Specific advice for employees at the University of Surrey. Please check back regularly for any updates and read our general advice for health information and travel guidance.
Advice for employees
This information is designed to help address any concerns you may have regarding working at home or the return to work, however in the event you feel specialist support is required there are a number of points of support available. If you feel lonely, anxious, depressed or just need someone to reach out to, please contact the Centre for Wellbeing, or HROperations@surrey.ac.uk who can help you contact Occupational Health.
Some of the links on this page will take you to information or documents that sit on our staff intranet, SurreyNet. Staff need to make sure they're connected to GlobalProtect to access SurreyNet.
The University is following government advice; if you are able to work from home, in whatever capacity, you should continue to do so unless your manager informs you that your role is required on site. Your line manager will discuss the work that you may be required to carry out from home, which may include amended duties. You will continue to receive your salary as normal. Please read our Working from Home guidance (PDF) (and incorporating COPE framework (PDF)) and the guidance on maintaining wellbeing.
The University expects all staff to fulfil their contractual hours/duties as required (whether that is on campus, working remotely, or a blend of the two). The University recognises that many employees have caring responsibilities and we will continue to support colleagues where possible, whilst ensuring that the University’s operations are not impacted.
Employees should discuss the support available with their line manager. Where colleagues cannot fulfil their duties other options may include annual leave, unpaid leave or flexible working.
Join CAPE on Teams for solidarity and support
The People, Culture and Inclusion team has launched a Microsoft Teams group called CAPE: Carers And Parents Everyday. CAPE is intended to be a support network for parents and carers who are balancing caring responsibilities with working from home.
- Bring colleagues together to share ideas and successes as well as highlight any struggles or concerns
- Help you find a support buddy – if you wish – to share experiences and provide peer support
- Provide resources and advice on balancing competing priorities and looking after yourself
- Signpost you to helpful outlets for relevant information
Do join the CAPE Team and get in touch if you would like to share any ideas, successes, struggles or concerns with others who are in a similar position to you. You can also contact the CAPE team for a confidential chat if you would prefer a one-to-one discussion by emailing email@example.com.
Government advice is that parents and carers should keep their children at home if they can. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school or college.
University staff are deemed critical workers and can request access to a school place for their children to enable staff to continue to work if required. You can download a confirmatory template letter under the HR Covid-19 guidance on SurreyNet (connect to GlobalProtect to access), or talk to your line manager if you need support on caring duties. Please do not use this letter if you are currently on furlough.
The University will not meet costs associated with working from home such as a payment towards utilities or broadband. If you have a particular need or have incurred significant cost when working at home, please raise this with your manager. Where possible, any additional equipment should be sourced from equipment already at the University. Please seek approval from your manager before you collect any equipment from campus.
You can visit the government website to find out whether you are eligible to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home on a regular basis.
The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has enabled the University to retain staff who we may otherwise not have been able to financially support during this crisis.
The scheme is now only available in respect of employees that have previously been furloughed or those returning to work from a period of family friendly leave (e.g. maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental or parental bereavement leave), or from a period of mobilisation as an armed forces reservist. Flexibility has also been introduced to the scheme to enable colleagues to return to work part time.
The level of the Government grant is being slowly tapered with the University paying an increasing share of the costs from August 2020, until scheme closure on 31 March 2021.
Please see the Furlough Leave Policy for further information.
All staff, including academics and faculty staff, professional services and postgraduate researchers, must complete the online Return to Campus staff induction on SurreyLearn please.
Inductions play a vital part in the way we are tackling this pandemic, helping us reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus by making sure everyone is clear on the safety guidelines for all.
Please remember all staff should continue to work from home wherever possible, and a return to campus is only permitted with agreement from your line manager.
The Health and Safety team will run an induction session for employees who are not able to access an online induction. If this applies to you, and you have the agreement of your line manager to return to campus, please complete the following booking form.
Our teaching and learning spaces have been risk assessed by the University, to ensure we meet government guidelines. The operational protocols document outlines what you can expect, in terms of signage, room layouts and cleaning protocols, when you return to teaching on campus. We have also included advice for faculty spaces where additional Covid-secure measures have been applied.
The teaching rooms risk assessment and matrix lists our teaching spaces (excludes some laboratories) and allows you to view the new room capacities and the Covid-secure measures which are being implemented in each room. This document will be updated on an on-going basis.
We have developed a short film about teaching in a Covid-secure environment that provides an insight into the reality of delivering face-to-face teaching on campus while maintaining social distance protocols. The film depicts some of the common questions and challenges that our academic community may face.
We have created these documents about hybrid education:
We have also worked hard to develop a set of FAQs as a guide for all staff, so you feel confident in your delivery. It will also equip you to converse with students about hybrid education and support them by responding to their queries or signposting to the appropriate support services and resources.
The University is mindful that not all duties can be carried out from home, so some colleagues will be required on-site for operational reasons, in line with phased reopening and prioritisation of specific business activities/research.
