University of Essex: space and ‘smart working’

University of Essex staff are increasingly concerned about the implications of messaging from senior management that proposes or implies substantial changes to the spaces in which staff will be expected to carry out their work in the coming months and years.

It is essential that we acknowledge the serious short and long term negative consequences for scholarship, education, collegiality, and the student experience at Essex that significant changes to staff workplaces threaten, as laid out in an earlier document entitled UCU ‘Statement on Space Allocation and ‘Smart Working’ at Essex.’ We have not seen adequate consideration of these potential negative consequences in the principles and objectives proposed for guiding future changes to staff working conditions, or in many of the changes to staff working spaces that have already occurred.

In light of this, we the undersigned propose that the University of Essex commits to the following principles and objectives, which address the potential major risks associated with changes to styles of working and the spaces in which we do them:

  1. That assignments to shared/flexible working spaces are voluntary and coupled with guaranteed protections to offset the loss of productivity that may result. These protections should include guaranteed days without on-campus obligations in any given week, guaranteed private working spaces during on-campus days, guaranteed secure storage spaces, greater control over teaching timetables to maximize the chances of access to work-conducive spaces, and blended/hybrid meetings by default.
  2. That the University prioritizes answering the need for work-appropriate spaces by adopting, as a matter of principle, a commitment to providing access to dedicated individual, opaque, sound-proofed offices in the near future to all academic and academic-related professional services staff who ask to be provided with one; that the University commits to a timeframe within which that principle will be made a reality. This is in keeping with the motion passed by Senate (22/01/20) in which an aspiration for all academic staff to be allocated a single office was endorsed.
  3. That homeworking will be fully financially compensated (I.e. that a homeworking stipend be developed that addresses the increased costs to staff with regard to electricity, heat, adequate internet, degradation of home computer equipment, office furniture that meets health & safety standards, etc). Tax rebates are regressive and there are some costs for which they cannot be claimed. Since many staff cycle to work, no corresponding savings have been made on commuting. The homeworking stipend should apply to staff working either wholly or partially at home.
  4. That the environmental impact of changes to working spaces or styles takes full account of the environmental costs of these changes; staff point out that “sending staff home to heat their own working spaces and power up their own computers and broadband hubs seems like a carbon footprint-outsourcing manoeuvre that… does not help meet the [environmental] target”. An honest and thorough accounting of the environmental costs of university policy and proposed policy changes is required.
  5. That the University makes a clear commitment to ensuring working environments are safe (both physically and from excessive stressors) in the long term, particularly ‘home’ spaces, which often do not comply with health & safety requirements for healthy working.
  6. That increased campus cleaning protocols be implemented and maintained post-COVID. Staff had already been complaining pre-COVID of inadequate cleaning of workspaces (along with other shared spaces such as kitchens and toilets). The need for more cleaning only increases if multiple staff members will be ‘hotdesking’ or sharing spaces in other ways.
  7. That equality and diversity considerations be embedded in thinking on this issue from the start, and that a detailed Equality Impact Assessment be undertaken with regard to the changes that were introduced due to COVID, along with any further changes to working spaces or working formats expected to last in the longer term.
  8. That the University commits to addressing productivity-lessening structural/processing issues that will only be exacerbated if the student body continues to grow and dedicated on-campus work spaces are disrupted.[1]
  9. That the University undertakes a critical review of the pace and scope of its student growth goals, informed throughout by significant consultation with staff of all levels.
  10. That the University acknowledges that loss of dedicated, appropriate workspaces is a degradation of staff work conditions and therefore requires meaningful consultation and negotiation with the trade unions as a prerequisite to implementation of any change.

