining physical distancing, the extent to which the work can only be carried out on campus and the relevant prioritisation of that work against strategic and social interest e.g. to support the national COVID-19 response. Overarching all prioritisation decisions will be the safety and wellbeing of the University Community and prevailing government guidance at the time. Heads of Department are interacting with Executive Team members to agree when staff can return in each area and in what numbers. Your line manager will discuss with you if it is proposed that some or all staff from your area can return.

It should be noted that staff should only be returning to campus to undertake work that cannot be undertaken remotely. Work that can be done remotely should continue to be done from home.  This will mean that during the transition period many staff will have a combination of working from home and only working on campus at certain times to allow appropriate physical distancing on campus.

The safety of our staff and students is the University’s number one concern. A range of risk mitigation measures, informed by Government guidance, have been put in place. Risk assessments have been carried out for each area that is returning to confirm that the risk in that physical location can be managed to an acceptable level before staff return. More details on the risk mitigation measures can be found in the Staying safe on campus section of the Hub.

All decisions to bring staff back on campus are made with due consideration to a number of factors (see ‘When will I return to campus?’).

Unfortunately, due to the need to carefully manage the numbers of staff in any workspace, individual preferences may not always be able to be accommodated while physical distancing restrictions are still in place.

However, speak to your line manager if you have particular reasons for wanting to get back on campus so that they have all the relevant information when they are planning for the wider department’s return.

Most staff who are able to work at home will continue to do so in the months ahead.  However, as we plan for the phased and gradual return to campus, it is important that you discuss your situation with your line manager. Every circumstance is different.  

If you are in a role which can only be carried out on campus, then we will work with you to assess whether, through our risk assessment process, we can enable you to return to work in a way that is safe for both you and those you care for.

For example, we may be able to temporarily change your role, change when or how you do your duties or provide you with additional Personal Protective Equipment which will allow you to work. Your line manager will be in touch with you to discuss this in the days and weeks ahead.

If you are in this group, you may have previously received a formal shielding letter from the NHS  or more recently a letter from the Chief Medical Officer.

If you are able to work from home, you should continue to do so. If you are in a role which can only be carried out on Campus, then we will work with you to assess whether, through our risk assessment process, we can enable you to return to work in a way that is safe for you and an Occupational Health Assessment is required.

For example, we may be able to temporarily change your role, change when or how you do your duties or provide you with additional Personal Protective Equipment which will allow you to work.

Further advice can be found from the Scottish Government’s ‘Advice for people at highest risk to Coronavirus’, with additional full guidance for staff in the higher education sector.

Returning to campus

Not necessarily. While some of the small number of staff who have been placed on furlough leave have been furloughed due to the inability to carry out their particular role from home, their roles will not automatically be amongst the first to return.

The decision to bring any staff back onto campus will be made based on a number of considerations (see ‘When will I return to campus?’) with your safety always being the primary factor.

If you need to return to a building on campus to spend time planning or preparing for your or your colleagues to return to work then a risk assessment needs to be undertaken and signed off by your Head of Department and Security Services need to be notified via access-request@strath.ac.uk. The flow-chart and the COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Preparatory Work are available on the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website.

Yes, it may be possible to gain access to a building for a short period to collect desired items. However this should only be where the item is essential for you to continue working from home for a longer period; gaining access to buildings, even for a short time, increases the risks for others working in that area and places additional demands on our Estates colleagues who keep our buildings clean and secure.

Heads of Department, with the relevant approval from their Executive Dean/Senior Officer, will coordinate campus visits, with any access arranged in advance.

Your department will also need to keep track of University equipment being removed from the campus so please speak to your line manager to confirm how you should feed this information in for your area.

Once your line manager has confirmed you can resume working on campus, check with them if not already clear, whether you are to work in your usual office/lab location and if there are any restrictions e.g. you may not be able to use your usual desk.

You should agree your working hours with your line manager (see ‘Will I work the same hours I worked on campus before the lockdown?’). Consult the Travel to campus section of the Hub for information on your options for getting to work including using public transport, car parking and support for cyclists.

Before your first day back on campus, it is vital you complete the Return to Campus Induction. Consider what equipment you might need that you may have taken home with you for home working e.g. computer equipment. If you are not returning to work on campus exclusively e.g. you will be undertaking blended working from both home and campus, consider whether you need equipment in both locations and speak to your line manager if you require to purchase additional equipment (see ‘I will be working both on campus and at home’).

