Rethinking the workplace – returning to campus
These unprecedented times create the opportunity to shape the future of how we work at Imperial.
The Returning to Campus Working Group has been established to look at the future of how we work at Imperial and the roadmap for when the government’s restrictions start to lift.
On this webpage you will find the latest information and guidance on the road map to returning to campus and the future of how we could work for the many staff who have been working mostly or completely at home over the period of the pandemic.
We are grateful to staff who have worked on our campuses throughout the pandemic and continue to do so in order to keep our community safe, deliver support services and meet our academic mission.
Road map to returning to campus for those working at home
For those staff who have been mostly or completely working from home throughout the pandemic, the return to campus will be a gradual process. We are following closely the government’s guidance on restrictions. See the latest update below
The priorities of the College for the return to campus are to:
maintain a safe environment for our community
enable temporary arrangements for flexible and hybrid working where suitable
learn from experiences and listen to the community in shaping future ways of working
Read about the three phases of our roadmap for returning to campus.
Updated 14 October 2021
The College is now in the ‘Transition and Learn’ phase of its Return to Campus roadmap.
In this second of three phases, departments are bringing additional teams back on site based on particular needs.
We do not expect all staff to immediately return to campus during this phase. Managers in your department will determine the pattern of return to campus, with consideration to College-wide safety guidelines, local-level risk assessments, and personal circumstances.
You will be expected to return to campus at some stage as determined by your department – any new requests for permanent home working are not going to be approved in the short term. We expect to move towards a more hybrid model as we come out of our Transition and Learn phase – the timing of which will be decided by safety and on-campus capacity guidelines.
In the meantime, you are encouraged to continue experimenting with hybrid, at home, and onsite work patterns (as outlined in the ‘Transition and Learn’ phase of the College’s Return to Campus roadmap) in ways that fit with College-wide safety guidelines, local level requirements (including workplace capacity risk assessments) and personal circumstances.
Hybrid working staff survey
All staff are urged to complete the Hybrid working review questionnaire. It is vital that as many staff members as possible fill out the short survey – its findings will be instrumental in guiding the future of how we work at Imperial. (Please note, the survey can be completed anonymously).
At the Return to Campus working group’s most recent meeting (14 Oct), updates were shared by the four workstreams, which can be read in detail on the slides: Returning to Campus Working Group - 14 October 2021 (PDF)
Key updates include:
- Positive COVID-19 cases in the Imperial community continue to be monitored closely, and the capacity for asymptomatic testing is amply meeting daily demands.
- The College’s self-isolation exemption FAQs offer useful clarification for anyone, staff or student, experiencing confusion about the government’s guidelines.
- The COVID-19 Test and Trace Faculties app has been updated with new dashboards on testing, vaccination and quarantine hotels. (NB access is for named departmental staff only)
- A ventilation and CO2 monitoring pilot is being run in the Skempton building.
- A ‘model office’ on the Sherfield Building’s fourth floor is being to furnished with a range of ICT-approved and supported equipment for running hybrid meetings and lectures on campus.
- The aim of the model office is to drive standardisation, ensuring all equipment works harmoniously, that it is supported by ICT, improves cost and supply chain, and creates a uniformity of experience for users wherever they happen to be on our campuses.
- The model office is expected to be completed by late-October, at which time staff will be invited to visit and trial equipment that they may wish to purchase and install in their own meeting spaces.
A list of resources and guidelines for staff – including office checklists, risk assessment forms and safety guidance – are available under each section of the Return to Campus workstreams page.
Your safety and wellbeing
Our priority remains the safety and wellbeing our of community, so our progress will remain cautious, with reviews and local risk assessments built in. It remains vital that everyone visiting Imperial premises – staff, students, visitors and contractors – continues to follow our COVID-19 safety guidance. These include wearing face coverings indoors, taking weekly tests, and getting fully vaccinated.
Only by following these closely can we all do our bit to help ensure the wellbeing of our community.
Concerns about returning to campus
The Returning to Campus Working Group understands for some staff, the thought of returning to campus can be the source of anxiety. This could be for a variety of reasons.
The strong message from the working group is that our return aims to be gradual, and flexibility and adaptability is key. As staff workshop findings have shown, that’s imperative to individual’s wellbeing and performance.
Resources for managers
New guidance for managers have been created to support discussions with staff on the transition back to working on campus after such a long period working from home has now been developed. Additional resources for managers include:
- Micro-coaching sessions to support managers with return to campus and managing hybrid working
- Respect on Campus: Working Together, Protecting Each Other
- Transition & Learn FAQs
- Support for discussions with staff on return to campus working
- Work location and hybrid working guidance
Further resources can be accessed on the COVID-19 HR Policies and Guidance webpages.
Further information and guidance
Who can you contact for more information?
Queries about the processes and guidelines produced by the working group can be emailed to the dedicated Rethinking the Workplace email inbox.