Opening our workplaces safely

We've created a toolkit for managers titled ‘Opening our workplaces safely’.

The aim of this toolkit is to bring together all relevant existing guidance on working safely into one place, providing you with a simple way to check that you’re doing what’s needed to keep your staff safe.

Access the toolkit now

Development opportunities

Leaders and managers are finding new ways to support their staff.  The Learning & Development Team in HR & OD have arranged a range of development opportunities to help.

Creating team agreements

Managers might want review ways of working and consider with their teams whether they want to do things differently in future. The Team Agreement template will support managers to have these conversations. 

Management development offer

Details of the management development offer, featuring coaching, eLearning, virtual and face to face training, can be found on the Learning Gateway.

Leadership Network - Action Learning Sets via Skype

Action Learning Sets via Skype are available to all members of the Leadership Network to help you work through the challenges in responding to the Covid-19 crisis and planning and leading the recovery phases.

Learning outcomes will be very specific to each group.

Places are limited - book now via the Learning Gateway.

Building Resilience workshop for managers (on Skype)

Three new sessions to support managers are running in May. These 90 minute interactive sessions will:

  • give you the opportunity to reflect on your current resilience levels
  • learn some tips on looking after yourself during the COVID19 crisis
  • discuss with others aspects of resilience that are particularly important in these difficult times.

Book your place now using the Learning Gateway. There are various dates available.

Can’t make a workshop? Why not try our Building Resilience elearning module instead?

Presenting and Managing Effective Meetings Online

This new two-hour session will look at the essentials of presenting materials and engaging participants confidently and successfully on platforms such as Skype and Teams.

One to one coaching support (open to all staff)

Could you use a one-off focussed coaching session to think through your response to the changes brought about by Covid-19?

The coaching team are offering all staff the opportunity to have a 121 coaching session over Skype or telephone. You can use this session to discuss:

  • How to manage your team effectively while working remotely; or
  • The impact of the current crisis on your team and how you can best respond; or
  • Plan short-term objectives for your team to work over the next two months; or
  • Build resilience to work effectively during this time of crisis.

Leadership and Management Apprenticeship

The deadline to apply for an apprenticeship is 30 June. We are offering specific qualifications for leaders and manager at level 3 and level 5. Find out more at

Managing remote teams workshop

This online workshop takes place on 14 July.

This two hour session will cover:

  • The challenging of home/remote working
  • Essential communication skills
  • Building and maintaining the team
  • Learning to ‘let go’
  • Building Trust
  • Managing performance remotely

Apply on the Learning Gateway


Our new e-learning course Leading Remote Teams during Covid-19 is highly recommended for all managers. Other new and forthcoming modules specifically for leaders and managers include:

  • Conference call etiquette
  • Managing remote teams
  • Mental Health
  • Developing leadership Skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Difficult conversations
  • Coaching
  • Building resilience

These can be found on the Learning Gateway


For further information or support please email or skype

  • Tracey Gibson, Lead Consultant – Organisational Development
  • Andrew Parfitt, Lead Consultant – Learning & Development

Managing staff wellbeing

Following the transition to home working most of us have had to make as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, your team members are highly likely to be dealing with additional sources of stress on top of the challenges we’re all facing.

We’ve produced this short guide to help you ensure your staff feel supported during the pandemic.

What can you do to support your staff?

  1. Stay in regular contact
    Communicate as often as you can – keep regular 1-2-1s, hold team meetings on Skype and let staff know how and when best to reach you if they need help.
  2. Remind them to structure their day and take regular breaks
    While routine is important, it’s essential to take regular screen breaks and get up to move around. Short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks, and staff should avoid working excessive hours.
  3. Be compassionate and realistic
    Remember that many staff who find home working difficult may not always be at their most productive. Ensure they’re remembering to look after their own health and give them flexibility to manage their work around home life.
  4. Encourage connection with colleagues
    We’ve all had to reduce social contact this year, and many staff might feel isolated. Encourage supportive interactions with other team members – for example a virtual coffee or lunch – and respect individuals’ preferences for different communication methods.
  5. Show them they’re valued
    It’s important to manage expectations and stay focused on goals. Concentrate on what is being accomplished and thank your staff for the work they are doing.

