UCL Human Resources


Making Hybrid Work - FAQs

Information on hybrid working covering the key dates, safety, pay, support and wellbeing.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is hybrid working

1.1 What is hybrid working and who is in scope?

Hybrid working is a form of flexible working and is an arrangement where some working time is spent on campus and some remotely (normally from home).  

UCL sites continue to be the default workplace for all staff.

Hybrid working is available to those staff where a balance of on-site and remote working is appropriate.

Further details can be found in the Return to Campus - Interim Guidance for Staff and Line Managers and the Remote Working Policy

Remote working is voluntary, and no employee is required to work remotely unless a particular issue determines this

1.2 Are the arrangements being reviewed?

The current guidance is interim and subject to review in the new calendar year. Hybrid working arrangements are being reviewed regularly in line with Government guidelines and we are also carrying out listening exercises to understand how the arrangements are working across different departments.

If requirements change, staff will be informed in advance so they have adequate time to prepare and individual circumstances will be considered.

2. Key dates for return and UCL expectations for on-site working

2.1 How frequently am I expected to work on campus?

UCL’s core organisational position is that all roles, teams and UCL as a whole, benefit from a degree of campus presence and therefore, all staff should be working onsite when required.

Those staff in category b are required to work on campus at least 40% of their working time, unless in exceptional circumstances as detailed in point in 2.2 below. 

The 40% onsite may be applied as days of the week, as a proportion of the weekly working hours or balanced across a four-week period.

Please see the interim guidance for full details.

There is also further detailed guidance and information on working on campus.

All arrangements may be subject to change, depending on the latest government guidance. 

2.2 Are there any exceptions?

Please check with your manager what the specific requirements are for your department.

The interim guidance that has been published sets out UCL’s general expectation for staff returning to campus.

However, it is recognised that the arrangements may not be suitable for some departments because of local and operational requirements.

The arrangements may also not be suitable for some individuals because of, for example, health issues or because they have agreed a flexible working arrangement..

Staff are encouraged to discuss their own situation with their line manager and managers will deal with concerns in a supportive manner and will take individual circumstances into consideration where possible to do so.

2.3 Where can I go for further advice and support?

If you would like to ask a question about the Remote working policy please contact employmentpolicy@ucl.ac.uk

 If you would like to discuss any concerns with someone other than your line manager, please speak with your relevant HR Business Partner.

Alternatively, you can discuss your concerns with your line manager’s manager.

There is also further detailed guidance and information on working on campus.

2.4 I am a line manager and need support in managing staff concerns

Please read the Managers resource page. You can also discuss any issues with your HR Business Partner.

2.5 If I am clinically extremely vulnerable, am I required to return to campus and what support is available to me?

The government advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people can be found online.

Staff who are CEV may return to the workplace.  However, if you have concerns, please ensure you discuss this with your line manager and complete the relevant risk assessments.

Staff and or managers are also encouraged to consider a workplace health referral where appropriate.

2.6 Will the core hours for meetings remain in place? i.e. 10:00 – 16:00?

Core hours for meetings of 10:00 – 16:00 does remain in place. However, we recognise that not all departments operate services or undertake work, within the “traditional” 9-5 hours working day and many staff members work part time or work different hours to their colleagues. Whilst the majority of meetings should still be able to take place between 10am-4pm,  in addition to the requirements of their service, the meeting organiser should take into account attendees working hours in order to ensure meetings takes place at a convenient time for everyone.

2.7 Do I need to book a desk space when coming into campus?

Depending on your work location you may need to book a desk. Please check with your Line Manager and where appropriate You must book a desk in advance online.

2.8 Will my normal work location change? For example, will I be asked to work in a different building?

Please check with your line manager where you will be based.

2.9 How will meetings work and be organised?

Meeting organisers can decide whether to hold face to face meetings on campus;  online meetings or a hybrid meeting. Meeting organisers will need to consider flexible working arrangements and reasonable adjustments, as well as the format and content of the meeting, in considering which type of meeting is most appropriate.

Line Managers should support individuals who may need more time than others to re acclimatise to the campus environment and should be mindful that not everyone will be ready to be involved in social or networking activities, as soon as they return.

Face to face meetings

This type of meeting may work well where all attendees are on campus.  Room bookings will work as before.  You can click here for information on how to book a room.

The meeting organiser will need to ensure that all attendees are available on campus for that time and day.

Online meetings

This type of meeting may work well where most attendees are working remotely, or working in different buildings, or where a suitable meeting room is not available.

Those working on campus in an open plan space will need to use a headset to minimise disruption to others nearby and ensure they are on mute when they are not speaking.

Hybrid meetings

This type of meeting may work well where some attendees are on campus and some attendees are working remotely, or working in different buildings.

The meeting organiser will need to book a room which is either enabled for Teams technology (a large wall screen and option to connect a laptop) or for a smaller meeting can use their laptop as the master laptop and those in the room will need to gather around the laptop.  Please ensure you sit close to the camera and microphone so that attendees working remotely are able to be part of all discussions.

The room booking system indicates which rooms are Teams enabled.

2.10 What do I do if I have to self-isolate when I am required to be in work?

Please see information for staff and students who need to self-isolate. Further information regarding time off work because of caring responsibilities is also available online.   

