Thank you for all your hard work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For over a year, now, our whole community has worked together to make the most of these unique and difficult circumstances.

However, as the UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown continues to progress, and as the number of people who have received their vaccination increases, we are starting to think about more staff returning to our campuses in the coming months.

Whatever this looks like, we know that it won’t be a return to our previous experience of working at Essex. We now know the government’s final stage of lifting lockdown will remain in place until at least 19 July, and we are continuing to follow government guidelines on a return to campus working. This will be kept under regular review through our business continuity planning and any decisions about returning to campus will be made with the safety of our staff and students in mind. Any planned change will be shared with staff in advance to allow for the necessary conversations to take place.

We know that some of you have found working from home a positive experience, and we have learned a lot about the infrastructure needed for a large number of staff to be able to work remotely successfully. We want to build upon this success and enable those of you who can work from home to do so as easily as possible in the future. We also know that some of you have found the past 15 months difficult and are keen to return to some sort of ‘normality’ sooner, rather than later. As we continue to make our plans for a larger return to campus, we will be taking all these considerations into account, and we are listening to what you are telling us.

We aim to be as flexible as possible in the way we support people to deliver their roles. Our Flexible Working policy provides a good framework for conversations about working arrangements to take place. You should talk to your line manager about your individual circumstances, day to day flexibility or temporary arrangements related to remote working, when you start to think about a return to campus. We are currently developing a more detailed Remote Working policy to help us think about permanent or longer term changes related to remote working. The final Remote Working policy will be informed by the Smart Working at Essex pilot and other conversations. There is still work to do, and once this is finalised you and your manager will be able to have a more detailed conversation about any long-term changes to your permanent working pattern.

During the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic we were able to provide IT equipment for staff to enable you to work from home, and this has been very successful. When you return to working on campus we will also need to ensure that your data moves with you, so your equipment will need to be checked before it will work on the campus wired network. If your equipment was provided by ITS please follow the instructions on our Staff Directory. If your equipment was provided by your Departmental technical team, please contact them using these email addresses:

We will be in touch again soon with further details about the return to campus.