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The union and the Head of School on the return to campus

Published Sep 02, 2021

As stated by The President's decision, from 16 August, we return to the workplace since it is assessed that a higher degree of physical presence is necessary to run the business in a good way. This is also in line with the EECS Head of School's decision that all staff must return to the office and the union's guidelines. Despite this, part of the faculty is not present.

This article was updated 30 September, all infomation regarding insurance is found on the bottom of this page.

We have talked to the school's union representative Håkan Ferm  and The Head of School, Sonja Berlijn , about this.

Håkan Ferm, what do you, as a union and safety representative, think about the fact that parts of the faculty have not returned to campus?

"One must not forget that colleagues are important. To sit with, have a cup of coffee together, exchange experiences and get good advice. It is so important to spend time at work, and the work environment will be so much better if we talk to each other."

"In addition, if the employer wants us to be in place physically, we should be at work. Failure to comply with the employer's request can be seen as a refusal to work from a purely legal perspective. The employer is responsible for the work environment also when you work from home. We can currently not demand that our employer takes responsibility for the work environment at home, and as a safety representative, we can not demand office equipment from the employer. Our workplace is at KTH."

Sonja Berlijn, do you have any comments about how parts of the faculty still choose not to return to campus?

"Just as Håkan says, it can be seen as a refusal to work not to follow your employer's request. But at the same time, we must follow the Swedish Public Health Agency's recommendations on, among other things, distance and crowding.

There are also some "softer" factors to consider. It is partly about the work environment, as an employer, we have a responsibility for our employees' work environment, and we can not have that if people sit at home on the sofa or at the kitchen table - it is not ergonomic."

"And last but not least, the importance of the social interactions. We need to come back to the workplace so that we can have lunch together, take a walk, a coffee but also, as Håkan says, exchange experiences and give advice."

"Many people may be worried about the risk of infection, please talk to your immediate manager about how you can reduce it in your particular division. Maybe you can arrange your working hours on-site on different days, or if you travel by public transport, you can go to work on departures when there is less congestion. There are many solutions!"