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Working From Home for Academics

Guidelines on arrangements for academic staff to work away from the workplace


Scope of the guidelines

These guidelines apply to those academic staff who are engaged in teaching and research or teaching and scholarship roles.

These guidelines are in addition to existing policies and procedures such as study leave, career breaks, sickness absence, flexible working and contract variation.



The traditional approach for academic staff in most universities in the pre – 92 sector has been that performance is measured on outputs (i.e. academic success variously measured and contribution as a good citizen to school /administration /management) rather than on inputs (how many hours are spent at a particular task desk in a particular room at a particular time).  This has led to a degree of flexibility in terms of location of work: some tasks such as marking or writing up have routinely, in many disciplines, been undertaken  from home: with an exception expressed or implied, that the school is always notified of the whereabouts of individuals, to ensure the necessary communication is possible.  The University trusts the honesty and professionalism of its academic staff to decide when working from home is appropriate.  It also recognises the need of its schools to manage work related absences through local arrangements.  The University and UCU are agreed that there is a need for academic staff to notify schools when they are working away from the work place.


Guidelines to schools

Following recent consultation with schools and the appropriate trade union, the following guidelines are offered:

  1. That all academic staff should notify schools in advance of work related absences and where appropriate the purpose of the work related absence.
  2. That Schools should adopt arrangements to record work related absences suitable to their needs.
  3. Generally there is no requirement for academic staff to require permission to work away from the work place for a short period, except where that work involves travelling abroad on University business or attending conferences that require funding.
  4. Where academic staff have clinical commitments staff are required to seek permission in advance, through the appropriate mechanisms, for any work related absence.
  5. Academic staff on planned absence must ensure that up to date contact information is available to the Head of School at all times, and should be contactable during the period of their work related absence.
  6. Academic staff must be available to provide agreed student support and supervision.
  7. A period of work related absence should not be used as a justification for missing meetings and /or other activities appropriate to the role, which academic staff should be reasonably expected to attend unless prior permission has been obtained from the Head of School or other appropriate person within the School.
  8. Sickness absence that occurs during the period of work related absence must be reported to the School on the day that it occurs.  The Sickness Absence Policy will apply in such circumstances.


Human Resources Division – October 2007

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