Research & Enterprise

A fresh perspective from the Post Award Team

As we move into a new academic year, following a six month shift in working strategies, Michelle Clare – Project Coordinator in the Research & Enterprise Post-Award team - is reflecting on what’s changed, how things operate in our ‘new normal’ working lives, and the support that our academics can access from the team.

Michelle Clare attending an online team meeting at her desk in her home office

There is no arguing that work is very different to what it was in February this year, and if you had told me what was to come, I simply wouldn’t have believed you. When I packed up my things back in the third week of March to help ‘control the virus’, I was naïve enough to think that it would just be for a few weeks, that working from home would be a nice novelty. Admittedly my inner voice did shriek with delight at the prospect of not having to commute the M62 twice a day in rush hour!

Fast forward to today and accepting a Zoom video call with a new project enquiry from somebody I’ve never met, is all just part of my working day. Barnaby Davies from Omnivisto very recently did just that, and his words were, ‘Thank you for accepting my video call into your home from an unknown strange man!’, my response was simply: ‘That’s not a problem, it’s just the way things are now’.

So the concept is evidently still quite alien for some, those who perhaps might find it strange talking shop to someone positioned from their personal lives in their back bedroom/spare room/dining table/anywhere else via a screen, might just feel the line between business and personal life is too blurred. Business attire has been dumbed down and BC (before Covid!) meeting etiquette protocols such as the handshake and the business card exchange are now kind of defunct. But does that really alter the job that we do, the way be build relationships and ultimately the support that we can offer?

While our roles have inevitably evolved and will continue to evolve for some time, I can only see that these are positive and exciting. People seem more available, picking up the phone seems easier because we simply have to in order to replace day to day office dialogue. The lack of office white noise has only enhanced my productivity and my day to day outputs. The very fact of writing this blog post, which is something I would previously procrastinated with, because it takes a certain amount of time and thought space to write down anything meaningful. But at home, I can sit in my quiet place and reflect on my words in calmness at a time when I felt ready to, despite it not being at a time that was core to my working day. And that simply wouldn’t have happened before.

Post Award are working hard and are busier than ever, we are still moving projects forward, we are still talking to academics and to businesses, we continue to join up all the dots and we are still winning new projects! We managed to hold interviews and recruit to a vacant post, and then conducted our first comprehensive Covid-19 secure induction!

The scope of our offering and support available hasn’t changed, we are most certainly here and ready to help you in whichever capacity you may require. The means and methods we go about achieving this are different, and some may be adapting quicker than others but in essence we are responding to change, and that is something the Post Award team have always done due to the diverse range of projects we manage.

Get in touch!

If you would like any help and advice about how the Post Award team could help you, please get in touch with us at PostAwardURE@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

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