UCL Ear Institute


All Staff Away Day - August 2019

On the 8 August 2019 we ran our first all staff away day in the Jeremy Bentham Room at main campus.

There was a fantastic uptake with over 75% attendance from across the Institute staff and PhDs.  A big thankyou to the keynote speakers for providing some taster talks some of the Research activity around the EI. The round table discussions have provided some excellent topics for leadership review, and I think we all agree (note - the feedback confirmed it) that the BBQ and social event were a great success.

Our follow up survey (completed by ~50% of staff/students) indicated that the overall day was a success and so one of the first outcomes is that we will run an Away Day on an annual basis, with programme planning to incorporate more staff and ensure the social aspect remains a focus.
We are encouraged to learn that, overwhelmingly, what most of you liked most about working at the EI were the friendly people and supportive teams and colleagues. The mind cloud offers direct quotes from the Away Day and follow up survey. Of those who responded to the follow up survey, 84% also noted you experienced a good work-life balance.

Popular terms from away day feedback.

Social and well-being aspects of working life were a strong theme throughout the day and the follow up survey confirmed how important this is to staff. One of the major outcomes of the day are plans to set up a range of new EI Teams.

There was a good response from members who would be eager to be involved in each of: a Green Team, an Events Team and an EDI Team (including Athena Swan). We do have an initial list of volunteers and there were several people who indicated support for this anonymously. It is important that the teams include EI members representing the different groupings (1) academic staff (PIs and teaching fellow), 2) professional services, 3) post-docs and 4) PhD students) so please do contact Jo Innes j.innes@ucl.ac.uk if you would like any further information or simply to volunteer for one or more of the teams

A new EI Events Team will facilitate the creation of more social events to add to our current monthly Final Fridays, including the Festive Celebration, the annual Away Day and Welcome Wednesdays.

Michelle has already coordinated a new EI Space Team that is currently focusing on desk provision but will also be looking at the how we can improve the aesthetics and accessibility of our shared spaces.  For example, the survey indicated strong support for updating the well-being room, the atrium and the rooftop terrace, and through the EI Space Team there will be a call out for volunteers to move these forward shortly.

Internal communication between work units/groups was also highlighted as an area for improvement. Some areas of the Institute have significant activity (although not always well sign-posted) whereas it is lacking in other areas. We would like to work with the groups to improve internal comminution and to better highlight these and activities around the EI, including:

Friday Ear Talks which currently include both internal Work-In-Progess (WiP) talks and our External Seminar programme.

ECR/post-doc Group Meeting – with mentorship championed by Maria Chait and Alice Milne.

Also, as another outcome of the Away Day, we would like set up a new PhD Student Group meeting, volunteers to lead on this please contact Jo Innes.