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The unique operating circumstances through the phase of Covid restrictions have prompted learning and reflections which we hope to now use to improve the experiences of students and staff at St George’s.  

The Future Ways of Working group, brought together to plan the fourth and final stage of our return to site, have now sought input from staff across St George’s and have agreed a number of key points:  

  • All members of staff will be expected to work on-site for a proportion of their time. 
  • All will be eligible to request flexible working in line with a new Flexible Working Policy.

Putting our people first 

We have now had the opportunity to rethink our ways of working, while ensuring we retain the strong sense of community which we value and that we are meeting business needs.

Our priorities for future ways of working include: 

  • ensuring a safe environment for our staff and student community
  • establishing a flexible working pattern across St George’s
  • inclusivity and supporting the wellbeing of students and staff.

Concerns about returning to site 

The Future Ways of Working group is aware that the thought of returning to site could cause some apprehension for staff.  We would like to reassure you that the return to site will be a gradual and flexible process as highlighted in the road map below. 

Risk Assessments for local areas are being updated following the latest government guidance and specific instructions to Higher Education Institutions.

We understand that for some, returning to site might feel daunting. You should talk to your line manager about your working arrangements and, if helpful, you can complete an individual risk assessment (Word) to consider whether any amendments are needed. See further information in the FAQ below about support for staff and dealing with anxiety.

What should staff expect? (Future Ways of Working roadmap) 

From 19 July to 1 September 2021

‘Reflect’ (stage 1) – Staff should attend site as required by their role.

As part of a gradual return, we expect those who have been working remotely to attend site at least 1 day per week (pro-rata for PT staff) but they could attend more if they would like to, or if required to by their line manager for operational reasons.

Local arrangements agreed at Director level may apply for business or health and safety reasons. 

From 1 September 2021 to Spring 2022 

‘Trial and develop’ (stage 2) – Trials will take place of flexible working.

Staff who wish to spend part of their week working remotely will be able to do so, but please be aware that the current draft of the revised Flexible Working Policy requires Director approval for anyone who wishes to work off site for more than 40% of their contracted hours. 

From Spring 2022 onwards

‘Implement’ (stage 3) – longer term working patterns will be established, with physical and technological infrastructure changes to support future ways of working. 

Flexible workspace etiquette

Please use the pointers below as a guide on the etiquette to follow in flexible and hot-desking areas on-site. This guidance has been established as part of a trial and is therefore still under development and subject to change. 

Local rules may be in place depending on the set up for your hot-desking zone (e.g. localised bookings or a shared desk system). Hot desks and fixed desks (i.e. those to be used full time by one member of staff) will be clearly identified. The principle of hot-desking is that staff do not use the same desk each time they are on-site. Campus maps of all areas are available here in order to help staff locate colleagues. 

Feedback on the best use of these spaces and most suitable etiquette is welcomed and can be sent to the Director for your local area.

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Etiquette for shared office space where hot-desking is in place
  • Unless you have an allocated desk, try not to use the same desk each time you are in.
  • Clean shared desks before and after use (blue roll and appropriate cleaning spray will be provided).
  • Tidy up after yourself and do not leave personal items (e.g. photos, coats) at a desk space.
  • Log out of the computer when you have finished for the day and make sure you save all your work to your H drive or shared network drives (not to the desktop or hard drive of the computer).
  • Avoid leaving documents, notepads or other work-related items at a desk space (see the SGUL Clear Desk and Screen Procedure). Confidential waste bins are provided in office areas. 
  • Follow our general campus safety measures including hand hygiene and regular testing.
  • If there is space available, you and colleagues around you may be more comfortable working back-to-back, side-by-side or staggered rather than face-to-face.
  • If you wish to wear a face mask in open plan offices, please feel able to do so.
  • Where possible utilise a booth or small meeting room to attend virtual meetings in order to avoid disruption to those sitting around you. Be respectful of others and only use the booths/small meeting rooms as touch-down space for limited periods of time (i.e. not the full day).
  • Please ensure you use headphones/earphones with an in-built microphone if joining virtual meetings from the desk you’re sitting at.
  • Be respectful of other users in terms of noise levels in conversations.
  • Try to leave the shared workspace to take/make a personal call on your mobile.
Etiquette for new flexible working space/common area (Ground Floor Hunter Wing)
  • This space is to be used by staff only (this includes PhD students). 
  • Feel free to use this space as an area for working, holding informal meetings, or having a coffee/lunch break (please be considerate with the food you bring in).
  • Please ensure you use headphones/earphones with an in-built microphone if joining virtual meetings from the desk you’re sitting at.
  • Be respectful of other users in terms of noise levels in conversations.
  • Tidy up after yourself and clean desks before and after use (blue roll and appropriate cleaning spray will be provided).
  • Follow our general campus safety measures including hand hygiene and regular testing.
  • If you wish to wear a face mask in this area, please feel able to do so.  
  • Try to leave the flexible working space to take/make a personal call on your mobile.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We've provided answers to some of your FAQs to help you learn more about the different areas of future ways of working at St George's.

