UCU Survey about Return to On-site Working

In mid-September many of you responded to a survey circulated by Oxford UCU on the University’s new policy that “staff are expected to resume on-site working”. The survey had a great response, with 346 people completing it in just 4 days. Your feedback was invaluable: if you filled in the survey and encouraged others to do so, you have helped to inform our collective response. 

The results from the survey are clear:

Patchy risk assessment provision: Concerningly, many respondents reported they had not been provided with updated risk assessments (46.6% answered “no” when asked if they had been provided with one, 22.7% did not know if one had been provided).

Health and Safety issues not adequately discussed: Over two-thirds of respondents reported they had not had a meeting with a line manager to discuss H&S issues related to on-site working (67.4%).

Working practices at the time of the survey were working for most people: The majority of UCU members were happy with their current levels of on-site working (63%). There are approximately equal smaller groups who would like to work on-site more (17.6%) or less (19.4%). This suggests that a flexible approach is needed, not a blanket policy that “staff are expected to resume on-site working”. The new policy is not wanted by most staff and is a missed opportunity to recognise new ways of working.  

Most of you feel your views are not taken into account in the new policy: Many respondents felt the University’s new policy that “staff are expected to resume on-site working” had not properly taken their views into account (57.7%). Even those who support more on-site working personally raised questions over the policy. 

Unclear communication and consultation: The University’s communications about the new policy have not been clear for many respondents (45.6% said they were “unclear” or “very unclear”; 19.1% said they were “clear” or “very clear”), and some respondents raised concerns about possible changes to the policy over the next few months. There was a recognition of the disproportionate impact of changes across the University, for example between colleagues in administrative roles and those in academic roles.

Download the summary, including more detailed qualitative feedback. 

Your union colleagues will be representing these views to the University.

Many of you will be working hard on this in your own departments and areas – we hope this summary clarifies how your colleagues currently feel about the return to on-site working.

For more information please see the UCU coronavirus pages, which include updated advice about ventilation.

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