UCL Human Resources


Hybrid working - Staff FAQs

Frequently asked questions for staff about the new hybrid working guidance.

1. What is different about the new guidance?

The new guidance applies to Professional Services and technical staff in central departments and faculties. It introduces 3 categories of worker:

  • On-site First: working more than 80% of time on-site. These workers were referred to in the Interim Guidance as 'Category A' Workers

  • Hybrid Worker: working between 20% and 80% of time on-site, using an Activity Led Approach rather than a strict baseline which was previously set at 40% for minimum attendance. These workers were referred to in the Interim Guidance as 'Category B' Workers

  • Remote First: working less than 20% of time on-site. This is a new, exceptional category and full details on the types of role which may qualify for this arrangement can be found here (link to the right place in link1)

Teams and individuals are encouraged to come on-site for specific activities, optimising the time spent on-site. This means taking a planned approach for what types of activities to undertake when working on-site and allows departments to be more autonomous in determining what works well in their area, whilst also providing flexibility for staff.

2. When will the guidance be operational?

Your line manager will discuss the new guidance with you, establish which category you are and the working pattern for you/your team.

Conversations will happen from July onwards with a view to working patterns being in place for the start of the new Academic term – 1st October 2022.

Some staff may need a longer transition period to secure caring or other arrangements and your manager will work with you, encouraging open and transparent discussions about your situation. You can also seek advice from your HR Business Partner.

You remain able to submit a flexible working request which will mean a temporary or permanent change to your terms and conditions. Further information on managing flexible working requests can be found in the Work Life Balance Policy.

3. How enforceable is the guidance?

Campus/On-site remains the contractual place of work for all staff, and staff and managers are expected to adhere to the guidance. The guidance has been approved at University Management Committee and any new working arrangements will apply from the 1st October 2022. If you have any concerns about the new guidance, please discuss them with your line manager or your HR Business Partner.

4. How frequently will I need to work on-site?

This will be determined by which category you fall into and the types of activities you need to come on-site for. Your manager will discuss this with you and working patterns will be approved at the relevant Director or Department Head level.

Where additional and ad hoc attendance is required for an in-person event or meeting, staff are expected to make every effort to attend, even if this is not on a day you are normally on site with your immediate team. The Chair or organiser is responsible for setting the location and format of the meeting or event.

5. Can I work from home exclusively if I am in the Remote-First Category?

Working remotely remains voluntary and whilst Remote-First staff will work mostly off-site, campus/On-site remains your contractual place of work and you are required to work on-site when requested to. You are allowed to work on-site more frequently if you would like to, providing you discuss this with your line manager and book a desk or space as appropriate. If you require additional remote working because of a reasonable adjustment please discuss this with your line manager or HR Business Partner.

6. Can I ask for flexible working?

Staff remain eligible to submit a flexible working request in line with the Work-Life Balance Policy.

7. I need to plan and secure childcare or other caring arrangements.

Departments are being asked to adopt a routine where possible and plan activities to come onsite for. If arrangements need to change, or if you are required to work on-site on a day you are not usually in, reasonable notice will be provided. You can discuss any concerns you have about this with your Line Manager or HR Business Partner.

UCL’s Parents and Carers Together network provides helpful support and support and advice from others who may be in a similar situation.

8. I have been asked to come in for a meeting with a different department which is not on our normal on-site day. Do I have to come in?

It may not always be possible for meeting organisers to choose a day when all attendees are in on a planned on-site day. Where additional and ad hoc attendance is required for an in-person event or meeting, staff are expected to make every effort to attend, even if this is not on a day you are normally on site with your immediate team, as long as you have been given reasonable notice. The only exception may be if a part-time member of staff does not normally work on that given day and cannot rearrange their working day.

9. I am concerned about the new working arrangements

Discuss your concerns with your line manager in the first instance.  You can also discuss things with your HR Business Partner.

You can seek support from the Employee Assistance Programme, which is a confidential external company where you can seek advice and obtain counselling if you wish.

10. Will the guidance or any local arrangements change again?

The frequency of on-site attendance may need to change in the future because of building space and utilisation but staff will be given notice of any such change.

Local departments may also need to change working patterns, but staff will be provided with reasonable notice of this. The impact of the new guidance will be carefully monitored.

11. Can staff in the Remote First category claim travel expenses when coming on-site?

No, because campus/ on-site remains their contractual place of work.