Accessing the site

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I haven't been on site for a long time, will my ID card work?

Yes. But if you are a new member of staff that started at St George's during the pandemic and have not been on-site please discuss how to get a card with your line manager.

Will I need to be tested regularly on campus if I return to site?

We should all now be making testing part of our routines.

All of us who are regularly on site should be undertaking Covid-19 testing twice weekly (3-4 days apart) to break the chains of transmission.

You can currently collect LFD Covid-19 test kits on site to use at home. Please see further information here.

Please follow the guidance for recording your result, stating ‘LFD: St George’s, University of London: BETF (SW17 0RE)’ as the university where you work or study. You can also order tests online from the government website.

Do I need to be vaccinated to return to site?

No. However all adults in England will have been offered the opportunity to receive at least one vaccination before the date all members of staff are welcome to return to site (currently 19 July 2021, in line with government guidelines).

If I haven't been vaccinated, do I have to come to site?

All staff will be expected to work on-site at least one day per week from 19 July 2021, the point at which the government is expected to lift restrictions further and no longer require individuals who can work from home to do so.

Staff who have particular concerns about working on-site will be able to complete a personal risk assessment form with their line manager.

Who decides how often/how much time I need to work on site?

Staff will be expected to liaise with their line manager over their working pattern. 

Some roles will require a greater on-site presence than others.

All staff are eligible to request flexible working. Requests for working off-site for over 40% of your working time will be considered but will require approval by the Director of your area.

Do I need to tell anyone I'm coming back to site?

As above, you will need to liaise with your line manager in order to establish and agree your working pattern, therefore your line manager will be aware of the days that you should be on-site.

Will I still have my own dedicated desk or will I be required to hot desk?

Staff who agree a pattern of working on-site for a minimum of 80% of their working time, or those with specific physical accessibility requirements, will have their own dedicated desk.

Those who agree a more flexible pattern with their line manager (i.e. on-site less than 80% of the time) will be required to hot-desk, usually within the dedicated space for their team.

What if I want to spend more than 40% of my time working remotely?

All staff may request flexible working, however due to the nature of certain roles some colleagues will be required to work on-site more than others.

If you wish to work off-site for more than 40% of your working time you will need to discuss this
request with your line manager, who will be required to seek approval from the Director of your area.

Travel

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Can I vary my start/finish time to avoid busy times on the tube?

Staff will be expected to liaise with their line manager regarding their working pattern, which will include start and finish times.

Technology

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How do I attend a virtual meeting in an open plan office?

Attendance at a virtual meeting where sensitive data or information will be discussed should be made in a sound proofed booth (available in the flexible working space) or a shared office/meeting room.

Teams chat or short meetings can be made from your desk in an open plan office as these would involve no more disturbance than a normal telephone call.

Will there be access to web cams and headsets?

Departments should order the headsets/webcams they require.

I.T will advise on a quality headset/webcam to purchase.

Will I need to bring my laptop in or will I be able to use a PC?

This is down to you. PCs will be available in department designated areas as well as connections to plug your laptop in.

If you would like to use the flexible working space we are aiming to provide a laptop caddy with laptops which can be borrowed for the day as well as connections that allow you to plug your own laptop in.

The space will have high density WIFI.

What if I have taken some of my equipment home (my chair/my screen)?

Staff will not be asked to return items they have borrowed at this point.

There are a number of spare workstation chairs that could be made available for staff whose office chair is at home.

Can I have university equipment at home and on site?

The University will provide on-site equipment for staff but will expect you to utilise your existing equipment from home. 

