We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation with Coronavirus. Our approach is guided by official Government guidance and science. The current official advice is that people are only allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes: shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible; one form of exercise a day; any medical need; to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
If one person in your household develops a high temperature or a new, continuous cough then everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days.
In the sections below, you can find more guidance for SMG colleagues. Please speak to your Head of Department or line manager if you have any questions that are not answered below or in the latest Coronavirus Update newsletter we sent you.
Our museums are currently closed to colleagues. Please remain home and stay safe.
Given the uncertainty we are all facing together, it is not yet possible to say when our museums will be able to reopen to visitors – but it will be months rather than weeks.
We are aware that it is difficult to juggle childcare and work at the best of times. With the schools closing, there are a number of colleagues who need to care for their children on a full-time basis.
We are reviewing our policies for those with child-care responsibilities following the Government announcement about school closures. Colleagues have been asked to fill out a questionnaire to provide information about childcare responsibilities they may have. This will provide us with an understanding of how best we can support our people at this time.
In the first instance, colleagues should speak to their line manager about concerns they have with childcare and how we can support you. This may include flexible working times.
At this point employees are continuing to pay employees regardless of their ability to fulfil their role at home.
Please contact your line manager to discuss this further and how we can support you.
Please bear with us and concentrate on staying safe for now. It may take a little time before your line manager can provide you with clear guidance. Our priority at the moment is our colleagues’ safety and ensuring that we have systems and procedures in place to continue paying our people and our suppliers/utilities. We will provide an update as soon as we are able.
We are currently finalising our approach to the furlough scheme, based on the latest, updated guidance from the Government, but we have not yet placed anyone on furlough leave. We will be updating all colleagues on our approach soon.
New colleagues who are working within their contractual probationary period, should discuss their probationary period with their line manager in the first instance.
SMG will review whether probationary periods need extending on a case-by-case basis, depending on how far a colleague is into their probationary period, if any concerns have already been raised, and how fully they can fulfil their role and demonstrate performance by working from home during this time.
Taking annual leave and time to rest is important for our wellbeing, particularly during this difficult time. We understand that for many colleagues, plans for holidays and travel have had to be cancelled, however it is still really important that you continue to take your annual leave in order to support your own health and wellbeing.
You may be aware that the Government has just announced a temporary amendment to the Working Time Regulations to allow a longer period to carry over leave where it is not reasonably practicable for employees to take leave due to the effects of the coronavirus situation.
We are working through the implications of this amendment. However, in the majority of cases we believe it is practicable for SMG employees to take their annual leave, and therefore we expect you to continue to do so as normal. We are looking more widely at our overall leave policy during the period of closure and will be in touch on this soon.
You may remember that in December, there was an announcement that went out stating that all colleagues who were employed on or before 20 November 2019, will receive two days of additional leave which must be used by 31 May 2020 and can’t be carried forward. These additional days were awarded on a one-off basis for this year as part of the settlement with members of Prospect Union.
These days will still need using by 31 May. Despite the recent changes to working arrangements, we are still expecting colleagues to use their additional annual leave days by this date.
Please could you therefore ensure that you’re using them, not losing them.
If you haven’t booked these days yet, please speak to your line manager who will record them on your behalf on iTrent.
This is an NHS initiative where people can volunteer to help with non-medical tasks for the NHS. This includes assisting delivering prescriptions to the vulnerable, checking on those isolating and driving patients around.
Colleagues who are considering signing up should advise their line manager and discuss the time commitment that this may require and what we can do to facilitate you assisting this. Colleagues should be mindful of the risks of volunteering if they have underlying health conditions or live with those that do. Your safety is paramount.
No. You will continue to be paid in the normal way.
For a while now, we have been advising colleagues to set up an electronic payslip (which is sent via iTrent and is encrypted). It has been our long-term ambition to become more sustainable and stop processing paper payslips.
We have email addresses for the majority of our colleagues. If you do not have a electronic payslip set up, you need to email [email protected] with your contact telephone number. We will then set this up over the phone.
There are a very small number of colleagues who we do not have email addresses for yet. We will be calling those colleagues to work out the best way to receive their payslip. Electronic payslips are more secure than paper payslips.
Yes. SMG are keen to understand where our colleagues are poorly and where they are having to self-isolate as a household.
It is really important for us to have your accurate contact details on file. You can update your contact details yourself on iTrent.
If you’re unable to do this, then please email your details to [email protected].
At this point SMG will continue to pay employees regardless of their ability to fulfil their role at home.
We have sent an email to all subscribers at each museums informing them that our we are closed until further notice.
