Wellbeing advice for staff
The University recognises that working during coronavirus, whether this is at home or as an essential worker, will pose difficulties for everyone, but especially those with additional responsibilities, caring roles, and those with disabilities. While the University is grateful for the very positive collective effort currently being undertaken by all staff in present circumstances, we also recognise that staff may struggle to manage their workload within normal timescales and to their usual standards.
Staff should contact line managers where they are experiencing particular difficulties undertaking aspects of their work or wish to clarify where their priorities should lie.
If you can think of other, specific ways in which the University can offer further practical assistance, please contact email@example.com.
In crisis now?
Essential contact points for staff in the event of emergencies, crises or urgent situations.
Establish working hours
Make sure you establish working hours so that you have a defined start and finish time. Stick to your work hours and make sure you do switch off at the end of the day. Establishing an overall routine that incorporates working hours can be helpful. Find out more about daily routine guidance.
Where you are contracted to work no fixed hours, please ensure that you do not work over your hours and please take proper breaks.
See the working remotely during coronavirus pages for information on environment, equipment and communication best practices.
You should take regular breaks from work. Short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks. Ideally, try to take a 5 to 10-minute break after every 50 to 60 minutes of work.
Take your lunch break away from your screen, and (where possible) away from your work desk or room altogether. Eat well guidance has some helpful guidance for meals and snacking while working from home.
Incorporate desk exercises into your daily routine. You can download and print Desk exercises (PDF) . Try to incorporate some form of stretch or exercise every time you take a break.
Watch the following office exercise videos from Sally Kiddie (Heal Physiotherapy)
Keep in touch with colleagues
Maintaining social interaction is important so that you don't feel isolated.
- Check-in with your team throughout the day as you normally would.
- Set up social team chats at least once a week (for example, virtual coffee morning or lunch online).
If you are struggling to cope, please consider discussing your concerns with your line manager, Occupational Health or the Chaplain. You can also contact your HR Business Partner for support and advice more generally, so please do contact them if you feel you would like to discuss any issue or query in the current context. You are not alone, and we will work together to get through this.
If you are concerned about a student’s wellbeing you can contact Student Services at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if out of hours via the Security and Response team (+44 (0)1334 46 8999).
Student Services’ team of Clinical Supervisors also provides a collaborative and confidential consultation service to student-facing staff members. This would usually involve a conversation with a colleague experienced in reflective practice, otherwise known as clinical supervision. They will use their skills to facilitate reflection about emotionally charged or challenging conversations and situations with students, to explore options for resolution and support. You can contact the team at email@example.com.
Guided self-help: University resources
SilverCloud is available to staff and students and is a computer-based system that offers helpful programmes to address a range of issues including:
- low mood and depression
- body image
- eating worries
- Covid-19 and returning to work.
The content comprises audio, text and video clips and is intended to be motivational, easy to use, and interactive.
University Library ‘Shelf help’ collection
If you or someone close to you is going through a difficult time or struggling to cope, sometimes reading about these situations can help. The University Library together with Student Services and the University Occupational Health team have brought together a selection of books under common themes for you. These books and resources are available to read online.
Phone: 116 123
- Breathing Space (for people in Scotland)
Phone: 0800 83 85 87
Weekdays - Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 2am
Weekends - Friday, 6pm to Monday, 6am
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Phone: 0800 58 58 58
Webchat is open 5pm to midnight every night for free and confidential support.
- Andy’s Man Club
Online support groups for men over 18 years of age.
The current situation can present challenges for our mental health and wellbeing, by making us feel more anxious, low or stressed. The BBC has published information and advice on how to protect your mental health during this period, from social media use to how to avoid burn out while working from home.
University wellbeing resources:
- Staff wellbeing web page
- Previous editions of the Well Now! newsletter
- Subscribe to the Well Now! newsletter
The Organisational and Staff Development Services (OSDS) team are developing and hosting courses for building resilience, mindfulness and general wellbeing. You can find the following courses on PDMS:
- Resilience in the face of change
- Eating Well – Menopause
- Food and Mood
- Your University: Your Wellbeing
The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) have also published helpful advice on coronavirus and your mental wellbeing with topics such as anxiety, OCD and mindfulness.
Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, outlines how to respond effectively to the corona crisis, and may be particularly helpful if you are feeling anxious or experiencing low mood.
