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Coronavirus

Staff Tools for Remote Working

The following is a guide designed to assist staff with working remotely. 

We are all having to adapt rapidly to new ways of working, whilst also potentially feeling anxious and concerned about coronavirus. It is vital that we look out for each other and support each other. Please do check in with each other frequently and talk to your line manager if you have particular concerns.  

Remember that whatever your new working pattern, there will inevitably be an adjustment period as you get used to working differently. 

Creating and maintaining a routine

  • When working at home, it’s important to create a routine and to try to keep to your routine as far as possible. We understand that these are unprecedented times and at times you may be unable to maintain your regular routines or deliver the outputs you usually do. For further information please visit our Working Flexibly when you have Caring or Other Significant Responsibilities page. 
  • If possible, to maintain your routine it is recommended that you keep the same working hours. If you need to vary your start and finishing times whilst working remotely for any reason, you should discuss this with your line manager. This ensures they will know when you are available should they need to contact you or include you in team activities.
  • Existing flexible working arrangements are still applicable when working remotely. The University understands the need for flexibility during this time, and encourages you to discuss your needs with your managers.
  • It is recommended that you wake up and get ready for work at a similar time as you would have done if you were coming to work.
  • You may want to use your commute time to do something that you enjoy, e.g. going for a walk, or doing some exercise before you start work (this should be carried out in line with the current Government guidelines).
  • You should ensure you take lunch breaks. Continue to have your usual coffee and tea breaks in the same way that you would have done if you were in the office.
  • Remember to have short breaks away from working at your PC or laptop screen.

Useful Tip: You do not have to dress in the same way that you would if coming to work, but do consider what you wear, as you may need to participate in a video conference call at any time! Wearing different clothing while you are working may also help you to create a separation between work time and leisure time.

Setting up your remote work location

  • If you can, try and have a workspace that’s yours. It could just be a corner of a room but try and keep your work and leisure spaces separate.
  • As many staff as possible will be provided with a work laptop to enable remote working. Where staff do not have a work laptop they will be asked to work on their personal PC or laptop. Please see the section which refers to ‘Technology to support remote working and file storage’ for information on how to download applications onto your personal hardware.
  • Please see our Workstation (DSE) Guidance for Temporary Working from Home page to check the suitability of your remote workspace. If you have concerns, please discuss these with your line manager in the first instance.
  • Ensure that the space is quiet enough to avoid distractions where possible. It is acknowledged that in the current climate, some staff may be working in an environment where there may be other people present so this may not always be possible.
  • Explore these free courses with tips for working remotely.

Useful Tip: You will spend many hours working in this space, so it is important that you ensure your health and well-being. Avoid lounging on the sofa to work if possible.

Working in your remote office space

  • Depending on the nature of your work and your current personal circumstances, you may not be able to undertake the full remit of your role and hours when working remotely. The University recognizes that this is an unprecedented time and that you will do your best to manage your work and personal commitments. For further information on the University's position see our Working Flexibly when you have Caring or Other Significant Responsibilities page. 
  • Your line manager will discuss with you the key duties which you will be expected to undertake. These duties may vary throughout the period you are working remotely. Any duties which you are asked to do will be in line with the grade of your role.
  • Together with your line manager, you should agree timeframes for completing pieces of work. These can be revisited and updated as needed. Ask questions if the task expectations are not clear.
  • Keep your manager and colleagues up to date with where you are on work, including providing plans of future tasks. This can be done in your 1:1s or in weekly emails which round up the week gone and your priorities for the week ahead. Provide feedback on what you need to achieve your outcomes.

Useful Tip: It’s advisable to set yourself boundaries to prevent your work life blurring into your home life. For example, where possible avoid doing domestic chores whilst working remotely at home during your core working hours.

  • Create a daily list of tasks to be completed. This will help you stay on track and not lose focus.

Staying in touch and TEAMS support

  • Keeping in touch with others is important for maintaining your social interactions as well as your professional collaborations with your managers and colleagues.   
  • Think about how much contact you would like with your manager and work colleagues during this period of remote working over and above your normal 1:1 meetings and team meetings.  Discuss your needs with your line manager so that arrangements can be put in place.  The University is keen that we continue to maintain our communities albeit that many of us will be working remotely.  
  • Staying in touch regularly is also important to ensure that you are kept informed of your Department’s and the University’s business.

Ways of staying in touch 

  • Microsoft TEAMS is a great way to be able to stay in touch whilst working off-site. Managers should ensure that all of their staff have a basic practical awareness of how to use Microsoft TEAMS. When we work remotely TEAMS will be key for being able to stay in touch.
  • Set up your staff as a team on TEAMS in order to live chat with each other. This is useful for sharing ideas and engaging in discussions.   
  • You can also have one to one and team meetings by using the video conferencing features.   
  • You can make phone calls to colleagues through TEAMS to save you from using your personal mobiles or domestic house phones.   
  • You should familiarise yourself with the Microsoft TEAMS package as quickly as possible to ensure that you can participate in your team’s and department’s business when working remotely. 
  • Outlook remains a familiar tool, which can be used to send work emails to colleagues throughout the University whilst working remotely.  It will also be one of the main communication tools for keeping you updated by the Principal whilst you are working away from campus. 
  • Please see the Communication Tools page for further information.  

Step-by-step guides and further information for using TEAMS: 

Technology to support remote working and file storage

  • How to access Queen Mary applications when working remotely.
  • Prior to working remotely, staff should copy all essential files that they may need to access remotely from their G:drive (home drive) onto their OneDrive. Files from the J: drive (shared drive) can also be copied across if necessary. Staff with a managed Queen Mary laptop will retain access to the J and G drive remotely, so will not need to copy their files, but may still choose to do so.
  • OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud service (part of Office 365) which provides storage for your individual files and is accessible on and off campus. Copying your files will mean you are able to access them remotely and if needed, from home. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to use OneDrive below.
  • Please note that individual research participant data and other sensitive data should not be transferred to Teams, OneDrive, or SharePoint. Always follow Queen Mary's Data Governance Policy guide.

Step-by-step guides and further information for OneDrive: