Working on campus

Information and guidance for staff about returning to work on campus.

On this page:

UCL’s Roadmap for welcoming more staff back to campus

Based on the Government’s roadmap, the advice of our own public health experts and the feedback we’ve received from staff, UCL has developed our own roadmap to welcome back the remaining staff and students who have been working and studying remotely. In line with Government guidance, all remaining staff will be able to start returning to onsite working from 19 July, ahead of the start of the 2021/22 academic year. This will be a big step for many of us after working remotely for so long, so please talk to your line manager first.

Assuming Government guidance does not change, the following steps will allow the university to be fully open and operational, with appropriate COVID-19 safety measures and risk assessments in place. You can find out what’s already open on the UCL student's website.

From 19 July to September

Staff who have been working remotely may return to work, but we do not expect everyone back at this stage. You may be asked to work in a different UCL space, so please speak to your line manager beforehand.

Campus will be as free from COVID restrictions as possible, dependent on the Government's review and in line with our ‘people first’ approach.

From September onwards

Subject to Government guidance, we expect all remaining staff to return to work on campus as their default workplace for at least part of the time.

Flexible working

We are seeking to balance colleagues’ requests for greater flexibility with the value of all being together in the same place. This will be difficult to get right: we want to make sure individuals and teams have the freedom to adapt their working arrangements where possible to suit their personal circumstances and local needs, while also maintaining a vibrant sense of community on campus.

Reflecting the responses to the Future of Work survey, and with a view to maintaining our sense of community on campus, we will typically expect all colleagues to spend a minimum of 40% of their working time onsite from September. The exact proportion for each individual will depend on their role and the needs of their department (e.g. whether their role can be performed remotely for all or part of the time), but this should provide a starting point for conversations between staff and their line managers.

Working onsite

Some staff will be required to work wholly onsite, and others will prefer to continue working in this way, even if their role means it’s possible for them to work remotely for part of the time. Assuming Government guidance does not change, UCL will not require any staff to work remotely, and all colleagues may access a place to work onsite at any time during their working hours. Please speak to your line manager if you need help accessing space on campus.

Return to Campus Roadshow for Disabled and Clinically Vulnerable Staff

The next event in our series of Return to Campus roadshows will take place at 2pm, Friday 2 July. This event will focus on the concerns of staff who are disabled, neurodivergent, clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable and staff with any other mental or physical health concerns related to the return to campus. 

British Sign Language interpreters will be available and 5-minute breaks will be scheduled every 40 minutes. See the panel and sign up to the roadshow on Eventbrite. 

Planning to return to campus: Guidance for managers and staff

Managers of staff whose services or buildings are reopening have been asked to consider whether their staff are required on site for some or all of the time and, if so to plan for their return carefully. They have been provided with a checklist to assist with this. Managers will also invite staff who are returning to a team or individual induction, will speak with you about the support available, and will review and update their local risk assessments. These resources can be found on the Resources for Managers page.

The Safety Services team have provided a guide to the latest advice and resources to keep colleagues safe, whether you’re working remotely or your role requires you to work on campus. You can find the guide on the Safety Services website.

Before you return to campus

Please follow the most up to date COVID-19 safety measures, which currently include washing your hands frequently, covering your face and maintaining 2m social distancing. Visit our Keeping Safe on Campus webpages for the latest guidance and make sure you follow these steps before you return: 

Induction training

You must complete the Return to UCL Induction, which has been updated to reflect the Government roadmap. If you have previously completed the course, you can also take this updated course as a refresher to ensure that you’re up to date.

Workstation assessment

All staff should complete their Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessment to ensure your onsite workstation is suitable for you. 

Symptom-free testing

The Government is encouraging everyone without symptoms to get tested twice a week. You can get tested locally or order a test to be delivered to your home, and UCL staff and students can also get tested at our Bidborough House testing centre. Find out more about getting tested. 

Support for staff required to work on campus and other sites

If you are required to work on campus, half price meals are available at the Aspretto Café on Floor 3 of the Student Centre and the Refectory in the Wilkins Building, which are open on weekdays from 10am to 5pm. Just show your UCL, Sodexo, CH & Co or Axis identity cards at the till.