Further information about technology and equipment when working from home is available in the Flexible Working Policy.

Will my on-site computer still work after being away for so long?

We expect your PC to be running and patched.

Please report any issues via x5055 or itav@sgul.ac.uk and utilise the shared flexible space whilst issues are resolved.

It would be helpful for staff who are concerned about their PC to come on-site prior to their return in order to check their equipment and report any issues to ITAV.

What if there is no PC available to me and no space in my team's hot-desking area?

Please go to the flexible working area and utilise a laptop in the laptop loan caddy.

We do not expect this situation to occur, but if you find there is no space for you when you come on-site please raise this with your line manager.

Will my phone extension still work?
Your phone extension should still work as usual if you are returning to your previous desk. If you are moving to a new hot desking or shared desk environment, you may want to consider alternative solutions such as hunting groups or online tools like Jabber. If you have any problems with your phone or want to discuss telephony solutions for your team, email itav@sgul.ac.uk.

 

Campus facilities and safety

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Is the MFQCR open?

Yes, the MFQCR is open from 8am to 10pm, Monday to Friday.

What is open on campus?
  • Pret
  • Peabody’s
  • The SU bar is open Wednesday to Friday evenings, and as circulation space during the day for both staff and students.
  • Jenner Wing Teaching rooms are in duel use Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm for teaching or circulation space for students.
  • The Library computer rooms are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
  • The Library is open Monday to Friday 8am to 11pm and Saturday to Sunday 9am to 9pm.
Can I use the kitchen facilities safely?

Kitchen facilities are open and available for use in accordance with risk assessments (for more information please discuss how to view the risk assessments for each area with your line manager).

Disinfectant and blue roll are left within these areas for your use, all areas on campus are frequently cleaned.

Please follow the room usage guidance posted on the doors of shared facilities such as offices, tea rooms and lifts. This includes specific occupancy numbers in some cases.

How do I know what the meeting room capacities are?

Maximum capacities are listed on the doors for all meeting rooms.

Are all meeting rooms in use?
All meeting rooms on the central room booking system are in use, with the exception of H2.3 and H2.4 which are currently being used as student circulation space.
How are you ensuring the campus is safe?

The top priority throughout this process is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.

In line with government requirements the University has undertaken a detailed institutional risk assessment (PDF) so staff and students can review the steps which have been taken to ensure this as much as possible.

Please ensure you refer to the risk assessment for your local area so that you are aware of the requirements on site. If you are unsure of how to locate this please ask your line manager.

Is hand sanitiser supplied?

Yes, hand sanitiser points are located throughout the campus at the entrances to corridors, general areas and lobbies.

Is there sufficient ventilation on site?

Ventilation testing has been undertaken across the campus. Areas where insufficient ventilation has been identified are not available for use or will be used in a limited way. Room capacities for teaching and meeting rooms have been updated accordingly and can be found on the doors.

Do I need to wear a mask at my desk?

Anyone on the university site should continue to wear Type II face masks when in communal areas, in clinical and lab settings and in crowded areas which could include lecture theatres if they are at capacity. If you wish to wear a face mask anywhere else on site, please feel able to do so.

Face masks will be provided and can be collected from the following points on-site:

  • Reception
  • Site Services
  • the Library help desk.

Please ensure you refer to the risk assessment for your local area so that you are aware of the requirements on-site. If you are unsure of how to locate this please ask your line manager.

Should we be socially distancing in office spaces?

While there is now no legal requirement to socially distance or wear face masks in office spaces, we are still working to mitigate risks of Covid-19 transmission on our site. 

There are a number of things you can do to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the office environment. These include:

  • If there is space available, staff may be more comfortable working back-to-back, side-by-side or staggered rather than face-to-face. 
  • If you wish to wear a face mask anywhere else on site, for example in open plan offices, please feel able to do so.   
  • Please clean any shared desk before and after use.
  • Follow our general campus safety measures including hand hygiene and regular testing.
  • Please do not attend site if you are exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.
Read further Government guidance on working safely during the pandemic

Working arrangements

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I've got a holiday booked. Can I still take it then self-isolate at home and work from home for the quarrantine period?

The Government has introduced quarantine for arrivals from a number of overseas countries. Quarantine can be introduced quickly and with little warning.

