Learning at Work Week - Change at Kent
7 October 2020
As part of Learning at Work Week, today we are looking at the theme of change. We have asked two members of staff to give us an insight in to what change has been like for them.
Amy Terry, Trainer & Digital Specialist in the Talent and Organisational Development Team
Amy recently joined the T&OD team, and she gave us a brief rundown on what it has been like joining a new team in the midst of a pandemic!
I began my new role as Trainer and Digital Specialist at Kent University a couple of weeks ago and starting during a pandemic has not come without its challenges. Meeting my new team, building relationships and finding out what the office is like are a few things I think we all like to get to know at the beginning, but as we are all encouraged to work remotely this has been difficult.
Fortunately, I was able to spend the first 2 days in the office, getting to know my new surroundings, I was able to meet my line manager, a few colleagues and pick up all the equipment I would need if Boris was to announce another lockdown. Since then I have been working remotely in my conservatory, having regular catch ups with my line manager and introductions to different people across HR. These are my first insights to see how people communicate, the level of tone that is used between colleagues, but it's not the same as seeing how people collaborate and communicate around the office. I am very grateful that everyone has been happy to schedule MS Teams video calls to be able to put faces to names and start building those personal relationships.
I really look forward to the future of my career at Kent University as it is a University with a great reputation. I am hoping to continue my development and growing with the University whilst we are all going through these changes.
Geoff Wilcox, Food and Beverage Manager
Throughout the Spring and Summer term, and now into the Autumn term, Geoff has worked hard to keep catering outlets open whilst adapting to the constantly changing guidelines of the pandemic. Geoff took some time to answer some questions for us on what change has been like on campus.
- What has it been like working on campus during this challenging time?
Before Covid-19 impacted the University, we had been gearing up for one of our biggest summers, so it was very bizarre to suddenly have to switch focus. he overall feeling of campus was a bit eerie, as there was a sudden shift to bustling campus life, to everyone being at home. There were long periods of not seeing people, and then bursts of excitement as you did get to see them. It was also a very frantic time, with the need to react to changing rules and guidelines, and a lot of planning went in to it. Suddenly our focus shifted from an exciting freshers week, to ensuring that students were safely fed!
- What changes have you had to make?
There has been a big change in capacity, and ensuring there is sufficient social distancing in place. We have had to remove the self service nature of the business (but never be shy to ask for more food!). Every process has had to be adapted, even down to the simplest thing such as making a cup of tea, and how that cup is handled to safely give to the customer.
- How has managing your team change?
It has been really difficult. One of our main objectives is customer service and interaction, and my team have known each other for a really long time, so it is hard when you have people wanting to enjoy each others company, but needing to ensure you operate safely. Wearing a face shield for 8 hours a day can also be very hard! its about trying to make sure you have the balance of having a fun space to work in, whilst being responsible and safe.
- Do you have any advice for people facing change?
Role with it, because things cant stay the same forever! You have to be able to adapt and move. For us, at the core is our customer service, and that will always be there, we just have to keep adapting to ensure we are keeping up with what people want.
We want to thank both Amy and Geoff for contributing to todays learning theme. You can find out more about T&OD from our web pages and be sure to visit one of the hard working catering outlets that have adapted so well during an ever changing situation!
Catering on Campus: https://www.kent.ac.uk/catering