Though it is clear that the University of Essex community is facing financial and environmental constraints on providing appropriate workspaces for staff in a rapidly expanding university, those constraints must be balanced against the equally pressing constraint that staff cannot do their jobs unless they are provided with the spaces in which that work is possible. And it is the staff members themselves who should be recognized as the authorities on what counts as appropriate spaces in which to do their work.
Yours sincerely

University of Essex staff

[1] These include: improving coordination across different parts of the university; undertaking strategic planning that consults with staff at all levels; making the implementation of government policies more light-touch; avoiding frequent changes to technologies/systems; eradicating overlapping platforms where possible, and consulting in meaningful ways about the processes/systems/platforms with the staff who will be working with them on a daily basis. Staff report again and again that excessive time is spent learning and using new systems/processes that are not fit for purpose. They also report that excessive time is spent checking and supervising work that staff can and should be trusted to get on with as responsible professionals.

University of Essex: space allocation and 'smart working'

This petition is now closed. Thank you for your support.

End date: Jul 11, 2022

Signatures collected: 443

443 signatures

443 Daniel Spence Library
442 Sue Hanshaw University of Essex
441 Christine Woods UK Data Archive
440 Adela Gánem-Gutiérrez University of Essex, Dep. Language & Linguistics
439 Saskia Price UK Data Archive
438 Anyarath Kitwiwattanachai Essex Pathways Department
437 Emily Gordon PPS Dept Colchester Campus
436 Daniel O'Brien University of Essex
435 Gary Williams Essex
434 Joanne Webb Essex
433 David Hall University of Essex, UK Data Archive
432 John Sanderson University of Essex
431 Stella Hadjiantoni University of Essex
430 Sharmila Peake Essex
429 Kirstii Badcock Essex
428 Elizabeth Kuti University of Essex
427 Beverley Wilkinson University of Essex
426 Jeremy Krikler Department of History
425 Patrick Lown University of Essex, Colchester Campus
424 Nicola Pockett University of Essex
423 Russell Sceats University Of Essex.
422 Jo Harwood School of Law, University of Essex
421 Chris Bundock University of Essex
420 Antonia Yanxi Wu Essex
419 Eilish Peters University of Essex
418 Alix Taylor University of Essex (UKDA)
417 Monika Schmid University of Essex, Dept. of Language and Linguistics
416 Emily Smith University of Essex
415 Mandy Bannerman University of Essex
414 Brendan Elsted essex university
413 Laura Beauchamp University of Essex (Colchester Campus)
412 Tianxi Wang Economics
411 Abril Tejedor Benítez University of Essex
410 Chris Saker Essex
409 Chelsey Smith Essex
408 Paul Bou-Habib University of Essex
407 Koldo Casla London
406 Debashree De southend on sea-floor 3-essex business school
405 Graham Underwood Essex
404 Mike Rogerson University of Essex
403 Catherine Yuen University of Essex, Colchester
402 David Zentler-Munro London
401 David Axelsen Essex
400 Ian Harris Essex
399 Joanna O'Connor Essex
398 Isabel Crowhurst University of Essex, Sociology
397 Camilla Thomsen University of Essex/Colchester
396 Peter Higgins Essex
395 Jim Vine University of Essex / ISER / Colchester campus
394 Sarah Shair-Rosenfield University of Essex, Colchester campus
393 Louise Miles University of Essex
392 Steve McMellor University of Essex
391 Julie Oliver University of Essex
390 Victoria Allen-Baume University of Essex/Essex Pathways/Colchester campus
389 Mei Mei Tang University of Essex
