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Human Resources

Return to campus conversations

How to have the conversation with your staff

It is important to spend time to understand any concerns your staff may have, to provide support and to make necessary adjustments to mitigate those risks as far as possible. The issues identified below are not exhaustive and line managers should recognise the diverse lived experience of those affected by Covid-19.   

  • Ideally you should have a one-to-one return to work discussion with each member of your team. If a staff member indicates they would prefer to speak to someone else then refer them to your line manager.  
  • You must at least offer to speak to staff before making decisions or putting plans in writing. This can help staff understand, and feel included in, decisions.  
  • Be open. There are still things we don’t know about the virus. If you do not know something, say you do not know. And then act to find out.  
  • Be understanding of the personal circumstances and feelings of your staff. Take an empathetic and compassionate approach in supporting them. As a line manager, you have a duty of care to those you manage. Those individuals you manage also have a duty of care for their own wellbeing as well as others they work with.   
  • If you are uncertain about the support to provide your staff member, contact your HR Adviser for advice. 

What to discuss with your staff

The following topics should be discussed with your team member during your conversation with them. There is also guidance available on conversations with staff in specific circumstances, and FAQS about other issues to keep in mind.

What to do after you have had the conversation

Following the discussion with your team member, briefly summarise by email what has been agreed so everyone is clear from the outset on the agreed campus working plan. Be clear on the approximate timescales of any action points that you need to follow up on and when you expect to get back to the staff member.  


Staff have never stopped working on campus and within your team some will need or want to return sooner than others.  However, if you have not received confirmation from your Head of School/Institute/Director of Professional Service that your team is required in and that all risk assessments and checks have been completed, this will need to be obtained prior to your staff member(s) returning. 

If a staff member needs to return prior to this because conditions at home make it difficult to work please contact your HR Adviser  in the first instance to discuss. 

Once your team returns to campus

On return, staff may need to adapt to once again to working in a shared environment with colleagues. Some may take more time than others to adjust; it is likely that most staff members will need a period of readjustment.  


  • Adopt an empathetic and inclusive approach  
  • Arrange regular one to ones with team members so that you can discuss ongoing support, obtain updates on how they are coping and identify any adjustments you need to consider. 
  • Be a role model for health and safety compliance and ensure that all staff within your team are following the guidelines put in place. Any concerns should be dealt with immediately.  
  • Ensure that communication channels are open with the team so they can discuss and share any concerns with you and you can also keep them up to date with all relevant health and safety information. 
  • Communication in teams where some staff members are working from home and others are on campus on different days needs more thought than if you were all working in the same location. 
  • Ensure that any modifications or adjustments in the working environment are communicated to the team. 

Regular reminders to your team 

The safety of staff and students is our foremost concern as we reopen campuses. We need line managers help to do this. Please regularly remind team members of the basics when they come back to campus: 

  • If they have Covid-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has, they should not attend work and notify Staff Health and you (their line manager). Also refer to the latest NHS guidance on symptoms and self-isolation. Please see further guidance from H&S and in the FAQ on what to do if someone is diagnosed with Covid-19.  
  • To abide by the Queen Mary Covid Code and all guidance on signs and instructions by security staff while on campus. 
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