A look back at WST21

By Josephine Aylward, UCD Agile

The week of the 8th March saw our biennial Work Smarter Together event, in an online format.  The theme this year was ‘work smart while being apart’ – we felt this captured the spirit of Work Smarter Together and gave voice to the great efforts being made in every area of UCD during the unprecedented times we are living in.  

Typically the Work Smarter Together biennial event involves a vibrant physical gathering on campus, with external speakers, contributions from UCD colleagues and of course catered networking events.  Our aim with WST21 was to replicate as far as possible the experience of being at a ‘live’ event but to also take advantage of the technologies now at all our finger tips.

We issued our Call to Arms (well.. a Call for Participation) in January and were delighted with the response from all corners of campus. This resulted in over 66 colleagues presenting 23 sessions spread over the week.

In order to make it easier for everyone to attend at least part of the event, we decided to offer short – 30 minutes or 1 hour – sessions.  We created a calendar with slots for  presenters to make their preference, and this then formed the programme for the event which was accessed via Google Calendar with the added benefit of using one Zoom link for all the sessions.

Along with the programme of events, we had the traditional Poster Exhibition, which had caused some serious head-scratching during the Agile team’s planning sessions back in December!  How best to make this viable in an online environment?

In the end, we used Google Currents to house the exhibition.  The great thing was that everyone was able to view, post comments and vote for their favourites – which were then presented with the People’s Choice award later in the week.   

Worthy overall winners were chosen by our great panel of judges  – Douglas Proctor, Joe Carthy and Chantelle Guilfoyle. Our People’s Choice judges were Caroline Mangan and our own Jeremy Britton.

Worthy overall winners were chosen by our great panel of judges  – Douglas Proctor, Joe Carthy and Chantelle Guilfoyle. Our People’s Choice judges were Caroline Mangan and our own Jeremy Britton.

We encouraged engagement in Google Currents as a way of replacing the physical networking which is a vital part of all of our events, and to help keep the conversation going after the event.  We were delighted to see so many people get involved as the week wore on!

Apart from the really interesting and informative sessions on practical topics (such as Google Workspace, Excel PowerQuery, LinkedIn Learning, to name but a few from a long list) we had some really fun additions to the schedule in the form of a session with members of the UCD Community Choir – which went down a treat!

On Friday 12th, we had a brilliant presentation from members of Multicultural Employee Network UCD (MENU) – they entertained us with a fun quiz, testing our knowledge of all things inter-cultural! A wonderful way to spend a Friday morning.

Our external speakers – Breda McCague and Ross Gaynor – were a big hit too.  In our survey after the event, everyone commented on how valuable it is to hear topics that are of personal (versus work) interest and to hear important tips about self-care during this strange time.

For anyone who missed the event, you can see all the presentations and videos at WST21 at Work Smarter Together

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our post-event survey providing us with valuable feedback which helps us plan future events.

The Memory Wall captures some of the comments made by attendees, thank you to all who contributed!

Coming up next – our annual WST Summer school on 13-15 July 2021.

We hope to see you there!

 

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