Resources and support: the pandemic and beyond
We are all confronting a world historical crisis, which is constantly changing shape. In these circumstances, we need to keep focus and be mindful of what we can control and what is beyond our control. This is psychologically and emotionally challenging for everyone, and we need to be especially sensitive to the different forms which vulnerability can take, and look out for each other. During this period, it is important not just to look after your own wellbeing and that of your family, but also to remember that you are not always going to be able to work at the same level of productivity as before the pandemic.
This Humanities webpage is intended as a means of gathering together, organising and signposting information and advice which might help in confronting the different challenges created by this pandemic.
If you have any concerns that aren't addressed here, please contact your line manager or your Faculty Board Chair in the first instance.
The way we work has changed. We remain part of a strong community, and should continue to treat each other with respect and professional decorum at all times.
- Be sensitive about scheduling meetings at times which work for everyone in the group, including those in different time zones.
- In virtual meetings, behave as you would in a face to face meeting: giving space to all participants to make their point, and respecting the opinions and contributions of all.
- In hybrid meetings, take time to ensure that all participants feel included and have the chance to share opinions and thoughts.
- Best practice in the University suggests that in meetings of more than five, attendees should mute their microphone and flag their wish to raise a point in the 'in meeting chat' function. Meeting chairs or facilitators may wish to suggest regular breaks (every hour, for example) and pause in presentations to solicit questions from the floor, again via the chat function.
- Think creatively about remaining in touch, without expecting that one solution will work for everyone.
- If, for personal preference or caring responsibilities, you need to work in the early morning or at night, don't expect others to do so.
- As ever, avoid bombarding people with emails: don't 'Reply All' unless it's necessary, and leave reasonable time before chasing people, who may be balancing work with caring responsibilities.
- For general principles of email etiquette, please see this advice.
You can find useful information on the following pages:
- The main University of Oxford Covid-19 pages.
- The University's HR support pages, for homeworking and staff wellbeing.
- The government's Covid-19 advice pages.
- IT Services support pages for working from home.
- IT guidance to help you adjust to working from home.
- IT suggestions for making the most of the Chorus telephone system.
- Guidance and online courses from People and Organisational Development on Communicating effectively; effective working relationships and self-awareness
- A reminder to be alert to email scams and frauds.
- We're moving to HRIS Self Service: find out more about it, and make sure your details are complete and up to date, here
- All University employees can make use of Work + Family and Bright Horizons support and resources.
- The University has hardship funds for staff and students
- If you're worried about a student, the University Welfare service has some advice.
The Humanities Division has launched Career Conversations for Associate Professors. The Conversations provide a chance to meet, informally and one-on-one, with a senior academic either in your own faculty or elsewhere, to talk about your career – where you are, where you want to be, challenges and opportunities. For more information, please see our Career Conversation webpages.
Laura Gibbs, our interim Divisional Registrar and Head of Administration, sends out a fortnightly Update, full of news, developments and support. If you'd like to subscribe, please email our Head of Communications, Matt Pickles.
Extensive and thoughtful planning has gone into helping staff and students move to a more hybrid system of teaching and learning. Necessarily, everyone will need to be flexible and responsive to changing circumstances, but the infrastructure has been put in place to accommodate a number of scenarios. Whilst there will be variation of method, the intellectual objectives and underlying principles of our distinctive teaching and learning system are held in common, and remain fundamental. Research Services and the Bodleian are working to support research activity.
Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing is more important than ever. Help, support and motivation can be just a click or a phone call away.
- There are good resources for mental wellbeing on the University's HR pages.
- If you are living with an existing mental health condition, you may find the EDU's specialised support pages helpful.
- Oxfordshire MIND has a superb page with support and guidance - recommended reading for everyone, not only those living with a mental health condition.
- For members of the LGBTQ+ community, The Validation Station sends a daily message of positivity and validation - important if you can't be yourself during lockdown. Stonewall also has some great advice and resources.
- The Division has a number of Mental Health First Aid trained colleagues. If you are experiencing a moment of significant mental ill health, please contact one of our MHFAiders, Isabelle Pitt (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will arrange a time to talk with you, or pass your details on to another MHFA colleague.
- Togetherall (formerly Big White Wall) is an anonymous community where members can support each other, with the reassurance of trained counsellors on line 24/7.
The University Counselling Services is run through Zurich Insurance and you can find more details here.
If you're worried about a student, the University Welfare service has some advice.
People lead complex lives, and many have multiple caring responsibilities to manage. The links below provide some suggestions and guidance for those with caring responsibilities, and may be useful for line managers and colleagues without caring responsibilities as well.
- Working from home with a disability? AbilityNet has an online seminar to talk through tech solutions that may help you.
- The government has some guidance for those who provide unpaid care to friends and family.
- Carers UK has a useful page with guidance and links to resources.
- Working parent? Check out the BBC's Bitesize resources.
- Trying to explain Coronavirus to young children? Eurac Research has a good video to help you (and it's only three minutes long!)
- For families with disabled children, Contact has useful information and support.
- Disability Forum's Covid-19 Toolkit provides free resources to help support disabled employees.
- Autistic and Unapologetic has guidance on how to support autistic people during the pandemic.
- For those living and working with ADHD, there's a useful 'Beginner's Guide to Telecommunting' on ADDitude.
The first port of call for students in need of support remains their college's Welfare team. You can find contact details here.
- The University's Counselling Service has moved their services online; they also have a page with resources, or you can contact them directly by emailing email@example.com
- The Student Welfare Support Services continues to provide online advice.
- If you're worried about a student, the University Welfare service has some advice.
- There are some great online resources that you can access, such as:
- Student Minds is the UK's student mental health charity.
- Oxfordshire MIND has a useful Coronavirus and your wellbeing guide
- The UK government guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing is also useful.
- The City Council is working with the Oxford Hub to coordinate local support groups, amongst other initiatives.
- The City Council also has online resources for wellbeing during the pandemic, including culture, leisure and creative activities.
- Looking at cultural resources globally, Google Arts and Culture has links to the online or virtual spaces of many major international museums and art galleries.
- Local arts organisations need our support at this time. As organisations open up, please check their webpages for information and details of any remaining social distancing measures.
- If you're not ready to go back to a gallery, many offer virtual tours of exhibitions and other online material, such as Modern Art Oxford, the Oxford Playhouse, the Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and the History of Science Museum.
- The Old Fire Station maintains its important role at the interface of the arts and social action.
- Charities such as Homeless Oxfordshire need your help now more than ever.