Students sitting outside

Working practices

Wherever possible, we will try to minimise the amount of contact individuals have with other. For some teams, we will be doing something called cohorting. This means that we will keep individuals working together with the same individuals and we will keep teams as small as possible. This may involve teams working in shifts, only on specified days of the week or staggering processes to minimise the number of people in at any one time.

Over the next few months, it is likely that there will be fewer members of teams in the office at any one time, enabling staff to continue to operate effectively and at a safe distance from one another.

To ensure staff members can operate at a staff distance, you may be asked to work from a different desk or office than usual; this is to ensure that physical distancing can be maintained. You should attempt to avoid working directly opposite a colleague and instead work side-by-side, staggered or facing away from each other.

However, you will be assigned a desk to use when you are in the office and due to the potential for spreading the virus. Hot-desking facilities will be suspended.

It may be that you are asked to work different times and this will be to ensure that we stagger on-premises hours to reduce the number of individuals in the workplace or to avoid public transport use during peak periods.

You may also need greater flexibility to deal with the demands that you may be facing outside of the workplace. We appreciate that you may currently have child caring responsibilities as not all school children have been able to return to school. We would encourage you to discuss this with your line manager at the earliest opportunity so that we can support you. As soon as you know what your child’s school hours you should speak to your line manager and discuss how this can work in partnership with returning to work commitments.

Face-to-face meetings and contact are still discouraged, and you should continue to hold meetings using video conference. Similarly, you should not visit other departments unless it is essential and try to call, use Microsoft Teams or emails to avoid unnecessary face-to-face interaction between departments. If face to face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible.

As well as maintaining social distancing between individuals, the transfer of materials is another area of potential risk. Therefore, the use of shared office equipment is discouraged and the use of electronic materials e.g. emails, e-forms is encouraged wherever possible rather than paper format.