388 J Scott SSRC building
387 Andrea Munson University of Essex
386 Cheryl Pasfield ISER/2N2/Colchester
385 Robin Duncan Essex
384 Steffan Kennett University of Essex
383 Teresa Torres Essex
382 Alita Nandi University of Essex, Colchester Campus
381 Melissa Tyler Essex
380 Hongsheng Dai Essex
379 Yassir Rabhi University of Essex
378 Tim Hatton Department of Economics
377 Stephen Matthews CER
376 Christoph Tremmel CSEE, University of Essex
375 Murat Akman Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Essex
374 Nora Williams Colchester Campus
373 Joe Preston University of Essex
372 Lukas Mayr Essex
371 Elif Kubilay
370 Paul Kelly University of Essex
369 Terry Felgate University of Essex
368 Sean Irving Select State
367 Ian Dukes University of Essex
366 Maria Cristina Fumagalli University of Essex
365 Debbie STEWART Essex
364 Nigel Collins University of Essex
363 Laura Fumagalli ISER
362 Jess Twyman UoE, Colchester, CER
361 Graham Clarke University of Essex
360 Klaus McDonald-Maier CSEE
359 Camille Jungwirth University of Essex
358 Paul Dobbin ESSEX
357 Megan Capon University of Essex
356 Marina Michalski
355 Aylin Kunter University of Essex, Business School
354 Jenny Wilders Academic Section
353 Susan Oliver University of Essex, LiFTS
352 Ugochi Amajuoyi Essex Law School
351 Paul Clarke ISER
350 Chris Walklett Essex
349 Tim Fenton Essex
348 Hardy Thomas Essex Business School
347 Alex Porter Essex
346 Rob Johns Department of Government
345 Amy Clair ISER
344 Audrey Guinchard Law School, Essex Uni
343 Debbie Hall Essex
342 Fowad Murtaza Essex
341 Milan Rybar Essex
340 Miriam Kent University of Essex
339 Nick Allum Sociology
338 Billy Woods Essex
337 Zibiah Loakthar PPS University of Essex
336 Ann Ord
335 Sebastian Halder CSEE, University of Essex
334 Morgan Mason Institute for Analytics and Data Science
333 Shohini Chaudhuri Essex
332 Jayne Jennett Essex Business School
331 Michael Steinke Life Sciences
330 Daniel Underdown University of Essex
329 Chris McCully 5NW.4.6
328 Philippe LAISSUE UK/University of Essex
327 Danson Kimani Essex
326 Ian Brener East 15
325 William Taylor UKDA
324 Matt Bennett School of philosophy and art history, University of Essex
323 Enam Al-Wer University of Essex
322 Natalie Hicks Life Sciences
321 Liam Jarvis Essex
320 Md Shoaib Ahmed University of Essex
319 Constantin Mehmel SPAH
318 Pablo Cabrera Álvarez ISER
317 Chaminda Wijethilake Essex Business School
316 Birgitta Rabe University of Essex
315 Tahani Al Karkhi University of Essex
314 Alex Clymo Economics Department, Colchester Campus
313 Geoff Gilbert School of Law
312 Michael Barros CSEE, University of Essex
311 Maria Hudson Essex Business Scho
310 Martyna Sliwa EBS
309 Rebecca Li University of Essex
308 Mohammed Karim Essex
307 Jonathan Burton ISER
306 Anna Bikoder SHSC
305 Amir Homayounfard Essex Business School
304 Karon Gush ISER, University of Essex
303 Patryk Bronka University of Essex
302 Raj Patel ISER, Colchester Campus
301 Holguer Xavier Jara Tamayo ISER
300 M Pilar Zueras ISER, University of Essex
299 Francisco Sepulveda University of Essex
298 Wen Zhang Non-US/Other
297 Sarah Williamson ISER, University of Essex, Colchester
296 Casper Hoedemaekers London
295 Glenn Dunn ISER
294 Lewis Mitchell ISER
293 Paul Fisher ISER
292 Magda Borkowska County (optional)
291 Jolanda James ISER
290 Beatrice Piccoli Essex Business School
289 Chris Coates Institute for Social and Economic Research
288 Jonathan Nears ISER, University Of Essex
287 Louise Cullen ISER
286 melvyn coles University of Essex
285 Ming-Tsung Lin EBS
284 Samantha Davey University of Essex
283 Katharine Cockin Colchester campus, Dept lit, film, theatre
282 Jordan Savage University of Essex
