Line Manager's Guide: Supporting Staff to Return to Campus Safely
A guide to enable line managers to support staff members to return to campus following the Covid 19 pandemic
Planning the return to campus
Our priority for the coming academic year is to bring students to the University safely and ensure that they have a great experience, both educationally and during their time here. With the change in Government alert levels and relaxation of some restrictions we have published a roadmap to welcome staff and students back to University premises over the next few months in a safe manner. We expect to have all University buildings open, with COVID-Safe status, by the end of August. This message provides guidance on how we would like Heads of Department to plan, and engage staff in delivering this roadmap.
What you need to do now
You should start planning now to return staff to University premises in the following circumstances:
- their work can only be carried out on campus. For example estates maintenance, hospitality provision, reception, mail delivery;
- to carry out their work to full effectiveness, they really need to have face-to-face interaction with other staff and students. For example in-person teaching, personal tutoring, welfare services, handling sensitive line management issues
- for the team to deliver excellent performance, there is a need for face-to-face interaction with others. For example, problem solving, joined up delivery, creativity and collaboration;
- there are personal welfare or wellbeing issues for which it will be beneficial for staff to have access to University premises
Of course, there is a balance. With social distancing still in force, the capacity of University buildings is reduced. We expect you to prioritise roles which directly enable the student experience and design working patterns which optimise this:
- unless you have been informed otherwise, you should assume that you have access to the space you had prior to lockdown, and no more. If you have insufficient space to provide an effective service, you should report this via the CV19 Enquiries email who will compile and prioritise needs;
- with social distancing in place, each room will have less capacity. We expect you to use rota systems to ensure that you can optimise use of that capacity, balancing work across your teams;
- the health and safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is a priority. You will need to produce risk assessments and operating procedures for each of your workspaces, and you should approve these as Head of Department before staff return. The University is developing template risk assessments for COVID-19. Templates for office work, meetings and teaching are provided here;
- some staff may have health or caring issues which constrain their work patterns. You will need to take this into account in developing your plans and ensure that all staff have completed the self-assessment questionnaire;
in making these plans and decisions you need to realise that you are not simply allocating space but shaping the way your teams are working. Think carefully about inclusion, and make sure that no group may be accidentally excluded from taking a full part in what we do.
We have prepared a checklist for managers which you might find helpful in ensuring that people return successfully. This can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
If you have staff who are currently furloughed, and they are needed to deliver key activities at the University, you should start bringing them back. Staff who have been furloughed for an extended period may take some time to return to full effectiveness, so you should be starting to reintroduce staff to the workplace now. You can return staff from furlough on a part-time basis (known as flexible furlough) and more details of this are given here.
Supporting each other
Returning the University to a new operating state will not be easy. We are all learning as we go. Please be tolerant of each other, and constructive in trying to find solutions which will support people at this difficult time, and make the University successful in the coming year. If you have questions, please do get back to me and I will bring together the right people to find a solution. I would also welcome any feedback on the experience of managing homeworking over the last few months, and how we can make continued flexible working and return to University premises as effective as possible.