What is occasional homeworking?

Occasional homeworking is when a member of staff from the Research or Professional Services job families request to work from home with agreement from their Principal Investigator (PI) or line manager on an ad hoc basis. No particular pattern is followed and each period of homeworking is agreed separately and informally with your PI or line manager.

Other types of homeworking for these groups of staff are:

  • Regular homeworking – when staff have a regular pattern of working from home but they also work in the office (e.g. two days at home, three days in the office).
  • Remote working – this is when an employee works entirely from home and has no fixed base at the University. Remote working is usually built into a role as a part of the job design and contract of employment.

Staff in the Education & Research and Education & Scholarship job families are also able to work from home and should read the available guidance in Flexible working: an overview for Education & Scholarship and Education & Research staff.

The chance to work from home occasionally can be beneficial for many reasons including to:

  • allow quiet focussed work away from distractions (for example to do some planning work or to finish a report)
  • meet a particular need (for example if you do not have access to your usual mode of transport to work for a short period of time because of bad weather)

The parameters of agreed occasional homeworking are set out below and should be considered by all staff before requesting or agreeing homeworking:

  • Staff must follow the working from home safely guidance and ensure their work station is adequate.
  • Staff should advise landlords or mortgage providers and their building and contents insurers that they intend to work at home.  Homeworkers are covered by the University’s insurance policy for employers liability and personal accident in the same way as office-based employees.
  • Staff working from home should usually be available for contact by telephone and/or email as normal during their working day.
  • Staff must always make it clear to colleagues where they are working and how best to contact them.
  • If the purpose of occasional homeworking is to allow a period of quiet focussed work with minimal interruption, then the staff member should make this clear to their team but remain available for emergency contact.
  • ‘Working from home’ is not a sufficient reason to be unavailable to attend meetings as we have the technology to allow staff to join meetings online.
  • The usual hours of work apply the same at home as they do in the office – for example if the staff member works flexitime or has fixed hours this also applies at home.
  • No expenses are payable and an equipment package is not provided but loan equipment may be available.
  • Staff must follow the IT guidance for working from home which includes considering security of and access to information that is protected by the Data Protection Act.

If you are in the Research or Professional Services job families and the duties of your role can be carried out equally well in the home environment, then you may request to work at home occasionally. You should speak to your PI or line manager to agree this.

There are many benefits and positives to homeworking. There are also sometimes issues associated with it; many of these can be easily overcome. Managers agreeing homeworking and staff requesting it should fully consider the impact of the request before proceeding. 

As with all flexible working arrangements, responsibility for making homeworking work must be shared by employees and managers. Together you need to assess opportunities and challenges in any proposed arrangement openly and honestly. As the business environment and individual circumstances are continually changing, homeworking arrangements should be reviewed regularly and any issues that arise are best dealt with as soon as possible.

Further guidance is available in the Flexible working toolkit including guidance on other types of homeworking:

Please speak to your HR Business Partner/Advisor for anything further or to discuss your individual or team circumstances.