281 Anil Yilmaz Vastardis School of LAw
280 Patricia Gillies University of Essex
279 Lorraine Gentry School of Law Essex University
278 Philip Terry Essex
277 Ruth Weir Essex Pathways
276 Beverley Jackson Essex
275 Judith Holverson Essex Pathways University of Essex
274 Devon Wybrow University of Essex
273 Edward Mitchell Law School
272 Mohammed Khair Alshaleel School of Law
271 Nikhil Gokani Law School, University of Esxex
270 Joshua Gauci University of Essex
269 Catherine Freeman Law
268 Federica Genovese University of Essex
267 Carlos Solar Department of Sociology
266 Cara Booker University of Essex Colchester Campus
265 Nicholas Reynolds University of Essex, Lecturer in Economics
264 Nicolae Radulescu Essex
263 Michael Bailey Essex University
262 Sandra Moog Essex Business School
261 Richard Gunn REO
260 Jennie Todd Essex
259 Karen Litterick University of Essex, Department Of Mathematical Sciences
258 Angela Francis Law School
257 Louise Marsland Please select region, state or province
256 James Norman University of Essex
255 Vanessa Loaiza Department of Psychology
254 Kate Seymour EBS, University of Essex
253 Fiona Hughes SPAH, University of Essex
252 Sharon Steeples Innovation and Technology Solutions
251 Rebecca Alegbo School of Health and Social Care
250 Daragh Murrray School of Law
249 Vahid Abolghasemi CSEE
248 Adam Wattam Skills for Success
247 Adam Wattam County (optional)
246 Zilong Liu 1NW.4.12
245 Samantha Davey School of Law, University of Essex
244 Felicity Szesnat Suffolk
243 Frances Blumenfeld England
242 Matteo Falomi SPAH
241 Amanda Cavanagh University of Essex, School of Life Sciences
240 Charlotte Flynn Suffolk
239 Christopher Green University of Essex
238 Caroline Barratt University of Essex
237 Vanessa Baxter Colchester
236 Susan McPherson School of Health and Social Care
235 Simone Coetzee HSC, University of Essex
234 Cathy Constable Essex
233 Andrew Sluckin Essex HSS
232 Leanne Hepburn Essex
231 Emily Fitton Skills for Success
230 Martin Harris EBS
229 Atika Kemal EBS
228 Mario Burghausen Essex Business School
227 Jonathan Boalch Psychology
226 Pasi Ahonen Essex Business School
225 Erik Jacobi EBS
224 Ben Turpin SWIS
223 Neli Demireva England - South East
222 Nicholas Beuret EBS
221 Nicholas Beuret Essex
220 Anita Hammer Essex Business School
219 Dáire Curran SRES
218 Thomas Leeder
217 Rob Ferguson School of Life Sicences
216 James Christensen Department of Government
215 George Symeonidis Dept of Economics
214 Carlos Gigoux Sociology
213 Phil Mullineaux Colchester campus/ School of Life Sciences
212 William Kennedy University of Economics/Economics Dept
211 Tracey Loughran University of Essex
210 Claire Watts Academic Section, University of Essex
209 Lars Waldorf Essex
208 Piero Gottardi Dept. Economics
207 Brandon Reeder Life Sciences
206 Alex Sel Department of Psychology, University of Essex
205 Elke Weidenholzer SPAH
204 Carlo Petrucci School of Law
203 Catherine Crawford University of Essex
202 Laurie James-Hawkins University of Essex, Sociology
201 Jak Peake LiFTS, University of Essex
200 James Allen-Robertson Sociology, University of Essex
199 Eric Smith County
198 Anna Sturrock University of Essex, School of Life Sciences
197 Terence McGenity Essex
196 Jayant Ganguli University of Essex
195 Jessica Lawrence School of Law, University of Essex
194 Dariush Mirshekar Uni of Essex
193 Aditya Kuvalekar Economics, University of Essex
192 Marco Francesconi
191 Albin Erlanson Essex
190 Kathryn Buchanan Suffolk
189 Andrew Hammond SRES
188 Yongli Wang Department of Economics, University of Essex
187 David Richerby CSEE, Colchester campus
186 Daniel Tene University of Essex
185 David Henderson University of Essex
