Updated on16 June: Procurement of cloth face masks or respirators
The University community will, as a rule, telecommute until 16 August
- Working on the University premises is not allowed, unless the work in question has been identified as time-critical or cannot be carried out elsewhere other than the premises. In addition, the provisions of the recovery plan for University operations apply.
- Staff will not return to work on the University premises after their summer break, unless their duties so require.
- When necessary, staff must agree with their supervisors on the work duties to be performed remotely.
- Work duties performed remotely may temporarily differ from regular work duties.
During Stage 3 of recovery, the extended opportunity to telecommute will still apply to positions which allow for remote work.
Staff may work on the University premises as of 1 June. Situations in which this is allowed include the need to
- Perform work duties essential for the continuity of University operations which cannot be postponed, or attended to remotely. Such duties are separately decided on by the unit-specific response centres.
- Collect research or teaching material, or use the University’s equipment or network to prepare or implement distance teaching. (For detailed instructions on teaching and examinations, see the Instructions for teaching website.)
- Take measures to ensure the continuity of long-term research.
- Attend a doctoral defence (See further details on the Instructions for Students website.)
- Basic education in the teacher training schools will resume in the form of contact teaching on 14 May in accordance with government guidelines.
- Occasionally perform other support duties when it is necessary to use the equipment, facilities or tools available at the University premises.
For high-risk groups, solutions will be sought to minimise their exposure. If no workable solutions can be found, agreements can be made with the relevant supervisor on part- or full-time unpaid leaves of absence.
If you need to work on the University premises
Keep in mind that you are responsible for the following:
- Staff will telecommute whenever possible.
- Do not enter the University premises if you are ill or experience even the slightest symptoms of a cold or the flu, or if you have been in close contact with a person suffering from a respiratory infection. If you start feeling unwell while on the premises, leave immediately and notify your supervisor.
- A self-quarantine may be in order upon return.
- No more than 50 individuals may be simultaneously present in the same room (safety requirements must also be considered).
- To increase the safety and security of work facilities, staggered working hours should be agreed within the limits of work duties and the expanded flexible working hours.
- The two-metre social distancing rule must also be observed. In practice, only one person may be present at any one time in small break rooms and kitchen facilities. The users of break rooms and kitchen facilities must keep them tidy. If the two-metre social distancing rule cannot otherwise be observed, only one person at a time can use a lift. Please also remember good hygiene and safe distances in sanitary and social facilities.
- In work facilities, everyone must be mindful of good hand hygiene by carefully washing their hands or, if that is impossible, using hand sanitiser. Remember the general instructions on coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose.
- If you use public transport, remember to observe safe distances whenever possible, practise good coughing and sneezing hygiene and avoid touching surfaces with your bare hands. Whenever possible, work-related travel should be conducted by, for example, walking or cycling.
- Wear your ID card.
- If necessary, staff can contact their supervisor, head of human resources or occupational health staff if they have questions about returning to work.
Procurement of cloth face masks or respirators
Guidelines set in June 2020 (will be updated if the situation or instructions by the authorities change).
At their discretion, units can procure face masks or respirators for duties where the currently valid rules on social distancing cannot be observed or other protective measures employed (e.g., protective Perspex screens). Such circumstances can include contact teaching or other situations where people have to be in close contact with each other.
Please note the potential limitations regarding the use of face masks: Using a face mask may be difficult or impossible for people suffering from pulmonary diseases. Make sure that breathing normally is possible through the mask (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare).
Before procuring masks or respirators, the general instructions pertaining to the coronavirus situation must be considered, and the unit must assess the necessity of mask use.
Teachers and students may use masks at their own discretion. When procuring and using face masks or respirators, read the product manual (is the device disposable or washable, and what is the recommended useful life of the mask).
