As we start to adjust to home working, we have put together some useful training resources to help support you to adjust to working from home. There is also a range of resources for managers to help stay connected with their teams remotely.

For more details on the University’s approach to home working please click here.
For Wellbeing support on home working please click here.

Top Tips for Managers

It is important that as managers we do what we can to support our teams in what will inevitably be a difficult time for us all. Below are some positive steps you might want to consider taking to support your team through this transition. If you are doing anything that works really well and feel it would be of benefit to others, then please let us know and we will add to this list.

Communication with your Team

Most managers will be used to working in close proximity to their teams and the University community is having to adjust to extensive remote working. Most staff have access to Microsoft Teams, so please use this as much as possible to communicate with your team. This said there will be some staff without IT access so please disucss with them how they would like to be kept in contact with. While email can be used as normal back and forth communication will likely be more effective using the chat feature of Microsoft Teams.

Have a Daily Check-In

Wherever possible, have a daily check in with your team whether this be via phone call, Teams or Skype. It is much more impactful to hear and see each other, even if for a short time, so while emailing and messaging via Teams is helpful, the visible social interaction of a call or video call can help you to more accurately assess how your team is doing and contribute to minimising feelings of isolation which your team may be experiencing. You may find that a daily interaction is not required after a period of time.

Manage Expectations

We are not in a ‘business as usual’ situation and it is important to communicate that you appreciate this this to your team and to therefore be realistic when setting expectations. You should focus on the outcomes required and not the method or timescale. In many cases it will not be possible for the team to achieve everything they would have in the office environment and making this clear from the start will be really important to alleviate pressure and stress at what is already a difficult time for many.

Wellbeing

This will be a very worrying and unsettling time for many. It will be necessary to adopt a flexible approach. Colleagues may be:

  • Unwell themselves and therefore self-isolating
  • Have someone who is ill in the household
  • Worried about relatives and friends who are elderly or vulnerable
  • Caring for children or others while working

Encourage the team to spend time away from their computers during the day, get out for a walk,run or cycle (if not self-isolating) while observing the social distancing guidance, will be important to support the promotion of positive mental and physical health. We have lots of resources and support on our Wellbeing pages which can be found here. Please promote these to your team.

Recognise Other Priorities

Managers must recognise that work will not be the number one priority for all staff in the current situation. This will likely especially be the case for employees with children at home or those looking after other members of the family. Some staff will not be able to check in with you and the team during the day but may be willing and keen to log-in, check and respond to emails as well as Teams messages in the evening. Some on the other hand may not. It is therefore important have conversations as to what is possible for each of your team. This will go a long way to put people’s minds at ease and prevent you from making assumptions.

Mindfulness Online Training

Mindful Calm and Mental Resilience

The brain is not good at dealing with uncertainty, it wanders into negative thinking very fast due to our evolutionary bias for safety, add major changes to lifestyle and routine and we are asking a lot of our normal mental capacity, especially for any sustained amount of time.

These sessions will offer you the opportunity to use the breath to ease the body’s nervous systems into a calmer state (anxiety is not always apparent) and cut off the fight or flight responses. They will support you in developing mental resilience through kindness and compassion, which changes the chemicals in the nervous system to really support our wellbeing and immune system.

They work best through repetition, training the brain to develop new ‘neural pathways’ or ‘thinking habits. So, the idea of these sessions is to offer a guided, simple, short and effective daily practice to help you build your mental muscles to withstand the pressures of the current situation and to have a new routine to help build some consistency for our brains. 

The secret of mindfulness is to keep at it, it’s not a quick fix but it is a lasting fix, you are actually re-sculpting your brain to support you better in life generally but especially as we move through this world event.

It’s also relaxing, rejuvenating and a regular practice becomes a great support tool until it becomes second nature, like all habits. But this is a good one to cultivate!

Daily Sessions at 9.30 am for 15 minutes 

To join a session click here at 9:30 each day to join us via Microsoft Teams

On Demand Training - LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is often referred to as the Netflix of learning and houses many thousands of video training sessions led by leaders in their field. Normally you have to pay to access these sessions but due the increase in home working as a result of COVID-19 LinkedIn are offering a number of sessions for free. All you would need to access them is a free LinkedIn account.

For Everyone

Maximise Efficiency and Productivity of Remote Work 

New to working from home? These courses provide work/life hacks that can help you create a productive remote work environment, optimise your schedule for peak productivity (including meaningful breaks to help you avoid burnout), and show up the way you want to on video conference calls: 

Manage the Impact of Adjusting to Your New Work Environment

Your well-being is inextricably linked to productivity. The transition from an office environment to a remote work environment can throw us off balance. Learn how to bounce back and shift the relationship with your stress response with the help of these courses: 

For Managers

Remotely Manage and Lead Teams

Managing and leading teams under normal circumstances has its challenges. So, how do you lead a team remotely and make sure to keep your people engaged? Learn how to encourage productivity, engagement and boost morale remotely with the following courses: 

Live Online Training

The University’s training providers including; Staff Development, Centre of Academic Development and Training and Documentation Team will continue to offer training courses virtually through Microsoft Teams. These can still be booked in the normal way through course bookings with instructions on how to join each session available in the course information area in course bookings.

To browse and book click here.

Mentoring and Coaching Remotely

The staff to staff mentoring, coaching and  programmes remain active and matching will continue. We would encourage all staff currently in a partnership to continue this while off campus using tools such as Microsoft Teams to support communication. 

If any staff would like to find out more or join any of the schemes, please click on one of the links below.

If anyone currently acting as a mentor or coach would like further support or guidance in maintaining their partnership while working remotely please get in touch with us.

Wellbeing While Working at Home

As we adjust to this unprecedented situation of working from home it is important to continue to maintain your wellbeing. Visit our Wellbeing pages for advice, resources and support

Other Resources

Free Distance Learning – The Skills Network

  • Choose from a range of free courses to study from the comfort of your own home. To access click here.

Open University FutureLearn

  • FutureLearn offers hundreds of free online courses in a wide range of subjects. To access click here.

ACAS Management Training

  • ACAS offers free training on essential management skills and competencies – great for a refresher or to gain new skills. Once you have created your account you are good to go! To access click here.

BUDFG (British Universities Finance Directors Group)

  • Higher Education Finance Related Free Online Training. To access click here.

A Bit Less Serious…