Five Ways to Wellbeing
Evidence suggests there are five steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life, even in these very challenging times. The Five Ways to Wellbeing (NHS) are:
- Connect with other people (while maintaining social distancing and self-isolating) - for example, phone to check in on your friends and family.
- Stay active - see the Sports Centre's 'Stay home, stay fit' programme of exercise routines.
- Learn new skills - for example, actively engage with your studies.
- Give to others - keep an eye on the University's wellbeing page for upcoming ideas on how to help the community.
- Pay attention to the present - practise mindfulness and breathing techniques.
Find out more about getting started with Five Ways to Wellbeing.
In these difficult times, an opportunity to work out is more important than ever for those wishing to look after your physical and mental health. The sense of routine and normality or even escape that exercise can provide is also more important than ever.
You may also be able to set up an area in your garden, driveway or front room. The most important thing here is for you to enjoy what you are doing, whilst experiencing all the physical and mental benefits.
See the Sports Centre's ideas for staying fit at home. They will be providing a programme of content, information and guidance designed to help you take part in suitable exercise while you are at home.
Yoga is an effective way of building strength and stability. There a number of pre-recorded and live yoga videos to follow. Yoga instructor Adriene Mishler has a series of yoga videos, including a series for desk-based and chair-based yoga.
Fitness author Joe Wicks is creating daily 30-minute P.E. videos for parents and children.
For food and nutrition advice see the University’s nutritional wellbeing resources.
For some people, staying at home for an extended period can and will be boring or frustrating at times. Some people may find their mood is affected and at times may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping. Some people may also feel isolated and alone.
There are simple things we can all do that may help us through our time at home, such as staying in touch with friends and family. Some people who have gone through self-isolation already have even found it useful to re-connect with a hobby or learn a new skill through an online course.
Connecting with colleagues, friends and family
Use the applications that are available through the University such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Panopto. If you are unfamiliar with how to use some of these applications, there are online training videos available from IT Support.
Here are some suggestions on how to stay connected with your time while you are working from home:
- Make a Team in Microsoft Teams with your colleagues, work friends, clubs and staff networks to keep in touch and share what’s going on.
- Schedule coffee or lunch breaks with colleagues to have an audio or video chat once or more a day to specifically not talk about work if you can.
- Organise ‘after hours’ chats with colleagues (for example, ‘A cuppa at 6’).
It is also important during this time to make sure that you set aside time to catch up with your friends and family too:
- Schedule a call or video chat with family and stick to the routine.
- Use online services like the Netflix Party Chrome browser extension to watch a movie or TV show with your friends and family remotely.
- Explore the apps and video games available to connect with friends online in a fun setting.
Look after your neighbours
If your neighbours are at high risk of need to self-isolate because they are elderly or have an underlying medical condition, consider posting your contact information through their letterbox and offer to keep in regular contact with them. They may need help getting a hold of essentials, so if you are fit and able to leave your home, you can do so to help care for someone vulnerable.
The measures that have been put in place are intended to keep as many people safe as possible and reduce the spread of infection. Please look out for communications from the University via email and In The Loop, as well as keeping up to date via the University’s coronavirus information page.
There are several things that you and your household can do to help protect yourselves and other from spreading the virus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds. (You can use Wash your Lyrics to make sure you are handwashing for long enough and make hand washing more fun for children).
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating, and avoid touching your face.
- Teach dependents how and when to wash their hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.
- Stay two metres (three steps) away from other people if you need to go outside.
- Wash clothes and communal towels regularly.
Creating a safe environment
Having a safe environment for working is essential and knowing how to cope in an emergency can be lifesaving. Cardinus has some practical guidance on fire safety and medical emergency to keep yourself and home safe during this time.
- Clear Your Head campaign (Scottish Government) - tips and ideas to help look after yourself and get through these uncertain times
- Coronavirus: How to protect your mental health (BBC)
- Coronavirus and your mental wellbeing (SAMH)
- Covid-19: How LGBT-inclusive organisations can help (Stonewall)
- Daily routine guidance (Cardinus) (Word)
- Eat well guidance (Cardiunus) (Word)
- Fire safety guidance (Cardinus) (Word)
- Free guide to living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty (Psychology Tools)
- Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty (Psychology Tools)
- Medical emergency guidance (Cardinus) (Word)
- Nine tips for drinking more mindfully during quarantine (Patt Denning)
- Video - How to respond effectively to the corona crisis
- Working from home advice (The Society of Occupational Medicine)