24 March 2020 - UK tightens restrictions - update for staff
You can get the latest update on the lockdown here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
And some useful summaries here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52012432
What support is there for my wellbeing?
We want to encourage everyone to look after their health and wellbeing during this time. Therefore, please remember to take regular breaks and think creatively about how you and your family are able to exercise eg. online videos, exercise once a day outsitde, live-streams, turbo trainers.
What support is there if I am experiencing increased anxiety around this?
We appreciate that this is a worrying time for everyone and looking after your wellbeing is key during
this period. Please ensure that you speak regularly to your line manager /colleagues / friends and family to share
your thoughts and feelings. Individuals also have access to 6 free counselling session via Stay Well in
Work. Please speak to Glenda or Jojo if you would like to find out more about this service.
We have also provided a link to Mind / Valley Steps which have some useful information and advice:
Temporary Working Arrangements
Government advice – Working from home
With effect from Monday 23 March, 8:30pm the Government has implemented a lockdown therefore all staff will be “working from home” wherever possible. Fortunately for Practice Solutions, we already have systems in place to work from home and this has taken place with immediate effect. However, it is important that you speak to your line manager to confirm the arragements around the support you may require and your work
Can I continue to work from the office?
No, the offices are closed from 24 March for the next 21 days, to be reviewed in line with Government reccomendations.
Will pre-booked face to face meetings continue to take place within Practice Solutions office?
ALL meetings will only take place digitally in line with the Government guidelines
Are we able to be flexible around our working days?
We are happy for individuals to work flexibly over the working week e.g. swapping working days,
shortening / extending days as personal circumstances change. However, the expectation at this moment in time is that everyone will continue to work their core hours. It will be important for you to have regular communications with your line manager to agree the priorities of your work and the business. There are also a number of different options that can be considered over the coming weeks and months e.g. using annual leave or unpaid leave.
Can I temporarily reduce my working arrangements?
We appreciate that this is a really unsettling time for everyone, and personal situations and
circumstances are changing every day. Therefore, we are looking at ways to be as flexible as possible
in the short term, but we also need to ensure that we continue to deliver our priorities and respond
to the changing demands of our customers.
What happens now the schools are closed?
Your line manager will discuss the contingencies around this to understand your “support network” eg. sharing responsibilities with your partner and family members, working your hours around your family needs. It will be really important to have regular communications with your line manager / the core team to ensure that everyone is aware of how you intend to work flexibly and effectively to deliver the priorities agreed with your line manager.
What happens if I have to increase my caring responsibilities for my parent[s]?
Please discuss any of your concerns with your line manager so that they can have similar conversations as outline above for school closures.
If I have mild symptoms and I’m self-isolating. Can I continue to work from home?
If you have mild symptoms but feel well enough to work, then please discuss this with your line manager. It will be important that you follow the Government guidance around self-isolating yourself and your immediate family. You will continue to be paid normal pay during this time. Government guidance suggests individuals showing mild symptoms self-isolate for 7 days minimum. However, if you share a household with others, they must isolate for 14 days minimum to ensure the virus has not passed on to them. This also applies if someone in your household is showing symptoms.
If I have the coronavirus symptoms and I’m too unwell to work. What should I do?
You will need to contact your line manager to confirm that you are absent from work due to the Coronavirus and self-isolating for 14 days. As you will be unable to leave your home, there will be no requirement for you to provide your line manager with a fit note. However, it will be important to keep your line manager updated on a regular basis (every 3 days). PSL’s Self-Certification form will cover all individual’s absences for the 14 day period - a return to work interview will then be carried out with you before you return to normal working arrangements.
If I am too ill to work from home, will I be paid for this absence?
Yes – Practice Solutions provides 4 weeks Company Sick Pay over a 12 month rolling period. Once your company sick pay expires, then you will receive Statutory Sick Pay for the remaining period.
How much is Statutory Sick Pay?
The current Statutory Sick Pay is £94.25 per week for a 28-week period.
Could I use some of my annual leave instead of going onto SSP?
Yes, you could use some of your annual leave entitlement to cover the period of Statutory Sick Pay. Therefore, this will not affect your monthly pay.
Supporting Business Continuity
Will regular internal meetings still take place?
Yes - communications will be key during this period. Therefore, the following will take place until
• SMT will meet digitally every Tuesday morning (as usual) to continuously review and develop our Business
• Wednesday’s Priorities meetings will start again from Wednesday 18th March between 9.30 am –
10.15 pm. This will be held over Microsoft Teams unless stated otherwise.
• Regular 1:1s with your line manager.
What other communication tools can we use / offer to our customers?
We will be using Microsoft Teams and Zoom for Video Conferencing and WhyPay for audio only.
How is annual leave going to be managed during this period and for the rest of the calendar year?
With travel restrictions in place, we understand some people will want to rearrange their holidays later in the year. Any annual leave up booked until 30th June can be cancelled, if you wish. We do not know currently how long travel restrictions will last. Some of you already have leave booked after 30th June. Over the next few days, we will ask you to indicate what annual leave you have planned, or would like to ideally take up. We will review these arrangements in line with our Business Continuity Plan, especially for annual leave taken between July-December 2020. We will amend the current annual leave policy to reflect that individuals can carry over 5 days into 2021. Even if travel restrictions are in place beyond 30th June, it’s important for staff to take some leave
during this period. It’s not healthy to work continuously, and it’s important to spend quality time away from work.
I am due to go on holiday abroad – what should I do?
We would recommend that you follow the travel advice as per the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance.
If there is a high proportion of staff who are self-isolating and too ill to work, will I be required to pick up additional / different work or be required to work extra hours to cover the work?
We hope that we are in a position to carry out as much of our usual service as possible in relation to our large contract. However, we understand that every day will be different, and we will need to keep this under constant review. However, in addition, we also need to think creatively in how we can help organisations that are experiencing genuine difficulties. Therefore, we will need to count on everyone’s flexibility and support in these unprecedented times. Should we need you to work differently or additional hours, your line manager will discuss this with you.
Is it possible that I might be asked to support other areas / change roles? Am I obliged to do so, and will I be given the appropriate training?
In the short term it will be “business as usual”. However, in the medium to long term staff may be expected to assist in other priority areas. Some areas of work may be stopped temporarily to focus resources where they are most needed. Any changes will be discussed with you well ahead of time, and we will provide you with all the support necessary.
What can I do to support my community?
Where you can, and if you feel you want to, connect with your community via social media channels, or get involved in local support groups. This will support everyone’s wellbeing and prevent loneliness and isolation. At Practice Solutions, we will be offering our support to voluntary sector partners and we recommend individuals see who is working in their local community.
Here is an example of how we can all contribute : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-51880695
General Advice for all staff & associates
• Keep up to date on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace
• Make sure that your contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water – do this for at least 20 seconds
• Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
• Clean your keyboards and work phone handles regularly
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or
• Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
• Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
• Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean