Remote Working: Working Well Together

Support and resources to help us all to work well remotely. You can find information and guidance to help you work from home in the Remote Working: Working Well Together article.

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  • Lancaster Development Opportunities

    The Organisational Development Team has worked to offer its range of summer term development opportunities via webinars.

    Remaining webinars for the summer term include: 

    We are working on our development offer for the Michaelmas term - details will be posted to the website as soon as the programme has been finalised.  

    The Educational Development Team is adapting its summer term provision to remote/online delivery.  We are also working on the 2020/21 programmes and are currently taking contact details (eg name, email) for LU staff interested in applying for the following programmes:

              Applications are currently being taken for the following rolling scheme:

    Contact OED for any queries on these programmes and other development needs. 

    The Digital Training and IT Training Team offers the following training to help you work remotely:

    Digital Teaching - the Embrace Digital webpages provide support for staff using digital technologies for teaching and learning. 

    Microsoft Teams help and support

    Digital Skills Webinars

    Further information is on the main Digital Skills and IT Training page – with links to various topics, online courses, webinars, frequently asked questions and more.

     

  • Working from Home, Guidance and Support

    Prioritising work and managing staff 

    The current situation we are all working in is challenging us in ways we could not have expected. As we all work through and start to adjust to our understanding of our ‘new normal’, we will need to prioritise and manage workloads and, in doing so, be more aware than ever of the additional challenges many will be facing. For many areas of the University, it will not be possible to just keep on keeping on with everything as before.

    Work-life balance is not always easy anyway, and the effect that work pressures will be having on home lives, and conversely life pressures have on work, will be heightened right now. Added to this, developments within the University, such as changes to staff recruitment and vacancy controls, supporting students in an ever-changing context and the majority of staff working remotely, we have put together some advice for managers on approaches to prioritising and assessing ‘business as usual’ activity, while supporting your teams.

    Prioritising and assessing ‘business as usual’ activity

    Where you have unfilled vacancies, staff within your team fulfilling vital college roles to support our students currently living on campus, additional demands to respond to this current situation or absences within your team, you may need to review your current business as usual activity and prioritise work to manage workloads for your team. Further details are provided below on furloughing where this is impacting your team and workloads.

    The key priorities are the wellbeing of staff and students, adjusting to the remote and reduced operating model, educational provision and protecting the financial sustainability and compliance requirements for the University. With this in mind:

    • Consider what work can be put on hold and how to communicate this to reduce unnecessary contact with your team.
    • Review current workloads for all staff members and prioritise to keep workloads manageable, taking into consideration any additional duties and circumstances for your team members.
    • Consider re-allocating work to maximise the strengths within your team and accommodate any additional needs within your team.
    • Working flexibly may require a flexible approach to job roles and tasks, considering the skills and background of your team members.

          What support is available?

    • Discuss with your line manager in the first instance to understand work priorities. Your line manager will help to explore any opportunities where there is additional capacity within your own department, faculty, division or team. If there are concerns about capacity and work demands cannot be put on hold, please refer these to Silver Team.
    • Employee Assistance Programme – provides online articles for managers via the wellbeing portal
    • A series of webinars are being offered to support you in looking after yourself, others and your teams. Further details are available here
    • Internal Coaching Bank – available for staff and managers to apply for, which can help with working through available solutions
    • Each other – consider how you can buddy up with a colleague to stay connected and check each other are ok.
    • If you have any questions or suggestions in relation to this, please contact OED@lancaster.ac.uk or staffwellbeing@lancaster.ac.uk

    Furloughing staff and the impact on workloads

    The Government's Job Retention Scheme allows the University to furlough those staff who are unable to work as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, a number of roles at the University will be very difficult to carry out in light of the restrictions imposed on normal operations by the coronavirus outbreak and activity on campus has also considerably scaled back as students are studying remotely. Roles which cannot be undertaken from home, where staff have caring responsibilities are most likely to be eligible for furlough.

    Decisions on which roles to furlough will be driven by the operational needs of the University, recognising that during this time critical business functions will still need to carry on. Careful consideration will be given to ensure a balance between business needs and roles which can be furloughed. As a manager, you will need to prioritise and review workloads for your team and displace any non-essential activity during reduced staffing periods to ensure a fair balance of work. You will need to keep workloads under continuous review for staff who remain in work. Consideration should also be given to alternating periods of work, with periods of furlough leave (provided each period of furlough leave lasts at least three weeks) wherever possible.

           What support is available?

    Supporting your team

    During these challenging times, everyone is dealing with a changing picture both at work and personally. It’s likely that staff will be feeling more anxious during this time – both in relation to their own health and wellbeing of family and friends, but also the impact of school and university closures, restrictions on employment and financial concerns within their households and for those around them. Those with pre-existing health conditions, mental health difficulties and disabilities might have their conditions exacerbated during the current period of strain and uncertainty. There may be others who require additional support, due to increased pressure from caring responsibilities, when this was previously managed outside of work, whether this is childcare responsibilities or care for other loved ones.

    While we are working remotely, it is harder to notice any signs of stress and some staff may be reluctant to raise issues, as they may perceive this would put their job at risk. Encourage your team to be sharing how they are managing their current work-life balance, so that you can support them in their role (See ‘Remote working: Working well together’ guidance for more information).

          What support is available?

    • Able Futures – Advice and guidance about anything that is affecting their mental health in these challenging times, available by phone, email or video call.
    • Employee Assistance Programme – free access to emergency support, wellbeing portal, emotional support and session based counselling, support for your family, stress management support, legal aid.
    • Staff Welbeing site
    • HR Advisors – support available for queries relating to occupational health referrals, disability queries or questions about existing policies and processes
    • Internal Coaching Bank – available for staff and managers to apply for, which can help with working through available solutions
    • A series of webinars are under developments to support you in looking after yourself, others and your teams. Further details to follow.
    • Networks – existing networks and groups e.g. Womens and LGBT staff networks, can be a source of support. Work is also underway to establish further networks and groups who have areas of common interest and wish to connect to share practice and collaborate on mutual challenges.

    If you have any questions or suggestions in relation to this, please contact EDI@lancaster.ac.uk, OED@lancaster.ac.uk or staffwellbeing@lancaster.ac.uk

    Looking after yourself

    You, as managers, are also juggling your own work and life pressures and are now supporting others during this challenging time. Please take care of yourselves and ensure that you are accessing the above support as needed and discussing your own wellbeing with your manager.

    If you have any questions or suggestions in relation to this more generally, please contact HR@lancaster.ac.uk

     

     

    Remote Working: Working Well Together -read the full article here.

     

    IT Services

    You can access Lancaster University IT services while you are away from campus, for example if you are working from home. See Using IT services off campus for some of the key services you might need to access, along with information about how to access them. If you are a member of teaching staff, please also see: Using IT services for distance teaching.

    To develop your Digital Skills to enable you to work better remotely the folowing support is available:  

    Digital Teaching - the Embrace digital web pages provide support for staff using digital technologies for teaching and learning. 

    Digital Skills and IT Training including Digital Skills Webinars and  online courses.

     

  • Lancaster University Links and Resources
  • Useful External Links and Resources
  • Communities of Practice

    Communities of Practice (CoP) bring together colleagues who have a shared interest in a particular topic and want to share practice and learn from each other. 

    Themed Communities of Practice are being established as a means of sharing and developing knowledge and experience amongst colleagues whilst we work remotely. Each CoP will have a designated lead who instigates online meetings, however, members will determine topics and are active participants in the group. 

    The Communities of Practice Guide outlines how CoP operate and what’s involved. And the Running Successful and Inclusive online meetings Guide provides tips and ideas for CoP leads. 

    How to get involved 

    Before joining a CoP please make sure that you can commit to actively engaging with the group through online discussions, responding to chats and sharing your stories, experiences, ideas and tools that are relevant to the topic. 

    There has been a questionnaire to establish the CoP topics. Themed Topics and a Teams site for each are being set up. This website will be updated with the topics shortly. You can then request to join the groups directly via the Team. 

    A CoP lead will be appointed who will contact group members to understand the specific topics that you wish to discuss. They may ask you to lead discussions on topics that you raise and ask for help in scheduling online discussions etc.