This page contains information, advice and resources for staff currently working from home.

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University resources for home working

The University has produced two documents to help you adapt to remote working:

All University staff, except those who have been working onsite already for business-critical activity or who have been identified for a return to onsite working as part of the University’s phased reopening, should be working from home.

You will continue to be paid as normal while working from home.


If your normal duties cannot be undertaken from home

In some cases, it may not be possible for you to perform your normal duties from home. In this scenario, you may be asked to undertake alternative duties during this period. These alternative duties should be reasonable and within your capabilities.

If your line manager agrees that it is not possible for you to undertake your normal or any alternative duties from home, then you may continue to be furloughed until the position changes and working can be facilitated.  Please see the Furlough FAQs for more information. In some circumstances you may be contacted about a return to onsite working where your role is part of the University’s phased re-opening. Consideration will be given to your personal circumstances and safety where this is the case.


Arrangements during self-isolation

If you are self-isolating because you have developed symptoms of the virus, your absence will be treated as sick leave and the University’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure will apply. Please see the guidance on sick leave.

Where you are in self-isolation but have not developed symptoms of the virus, you should speak with your line manager to see if it is practicable for you to work from home during this period, if you are not doing so already. 

If your line manager agrees that it is not practicable for you to carry out your normal duties from home you may be asked to undertake alternative duties on a temporary basis, provided the request is reasonable and within your capabilities. If alternative duties cannot be found within your department or faculty, you may be invited to support another part of the University on a temporary basis. 

If your line manager agrees that it is not possible for you to perform normal or any alternative duties from home, you will not be expected to work until self-isolation is completed and working can be facilitated.  The expectation during this period is that you will remain contactable by your team. You will continue to be paid as normal.


Looking after dependants

If you are working from home, you may have caring responsibilities for dependants, for example:

  • If the schools or nurseries are closed, opened on a reduced basis or dependant cannot attend for other reasons
  • If nursing homes are closed
  • If a dependant falls ill with coronavirus

In these circumstances, we expect staff and line managers to exercise flexibility and understanding.

You should discuss with your manager the possibility of fitting your work around your caring responsibilities. For instance, you and your manager could agree on new working arrangements such as altered working hours or altered working patterns.

We recognise that this may not be possible in all cases. If your line manager agrees that it is not practicable for you to carry out your normal duties from home, you may be asked to undertake alternative duties within your capabilities. 

Employees with unforeseen caring responsibilities may also be entitled to take emergency leave (see the University’s Special Leave Policy for details of eligibility) or you may wish to request to take annual leave at this time.

If your normal or alternative duties cannot be carried out at home, your line manager will discuss the use of annual leave, unpaid leave, emergency carers leave (if appropriate), redeployment or continuation of furlough.  Please see the Furlough FAQs for more information.

You may wish to visit the Supporting Parents and Carers at Cambridge (SPACE) website for sources of support and advice.


Technical support

The University’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Homeworking Protocol contains guidance on technical arrangements to facilitate homeworking.

The University-wide roll-out of Microsoft Teams was brought forward to help staff operate remotely. There are lots of resources out there to help you make the most of Teams and other remote working tools including:


Staying safe online

University Information Services (UIS) have produced a useful guide on IT security best practice while working from home, which you should take the time to review. It includes advice on:

  • Recognising malicious or scam emails (including those related to coronavirus)
  • Installing malware protection
  • Managing emails securely
  • Data protection

You should especially be mindful of the current scams relating to coronavirus. If you receive an unexpected email, even if it appears to be from someone you know, please treat it with caution.

If an email asks you to provide personal or financial details, even in a roundabout manner, it is most likely a scam. It is fine to reject any requests, the University will not pressure you into performing these actions in haste, only criminals do that.

You may report malicious emails to UIS or contact your IT Support staff for advice.


Insurance cover while working from home

The University’s Public Liability Insurance policy covers staff during their normal course of work, including working from home.

The Employers’ Liability Insurance policy applies in the same way as if the employee was working at their usual place of work. All University business activities need to be risk assessed and the risks mitigated where possible, which is why all staff have been asked to complete the home working risk assessment form.

The Operational Property Insurance policy applies to equipment temporarily removed from University premises (with certain sub limits). However, the excess under this policy is £1,000 each claim which increases to £2,500 each claim in case of theft with no forcible entry to or exit from buildings. As a consequence, smaller claims (for example, those involving a single lower range laptop) would not be covered.

The University’s insurance does not cover employees’ personal property in their own home.

A typical home insurance policy should allow for you to do office work from home. However, if you are doing something more than this (for example, scientific experiments) or you will be working from home on more than a temporary basis, you would need to inform your insurer.


Managing the effects of homeworking

We recognise that homeworking over a sustained period of time can lead to feelings of isolation. If you are working from home, we encourage you to keep in regular contact with your team.

For further advice please see:


Advice for staff working abroad on an overseas assignment

If you are currently working overseas, you should ensure that you keep in regular contact with your usual point of contact in your Department confirming:

  • Current location
  • Details of any family members living with you overseas
  • Future travel plans
  • Important medical details and emergency contacts and next of kin details
  • Availability of local support and supplies
  • Options for continuation of the agreed work/living pattern, change to work pattern, return to the home country.  Please note that any changes to existing work patterns or residency may have tax, social security and/or immigration implications. Should this arise, the University will provide support and advice to departments.

Following these discussions, your departmental contact may follow up with the wider Department and, if necessary, the HR Schools team and the Global Mobility Co-ordinator. This is so that you can be provided with the appropriate advice and support.

It is also recommended that you:

  • Register with the FCO for travel advice alerts relating to your overseas location, and your normal ‘home location’, if applicable
  • Ensure you register at your local embassies/foreign offices to make sure that you are accounted for, added to any communication lists, and easily located if needed
  • Visit the staff travel pages to stay up-to-date with the latest University guidance on overseas travel

If your overseas assignment is due to end in the coming months, please note that from 8 June, new rules are in place for entering the UK because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You will:

  • need to provide your journey and contact details to the government by way of an online form before you travel to the UK.
  •  remain in self-isolation in the place you are staying for the first 14 days you are in the UK, except in very limited situations.

Please check the latest Government border control advice before you travel for further information.

Where possible, you should arrange to work from home during the period of self-isolation.