Wellbeing & working from home hub
Balancing home & work life

Finding the right balance

The following ideas are aimed at helping us create capacity to balance home and work life during the current lockdown period.

The physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of our staff and our students is key. As members of the Strathclyde family, we must all recognise that everyone’s personal circumstances are different, and we must all do what we can to be flexible and respectful of the competing demands on our colleagues’ time.

Remember there is also a wealth of information on how to look after your wellbeing in our Wellbeing and Working from Home Hub. There is also great guidance on how to work more agilely in the Agile Working Toolkit including tips for home working.

Support for learning at home

Colleagues in the School of Education have begun populating a MyPlace page* to support parents/carers of children and young people who are finding it challenging to support their children's learning at home.

There will be a series of videos offering a range of advice about how to support your child, and new material will be uploaded over the next while.

Materials will be for those with children in primary and/or secondary school.

Remember, you are supporting your child's learning, you are not home schooling.

*DS log in details required.

Learn more

Creating capacity

  • teams should think carefully about how they are spending their time and challenge themselves on whether there are any tasks that could be stopped, paused, reduced or made more efficient. Team leaders should prompt their colleagues to consider this and be open to innovative and challenging ideas
  • help others to manage their workload by being clear on when you need something by and make sure you have allowed time in your calendar to process their outputs 
  • if you are struggling to manage all your demands, it is important to let your manager know this. There may be simple adjustments that can be made to address this
  • make time to take your annual leave and get a proper break. By the end of January, we will already be one third of the way through the annual leave year. Managers should speak to their teams about booking some leave if they haven’t already

Meetings

  • pause and ask yourself - is the meeting necessary?
  • review the frequency of recurring meetings – could you meet less frequently eg moving a weekly meeting to every two-three weeks to free up time and greater flexibility for those with other commitments
  • reduce meeting durations: Don’t automatically schedule meetings for one hour if you only need 45 minutes 
  • plan to finish meetings five or 10 minutes early to provide time for a break between meetings. For longer meetings, build in time for a short break to allow participants time away from their screens
  • if the meeting is being used to relay information to others, could it be recorded and made available for colleagues to catch up with at a time convenient to them?
  • not all meetings need to be onscreen or held while sitting at a desk. Consider ‘walking meetings’ – joining a meeting by phone and getting out for a walk while you join 
  • think carefully about your invitee list. Don’t invite extra people to cover every possible eventuality
  • be clear on the purpose of the meeting and the planned agenda so people can make an informed decision on whether they need to be there
  • let attendees know at the start of the meeting that it is ok if they want to leave the meeting after their agenda point is covered, or if they want to just listen in while working on other things at the same time
  • let people know it is ok if they want to hide their video, to let them listen in while taking care of other things at home without everyone seeing them
  • keep pre-reading material to a minimum and where possible, circulate it in plenty of time to allow people to find time to read it
  • remember that if you are having fewer or shorter meetings, this may lead to people missing out on the social element of interaction with colleagues. Take time to check in on colleagues and ask how they are doing, especially those that live alone or those that may have challenging caring responsibilities at home

Email etiquette

  • do you need to email? Would a quick phone call or use of the instant messaging facilities available on Teams or Zoom be a more efficient way to get the answer?
  • many people are working different hours at the moment. Be clear if you send an email, particularly outside usual working hours that you don’t expect a response straight away
  • be clear in the email subject line if you need a response by a particular date or if something demands urgent attention
  • think carefully about who needs to be copied into an email and in particular, about your use of ‘reply all’ when a simple ‘reply’ to the sender would suffice 
  • avoid copying others into email exchanges when a single email when the matter has been concluded would suffice