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What's working like for you?

colour portrait photograph of Rebecca Emerton

The coronavirus lockdown has changed the way we work individually, with our own teams and with other teams at the University. Whether we are working from home or are working on the campus, each of us is adapting in our own way to these changed circumstances. Every Tuesday and Thursday, we will share the experience of some of our colleagues.

Rebecca Emerton is a post-doctoral research scientist in the Department of Meteorology. She works on research projects that assess the skill of tropical cyclone forecasts.

We asked Rebecca how the lockdown had affected her work:

“For me the process of work hasn’t changed much as I mainly use a language called Python to create bespoke software to manage, analyse and visualise data. This involves access to large data sets and use of a supercomputer for data processing, so I access this remotely whether working at home or in the office. I’m actually really comfortable working from home as this was something that I did one day per week during my PhD and had continued this over to my post-doctoral position I also appreciate that I’m lucky that I have a quiet space to work in.

“I do miss working with colleagues as I miss the opportunity and, to a degree the spontaneity of being able to ask someone a question. The work I do means sometimes running into problems with software or code and I’ll be pro-active in seeking solutions from others when I can’t find them myself. On campus it’s easy to pop along to someone’s office or catch them on the common room for a quick chat. It’s more difficult to do this through Teams as you don’t know their work schedule or what they might be doing. You don’t realise how important these seemingly small communications are until you don’t have them.

“Shortly before going on lockdown we were hosting some visiting scientists from the Seychelles and Mozambique, who we had very suddenly send home. This has been a disappointment for me as we do not know if we’ll be able to host them again in the future. We’ve been keeping the project supervision and this has provided an additional challenge in learning how to do this remotely.

“Everyone from the department has been very supportive, keeping in touch with each other and supervisors and mentors have been flexible, for example, around meeting times and working hours.”

To enable as many people as possible to share their experience the Internal Communications team has developed a storyboard, so if you’d like to take part, contact the Internal Communications team and a member of the team will guide you through the process. These will form a series of articles on what new ways of working have been like for colleagues as well as offering practical advice, hints and tips on how to manage this.

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