If you are required onsite, UCL will continue to support you getting to campus safely until the end of the roadmap: 

  • Staff who choose to drive to central London may claim expenses for parking in public pay and display car parks of up to £30 per day, and Congestion Charge costs where this has been agreed in advance with your manager. 
  • Where staff are required to stay overnight, or where daily travel proves difficult, we will provide further support. If this applies to you please speak to your line manager. 
  • For staff who are able to cycle to campus we have installed over 200 new cycle parking spaces on campus and are connecting experienced cyclists with staff and students who are new to commuting by bike, through the Bike Buddy Scheme. For details on free bike maintenance, choosing a bike, local routes and UCL’s bike network and more, see UCL’s cycle and walking pages. Staff are also able to get a tax-free bike through the UCL Cycle Scheme. 

Read more about getting to and from campus safely.

Free face masks for those using public transport

While we are working hard with our recognised unions and taking advice from UCL’s world-leading researchers to make sure our campus is as safe as possible, we understand that safety is still a concern for some people who need to take public transport to get here. 

If you need to use public transport to get to campus, you can now collect free face masks to wear during your commute. We will provide the masks until the end of the roadmap when we will review the approach in line with Government guidance.

Our Public Health researchers have recommended that we provide the FFP2/KN95 and N95 model masks, as they can offer a higher degree of protection than home-made masks by more effectively filtering out aerosols that may contain the virus. These face masks are not designed to worn for long periods of time or to be reused - so please ensure you only wear them for one journey. 

How to collect your masks
If you need to get public transport to get to Bloomsbury

If your role requires you to work onsite, or your research requires specialist facilities on campus, you can collect up to 10 single-use masks a week from our Bloomsbury campus. 

UCL staff should bring their UCL ID and a note from their line manager confirming that they are required to work onsite. Catering, cleaning, security and portering staff should bring their UCL ID as proof that they work for Axis, Sodexo or CH&CO. Research students should bring their UCL ID and a note from their supervisor confirming they need to be on campus. 

Masks are available from collection points at:

  • North Lodge, Gower Street entrance (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
  • Institute of Education (24 hours a day, seven days a week)
  • Gordon Street entrance gate (7am – 7pm daily)
  • Malet Place entrance gate (7am – 7pm daily) 
  • Bidborough House, Car Park Entrance/Shutter (8am – 6pm daily)
  • Royal Free Hospital, Postroom (8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday)
If you need to get public transport to work onsite away from Bloomsbury

We understand not all staff will be able to collect face masks from the Bloomsbury campus. Staff who are required to work on other sites, such as those at the MSSL in Dorking, can claim up to £20 a week in expenses for 10 FFP2/KN95 or N95 model facemasks.

To request a PTAE code for your claim, please contact covidhelpline@ucl.ac.uk with confirmation from your line manager that you are required to work onsite.

Please note that claims for face masks are centrally funded and will not come out of departmental budgets and that the UCL Expenses Policy applies to all claims so you will need to attach a receipt to your claim.

Staff based in Bidborough House and Torrington Place 

Social distancing on campus means that the number of student study spaces on campus is much reduced compared with previous years, so in addition to securing more buildings and pop-up spaces, we have released office space in Bidborough House and Torrington Place. Students now have access to the ground, first, second, third and fourth floors at Bidborough, and floors six to ten in Torrington Place.

Bookable staff desk space

To help Professional Services staff find and book a desk when on campus, we have introduced a desk booking system.

Book a desk space

Visitors policy

Before inviting visitors onto campus, please consider whether their visit is absolutely essential and, if so, ensure that they are aware of UCL’s regulations on social distancing, one-way restrictions and the use of face coverings. 
Visitors must confirm by email to their host that they do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, and neither they nor anyone in their household is required to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines. They will also be asked to supply their contact details and the areas of campus they are visiting. We will use this information to make sure campus is as safe as possible and respond to any potential cases of COVID-19 should they occur.

Read UCL’s policy for visitors to UCL during the pandemic on our Resources for Managers page.