 

Under current health and safety legislation, employers have a duty to protect the health of employees, anyone on their premises and anyone else affected by the business. We would therefore encourage all staff members to have their vaccine when invited to do so.

As your employer, we will support you by giving you paid time off to attend your appointment. As per your contractual terms, you will receive sick pay if you suffer any side effects from the vaccination which mean you are not well enough to work either from home or your designated working area on campus.

We understand some people may have concerns for a number of reasons around receiving the vaccination. If this is the case, please advise your Line Manager and they will direct you to the support which is available to you from the University, including from Occupational Health and telephone and in-person counselling.

Speak to your line manager about your circumstances. Your usual entry points to buildings or routes through buildings may be disrupted by physical distancing restrictions. If you think you might be dependent on a particular entry point or route, speak to your manager. Estates Services colleagues will be able to advise in advance the relevant route restrictions at your place of work and can potentially arrange special access. Disabled access to buildings will still be maintained.

Please be aware that once greater numbers return to campus, queues may build up at entry points. If you are unable to wait in queues due to a health condition or disability, please proceed to the front of the queue or disabled entrance. All colleagues are asked to be understanding that some people may need priority access.

Remember that it may take longer to gain access to a lift with fewer people able to use the lifts at one time. Colleagues who are able to use the stairs are asked to do so.

Working hours & role

Not necessarily. Departments will be encouraged to consider staggering start and end times to allow staff to avoid public transport during rush hour or to limit the number of staff entering or being in any one workspace at the same time.

Each workspace is different so your department will have unique considerations and potential restrictions in this regard. Speak to your line manager about the hours that will work for you and they will try to marry these up with the requests of other colleagues and the needs of the department.

To allow physical distancing during the transition phase you should only be coming on campus to undertake work that cannot be done at home. This may require a blended approach to work, with you undertaking some of your role at home and some on campus.

The aim will be to enable you to work your contracted hours in a way which suits your personal circumstances and the needs of your team/department so give and take will be required on all sides.

It may be possible to gain access to some buildings outside of usual office hours. Your line manager will advise the opening hours for your building, which initially will not be the same for all buildings on campus.

There is no requirement to identify and work within ‘bubbles’ i.e. a small group of colleagues where you have contact only with those same colleagues and no others.

However, some departments and teams may identify that they are able to schedule work in such a way that limits the number of different people you interact with at work.

Regardless, all colleagues will need to maintain physical distancing while they work except in a small number of circumstances where essential tasks make this impossible e.g. safely moving a large load.

In the vast majority of cases, colleagues working on campus will be performing their usual role.

However, to aid the University’s COVID-19 response, there may be a need for a greater number of staff in one particular area. Your line manager will discuss with you if it has been identified that your talents may be better applied to such areas for a short time.

Whilst we hope that all staff will be flexible given the exceptional time we are facing, if you are uncomfortable with a proposed change to your daily tasks, discuss with your line manager or speak to your Human Resources team or a Trade Union colleague.

Blended working & staying connected

Where you have easily moveable equipment e.g. a laptop, this should be used in each location. However, if you need additional equipment on either site so that you have a comfortable and safe workstation, and where it would be difficult or inconvenient to transfer these between sites, your department will provide this or cover the expense for you to purchase this, within reasonable limits and where this is agreed in advance.

At all times, we should be mindful of our obligation to be responsible with our use of the University’s finances and should follow relevant procurement guidelines.

We will adopt a ‘digital-first’ approach to collaboration. Unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, all meetings should be set up allowing attendees to join by video or audio conference from their preferred location.

It is important that every member of the team has equal opportunities to participate and remain informed, regardless of their work location.

This means that some colleagues will be participating in meetings via technology when on campus, with other colleagues who are connecting in from home.

Please see the latest guidance from Finance on this topic.

We will adopt a ‘digital-first’ approach to meetings i.e. use video or audio-conferencing technology wherever possible.

However, in exceptional cases, there may be some occasions where in-person meetings are more appropriate e.g. where there is a need to review a physical item or space or for certain sensitive conversations.

In these cases, you should arrange to meet in a well-ventilated space where all attendees can enter and exit the room and be present in the meeting without breaching physical distancing limits.

During the summer months, you may wish to consider whether you can hold your meeting outside. However, bear in mind that there may be some attendees who will not attend in person and therefore you need to allow for them to join by video or audio conference methods.

