Working from home

General guidance

The University policy on flexible working, which incorporates the statutory right to request flexible working provided for by the Flexible Working Regulations includes the provision for working from home (also referred to as ‘teleworking’).

Working from home may be short-term (e.g. to complete a work project, as part of a phased return from maternity or sick leave) or longer-term (requiring a formal variation of terms and conditions of employment).

Employees considering making a request to work from home should first discuss their initial plans with the immediate manager/head of institution, taking into consideration the employment considerations and practical considerations, including working environment, health, safety, security, and insurance.

In all cases, the head of Institution must be satisfied that the proposed arrangements are suitable for the work to be undertaken. A detailed assessment must be made and documented (see FORM PD/WFH).

In addition, employees must undertake a risk assessment of the home working environment, which addresses the health, safety and security precautions. For practical advice on how to do this, see the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publication Five steps to risk assessment.

The financial arrangements of working from home must be noted and agreed by the employee and head of Institution.

Applications where the employee is exercising a statutory right to apply to working flexibly (under the Flexible Working regulations, Employment Act 2002) must also include a completed FLEXAF form.

The Head of Institution will meet formally with the employee to consider the request. Once the Head has approved the proposal, the application will be sent to Human Resources for formal notification of the change in contractual terms and conditions to include the employee's home as a designated place of work.

Not all roles will lend themselves to working from home. However, if a request to work from home is refused, the grounds for the refusal must be specified and fall within one or more of the following:

  • the burden of additional costs
  • detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demands
  • inability to reorganise work among existing staff
  • inability to recruit additional staff
  • detrimental impact on quality or performance
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work
  • planned structural changes

Once the arrangement is in place, both the manager and the employee must apply the same standards and follow the same procedures (e.g. with regard to planning, monitoring workload, assessing performance, engagement in appraisal and training, etc) as they would if the employee were to be located in the Institution.

An arrangement may be reviewed from time to time at the instigation of either the manager or the employee if evidence suggests that it is no longer effective. When proposing any changes, the same procedures outlined above must be followed.

Further advice on individual cases is available from the HR Officer/Consultant assigned to the relevant Institution.