One PS: Thank you for thinking outside the inbox

Between 4 November and 15 December, the One PS team set UCL a challenge to ’Think Outside the Inbox’.

This was the first of a number of challenges aimed towards bringing together One PS and putting into practice the UCL Ways of Working. 

Thank you to everyone who got involved. The feedback we’ve received shows that teams across UCL took on this challenge - trialing new ways of working and implementing a range of ideas. Some of these include:

  • ’Email is for confirmation, everything else is for conversation’: We have heard that email is often used as a means of discussing work and many have tried to change their approach. 
  • Team huddles: It is important for teams to spend time with each other and many have introduced a weekly team huddle, some lasting five minutes and others as long as 45. 
  • A ban on non-essential weekend emails: A number of teams have been encouraged to stop sending emails during the weekend, unless business-critical, in an effort to support the wellbeing of staff. 
  • Use technology that is available: We have a range of tools at UCL that support discussion and collaboration such as MS Teams, and many of you are using other free tools like Trello. 
  • ’If you can see them say it’: This one seems obvious... although we appreciate sometimes you do need to confirm something (even to someone in the room). 

In the New Year we’ll share what we’ve learned throughout the challenge with an update on how much email traffic has been reduced and how ISD is responding to some of your suggestions. We’ll also use your feedback update the Think Outside the Inbox webpages and share some examples of good practice that we’ve uncovered through the challenge.

The Think Outside the Inbox challenge will be linked in 2020 with a second challenge - STOP, Collaborate and Listen - which will ask colleagues to consider how we work more closely together and collaborate across UCL teams. While these challenges are being led by the One PS team, we can’t do this alone and we’re calling on the whole of UCL community to get involved. 


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