We will adopt a ‘digital-first’ approach to collaboration. Unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary, all meetings should be set up allowing attendees to join by video or audio conference from their preferred location.

If it is essential that the third party attends in person e.g. as part of capital building projects, you should follow the guidance for physical meetings with staff and physical distancing in the workplace.

If you require a third-party visitor to have access to your building, you should advise them if there are any entry or route restrictions to adhere to in your building e.g. one-way systems.

Speak to you line manager about the equipment you need – for example, a webcam and, especially if you are in a shared office, a headset or earphones with microphone.

If you work in an open plan area, you should always use a headset or earphones to join video or audio conference meetings so that the sound of your meeting does not disturb those around you and so that confidential information is not overheard.

Remember to position your microphone so that you do not need to raise your voice to be heard. If you are discussing confidential or sensitive matters, you should be mindful of what you say in the open-plan office. Consider joining the meeting from another location which is more private, which may include your own home if you are undertaking blended working.

Other campus facilities

Given the reduced numbers of staff and students on campus, a limited number of  vending machines have been put back into operation; this will be kept under review.

Some vending machines have been taken out of use temporarily to facilitate social distancing or to support ‘no food or drink’ measures introduced by departments, for example The Library.

Accompanying signage on machines will remind users to wash or sanitise their hands before and after use, avoid sneezing or coughing on the machine and maintain social distancing whilst using the machines.

The following outlets are currently open:

  • Aura Café, Lord Hope Building, Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm
  • Flava2go (Starbucks), Curran Building, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4pm
  • Synergi2go, TIC Building, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 3pm

Flava Café in the foyer of the Library is open as a drop-in space for students and staff to enjoy their own food.

From Monday 13 September the additional outlets will be open:

  • Caffeine Lab, James Weir, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm
  • Grab and Go, Learning and Teaching, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
  • Sports Café, Strathclyde Sport, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm
  • Todds Café (Starbucks), Lord Todd, Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm

The following will open on or by 4 October (subject to requirement):

  • Flava Café, Curran, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm
  • Synergi Café, TIC, Monday to Friday 12pm to 2.15pm
  • Urban Bean, Sir William Duncan Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm

Coronavirus risk assessment has been reviewed in line with the latest guidance. The results have been shared with our colleagues and mitigations implemented. We've also taken the opportunity to remind our teams to follow the robust procedures that are already in place as well as additional training on food safety.

Outlets will look and feel different to normal. A one-way system is in place alongside a range of additional physical distancing measures that are clearly signposted and marked out on the floors. Protective screens have been fitted at our till points with smaller counters to provide a safer interaction between customers and staff, and hand sanitiser will be available for everyone's use. We will be encouraging payment by card.

In line with guidance, you must wear a face-covering before entering the café and whilst standing and moving around (unless exempt).

The range of hot food will also be restricted initially to help queues move quickly, increasing in line with the relaxation of physical distancing restrictions.

In order to facilitate safe queuing and physical distancing, the use of microwaves in University-operated cafes for student and staff use has been temporarily suspended.

The decision of whether or not to permit staff to use microwaves in departmental kitchens will be made at a local level as part of the departmental risk assessment.

Where microwaves are in use, staff are advised to:

  • wash their hands thoroughly before and after use
  • avoid coughing or sneezing on the microwave
  • maintain social distance
  • clean the microwave after use

Water dispensers across campus continue to be in use. During the lockdown period, all dispensers (just over 200) were flushed as part of the University’s wider water management process, and will continue to be flushed until it is deemed to be no longer required.

Additional signage will advise staff and students to maintain physical distancing, wash their hands before and after use and avoid sneezing or coughing near the machine.

The Andersonian Library is open.

There are significant measures in place to keep people safe, including limits on the number of people allowed into the building at any one time, one-way systems and newly-installed safety screens.

Please watch our Library video and read our Library web pages to help you prepare for your next visit to the University Library.

Strathclyde Sport is open. Visit the Strathclyde Sport website for more information.

Under normal circumstances the security team only accept deliveries from Royal Mail. Where the University community are expecting 'signed for' articles these are held by our mail room pending collection. General mail is again being delivered across the campus where it can be taken possession of.

Private couriers are generally turned away if they cannot deliver to a campus address identified.

However, during the COVID 19 period, specific arrangements have been made with a limited number of research groups using private couriers. If specific departments are using private couriers but are not on campus this practice should cease unless they identify a personal address. If the delivery is urgently required on campus specific measures can be put in place by contacting the security team and coordinating accordingly.