All staff must complete the Staff Health & Safety Induction prior to returning to work.
Please discuss your concerns with your manager in the first instance. There are also a range of Wellbeing and Resilience training courses available on LinkedIn Learning to help support you with the transition to working on campus when you are required to return.
If you are worried about using public transport, you might like to consider a change in your working pattern to better suit reduced timetables or to travel at a time which is quieter. We would ask that you do not car share with anyone who does not live in your household to get to work. If you have a car but do not usually use it for travelling to work, this may be explored. Please refer to the transport guidance on SurreyNet regarding how to park on site.
We have updated our travel FAQs to share advice from Stagecoach and local train operators about travelling on public transport. Please be aware that it is mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England.
The Government guidance is clear that staff should continue to work from home where possible. The University owes a duty of care to all colleagues to prevent the spread of infection.
To maintain a safe working environment, it is vital that the number of staff onsite is carefully controlled. You may therefore only attend work if they have been informed that you may do so. If you are struggling with feelings of isolation or anxiety due to ongoing working from home, please contact the Centre for Wellbeing, or HROperations@surrey.ac.uk who can help you contact Occupational Health.
The University remains fully supportive of those who are self-isolating.
Please use our self-isolation form to:
- Report symptoms
- Notify us that you're self-isolating
- Report a positive test result
- Request a Covid-19 test
This will inform the University's Rapid Response team of your situation. You may be asked to provide evidence of the request to self-isolate if this was via the NHS test and trace process.
If self-isolating, the University would normally suggest that, if you are well enough to do so, you should work from home. You can discuss the arrangements for working from home with your line manager. If you self-isolate and your work cannot be undertaken at home, you should discuss this with your line manager. In some cases, you may be asked to undertake alternative duties from home.
You must keep in contact with your line manager during a period of self-isolation, and any periods when you are unwell as per the University sickness policy.
Yes, you will receive full pay should you need to self-isolate.
The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate. Those who are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note through NHS111 online.
To prevent the spread of infection, we do not need staff who are required to self-isolate to produce a fit note, although we may require some proof or confirmation of advice. The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate. Those who are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note through NHS111 online.
Should you require any medical help or advice during a period of self-isolation, you should contact NHS 111 and follow the advice which is provided to you.
Employees must self-isolate whenever they receive a notification from the NHS test and trace service asking them to do so - please complete the self-isolation form to notify us. As per government advice, if this happens on multiple occasions, you should consider how you can better follow social distancing requirements.
Before you travel on holiday, you must ensure that your leave is approved by your line manager as per the Annual Leave policy. You should also discuss your return to consider potential impacts and how any work will be covered, such as onsite teaching or other work commitments, in case you are unable to return due to self-isolation requirements and/or cannot work remotely.
From 1 August 2020, domestic travel (and international travel in exceptional circumstances, subject to the approval of the relevant Executive Board member) is permitted for staff and postgraduate students seeking to travel on University business and at University expense.
However, your safety is our priority, and the guiding principle should be that any travel is by exception and for a business critical purpose. Please consider whether virtual attendance is possible as local/national lockdowns, travel restrictions or self-isolation requirements might impact on your plans.
Full details about the University’s domestic and international travel requirements, including booking and approval protocols, are available on the Business Travel pages on SurreyNet.
At this time, we are unable to hold in-person events, but the University is closely monitoring UK government advice as part of the “Roadmap out of lockdown”.
There are a small number of exemptions related to essential University business. If you are planning any events-related activity which encourages people to gather in person, prior approval must be sought from Silver. Please contact Sam Jones, Events Manager, for advice.
University guidance and procedures for events on campus will be updated as and when UK government restrictions ease.
Every effort should be made to accommodate the interview by Skype and to replicate the interview process.
We appreciate that candidates may not have been to Surrey and therefore may not be able to make a decision if offered a role. Please discuss with your HR team who can provide them with information and, if they have been offered the role, arrangements may be made for them to come to Surrey when they are able to travel.
Please raise the planned or prospective visit with your Head of Department in the first instance. They can escalate to the Silver Command Operational Group if they feel this is necessary.
If you anticipate major disruption to research projects or other university work as a result of travel restrictions or other coronavirus management measures around the world, and you are unable to mitigate this yourself, please notify your Head of Department in the first instance.
Some media reports have highlighted security concerns about the Zoom video conferencing platform. Zoom is part of the University’s online teaching toolset and is configured to be as secure as presenting in a campus lecture hall. However it is not a secure private communications tool and we advise against its use for meetings where sensitive or confidential issues will be discussed.
The University’s preferred platform for secure and private communications is Microsoft Teams. Advice on how to use Teams is available via this Teams group (with contributions from IT Services).
Advice on the use of Zoom for online teaching is available via the DTEL Covid-19 page on SurreyLearn.
A full list of all the University approved collaboration tools can be found here.
Advice for line managers
We appreciate that these are uncertain times and the Covid-19 situation is continuing to change and evolve. There are a range of Wellbeing and Resilience training courses available on LinkedIn Learning to help support with the transition to working on campus when staff are required to return. Please recommend these courses to your team member and try to reassure them.
You may also wish to discuss possible working from home options, or divide your team into two, with those teams alternating between working from home one week and bring in the office the other.
For highly anxious team members please liaise with HR. If appropriate, they can support you to refer a colleague to our occupational health provider, Cordell Health, who offer single session resilience calls specifically for those who are medically fit to return to the workplace but are too anxious to do so. An experienced counsellor or nurse will explore the barriers of returning to the workplace, as well as coaching techniques to overcome them, and provide further resources as appropriate. If this is of interest, line managers can refer employees via HR.
Some individuals may have a high risk of developing severe Covid-19 infection due to specific medical circumstances. UK government advice and guidance is subject to frequent change but current information can be found here.
The Prime Minister announced that England will enter a national lockdown on Tuesday 5 January 2021. During this time, the UK government advises everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to shield by staying at home, to protect themselves from exposure to coronavirus. Those unable to work from home should contact their line manager or HR Business Manager to discuss options.
Managers should be aware and respectful of the fact that some colleagues will not wish to divulge information about a medical condition to them directly and will only be willing for this data to be held confidentially in HR and referred for advice. In this case, HR will work with the staff member and line manager if support is requested.
However, when a member of your team raises a health circumstance, if the individual is willing to share information about their health condition directly with their line manager, the manager should review the information in relation to the UK government ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ category and take appropriate action in regards to allowing them to work from home or take sick leave as advised by the Government guidance, or furlough leave if the role cannot be undertaken from home.
If the member of staff was originally required to shield based on a medical condition, then they should already have submitted their formal shielding letter from the NHS/GP to their HR contact. If a staff member now falls within the CEV group, please forward the letter they have received to the HR Operations team.
Where there is no shielding letter, but the member of staff considers themselves to be at high risk, in line with UK Government guidance they should contact their GP and/or Consultant where appropriate to seek advice and supporting documentation. They should also seek advice from HR via the HR Operations Centre with a view to possible referral to Occupational Health to consider any potential risks and any further measures that should be considered to minimise risk for an individual.
It is important for managers to remember that the risks that individual members of staff may encounter may change as the nature of their work changes. If a manager is unclear as to when a further risk assessment should be completed, they should seek guidance from their Health & Safety contact/HR department.
Staff who are in the Clinically Vulnerable group, or live with someone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, are currently still required to come on to campus if they need to, to fulfil their role. Should you or your staff member have any concerns, please discuss this with the HR Operations team in the first instance, who can offer guidance and support.
Advise your team member that they must notify the Rapid Response team about their self-isolation.
If they feel well and have offered to/can work from home, HR will record as self-isolation. If the individual is unable to work from home then this will also be recorded as self-isolation. Anyone who believes they may have come into contact with the virus should seek to take a test as soon as possible through NHS test and trace.
To prevent the spread of infection, we do not need staff who are required to self-isolate to produce a fit note, although we may require some proof or confirmation of advice. The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate. Those who are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, can get an isolation note through NHS111 online.
If your member of staff has not notified the Rapid Response team, they should do so immediately. They will contact the individual and ask about their presence on campus and extended contact with other individuals.
The Rapid Response team will then inform HR Silver who will ensure the relevant process is put into place. As a Line Manager you will be kept up to date as to what steps you should take. In the event Public Health England are involved, you may be requested to take specific measures, but this will be advised by Silver Operational Group.
Keep in contact with the individual and ask them to keep you up-to-date.
If the staff member is able to do so, they should undertake work from the location they are in. We appreciate that this may not be possible and you should discuss this further with the individual. You could ask them to undertake alternative duties, which are suitable for remote working.
For as long as the member of staff is prevented from returning to the UK they will receive their salary as normal. We would ask that they keep you regularly updated. Managers should also inform the HR Business Partner if a member of staff is prevented from returning to the UK.
If your staff are no longer on campus, you should, where possible, keep in regular touch with them. We have put together some guidance for how to manage a virtual team. You should ensure that they are healthy and report any sickness cases to HR in the normal way – including reporting when any instance of sickness has finished.
There is further advice from Wellbeing as to how to manage working from home as well as counselling services available where additional support is required. Please remember to use the COPE Framework under the Covid-19 HR Policies on SurreyNet, which encourages us all to think about how we are working together and how we might explore doing things a little differently to make adapting to the latest restrictions a bit easier, for ourselves and our colleagues.
Communicating to you
All official communications from the University to staff are delivered via:
So we can contact you via text message to inform you of any important information, please make sure your mobile number is up to date on Surrey Self-Service.
We’re aware that there is a lot of understandable concern about the current situation. This concern has occasionally led to some inaccurate rumours circulating. If you are unsure about the accuracy of any information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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