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Guidance and resources for working remotely

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Overview

As the University prepares for a phased return to campus in the autumn term, many of us are likely to continue working remotely for some time.

This webpage brings together information and guidance to support colleagues to work safely, effectively and productively away from our campuses.

If your question is related to COVID-19 and its impact, please visit the Coronavirus your questions answered web page.

When you start working remotely for the first time, it may take some time to figure out what works best for you, your team and for the University. Speak to your manager regularly to make sure you know what is expected of you and ask for help if you need it.

While many of the tasks you carry out remotely will be the same as in the office, the environment you do these tasks in has changed. This guide suggests four steps to wellbeing: getting set up, connected, on the move and support.

Working remotely: Getting set up

It helps to set up a specific space where you will work, ideally somewhere that is not associated with rest and relaxation. Whilst it is not always possible to have the full range of equipment you might have at the office, there is a lot of information available about how to set up your desk and workspace at home.

Health and Safety Services have put together a handy guide on how to set up at home. If you have specific requirements for your desk or workspace, carry out a DSE assessment.

The Digital Technology Services team has online guidance on setting equipment up for remote working.

A VPN is used to access specific systems when working remotely. You do not need the VPN for services like your Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneDrive. VPN is only required to access services such as:

  • Collaborative shares (T Drive)
  • Home drives (please consider using OneDrive)
  • Business systems administration
  • Access to UoR Research Systems
  • Remote desktop access
  • DTS are adding new tools for us to work remotely, keep checking back to see what is available

For colleagues involved in teaching, a section on delivering teaching and learning remotely has been created on the Blackboard ‘Help for Staff’ website. This includes advice on making recordings (Screencasting) and using Blackboard Collaborate.

All colleagues accessing University systems or information remotely should adhere to the Remote and Mobile Working Policy.

Working remotely: Getting connected

Working from home can feel isolating, particularly if you are used to a busy office and lots of human contact throughout the day.  Use Teams to keep connected to your colleagues – whether it is through scheduled meetings and updates or social connections such as ‘virtual coffee breaks’ with your team. Discuss and agree with your manager and colleagues how you can best engage with your team while working remotely

If you are a line manager with people in your team working remotely, remember that all meetings should have a Teams link so people can join wherever they are based

There are resources on building teams with colleagues working remotely available through UoRLearn.

Working remotely: Getting on the move

Taking regular breaks is crucial for your mental health and wellbeing as well as your productivity. Make sure you get up from your desk regularly to walk around, and schedule in breaks that you can stick to, take your lunch break away from your desk or laptop. Our learning supplier, Cardinus, has provided advice and simple stretching exercises.

Working from home doesn’t have to mean staying indoors exclusively. Some fresh air will be helpful in keeping you working effectively; before or after your working day, or during your breaks, think about how you could go outside for some fresh air and some exercise if possible.

Colleagues can also use the Jump app to earn rewards for reducing your impact on the environment whilst supporting your health and wellbeing.

Keep learning and developing yourself

Our Learning Management System, UoRLearn, has a range of resources on working remotely. These include modules on Leading a Remote Team and Effective Remote Working plus a collection of reputable resources titled Resources for Remote Working. The People Development Team continue to develop these resources so please keep checking in.

As well as familiarising yourself with these resources, your ongoing personal and professional development can be maintained online via UoRLearn.

Getting support

Many colleagues will benefit from and enjoy working remotely but it may not suit all jobs or all people.

Our Employee Assistance Programme is here to offer support, including by phone and email.  As is our Wellbeing Peer Support Network, who can use their skills to support colleagues with their mental health by signposting them to the appropriate support, both in and outside of the workplace.

More advice on looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home is available on the University’s Wellbeing pages.

Working from home and tax

There is tax relief available for colleagues who are required to work remotely or from home. For most people, this will require filling in a P87 form which can be done online or by post.

You'll be asked for your employer's name and PAYE reference (which you can find on your payslip or P60) and your job title. For postal P87s, you'll also need your national insurance number.

There are complex rules on personal tax, social security payments and also corporate tax which are usually based on where an individual does work for their employer, rather than where the employer itself is based.

There can therefore be implications for you and for the University if you do work for the University from an overseas base. These rules vary across countries depending on the agreements in place between those specific countries and so if you or someone in your team is considering working from home overseas, please speak to your HR Partner or the Tax Team for further advice.

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