If you are already in a country when the announcement of quarantine on return from it is made, you will need to self-isolate on return. If possible, you should work from home during this period. If working from home is not possible, your manager can agree special leave for you, which can be booked via MyWorkplace.

If you decide to travel to a country for which quarantine rules already exist, you will need to be able to cover your period of quarantine on return.

If you can work from home, you should do so with agreement from your line manager. If you cannot work from home, you will need to take leave to cover the quarantine period (either annual leave or unpaid leave).

You should check the validity of your travel insurance if travelling to a country where quarantine rules are in place.

Line managers

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As a line manager, how can I support my reportees with returning to site?

As a manager you should be discussing new working patterns and remote working requirements with your direct reports.

Alongside your Director, it is your responsibility to determine what arrangements would best meet the needs of the university and the needs of your team members.

All members of staff will be expected to work on-site for a proportion of their time but you are best placed to determine what this means in practice. The degree to which onsite working is required will vary depending on the job being undertaken.

All staff are able to request flexible working but business needs must be met.

However, we need to recognise that different people have different risk appetites and level of comfort about returning to site. Some individuals will be feeling anxious about a return and you should discuss with them what options and flexibility might assist their return, for example as part of a regular one-to-one meeting.

There are a number of options you could consider, for example, whether they could adjust their working hours so that they avoid public transport during its busiest times.

If necessary, you can complete an individual risk assessment (PDF) with them to consider what amendments might be most appropriate, although this is not a requirement for all staff.

We will shortly be offering workshops for staff and managers to help with the transition back to onsite working.

Dealing with anxiety

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I feel anxious about returning to site, why do I have to and what support is available?

As already highlighted in previous messages, all members of staff will be expected to work on-site for a proportion of their time. 

There are number of reasons for this including:

  • As a university we provide face-to-face learning to our students, as well as world class research. Both of these activities require an onsite presence and many staff have been working onsite for many months to deliver this.
  • While many of us may not necessarily offer face-to-face support to students, we do provide services to the rest of the university. Now that all students and services are able to return to site there will need to be more staff onsite in other departments to provide the support required.
  • Our work arrangements should foster a culture of collegiality: we are a community with shared values, joint activities and significant social interaction. An onsite presence fosters teamwork and a team culture, as well as informal learning within a team environment.
  • Finally, some onsite presence can assist in facilitating supervision and coaching between managers and their teams.

The degree to which an onsite presence is required will depend on the type of job you do, although no job will be undertaken completed remotely. You should discuss with your manager and Director the extent to which you are required on site.

Directors must sign-off any request to work remotely for more than 40% of your contracted hours but this does not mean that it is not possible if work requirements allow. It is for you and your management team to determine.

We recognise that for some individuals a return to onsite working might be daunting and uncertain. This is one of the reasons why we are asking people to return 1 day per week from 19 July, in order to enable everybody who hasn’t so far returned to site to ease back to onsite working.

You should discuss your working arrangements with your manager to determine what working patterns would best suit business needs and your requirements. For example, you might decide to start earlier or later to avoid the busiest times on public transport (further information is available here).

If necessary, you and your manager can complete an individual risk assessment (Word) to consider what amendments might be most appropriate, although this is not a requirement for all staff.

Everybody will be eligible to request flexible working, and a new Flexible Working Policy is now available on the website. We will also shortly be offering workshops for staff and managers to help with the transition back to onsite working.

In addition to speaking to your manager, other support is available:

  • If you would like to talk confidentially to someone, St George’s, University of London has a counselling service that can be contacted by email or 020 8725 3625
  • The Confidential Care Employee Assistance Programme will be continuing to provide their telephone service during this time. If you would like to use the service, please email assist@cic-eap.co.uk and include the following information:
    • name
    • organisation
    • contact phone number
    • the best time to receive a return a call (preferably with a 2 hour time window)
    • a brief sentence on the reason for calling.
  • If you are a member, the British Medical Association provides confidential counselling which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0330 123 1245.
  • The Disability Network run Time To Talk - fortnightly online drop-in sessions. Contact disabilitynetwork@sgul.ac.uk to find out more and to join.

In addition to University services and tools, there is also a lot of advice available through various media about how best to look after your health and wellbeing during the pandemic. The resources listed below offer good quality advice:

 

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