184 Lucy Noakes Department of History
183 Sean Seeger LiFTS Dept.
182 Geoff Cole Psychology
181 Junhua Li CSEE, University of Essex
180 Nick Zakhleniuk University of Essex, CSEE
179 Shoaib Jameel CSEE, Colchester Campus.
178 Gregory White HSC, University of Essex
177 Nicole Smither University of Essex
176 Sefki Kolozali University of Essex
175 Jianhua He CSEE
174 Caterina Cinel CSEE, University of Essex, Colchester Campus
173 Ana Matran-Fernandez CSEE, University of Essex
172 Kay Hall Essex
171 Ali Kafash Hoshiar CSEE, University of Essex
170 Annette Jackle Colchester campus
169 Javier Andreu Perez CSEE, University of Essex
168 Joanna Rzepa LiFTS, University of Essex
167 Shirley Dow Essex
166 teresa alvarez University of Essex
165 Ian Daly CSEE
163 Edward Barratt Essex Business School
162 Jakub Kowalewski University of Essex
161 Paloma Carretero Garcia Lang & Ling
160 Roderick Main PPS, University of Essex
159 Angus Holford ISER, University of Essex
158 Matthias Röhrig Assunção History
157 Sandy Macmillen Library
156 Geoff Ward Psychology
155 Katie Daughters Department of Psychology
154 Lexa Olivera-Smith Lang & Ling. University of Essex
153 Maria Filippetti Department of Psychology, University of Essex
152 Marie Juanchich Essex
151 Tom Flynn School of Law, University of Essex
150 Carina de Klerk Psychology
149 Birsha Ohdedar School of Law
148 Veronica Lamarche Department of Psychology, University of Essex
147 Eva Gutierrez UoE/ Psychology
146 Reinhard Pekrun Dpt. of Psychology
145 Patricia Palacios Zuloaga School of Law, University of Essex
144 Rich Chilver EBS
143 Emily Jones School of Law, University of Essex
142 Lorcan Whitehead University of Essex
141 Sanja Marjanovic University of Essex, Department of Mathematical Sciences
140 Karen Hulme Essex
139 maurice sunkin law
138 Yseult Marique School of law
137 Tom Cornford School of Law, University of Essex
136 Elia Valentini University of Essex
135 Silvia Avram ISER/ Colchester Campus
134 Rosie Bonny University of Essex/Essex Abroad/Colchester campus
133 Hannah Gott Essex
132 Florence Myles University of Essex
131 Aron Hugh University of Essex
130 Tom Booroff Academic Services, Academic Section, University of Essex
129 Rebecca Nicholls University of Essex
128 Christopher Bone Academic Section, University of Essex
127 Gavin Grindon University of Essex
126 Melissa Brisley University of Essex
125 Oliver Mawdsley University of Essex, Student Development Team
124 Nikhila Mahadevan Essex
123 Sarah Smith Essex
122 Caroline Wallace University of Essex
121 Reed Wood Department of Government, University of Essex
120 John Mills Essex/SRES/Colchester
119 Gordon Kemp University of Essex, Colchester Campus
118 Roy Bailey Colchester campus
117 Amelia Horgan SPAH
116 Emily Grundy ISER, University of Essex
115 Georgi Grahovski University of Essex
114 Xun Zhou University of Essex
113 Christopher Fredericks Essex Uni
112 Jason Glynos Department of Government
111 Peng Liu Department of Mathematical Sciences
110 Natasha Ruiz-Gomez SPAH
109 Eamonn Carrabine Department of Sociology
108 Lynne Jordan University of Essex
107 Philip Hancock Essex Business School
106 Karin Littau Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
105 Sean Kelley Other
104 Dounia Bissar University of Essex
103 Ran Gu Economics/Colchester Campus
102 Jane Hindley Essex
101 Ahrash Dianat Department of Economics
100 Jason Sumich Sociology, Essex
99 Michael Tymkiw University of Essex
98 Norman Gabriel Colchester
97 Steven Brewer University of Essex, Department of Psychology
96 Ellisif Wasmuth University of Essex
95 Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco SPAH and ISC
94 Laura Montanaro University of Essex
93 Roi Zur University of Essex
