Supporting staff wellbeing in 2022
Professor Chris Conlon, Chair of the University’s Wellbeing Board, and Leslie Wright, Director of Occupational Health and Safety, provide an update on Oxford’s plans to build on support for staff wellbeing in the years ahead
Like many of you, we are looking forward to a more positive 2022 following a very challenging two years. The continued restrictions remind us that the pandemic is not yet over, although the vaccine rollout and the apparently milder Omicron strain give us reasons to be optimistic.
We also hope that this year will be more conducive to looking after your own wellbeing, which has not always been the case in recent times during the pandemic. We are confident that we will be able to make progress in this area at the University thanks to our new Staff Wellbeing Strategy.
Established by the Wellbeing Board, and informed by the University’s own research, the overarching aim of the strategy is to create the conditions where ‘everyone is supported to feel and perform at their best as part of the University community’.
We have already boosted efforts to do this by developing existing programmes and investing in new resources, including providing ongoing support via a range of internal and external resources that staff can access.
In the year ahead we will continue exploring ways to improve the services that support staff, particularly in the area of mental health, as well as family support. For example:
- We have a proposal under development to place staff counselling resources into the University Counselling Services, which are currently only available for students.
- We will continue to work with Togetherall, the provider of online support for mental health, to improve the service.
- We will automatically enrol new starters at the University onto the Work + Family Space service, which provides free access to information and other resources.
Implementing this strategy will only be possible with dedicated resources, and we are pleased that this term we are recruiting for a Wellbeing Programme Manager, a Wellbeing Project Manager and a Wellbeing Skills Development Lead. Working alongside the Programme Board and Occupational Health colleagues, these posts will be instrumental in ensuring the strategy is delivered successfully. If you would like to apply for any of these positions, or know of someone who would be suitable, please pass on the details.
The current pandemic has brought into focus a variety of challenges, but has also provided information and experience that will be useful for future planning in this area. The Wellbeing Programme Board will continue to align its activities with our academic research.
Regardless of how you feel about the year ahead, we hope that 2022 treats you well, and look forward to telling you more about our wellbeing progress over the next few months.