Thursday 26 March 2020

All staff email

Covid-19 update Thursday 26 March - your wellbeing

Dear colleague,

We are seeing many reports of the challenging circumstances people around the world are facing as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, but I hope you have been able to absorb some of the more positive stories in recent days about how the country is pulling together and building community spirit. The response to the recent call for volunteers to support the NHS was especially inspiring.

I have been speaking to heads of academic and professional service departments across the University in the last couple of days, and have been both inspired and grateful to hear some of the stories emerging from our University. A huge number of you have been both creative and thoughtful in finding new ways of interacting and bringing people together in this time of need. Thank you.

Many of you have also asked how we can best coordinate our efforts to support others beyond the University, in particular in and around York. I have asked our PVC Partnerships and Engagement, Kiran Trehan, to think about how best to do this so that we can maximise the impact we can have. More details will follow as we develop our plans.

Meanwhile, I encourage you all to share stories you have heard, or contributed to, about how staff and students at York have made an impact beyond the University. I’d like us all to know about these examples, no matter how large or small. We gave a taster in our Staff Digest yesterday with news of the University’s AudioLab creating a virtual choir on YouTube, enabling people to experience being in a choir in beautiful settings. I hope we can see many more in the next days and weeks.

You can feed through your stories, ideas and initiatives to the Staff Digest where we will collate them and find ways of sharing them. Turning back to our work within the University, we have all had to make major adjustments in a very short space of time. I’d like us now to make sure that your longer-term wellbeing is at the centre of our thinking.

This means staying connected and supporting one another, balancing working and home life now that most of us are home-working, creating routines where we can, maintaining our scheduled breaks, and ensuring that we are able to switch off.

Remote working offers particular challenges to our physical and mental wellbeing, which is why we have created new support for staff and managers, as a practical resource. As we all learn more about how to stay connected and manage wellbeing at home, please do use these resources and the ideas they give you.

Finally, we are continuing to update our Covid-19 information hub for guidance, with new information on a daily basis - so please do keep an eye out. And once again, thank you for your continued hard work, flexibility and patience as we work our way through this difficult situation.

Best wishes


Professor Charlie Jeffery