92 Carolyn Laubender University of Essex, Dept of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
90 Nick Aldred Colchester Life Sciences
89 Ayse Sargin University of Essex
88 Ceren Baysan Economics department
87 Georgios Amanatidis University of Essex, Department of Mathematical Sciences
86 Martin Reed University of Essex, Colchester Campus, CSEE
85 Yanchun Bao Department of Mathematical Sciences
84 Wijnand Van Tilburg Unversity of Essex, Department of Psychology
83 Seonghui Lee University of Essex
82 Ben Skinner Life Sciences
81 Anne Kavanagh Essex
80 Carol Macaskill colchester
79 Ella Jeffries University of Essex
78 Matt Burch University of Essex
77 Aurélie Villedieu Essex
76 Filippo Prischi Life Sciences
75 Ewen Speed University of Essex
74 Sara Polo University of Essex
73 Philip Leifeld Department of Government, University of Essex
72 Colin Samson England
71 Jesus Martinez Garcia University of Essex, Mathematical Sciences
70 Junlei Hu Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Essex
69 Marie Guillot SPAH
68 Dmitry Savostyanov Mathematical Sciences, Essex
67 Xiaoyu Xia University of Essex
66 Vicki Cantegreil Department of Mathematical Sciences
65 Paul Buka Essex
64 Miranda Simon Essex
63 Georgios Papamikos Mathematical Sciences, Essex
62 Georgios Papamikos Mathematical Sciences
61 Xinan Yang Mathematical sciences
60 Johanna Hoekstra University of Essex
59 Gerald Williams University of Essex, Department of Mathematical Sciences
58 Marcus Chambers Essex (Economics)
57 Kevin Dent University of Essex, Department of Psychology
56 Joerg Schaub University of Essex
55 Rabia Malik Department of Government, University of Essex
54 Paul Whiteley Government Department
53 Gina Yannitell Reinhardt Essex
52 Joshua Moreton University of Essex
51 Carolina Garriga Department of Government
50 Giulia Poerio Department of Psychology, University of Essex
49 Ismene Gizelis Government
48 Jay Mitra Essex Business School
47 Rael Dawtry University of Essex
46 Jack Rutherford LiFTS
45 Friederike Mengel Essex
44 Alastair Litterick University of Essex, Department of Mathematics
43 Kristian Skrede Gleditsch Department of Government, University of Essex
42 Amy Cole Department of Psychology
41 Nick Cooper Psychology
40 Owen Robinson Essex
39 Anna Hughes Department of Psychology
38 Miroslav Sirota University of Essex/ Department of Psychology
37 Jack McGowan Student Development - Skills for Success
36 Julia Minoia HSC
35 Rick O'Gorman Psychology Dept.
34 Stevphen Shukaitis EBS
33 Lorna Finlayson SPAH
32 Yikai Wang University Of Essex, Department Of Economics
31 Andreas Mueller University of Essex, Department of Economics, Colchester Campus
30 Helge Gillmeister Essex
29 Egon Tripodi University of Essex, Department of Economics
28 Lisa Spantig University of Essex
27 Rosa Argenziano University of Essex
26 Paul Hanel Psychology
25 Ben Etheridge University of Essex
24 Lukas Altermatt Department of Economics
23 Mikhail Freer Deparment of Economics
22 Ian Roper Essex Business School
21 Susan Stallabrass Essex
20 Simon Weidenholzer Economics
19 Megan Klabunde University of Essex Psychology
18 Neslihan Sakarya Essex/Colchester campus
17 Fabian Freyenhagen University of Essex
16 Matt Lodder SPAH
15 Hersh Mann University of Essex
14 Claire Delle Luche University of Essex
13 Ioannis Korkos Essex
12 Eirini Kartsaki University of Essex
11 Donald Nicolson Law
10 Joaquin de Navascues University of Essex
9 sean nixon University of Essex
8 Katharine Rockett Essex
7 Peter Gurney University of Essex
6 Mick Kavanagh Academic Section
5 Dave Rush University of Essex
4 Alison Rowlands Essex
3 Irene McMullin SPAH
2 David English estate management
1 Caroline Kay England