The University of Strathclyde has been named as a finalist in the Best COVID Response category of the Working Families Best Practice Awards.
Employers of all sizes from different sectors compete annually to reach the shortlist for the unique business awards for flexible, agile organisations.
Now in their twelfth year, the Working Families Best Practice Awards showcase and celebrate employers who are offering flexibility for all their people and going ‘above and beyond’ in their support for parents and carers.
Strathclyde has been shortlisted for Best COVID Response in recognition of the support it has given to employees during the pandemic, which included assigning Friday as a ‘rest and recuperation day’ during periods of lockdown. These days became ‘Meeting Free Fridays’ when restrictions were eased.
These initiatives have enabled staff to spend more time with their families, help with caring responsibilities and generally to provide more time for them to look after their health and wellbeing and that of their loved ones.
The University also ensured every member of staff who could work from home did, created an information hub on its website with advice for health and wellbeing – as well as designating a Wellbeing Month – and provided regular communications on updates to COVID guidelines and their impact on the University’s operations.
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of Strathclyde, said: “Our Strathclyde People Strategy places our colleagues at the heart of our plans and recognises that their collective talents, effort and commitment will deliver the University's ambitious Vision for 2025.
“The response from my colleagues to the COVID-19 pandemic and their commitment to everything we do at Strathclyde has been immense and staff across the University have created a hugely positive and supportive environment.
The safety, health and wellbeing of our staff is our top priority and have been at the heart of our decision-making in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to not only protect our staff from the virus itself, but also to help colleagues adapt to the unprecedented changes and challenges that the pandemic has brought about. From switching to working from home and the isolation that lockdown has amplified for so many, to the challenges of home schooling children, additional caring responsibilities and trying to maintain physical health, we wanted to ensure we did what we could to help as an employer.”
Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive of Working Families and Chair of the judging panel, said: “Huge congratulations to the University of Strathclyde. Making it through to this stage in such a competitive year demonstrates they are leaders in creating supportive, flexible working cultures. Strathclyde’s outstanding entry in the Best COVID Response award caught the attention of the judging panel and stood out amongst a record number of entries.
“This last year has been exceptionally challenging for everyone, and particularly for many working parents who’ve had to find ways to balance work with caring for children. We know that where employers have adopted flexible working practices, that balancing act has been made far less stressful for individuals, and allowed employees to be as productive as possible in their role.
“As we move out of the pandemic into the ‘new normal’, we are determined to use what we’ve learned to benefit more of the UK’s 13 million working parents. This list of outstanding organisations is leading the way in showing that flexible, family friendly working policies aren’t just the right thing to do: they make great business sense. When employees have more control over their time, we see improved engagement and retention, as well as better organisational performance.”
The winners of each category will be announced on 27 May, 2021.