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Working From Home During Covid19

The current Covid19 pandemic has driven a very rapid move to the majority of staff working from home.  The statements below present the position of the Branch on working from home.


  1. Although it is probably reasonable for the University to ask staff to work from home (WFH) during the crisis, staff should suffer no detriment from doing so.
  2. Staff face many challenges, aside from those associated with employment, such as caring duties, possible social isolation due to illness of the employee or cohabiters, and the stress of the crisis. Addressing these take priority over employment duties and employees should suffer no detriment from attending to them. Employees can only do what is possible and normal performance management procedures cannot apply during this period. The University needs to ensure that staff are provided with as stable and supportive a work environment as possible.
  3. The unexpected and rapid transition to WFH introduces considerable new work in the form of adapting practices and teaching methods, familiarisation with new technology etc. Managers need to reduce the demands on employees to ensure they do not experience excessive workloads beyond their contractual obligations.
  4. Any aspirations, objectives or targets agreed before the crisis not valid in the radically changed circumstances and will need to be negotiated again after the crisis.
  5. Many working practices will be developed during the crisis as a response to the unusual circumstances. These do not constitute a change in custom and practise.  Their continuation after the crisis is a matter for negotiation.
  6. Staff will incur expenses associated with WFH (e.g. heating, printing, stationery, IT, broadband,…) and the University must compensate staff, either through the standard expenses system or through a flat rate payment to all staff WFH.

Working From Home

  1. The University has the same Duty of Care for the employee as when s/he works on campus.
  2. Before home working begins, the ACAS Home Working checklist should be completed.
  3. A Health and Safety (H&S) assessment of the home workplace needs to be carried out before home working starts. Failing that, it should be completed as top priority as soon as home working begins.  A copy of the assessment needs to be available to the employee.  The University is responsible for correcting H&S hazards before work begins.
  4. Equality Impact Assessments are also required to identify specific needs and allow the employer to best support staff members in their work. Any relevant equipment and/or training needs should be addressed by the employer as a matter of urgency.
  5. If IT is to be used, the HSE Display Screen Equipment Workstation Checklist should be completed.
  6. The University is responsible for supplying the tools required for an employee to do their job.  These include IT and assistive equipment, software etc.  If an employee volunteers to use their personal equipment, then all H&S and other risks lie solely with the University.  An employee must not be disadvantaged for not volunteering to use their own equipment.