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What's working like for you?

colour portrait photograph of Kathryn Whittington

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.

Kathryn Whittington is the Head of Admissions within Global Recruitment and Admissions. The team oversees the complete process of admissions from initial applications, making offers through to Clearing and Confirmation.

We asked Kathryn how the lockdown had affected her work:

“We felt the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak from January when China went into lockdown. This meant that English language tests weren’t taking place in the normal way so we had to make preparation for a sudden influx of results. Since then we’ve been dealing with a large volume of enquiries regarding admission for next year reflecting the uncertainty disappointment that applicants are feeling. Reassuring applicants has become much more significant part of our work than usual this year. Looking to the future we are having to make alternative plans as we can’t simply delay the recruitment cycle.

“Most of the team were not set up for working from home and we switched to making calls via Teams so had to absorb quite a lot of change quite quickly. There isn’t a generic experience of working from home, we all have different things to manage and this has impacted the team in ways we couldn’t anticipate. Though I’m in touch with those colleagues I need to be, I’m not in contact across the team as much as I’m used to. It’s very often through that casual cup of tea or quick chat in the corridor that you find you how people are doing. Not having these means that, to a certain extent, I worry about how everyone’s getting on.

“I live on my own so am missing being around people and we have been having virtual coffees and lunches but, for me, there’s something missing from these interactions. But there’s something to be said for being more agile and using technology to solve problems. We’ve recruited new staff during the lockdown so had to held interviews for positions via Teams. This might be useful in the future to enable job candidates to attend an interview who otherwise may not have been able to. Overall the nature of our work makes office based working easier and, personally, I’m looking forward to getting back into the office!”

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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