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.

Winter advice

As we move through the autumn term, the working group is highlighting important reminders for our community’s safety:

  • Test before socialising: In line with government advice, we recommend taking a test before attending social events and large gatherings.
  • Attend your test appointment: If you book a PCR test, please ensure you attend your booked slot, or if you can no longer attend, click the ‘change/cancel appointment’ link in your booking confirmation email.
  • Student test before departure: Please remind students that they should take a test before heading home for the festive break.
  • Further guidance: Information about safety on campus, vaccinations and testing are available on our COVID-19 updates and guidance pages.

Latest updates  

Updated 25 November 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.

Workstream updates

At the Return to Campus working group’s most recent meeting (26 Nov), updates were shared by the four workstreams, which can be read in detail on these slides: RTC Working Group 25-Nov-2021 (PDF).

Key updates include:

Hybrid working questionnaire results:

  • Earlier this term, staff were asked to complete a Hybrid Working questionnaire, to hear their thoughts and concerns about work arrangements during the current ‘Transition and Learn’ phase of the RTC roadmap. The results have been collated and the report is now complete. Read the report: Hybrid Working Report Nov-2021

Safety workstream:

  • The workstream continues to closely monitor all COVID-19 cases on campus, and highlighted the importance of taking regular tests (including before attending social events and busy spaces) and ensuring you attend your booked session.

Technology workstream:

  • The ‘model office’ on the Sherfield Building’s fourth floor is now complete. Staff can now book a session to view and trial ICT-supported equipment for running hybrid meetings and lectures on campus. To book a session, email the Model Office team.

People workstream

  • The team continues to plan for the ‘Ambition Phase’ with the HR Strategic Partners. Find out more about the Ambition phase on the Return to campus roadmap.

Space workstream

  • The team continues to evaluate occupancy levels on our campuses, and the potential for redeploying underused spaces to more effectively meet current learning and teaching space requirements. This activity feeds into the team’s Room Booking project, as well as plans for the Ambition Phase of the roadmap.

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:

Further resources can be accessed on the COVID-19 HR Policies and Guidance webpages.


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.  

Links to further guidance