Working from home during COVID-19
Get some tips on working from home
Remote study has commenced across the University. Phase one of the University’s Return to Campus commenced on 25 May, 2020.
We are also encouraging managers and staff to discuss arrangements to facilitate working from home, recognising that some staff may need to work on campus.
In order to support phase 1 of our return to work plan these FAQs have been developed.
When working from home, you should adhere to general principles of workplace health and safety, including setting up your workspace appropriately. More information about flexible workplace procedure. In exceptional cases the University may be able to provide equipment to staff who have a compelling need to work from home.
When staff are working from home, the University policies on Acceptable Use of IT and data security arrangements continue to apply. This includes ensuring workspaces are secure and there is no potential access to confidential or sensitive information by others in your home and ensuring secure access and use of Macquarie systems.
When using a non-University supplied computer ensure the following:
Staff and students who have adhered to the Health Department’s advice are entitled to attend campus. If you know a staff member is not complying with official advice regarding self-isolation, seek advice from your HR Client Team representative.
If a staff member does not wish to attend work and cannot effectively work from home, they can apply for leave. The type and availability of leave will depend on the individual circumstances and the staff member’s leave balances. If the staff member is unwell, sick leave may be available (with appropriate medical documentation). If the staff member is caring for a family member, carers’ leave may be available. Otherwise, annual or long service leave should be utilised. If there is no form of appropriate leave, a staff member could take unpaid leave.
18 May 2020
Updated for: Post-award project management FAQ link
Macquarie University is committed to supporting our staff and students as the current environment and research challenges continue to evolve. The DVCR’s Office, Research Services and Faculty Research Offices are ready to assist you with any issues that arise as you work to adapt and progress your research wherever able. We are transitioning to a new way of working but continue to actively support your research initiatives.
Face-to-face data collection or contact with human participants, on campus or off campus, has been paused until further notice.
This has been undertaken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and community members and is in accordance with current Government restrictions. We ask that researchers, both staff and students, continue where it is possible with alternate arrangements (e.g., online or via other remote methods) and ensure that ethics applications are updated accordingly.
This directive does not apply to participants involved in research as an integral part of clinical care within MQ Health or Macquarie University Clinics. Researchers can direct queries regarding their research to the Faculty Associate Dean Research.
HASS and MDS Human ethics applications - If researchers are in a position to continue their research without face-to-face participant contact (e.g., online or via other remote methods), we ask that they update their ethics application in accordance with normal practices.
If researchers cannot continue a project without face-to-face participant contact and need to delay or suspend their work, we ask them to contact email@example.com.
Information regarding all ethics applications and the COVID-19 environment is detailed at Ethics, integrity and policies or researchers can direct queries to the Ethics Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org) or relevant committees or Faculty Officers:
Animal ethics applications - Amendments and responses will be reviewed by the Executive or the Chairs of the AEC via the Research Ethics Management System. Researchers can direct amendments and queries to email@example.com.
Current status - For researchers whose work depends on campus facilities and equipment, not involving human participants (e.g., animal facilities, optical physics, environmental quality), only staff who must be on campus to conduct work that is (a) essential and (b) can only be conducted by being on campus should be on campus.
Executive Deans and Associate Deans are working with Department heads and laboratory leaders about the arrangements that are appropriate to the unique circumstances of individual laboratories and HDR students.
Researchers are only permitted to carry out their research on campus when specifically authorised to do so by the Head of Department and/or Executive Dean, or the Associate Dean Research in accordance with designated Faculty and Department authorisation requirements.
If undertaking research in a University laboratory, all researchers should follow strict precautionary measures including:
Researchers can direct queries regarding their research to the Faculty Associate Dean Research.
We recognise the potentially significant impact of current circumstances on our research projects and aspirations. However, staff in the DVCR’s Office, Research Services and Faculty Research Offices are well positioned to support researchers as normal (except for face-to-face enquiries).
Development of plans to manage the care and welfare of plants and animals, and the safe management of sensitive equipment is ongoing.
Researchers should consider ways to progress your research projects during these periods of unavoidable change or delay, including ways to continue project development, literature reviews, meta-analyses, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation and grant application development.
These strategies may include moving to phone, online or virtual meetings, data collection and collaboration using audio/visual tools.
If strategies require changes in research project plans, budgets or ethics, we can help you manage this via the usual post-award processes and by expedited ethics review.
