FAQ for Staff

Status: 23 March 2020, 4.00 p.m.

Is it mandatory for everyone to work at home?

UZH has started to operate on a skeleton staff. This means that in principle, members of UZH must now work from home. Please consult with your line managers, who will decide which tasks must be maintained on-site as far as possible. Those who are required to work on UZH premises must follow the measures issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Canton of Zurich’s Department of Health (social distancing and further measures). There are separate guidelines for members of UZH who are at especially high risk: Protective Measures for People at Especially High Risk

I don’t have a laptop. Do I have to use my own computer when working from?

The Information Technology office will try to provide additional laptops. Nevertheless, not all employees can be equipped with a laptop. Please discuss this with your line manager. 

I have a job that can’t be done from home. Do I have to come to work?

In cases where the technological requirements for working from home are not yet in place, line managers and their employees should sort out how these requirements can be introduced.

What tools do I need if I have to work from home? How can I work with my colleagues?

The University of Zurich has made Microsoft Office 365, including the Microsoft Teams program, available to all its members. This tool enables you to connect with your team and hold video calls as well as share instant messages (chat function) and documents with others.

Office 365 - Installation instructions (in German)

Additional tools required for working from home will depend on the nature of your work. Please discuss this with your line managers.

Do I always need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to work from home?

Many tasks don’t require a VPN. For example, you can check your e-mails directly online on webmail.uzh.ch. By using your VPN only when you need it, you can help to prevent bottlenecks.

Regulation on the Use of IT resources with Access from Outside of UZH (PDF)

UZH VPN: How to guide (in German)

How can I best communicate with my colleagues, e.g. when there are problems with the connection?

Calling an internal phone number puts a strain on the phone lines, especially when calls forwarding is enabled. In the current situation, this can lead to disruptions. Therefore, whenever possible, please use other means of communicating, such as Microsoft Teams or the Sametime chat function (integrated in your inbox). If necessary, you can also use your mobile phone or landline.

Regulation on the Use of IT resources with Access from Outside of UZH (PDF)

I have school-age children and no childcare options. Will I have to take time off to look after them?

For the month of March, time needed for looking after children aged 16 or under will count as working hours. This means that employees can care for their children during their regular working hours.

For the next few months, employees are advised to organize their childcare duties so that these are split evenly among all parents in the family and to use communal and private childcare services.

Detailed provisions for parents working from home will be made available and communicated next week.


Are the university’s libraries staying open?

Since Tuesday, 17 March 2020, the university’s libraries are closed. The libraries provide UZH staff and students with the literature necessary for research or study as far as possible.

They offer:

  • A current, temporarily extended range of electronic resources Information on Use of E-Media
  • Access for lecturers to their library with a key or badge
  • Free delivery of books and copies to all members of the UZH

Corona Crisis – Services of the UZH Libraries

Will the cafeterias and cafés stay open?

All cafeterias other than Irchel Seerose are currently closed. The ZFV team on Irchel Campus wants to meet the catering needs of the organizational units/key staff who have to be on-site during skeleton operations as best they can. For questions, please get in touch with Daniel Greminger (Head of ZFV Operations Irchel, mensauzhirchel@zfv.ch) by e-mail or, if necessary, over the phone (044 635 40 71).

Please visit the website of ZFV for further details: Cafeterias and Cafes

I live with somebody who is in the high-risk group. What happens if I can’t work from home due to my role/tasks at the university?

Discuss the situation with your line manager. If you cannot find a solution together, please get in touch with the HR consultant responsible for your area.

I work in the cleaning service. What do I need to do?

When carrying out cleaning work the existing hygiene measures, especially wearing protective gloves and, when cleaning toilets, protective goggles, are sufficient. Following your line manager’s instructions.

I work at a service desk or as support staff – what should I do now?

The goal is to introduce unstaffed operations. The organizational units will decide for themselves about where this is necessary and will provide information about their opening hours on their websites.

My tasks aren’t essential for operations on a skeleton staff and can’t be done from home either. Will I be short of hours (negative balance) now?

The current extraordinary circumstances should not be detrimental to you. Human Resources will publish the relevant implementation provisions with the relevant details as soon as possible. In the meantime, please discuss the matter with your line managers.