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What's working like for you?

colour portrait photograph of Kam Johal

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.

Kam Johal is the ISLI Support Manager in the International Study and Language Institute. Her team provides administrative, executive and teaching and learning support for the variety of academic programmes and professional services allocated within the School.

We asked Kam how the lockdown had affected her work:

 “As a team, we would usually have one weekly catch up early in the week but now I make sure that we meet twice a week. Once at the beginning of the week to focus on the tasks for the week ahead and once mid-week which is a more informal and social meeting and ends with a quiz. Each week a different member of the team has created and provided the quiz, so we’ve had a real variety of formats and topics and it is something we all look forward to. In our efforts to keep connected there is also a weekly whole School catch up which is optional for colleagues to join and provides an update on things going on within the School and the University more widely. Although they weren’t planned this way, they have evolved to include a short update from colleagues from different parts of the School to allow them to share their experience of what’s going on. For example, recently a course finished so the Programme Director spoke about it at this meeting including the challenges faced to suddenly convert to online teaching in a matter of weeks.

“One new initiative we have developed whilst working from home is an online collaborative spreadsheet within Teams which colleagues from different departments across the University can access and update. In April for the first time we had to enrol 200 PSE students as online distance learners. With the input of colleagues from other departments, this shared spreadsheet has allowed us to keep track of where they are in the enrolment and billing process and has worked really well. It provides a live picture of their current status which has been very helpful for planning and it also cuts down on email traffic and meetings so we will keep this way of working for the future.

“I don’t miss the campus as much as I miss the people and look forward to going back but for me lockdown has had a positive side too. For the first six weeks of lockdown my mum was isolating with us. As well as the quality time we spent together, during this time my oldest daughter has learnt to cook with her (something she would never have done with me!) and has developed a passion for cooking. As a family of five we all love our food and this has brought us closer together as we now work together to plan a weekly rota for preparing lunch and dinner.”

This is part of a series of articles on what new ways of working have been like for colleagues.

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