First week done.

Friday has come around already, and I want to share my own learning this week about our new ways of working.

Firstly, this will take time to get used to. Next week I will post a blog about managing transitions, because that is what we are the midst of, transitioning from one way of being, working, interacting, to another. And transitions can take time, so lets give ourselves a break if we aren’t making it work just right already. I’ve spoken to all sorts of people this week and their experiences range from chaotic to boring (their choice of words!), and that’s ok; we all have different responsibilities and our family and work lives are merging into one which will take time to balance. I trust that everyone will settle into a new rhythm in time. What word would sum up your week?

Secondly, I’ve noticed I work better if I track the path of the sun through my house. My best “work” set up is at my dining room table, but that is at the back of the house and doesn’t see the sun until the afternoon; on these winter mornings it’s a bit chilly. I’ve taken to checking in with emails and Teams messages over a cuppa first thing whilst wrapped up back there, but then move to the chair by the window at the front of the house where the light and warmth streams in. I can read, jot notes, think and plan and make phone calls from there quite happily. It’s meant an adjustment to the flow of my day but I seem to be settling into it. Negotiating access to wifi bandwidth with two teenagers in the house is probably my most challenging negotiation! Have you worked out where and how you work best?

Third, Microsoft Teams is a lifesaver. I’ll admit I was on board with it already, but it has become an invaluable way of keeping connected with my colleagues without drowning in lengthy email trails. We have team conversations and keep joint working notes to contribute collaboratively to, which ensures we still know what each other is working on. As a wider department we have started to share resources more often and have a channel for social chat and sharing photos from our walks and compete with daily step counts. It enables us to retain our humanity even though we have been physically torn apart. It also means we can keep connected with others, including our core stakeholder group, the People Development Champions (if you want to join this group let us know people.development@canterbury.ac.uk). If you want to learn more about Microsoft Teams the IT department have some great resources, I would encourage giving it a go.

Fourth, I have started a journal to track my thoughts during this life defining period. I think back to when my children were young and wish I had kept a journal then – I have no memory already of their first words or when they took their first steps and that saddens me. In the midst of this painful crisis I am hopeful of some long lasting effects on the way we live our lives, support our communities and respect our environment – I’d like to capture this process unfolding in a personal way so I never forget how it felt. How are you marking your learning and reflections now?

My journal; notebook bought from our fabulous University Bookshop of course.

Final reflection? I snack waaaaaaay too much.

So, how has this week been for you? What have you learned about the way you work? Comment below.

Juliet Flynn, Organisational and People Development Team

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  1. Thanks for the blog Juliet. I too am following the sun around my house, except already my dining room (which has one two walls of windows) gets too warm at some point and I need to find a cooler environment! And yes, documenting things is helping me keep of track of things like ‘have I spoken to people today’ or ‘have I moved my corpus around enough’ 🙂

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