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MRT update: returning to campus after 21 June

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We understand many colleagues are keen to know if their working arrangements will change if the government guidance to work from home where possible changes after 21 June, as part of Step 4 on the roadmap.

The Major Recovery Team has been planning for this scenario, by providing guidance for Heads of School and Function to support decisions about members of staff returning to campus.

While government guidance is pending, we wanted to share an overview of our current plans with you, which we hope will help answer any questions and provide reassurance.

There are three aspects that we want to highlight:

  • Even if government restrictions ease, that does not mean an automatic return to campus on Monday 21 June.

As restrictions have been eased at each stage of the roadmap so far, we have reviewed our approach and made the necessary adjustments, including permitting more colleagues to safely return to on-campus working as required. Protecting the health and safety of our community continues to be our main priority and this will inform all decision-making.

Even if government guidance is no longer to work from home if you can, we do not expect to see a sudden change to our activities on 21 June. Please maintain your current arrangements, whether that is working at home or on campus, until you receive further information from your line manager.

Given the recent increase in cases in Reading and Wokingham, we also expect that, independent of nationwide government guidance, many health and safety measures, such as wearing face coverings in certain areas and maintaining social distancing in the workplace, may continue to apply on campus. MRT will continue to regularly review the measures in place over the summer and adjust them, in light of our legal obligations, government guidance and the local situation.

 

  • Phased transition based on local priorities and space

If guidance changes from 21 June (or a later date), we would like Heads of School and Function to support their teams through a phased transition to more on-campus working over the summer months, prior to the start of term in September.

We are providing guidance to support colleagues to make these decisions, ensuring continued compliance with all required health & safety measures.

Any specific working arrangements agreed with teams or individuals during this period will be temporary, and re-reviewed prior to the start of term in September, as outlined below.

 

  • Work is ongoing on arrangements for working on campus from the start of term in September.

 

Our strong campus community is an important part of our identity, and we know from conversations with colleagues and students that this has been something we have all missed over the past year. As a student-focussed and research-intensive institution, having a strong presence on campus is integral to the delivery of many of our activities, and is also beneficial for all to develop and strengthen networks and collaborative working.

We are of course also mindful that working more flexibly has been very beneficial for many teams and individuals this year. We are therefore planning that the start of the autumn term will see a closer return to pre-pandemic levels of staff on campus, although with formal arrangements in place to support a more flexible approach where this is identified for teams or individuals in consultation with their line manager.

Our ‘Ways of Working’ project will continue to consider the longer-term use of technology and space to support better hybrid working in the future and will be making recommendations by the autumn.

We hope this information helps answer some of your questions. We will of course carefully review the government guidance when it is published and provide a further details as soon as possible thereafter.

If you have any further queries, please speak to your line manager in the first instance.

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