From left to right: allotment, black Labrador, allotment with yellow flowers

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our everyday lives and as a community, we have all had to adapt to new ways of learning, teaching, working and interacting. 

As we approach almost one year since the first national lockdown, and with the government roadmap now set out for the easing of national restrictions, our Executive team has been reflecting on what they have been doing throughout this period to support their wellbeing, as well as sharing tips on managing remote working.

Phill Dixon – Chief Operating Officer

I am well aware of the challenges faced by colleagues during lockdown and hope that everyone is keeping safe and well.

I was asked to share what I’ve been doing during lockdown to help manage some of the challenges that lockdown brings – so here goes. In February 2020, my family and I took possession of an allotment. I’m no gardener, but we have grown food for the house and had fresh cut flowers well into the autumn last year. We have found the allotment to be a bit of an escape during lockdown. The benefits of being outside in the fresh air, exercising and producing something virtually for nothing I think were significant and a real contrast to what I do on a day-to-day basis at work.

In the winter months, as we could not get to the allotment in the evenings, I tend to walk every day, usually after work with my wife, my sons or all of us as a family. We do around 30 to 40 minutes, which has real benefits including better physical health and improving your mood.

To support continued working from home, I’ve recently bought a Sit Stand desk, which currently sits on top of the dining room table. I found that I was glued to my chair and this desk allows me to stand more during the day whilst working.

In addition, I now tend to be able to have dinner in the evening with my family, even if that means “going back to work” afterwards. I consider this one of the huge benefits of working from home – being able to have dinner together. I rarely managed to do that before as I tended to get home in the early evening most days.

I think my approach during this time has been to try to embrace the fact that we’re in lockdown and really work with it, rather than against it. For me that approach has meant managing lockdown becomes an opportunity to do things a little differently, rather than trying to force fit a way of working or a lifestyle that just isn’t possible at the moment.

Professor Malcolm Todd – Deputy Vice-Chancellor

The last year has been so challenging for all of us and I do hope that everyone in the Leeds Trinity community is coping with the ongoing restrictions. It feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel now with the vaccination scheme. On a more practical note I’m pretty desperate for a visit to my hairdresser!

I’m really lucky to live in the Peak District in Derbyshire and I am surrounded by beautiful countryside which has been a real blessing during this difficult time. Our two-year-old chocolate Labrador called Lola has been such a help and she’s had lots of great walks around Baslow and Curbar Edge. Come rain or shine, I’ve loved getting out before my meetings start or after work to get some fresh air. Once or twice a week I also try and get a 5k run and, although I’m very slow, really enjoy this.

In terms of adapting to remote working, I have recently tried a new approach to reduce how long I spend looking at my computer screen and avoid digital fatigue. I have started scheduling telephone calls instead of meetings on Microsoft Teams. This has enabled me to take control of screen time, it mixes things up and so far this approach has been well-received and the preferred choice by recipients.

I do hope that staff and students are finding a way to keep well and give themselves time and space outside of work. I’ve met so many colleagues online now and hope that very soon we will be able to meet face to face!

Leeds Trinity University established the Trinity Wellbeing community in March 2020 as an online space for staff to connect, share stories and access wellbeing support and resources. Find out more about Trinity Wellbeing and its latest initiatives, including ‘January 900’ and Festive Fortnight.


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