2.11 Do I have to self-isolate if I am living with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19?

Please follow the NHS guidance When to self-isolate and what to do in full and let your manager know that you’re living with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  

You will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you're under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you're taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Even if you do not have symptoms, you should still:

3. Keeping safe on campus 

3.1 What steps have been taken to help to ensure the safety of staff and students?

You can read what UCL are doing here to keep staff and students safe, including reducing the risk of transmission through cleaning and building ventilation.

3.2 What is the current policy on facemasks and social distancing?


Although social distancing is no longer in place, UCL is committed to ensuring staff and students still protect themselves and others. UCL guidance is available on wearing face coverings on campus.

When you are on campus, please remember that everyone:

must stay at home if they feel unwell; is expected to bring a face covering to wear on campus; should get tested for COVID-19 twice a week even if you don’t have symptoms; is encouraged to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu when they are eligible; should wash their hands frequently. Hand sanitiser is freely available on campus.
We will continue to monitor Government guidance and take advice from our own public health experts, and we will share more details as soon as we can, including guidance for managers on what these changes will mean for departments. 

UCL is committed to looking after everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing, and colleagues who have been shielding or feel anxious about people getting too close may choose to wear a Please Give Me Space lanyard or badge, or ask others to wear a face covering. Please look out for these and be mindful of people’s wishes. Disabled or clinically vulnerable staff can find out more about support available on UCL’s Coronavirus webpages.

3.3 Am I required to take Covid tests when I come into the office?

Whilst covid testing is not mandatory, staff are encouraged to take part in regular symptom free testing. Please see here for the latest information on testing:

Tests can be taken at work or at home

3.4 Do I have to be fully vaccinated to be on campus?

We would strongly encourage all staff to take up their vaccination when it is offered. However, there is no obligation for anyone to be vaccinated. Please see our statement on vaccinations.

A refusal to have the vaccination, as a personal choice, and not grounded in medical advice, which results in the individual being at a higher risk, will not be grounds to refuse to return to campus.  Where staff are concerned to return due to not yet having their second vaccination, UCL will follow government guidance in providing advice to staff about their safety at work. In complex cases a referral to Workplace Health should be made.

3.5 Will I be identified as a close contact if I come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19 at work, and how will I be notified?


Connect to Protect continues to operate and will notify individuals if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case and provide information and guidance.

NHS Test & Trace has the legal responsibility for instructing those who must self-isolate.

It is important to refer to NHS guidance as individuals might be exempt from self-isolation as a close contact of a positive case. Full information of the NHS self-isolation guidance is on the NHS website. If an individual develops symptoms they should self-isolate and order a PCR test.

4. Reasonable Adjustments 

4.1 I have a disability which means I will need adjustments to carry out hybrid working. What information is available?

5. Further Support and Wellbeing

5.1 Where can I find information about the UCL well-being support available to me?

Details of well-being support  

Staff are encouraged to discuss their individual circumstances with their manager in the first instance, and then managers or staff can contact their HR Business Partner for further support.

Staff can also utilise the Employee Assistance Programme  for external and independent advice and support

5.2 Where can I find information on equipment at home, ISD issues, and communicating remotely?

UCL has a host of ready-made tools to facilitate working away from campus and information is available on the Remote Working Policy

6. Working Abroad 

6.1 Can I keep working from abroad?

Unless your contract of employment states the contrary, your UK contract of employment requires you to be resident in the UK.  This means that your main home is in the UK, that you live in the UK for the majority of the year, and that you pay income tax in the UK.  

UCL is unable to accommodate or comply with requests to work remotely while abroad.  This is because working from abroad entails complex issues covering immigration; local employment law and health and safety law; local income tax and social security payments; some UK pension rules; corporate tax issues for UCL; data protection and intellectual property issues. If you wish to work remotely while abroad on a short-term, temporary basis this must be discussed with your line manager in the first instance, who will need to take specialist advice from UCL’s Global Tax Manager, in HR, before approval can be given, as this may still give rise to local immigration, tax and social security issues.   If this is approved, working abroad will be limited to 60 days in any one UK tax year (April to April).

The exception to this policy is where there is a UCL requirement to work abroad, rather than a personal preference to do so.  Please contact Richard Homer for further details in the interim.

6.2 How much time do I have to return to the UK?

It is important that you speak to your line manager about when you are required back on campus. Subject to any travel restrictions, you should ensure that you are ready to be back on campus by the 27 September 2021 (or earlier if your department requires), at the latest. You may have to follow current quarantine rules on your return, so this should be factored into your pans.

Exceptionally, your line manager with advice from the HR Business Partner may agree an extension. It is important that you return to the UK as soon as possible to ensure that UCL is compliant with its legal requirements.   

6.3 My circumstances have changed over the last year and I am now unable to return to the UK  

All staff who have the right to live and work in the UK, are able to return to the UK, subject to any quarantine rules. Therefore, there should only be very limited circumstances where staff are unable to return.

Please speak to your manager immediately to discuss if your circumstances have changed.  

7. Pay and London Allowance 

Will I still receive my London weighting allowance when I am only in the office 2 days a week?

London Allowance continues to be payable in full for staff whose contractual work location is in a London Borough. There are no current plans to adjust the London Allowance if staff work remotely some of the week.  London Allowance is not currently payable to staff who work on a permanent basis at a site which is outside of a London Borough.