Please also make use of the new support for leaders and managers section on the council website to ensure you’re well equipped to support your staff through the crisis.

What can your staff do to support themselves?

You can share the following guidance with your team members:

  1. Balance work and home life
    Let your line manager know what kind of flexibility you need to manage commitments at home around your work schedule. Would it be helpful to alter your working pattern?
  2. Manage expectations with colleagues and those you live with
    Not everyone has a dedicated home office space, so it’s a good idea to be clear with both colleagues and your family or housemates about when you’re in ‘do not disturb’ mode.
  3. Offer and ask for help
    Show your support to colleagues during this difficult time, and similarly, don’t hesitate to reach out when you need help. Stay connected and make time for small talk!
  4. Look after your mental and physical health
    Don’t stay glued to your screen all day - take regular breaks and get up to move around. Be kind to yourself and remember we’re all working through extraordinary circumstances.
  5. Stay safe and follow government advice
    Of course, please remember to put your health first and follow the latest advice from the government and the NHS to stay well during the coronavirus crisis.

Covid-19 wellbeing zone and further resources

All staff should follow advice on the council website for supporting your wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak. The following resources will also help you manage your wellbeing:

New e-learning courses

Several new courses have been added to the Learning Gateway, including:

Reporting confirmed Covid-19 cases

A checklist is now available to support managers who have staff in their team diagnosed with Covid-19.

The checklist helps you consider:

  • the ongoing safety of the team/service and the welfare of staff
  • procedures that need to be followed in terms of informing other team members
  • reporting the case as an incident to the Corporate H&S Team.

Reporting a case to HSE

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have published guidance on reporting confirmed Covid-19 cases under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

Essentially, the council needs to make a report to the HSE if:

  • a worker has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

Managers are therefore required to ensure that diagnosed cases of Covid-19 among their staff are reported using the Council’s Incident Reporting form. On the report form there is an ‘occupational disease’ category which should be used as the injury type in these cases, and 'contact/exposure to a harmful substance' can be used as the incident cause. 

Please use this form when you’ve been informed of the diagnosis, either from the member of staff directly or from FirstCare. Staff should continue to report any absences potentially related to coronavirus (ie both suspected and diagnosed cases) to FirstCare in the normal way. Read our HR Covid-19 advice for updates on FirstCare reporting.
If a staff member’s status changes from suspected to diagnosed as a result of a positive test result, managers can extend/amend an absence on their behalf by logging in to, then clicking ‘customer support portal’ at the top of the page and selecting ‘absence information changes’.

The Corporate Health & Safety Team, along with line managers and public health colleagues, can then investigate the circumstances of the potential exposure and assess whether a positive Covid-19 diagnosis needs to be reported to the HSE, following their specific criteria for reporting.

The Corporate Health & Safety Team undertake RIDDOR reporting on behalf of the council and managers do not need to contact the HSE directly.

Informing staff when a team member has Covid-19

If you've been informed by a member of your team that they're experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or have been diagnosed with the virus, you must inform members of your team without naming the individual. This applies whether or not your team members are working remotely.

Informing your staff that a team member is unwell allows them to remain vigilant of their own health and wellbeing. You are encouraged to remind all staff that they should not come to work if they're experiencing symptoms of the virus.

You should also take every opportunity to remind staff of any specific measures in place within your team and workplace to ensure safe social distancing and personal hygiene are followed.

We have a duty of care to our staff and an obligation to do all we reasonably can to ensure their health and safety. Data protection legislation doesn’t prevent you from informing staff that there are suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases, but you should not name the individual and only provide information that is necessary for the health and safety of your team. 

Staff with symptoms or confirmed Covid-19 should be informed in advance that you'll communicate with the team in accordance with this guidance, and that their dignity and integrity will be protected.

In very small teams, the identity of the individual may be implicit. However, the Information Commissioner's Office (the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold data protection) advise that data protection doesn’t prevent you from keeping staff informed about cases in the wider organisation.