It’s okay to… talk.

By Corinna Chandler, Research Administrator in Bristol Medical School and Mental Health Champion

The University’s senior team are actively encouraging staff to find ways to support their wellbeing, and to connect with others in a meaningful way as part of this. For starters, you could try some of the following:

  • Book meetings/appointments for less than the default suggested diary times of 30 minutes/1 hour etc. For example, a 30-minute meeting would become 25 minutes, 1 hour would be 50 minutes, etc. The remainder can be used to discuss non-work topics, or to give each other a break between meetings.
  • Meet with colleagues online or in person (observing current COVID-19 guidelines, of course) to talk about non-work topics. You shouldn’t feel that you need to “make up the time” for this.
  • Use a screen break or a coffee or lunch break to call a friend or family member.
  • Join or set up an interest group to meet with colleagues online to discuss books/films/crafts/quizzing etc (see “Sir Craftalot” Yammer group or the Newbsletter).
  • “Work alongside” a colleague or friend in an online environment, for example by setting up a Teams meeting in the background.

Ultimately, we want staff to feel empowered to reclaim some time during the working week to reconnect – with their colleagues, or friends and family, and take time away from their screens or regular screen work. The way we work has changed dramatically; we need to think about how we can use the technology available to us to make changes – even small ones – to how we deal with the current situation. Staff need to feel that they can actively address their need to connect with others.

In the next post, we ask staff to look at how their daily social interactions have changed since March 2020.

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