All websites are carrying the same message and we are sharing information on social channels with links to the relevant website, and via our call centres.
Over the past week, we have been reaching out to ticket holders and corporate customers to advise them that we are closed and to provide support on their tickets.
SMG is aware that colleagues might be worried about Coronavirus and the impact it may be having on people’s lives.
It is important that you take care of your mental health and wellbeing. Below are some suggestions of things you can do:
- Exercise is a great way to boost your wellbeing. If permitted, go for a walk— as a minimum, make sure you get some fresh air every day.
- Even if you can’t exercise outside, this could be an opportunity to try yoga, walk up and down the stairs, or there are lots of workout videos online most of which don’t require any equipment.
- Try a new hobby, maybe try a new recipe. Music and singing are great ways of relaxing, some choirs are offering sessions via live streaming, there’s even a virtual pub quiz.
- Stay connected with friends via Facetime/WhatsApp… seeing people’s faces makes you feel more connected. Virtual coffee is a great way to keep in touch.
- Try and keep a routine as much as you can.
- Social media and the news are great for staying connected but can also become a bit overwhelming. Try and give yourself some time away from technology every day.
- Embrace the positives. This is a really difficult time, but we would love to hear about the different things you are doing.
If working from home also remember the following to support your wellbeing and general Health & Safety:
- It’s easy to work a 16-hour day from home, so don’t. Schedule your day, decide when you are going to start and finish and at the end of the day put your phone/laptop away so that you can’t just pick it up again.
- If possible, try and work in a quiet space away from friends/family. This will help avoid bringing work into the family environment, it’s important to keep that balance. Ideally do not work in the bedroom.
- Realistically, people will likely be sharing their work environment with other people, they may have slow wifi, children at home, a dog barking. Please be understanding with your colleagues.
- Structure your day with breaks. It’s more important than ever that you should move every 20 minutes where possible and definitely every 45 minutes. Get some fresh air, make a cup of tea, anything that gets you away from the screen. If possible, stand up and walk around when making phone calls. Make sure you are taking a lunch break away from your computer.
- A few tips to help your DSE set-up: if you have your mouse and keyboard put your laptop on some books, cushions can be used to support your back, if your feet don’t touch the floor books can also be used as a footrest.
If you haven’t been asked to come in, please work from home in so far as you can.
At this point we can confirm that employees will be paid regardless of their ability to fulfil their role at home.
Please bear with us and stay safe. It may take a few days before your line manager can provide you with clear guidance.
We will be developing a redeployment strategy for colleagues who can perform little or none of their normal duties from home and provide an update as soon as we are able.
We remind everyone to follow the official advice on hand cleanliness and personal hygiene to prevent illnesses.
If you feel unwell, you should check the latest official Government guidance here and follow that advice. It is essential that you notify your line manager immediately if you need to self-isolate. Employees will receive full pay during this period of self-isolation when they are following official advice.
Please seek to hold any meetings via telephone or video conference. If that isn’t possible, please do cancel or postpone the meeting.
We have suspended all international business travel and unnecessary domestic business travel by SMG colleagues until further notice.
We strongly advise you to think seriously about any personal travel plans. Please adhere to all Government advice about travel.
Look out for the regular Coronavirus Updates sent to personal emails as well as SMG accounts and ensure you have provided us with your personal phone and email details.
The working group is liaising with Government and meeting regularly to ensure we are prioritising your health, and that of our visitors, at all times.
We are ready to respond to any change in the official advice, and detailed contingency planning is underway at all of our sites. This is a dynamic situation and we are monitoring developments very closely.
Our touring exhibition, Superbugs, has reopened at the Chongqing Science & Technology Museum after a three-month temporary closure in response to COVID-19.
Superbugs explores humanity’s response to the unprecedented global threat of antibiotic resistance, featuring scientific research from across the globe and the personal stories of those tackling superbugs.
This is the first time the exhibition has been open in China this year following quarantine measures put in place by the Chinese Government. The Chongqing Science & Technology Museum reopened to visitors this weekend and announced that it will be maintaining a maximum capacity of 1500 visitors at any given moment to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors.
Our touring programme has been paused in all other significantly affected areas until further notice.
Our Masterplan team is contingency planning for any impact on live projects and the Executive team is reviewing the forward programme
In addition to the links elsewhere on this page, you can find practical online advice within Government advice for employers (please check the date this page was updated as it doesn’t seem to be updated as quickly as the main Government advice page). This NHS guidance includes guidance on a range of topics.
Please refer to these internal information sources and the advice from Government and Public Health England, rather than news outlets or social media.