Please talk to your manager, mentor or supervisor to ensure remote access to shared drives, research data, lab books, electronic libraries and any other support you need to continue research activities at home.
Please direct questions to your Faculty Research Office and Departments.
The ARC and NHMRC have confirmed that any variations to funded “research projects and researchers that have been directly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic” can be considered via their usual post-award procedures.
Impacts may involve “changes in circumstances, including scope changes, personnel changes, suspensions and extensions to end dates”. The ARC and NHMRC will consider variation requests on a case-by-case basis. It is currently recommended that requests for variation not be submitted immediately as circumstances are rapidly changing.
The DVCR portfolio is in the process of establishing variation procedures for internal grants affected by Coronavirus. Please keep records of the nature and length of impacts of Coronavirus (e.g., research data collection impacted by an inability to recruit required participants from March 2020).
In relation to internal grants that are due to finish
Meanwhile, ARC, NHMRC, Macquarie and other organisations are continuing to administer schemes and providing updates on submission deadlines. The Pre-award team will share advice on changes but researchers can continue to aim for planned funding submissions in 2020.
Consistent with the University’s guidance, staff and students should hold all research-related meetings by audio/visual link or by remote means. All research events should be held by remote means, cancelled or postponed until further notice.
HDR candidates have been provided with advice on potential candidature interruptions as a result of travel restrictions, mandatory periods of self-isolation or concerns around disruptions to research data collection.
Scholarship extensions and leave provisions can be managed through the usual process and assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Supervisors of HDR candidates should contact your students and help them plan for the coming weeks and months.
Changes in research plans or access to participants and facilities has impacted the work available to our casual staff involved in research, including research assistants funded from internal and external grants. These colleagues are an incredibly valuable and dedicated part of our research work force who face difficulties at this time.
Researchers have been urged to redeploy their casual staff to other aspects of projects (e.g., literature reviews, data coding and analysis, transcription, writing, transitioning to online) and allow them to work from home wherever possible during the next weeks. If this requires changes to project goals, milestones or ethics, help is at hand via project variations and expedited ethics.
Consistent with the University’s support for teaching casuals, where no other research work genuinely is available, we will honour research casuals agreed hours for up to two weeks (from internal or external grants). Similarly, if a research casual is required to self-isolate as determined by their doctor, we again will honour their agreed hours for up to two weeks with medical certification from internal or external grants.
We recognise the loyalty and commitment of our casual workforce, and the difficulties you face at this time. The University has also put in place special sick leave arrangements for casual staff members. Specifically, if a casual staff member is required to self-isolate as determined by their doctor, we will honour their casual shifts for up to two weeks with medical certification. For general illness and absence, normal casual working arrangements will apply.
Generally, casual staff will be able to continue their rostered shifts on campus. The type of work performed may be different from usual, for example, instead of face-to-face tutorials, casual staff may be involved in the delivery of online teaching in a variety of forms. Details of these arrangements will be for each Faculty to implement. Casual staff should ensure that they are available for such activities and submit time sheets based on time worked.
The University will, as much as is possible, honour the hours of work available for both academic and professional casual staff for the balance of this semester.
Some staff members may need to care for children who are unable to attend School or Day Care based on the advice of the NSW Government. If your child is excluded for this reason, you may be eligible to take Carers Leave; your HR Client Team representative will be able to provide you with further information. If your children go to an on-campus day care, it is safe for them to attend.
Macquarie University staff members who have children may find the University’s Centre for Emotional Health and School of Education COVID-19 support pages useful. It contains advice on a range of subjects from dealing with anxiety and depression to practical advice on subjects like screen time and boredom eating. Click here for details
We have taken steps to provide Zoom access for all Macquarie staff and students. This access allows us all to hold meetings with up to 300 people with no time limitations for meetings. To use Zoom, log in using your MQ OneID. If you are a MUH staff, your MQ OneID is what you use to login to HROnline. More information about how to use Zoom, please visit our Zoom website.
Wellbeing resources for health professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic
Across our MQ Health sites, including Macquarie University Hospital, General Practice, Specialist Clinics, Allied Health Clinics, MindSpot and MMI, health professionals are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of patients and prepare for potential increased demands that may arise from the pandemic.
Health professionals can take advantage of the following high quality free resources that provide support when you need it:
From Black Dog Institute:
From NSW Health:
From Head to Health (Australian Department of Health):