CoronavirusStaff update: 14 January

Dear colleagues,

I hope that you and yours remain safe and well in this difficult period as we all look forward to the acceleration of the rollout of the vaccines and the positive changes and relief that will bring.

This week has been challenging for many colleagues who have school and nursery-age children as home schooling and care has begun again. As with the last period when the schools and nurseries were closed, I know that managers and colleagues will be understanding of the time pressures created by home schooling and that our people managers will work flexibly with their staff to help them balance work and home commitments.

Yesterday, the First Minister announced a tightening of the lockdown rules to strengthen the national response to the threat of the new COVID-19 variant. The ‘stay at home’ message is clear, unless for essential purposes, as outlined in the legislation. Due to the temporary lockdown and the enhanced restrictions, it is more important that we continue to place great emphasis on health and wellbeing.

I am pleased to say that the response to the reintroduction of our Rest and Recuperation Days has been very warmly received, especially by those who have caring responsibilities; I want to thank you for the encouraging messages and personal reflections many of you sent me since we took that decision at the start of the year. This is a very important initiative intended to allow everyone at Strathclyde to take the time to balance their work and personal life and it recognises the range of pressures created by new restrictions.

This innovative policy is focused on staff wellbeing and it caught the attention of the sector’s Times Higher Education who last week carried an article on it.  Most importantly, this has been a natural decision for us to take given the positive culture we have created together and our focus on being a Values led organisation.

Please remember that, as previously, if Friday is not suitable for you then you can make alternative arrangements to take another day or agree to use this time flexibly during the week in consultation with your line manager.  We should also endeavour to maintain our Fridays as a meeting free day with lighter email traffic. Further information about successful agile working can be found in the agile working toolkit

As with the previous lockdown, it is very important that we take time to focus on wellbeing – both our own, and that of those around us.

We can all feel the benefits of being active, staying connected with friends, family and colleagues, and getting outside for fresh air – while staying within the letter and the spirit of the regulations.  I would very much encourage you to think about what you can do to look after your mental and physical health over the coming weeks. You can find support and ideas on our Wellbeing & Working from Home Hub. Please also remember that our Innovation Forum is open for new ideas to help people.

Earlier today, I was delighted to speak at the external virtual launch event for ‘Strathclyde Inspire’ which was attended by investors, entrepreneurial leaders, senior business figures and ecosystem partners.

It also featured amongst the speakers two of our new eight Senior Enterprise Fellows - Professor Mark Logan and Professor Janice Kirkpatrick, alongside investor Professor David Onions.

Our other new Fellows are Neil Logan, Dr Rabinder Buttar, Ian Ritchie, John Waddell, Susan Aktemel, and Gurjit Singh Lalli. These successful individuals, from across the business world, will help to inspire the next generation of student entrepreneurs and the launch captured Strathclyde’s leading offering in this enterprise space and helped to kick off 2021 on a very positive footing.

Finally this week, our Executive Team met on Tuesday for a dedicated strategy session to continue our focus on delivery of Vision2025; it was an energetic and exciting session that redoubled our commitment to the next stage of Strathclyde’s successful journey and it generated innovative ideas that we will share with you over the coming weeks and months.

We have come a long way since last March in terms of our performance and I thank each and every one of you for the part you have played in our terrific successes and resilience shown in 2020. As Strathclyders, I know you will be focusing on continuing this delivery and I look forward to our acceleration as we move out of the lockdown and into the spring, summer and beyond for 2021.

Thank you all for your continued efforts on behalf of Strathclyde and please make the most of your rest day this week.

Best wishes,