Staples, with which the University has concluded a framework agreement, supplies cloth masks and, possibly, respirators as well. Please see the instructions on procurement of goods and services on the Flamma intranet (requires logging in with University credentials). If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read also the instructions by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the instructions by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
Instructions for telecommuting
As a rule, the University's staff will telecommute. If necessary, research, distance teaching arrangements and related support activities as well as customer service activities may also be carried out on the University premises. Specialist and support staff can use the University premises for work that cannot be performed while telecommuting. These duties have been identified and the relevant individuals have been personally notified, or the relevant decisions will be made at a later date on the basis of proposals made by the response centres.
If you have small children at home or a situation that requires your presence, you can agree with your supervisor to work flexibly on a part-time basis or to take an unpaid leave of absence (applications for leaves of absence are submitted through the SAP HR system). If you have to take an unpaid leave of absence to care for your child due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can apply to the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) for temporary financial assistance due to an epidemic outbreak.
During the exceptional circumstances, telecommuting is also permitted without a telecommuting agreement concluded in the SAP HR system.
Ergonomics and telecommuting
University staff have been provided with adequate tools and ergonomic aids for working at home when this is necessary for the performance of work duties or employee health. Detailed instructions on ergonomics are available on the Flamma intranet (requires logging in with University credentials).
When returning to work at the University premises, any ergonomics-related equipment must be returned to the University. Supervisors must ensure that any work equipment taken home is returned to the workstations they were borrowed from in the spring. When continuing part-time telecommuting after the exceptional circumstances, employees must independently acquire any work equipment needed for telecommuting, while the employer is responsible for equipment needed at the workplace.
Zoom and Teams are good tools for holding virtual meetings. In the current situation, it is advisable to consider whether video is required or whether audio would suffice. Using video consumes considerably more network capacity compared to audio only.
The University of Helsinki utilises the Funet Miitti (Zoom) service by CSC, implemented through NORDUnet in cooperation with other Nordic countries. The NORDUnet environment is not associated with the same information security risks as those related to the Zoom service in public use. Read more about the Zoom information security in a Flamma news article (requires login with University credentials) and and more generally about the information security in video conferencing on the Helpdesk instruction website.
Use a VPN connection only when needed, and remember to switch it off when you no longer need it. Due to the exceptional circumstances, there is a shortage of VPN connections at the University. Further information: Instructions for remote working (Helpdesk instructions)
If you need, for example, a camera or microphone while telecommuting, please write to email@example.com. With the permission of the relevant supervisor, new equipment can be requested from Helpdesk, which will procure it, but your unit will be responsible for the equipment costs. For this, you need the WBS code of the unit paying for the purchase.
Meetings at the University
Until further notice, the meetings of University bodies are primarily held online. Other meetings, such as small-scale work community get-togethers, are also primarily held online. Data security must always be taken into consideration in the meeting arrangements.
Other work-related meetings should not be held on the University premises either, nor on premises outside the University of Helsinki (staff development days, visits, etc.).
The University has extended the coverage of its occupational accident insurance for telecommuting from 30 March 2020
LähiTapiola’s supplementary insurance for telecommuting applies to work carried out remotely indoors as well as outdoors in the immediate vicinity of the telecommuting location when going on and returning from a break. The insurance also covers lunch and coffee breaks. The insurance does not cover breaks during which the employee leaves the telecommuting location, for example, to go buy groceries or to take a walk.
The supplementary insurance is valid until further notice and regardless of the country from which employees are telecommuting. The insurance covers harm caused by an accident, death and a per-diem allowance after an accident. The insurance does not cover equipment.
Flexible working hours
Until 31 August 2020, specialist and support staff can work more flexibly, on weekdays between 5.00 and 22.00. If necessary, they can also work on Saturdays until 18.00 and take a day off during the week. This makes it possible to rotate working hours in units, when necessary, upon an agreement between the supervisor and employee. Working hours must be clocked in as usual. Remote work must be clocked in as remote work.
Summer holidays will be primarily held between 1 June and 14 August 2020, with exceptions allowed only on work-related grounds.
Flamma news: Members of specialist and support staff: Plan your annual leave now
Recruitment and new employees during the exceptional circumstances
Instructions for supervisors: Recruitment during the current exceptional circumstances at the University (on the Flamma intranet, requires login with University credentials)