It is important to speak to the individual and understand why they feel this way. You should acknowledge how and why they may be feeling apprehensive about returning to work on campus. You should explore how their concerns can be addressed and put any steps in place to overcome their fears. The expectation is that we are a campus-based University and some of the working week for individuals will be on campus.
If colleagues report general anxiety related to Covid 19 they should be signposted to the health and wellbeing resources available via Health and Wellbeing. The mental wellbeing tools and resources includes: online cognitive behavioural therapy CBT (via SilverCloud), support on building resilience, dedicated mental health first aiders and the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). The EAP includes: 24/7 mental health support and advice, access to structured counselling sessions and wellbeing webinars.
If colleagues have an underlying mental health condition, return to campus anxiety may increase the risk of symptoms and/or relapse. Managers should offer a Wellness Action Plan (WAP) and, if the colleague is struggling with their role and/or following a period of absence, managers could consider a referral to Occupational Health. WAPs aim to facilitate dialogue between individuals and their manager to identify personal triggers that affect health and wellbeing and measures that both the individual and manager can implement to support health and wellbeing. It also provides a formal record of the reasonable adjustments agreed, to minimise the need to re-negotiate adjustments each time the employee is working with a new line manager, is re-located or changes jobs, or job roles.
Further support and information can be found on the University’s Covid 19 webpages.