Adapting to our changed way of working
We are all having to adapt rapidly to new ways of working, whilst also all feeling anxious and concerned about coronavirus. It is really important that we look out for each other and support each other. Please do check in with each other frequently, and talk to your line manager if you have particular concerns.
Create a routine
- When working at home, it’s important to create a routine and to try to keep to your routine as far as possible.
- It is recommended that you wake up and get ready for work at a similar time as you would have done if you were coming to work.
- You may want to use your commute time to do something that you enjoy, e.g. going for a walk, or doing some exercise before you start work.
- You should ensure you take lunch breaks. Continue to have your usual coffee and tea breaks in the same way that you would have done if you were in the office.
- Remember to have short breaks away from working at your PC or laptop screen.
Useful Tip: You do not have to dress in the same way that you would if coming to work, but do consider what you wear, as you may need to participate in a video conference call at any time! Wearing different clothing while you are working may also help you to create a separation between work time and leisure time.
Ordinarily, you should still maintain the same working hours If you need to vary your start and finishing times whilst working remotely for any reason, you should discuss this with your line manager so that they know when you are available should they need to contact you or include you in team activities.
Existing flexible working arrangements are still applicable when working remotely.
Choosing your remote work location
- If you can, try and have a workspace that’s yours – it could just be a corner of a room, but try and keep your work and leisure spaces separate.
- As many staff as possible will be provided with a work laptop to enable remote working. Where staff do not have a work laptop they will be asked to work on their personal PC or laptop. Please see the section which refers to ‘Technology to support remote working and file storage’ for information on how to download applications onto your personal hardware.
- Carry out a DSE assessment of your space. You can find further guidance here. Having carried out your DSE assessment if you have any questions/concerns please discuss these with your line manager in the first instance.
- Ensure that the space is quiet enough to avoid distractions where possible. (It is acknowledged that in the current climate, some staff may be working in an environment where there may be other people present so this may not always be possible.)
Useful Tip: You will spend many hours working in this space, so it is important that you ensure your health and well-being. Avoid lounging on the sofa to work.
Working in your remote office space
- Depending on the nature of your work, you may not be able to undertake the full remit of your role when working remotely. Your line manager will discuss with you the key duties which you will be expected to undertake. These duties may vary throughout the period you are working remotely. Any duties which you are asked to do will be in line with the grade of your role.
- Together with your line manager, you should agree timeframes for completing pieces of work. Ask questions if the task expectations are not clear.
- Keep your manager and colleagues up to date with where you are on work including providing plans of future tasks. Provide feedback on what you need to achieve your outcomes.
Useful Tip: It’s advisable to set yourself boundaries to prevent your work life blurring into your home life. For example, avoid doing domestic chores whilst working remotely at home during your core working hours.
Create a daily list of tasks to be completed. This will help you stay on track and not lose focus.
Staying in touch
- Keeping in touch with others is important, both for maintaining your social interactions as well as your professional collaborations with your managers and colleagues. Think about how much contact you would like with your manager and work colleagues during this period of remote working over and above your normal 1:1 meetings and team meetings. Discuss your needs with your line manager so that arrangements can be put in place. The University is keen that we continue to maintain our communities albeit that many of us will be working remotely.
- Staying in touch regularly is also important to ensure that you are kept informed of your Department’s and the University’s business.
Ways of staying in touch
- Microsoft TEAMS is a great way to be able to stay in touch whilst working off-site. Managers should ensure that all of their staff have a basic practical awareness of how to use Microsoft TEAMS when undertaking remote working as this will be key to being able to stay in touch undertake work. To download click here
- Set up your staff as a team on TEAMS you can then live chat with each other. This is useful for sharing ideas and engaging in discussions.
- You can also have one to one and team meetings by using the video conferencing features.
- You can make phone calls to colleagues through TEAMS to save you from using your personal mobiles or domestic house phones.
- You should familiarise yourself with the Microsoft TEAMS package as quickly as possible to ensure that you can participate in your team’s and department’s business when working remotely.
- Outlook remains a familiar tool, which can be used to send work emails to colleagues throughout the University whilst working remotely. It will also be one of the main communication tools for keeping you updated by the Principal whilst you are working away from campus.
Step-by-step guides and further information for TEAMS:
Technology to support remote working and file storage
- Accessing Queen Mary applications when working remotely - this needs to be set up in advance before you can remotely access these applications. You can find information on this here.
- Prior to working remotely, staff should copy all essential files that they may need to access remotely from their G:drive (home drive) onto their OneDrive. Files from the J: drive (shared drive) can also be copied across if necessary. Staff with a managed Queen Mary laptop will retain access to the J and G drive remotely, so will not need to copy their files, but may still choose to do so.
- OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud service (part of Office 365) which provides storage for your individual files and is accessible on and off campus. Copying your files will mean you are able to access them remotely and if needed, from home. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to use OneDrive below.
Step-by-step guides and further information for OneDrive:
Support for staff
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) Staff can contact the EAP to receive confidential support on a number of matters. For support relating to CORVID-19 see our COVID-19 Resources [DOC 231KB].
- Coaching - An opportunity to talk to one of our trained coaches one-to-one. Please book a date via our booking system. Following this our OPD team will reach out to confirm your time slot.
- Peer IT Coaches – Due to the swift introduction of the new IT tools it would not be uncommon to expect that staff will adjust and be comfortable with using this new tools at different rates.
Staff who are experienced in using the newly introduced IT tools and have developed IT skills competency are encouraged to use their knowledge to help other staff in need of coaching and assistance.
Key Tip You could use your instant messenger within TEAMS to ask colleagues questions.
- Team meetings - To help prevent staff from feeling isolated when working remotely, staff are encouraged to participate in team meetings. If you do not have the technology hardware to participate in virtual team meetings your line manager will find an alternative way for you to be include or update and for you to stay in touch.
- Well being – For information on how you can promote your own well being. We will be updating these pages with more online options. Also see our recent article on “How to promote positive mental health”.
- The HR Department – HR teams will be remotely in operation as fully as possible. HR staff will also be working remotely but are still available to support staff. For queries in the following areas please contact:
The HR Partnering Team for all Employee Relation matters, please look up you HR Adviser and HR Partner contact here
The HR Administration Team by emailing: email@example.com
The HR Pensions Team by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
The HR Payroll Team by emailing: email@example.com
The Organisational Professional Development Team: http://hr.qmul.ac.uk/contact/whoswho/
The Equality, Inclusion and Diversity Team: http://hr.qmul.ac.uk/contact/whoswho/
- Mental Health First Aiders - Queen Mary has developed a network of Mental Health First Aiders who can provide broad thinking help and advice for colleagues; they can also refer colleagues to places (internal and /or external) for additional help, advice and support.
To find out more including your list of Mental Health First Aiders in respective Schools, Institutes and for Professional Services, please see here.
Free courses on working remotely can be found here:
Whilst working remotely during extended periods of time it may be the case that work may not flow as usual so this could be a good time for professional development , perhaps suggested reading, sharing knowledge with colleagues, or e-learning have a look at what OPD offer here.
All employment policies will still apply unless you are notified of a variation. That includes
Sickness absence while working remotely
- Should you become unwell, the usual University Sickness Absence Policy, reporting and sickness pay entitlement will apply.
- You should report your sickness absence to your line manager in the normal way.
- If you have Coronavirus symptoms or are required to self-isolate please ensure you report this through the dedicated e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org as well as advising your line manager.
Annual leave and remote working
- Staff are entitled to take annual leave whilst working remotely. You are encouraged to take annual leave regularly to ensure you are taking appropriate breaks from work.
- Annual leave should be booked in the usual way through MyHR