Getting the doing done during lockdown- USM Remote Working Group

By Amy McDonald and Jeremy Britton, UCD Agile

In the last WST Newsletter we wrote about how we had started using Microsoft Teams to support service delivery continuity across the offices operating the Unified Support Model.

One of the many challenges we are dealing with now is making sure that we know what we need to know when we need to know it. Sometimes we seek that information from others and sometimes we create it ourselves. We would normally overcome this by connecting in with our various networks on campus, seeking their input and expertise. In an “at-distance” world, this is not possible.

In a nutshell, we wanted to bring together people trying to do their best in a challenging situation and give them a means to connect with others in a similar situation. The Remote Working Group is a response to the above challenge and came about after the first two weeks after the campus closure. Our goal was to bring some people together to –

  1. share approaches and alternatives they had found helpful in carrying out their roles at distance
  2. identify areas where approaches and alternatives had yet to be discovered and help people come together to find them.

We started with a small group of people from a mix of Schools & College Offices and Registry, asking them to think about how they were managing to ‘do the doing’ of their roles and how they were connecting in with their team or “Network” of people they usually work with across campus.

A key lesson we have identified is how effective and important the group is for sharing information and ideas. On different weeks we have had presentations or discussions led by colleagues who had found innovative ways for ‘getting the doing done’. We have had the Student Desk present on setting up and using Google Hangouts to chat with students. We have had a member staff from Assessment come to give the group an overview of the new reports available to use during the upcoming exam boards. We’ve also helped the group put together a roadmap of upcoming tasks to have a better sense of what was going to need to be carried out remotely.

The group started with fourteen people (excluding the USM Team) and has grown to a total of forty-five over the last six weeks. As the numbers grow the effectiveness of the network improves.  

If you work in a School or College Office and are interested in coming along, you can send us a mail at