Top tips: IT staff recommendations

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Staff from across IT Services share their top tips to help increase productivity and look after your wellbeing.

Have you got a top tip that could make colleagues’ lives a bit easier? We’d love to hear it! Drop Lucy Turner a line in Teams – or email its-communications@contacts.bham.ac.uk.


Add public holidays to your calendar – for the UK and more!

Katy Leighfield
CX and Communications Manager

I’ve recently discovered that Outlook can automatically add public holidays to your calendar. This has two huge benefits: It saves time adding in UK holidays yourself; and, you can add public holidays for other countries as well. This’ll come in really handy for collaborating with our colleagues at the Dubai campus – and of course, any projects in China or other countries.

Find out how to add holidays to your calendar in Outlook for Windows here.


Sit less, move more; and reduce digital distractions

Mark Cooke
College IT Manager, Engineering and Physical Sciences

I’ve noticed whilst working from home that it’s all too easy to sit for hours at a time at my desk without moving – it’s really not good for your health! My step tracker now reminds me to get up and move around every hour; if you don’t have one, you could also just set up a timer on your phone, or a calendar reminder.

Sometimes, Team notifications can get very busy – so I’ve silenced most of them on my phone, apart from meeting join requests, to cut down on digital distraction and duplication when I’m at my desk.


Juggling work and home life with the MS Teams mobile app

Tara Lamplough
Head of Business Partnering

I’ve found the Microsoft Teams mobile app really helpful in managing the more flexible style of working I need currently at home.

As I spend half of the daytime away from the computer, looking after my son, I find having the mobile app means I can still respond to quick messages or take brief calls on the go and not leave issues or questions hanging around until the evening or next day.

To ensure there is some work/life boundary I’ve then set Quiet hours and Quiet days up in the Teams notifications settings – so I don’t receive any Teams notifications on my phone at unsociable hours or on weekends. I deliberately don’t have work email on my phone, so this combined with the Teams quiet time helps me have a proper break from work when I need it.


Two handy Windows 10 features to help when working from home

Mark Connop
College of Medical and Dental Sciences

I’ve found two features in Windows 10 really helpful whilst working from home.
Focus Assist can tune how many notifications you get – perfect, for example, when you’re working to a tight deadline and Teams is busy with notifications. You can set it to “focus” during certain hours, and tune how many notifications you get, so you can work uninterrupted. It’s called Quiet Hours in earlier versions of Windows 10, but does the same thing.
Night Light is handy for those working late – giving the screen warmer colours, so reducing the blue light effect and helping you to sleep when you log off for the day. This is only available on newer versions of Windows 10.


Overcoming procrastination

Ian McBrideIan McBride
Core Infrastructure Services

Overcoming Procrastination in LinkedIn Learning is a useful course to watch. Since restricted campus access began, I’ve found it can be difficult to get stuck into a piece of work – for various reasons, from outside distractions, to a particularly boring task, to a bit of creative block without the stimulation of being in the office with colleagues. The course also picks up on production before perfection – act first and then perfect it later, something which IT Services could sometimes benefit from.”


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