VC's Update - IWD and flexible work that works for you

6 March 2020

Hi everyone,

I've been at home this week with a runny nose, mild fever and headache, and a cough - not symptoms you want to be wandering around campus with right now.  You'll be glad to know that it is just a common cold - and yes - I was tested for COVID-19 as well. Staying home from work when you are sick is always a good idea - but this year it will be essential.

With my time at home, I've had the chance to think about working from home and what that looks like for me. I'm not encouraging you to work from home when you are sick, but sometimes your mind can't switch off or you have a meeting you don't want to miss. I've been attending many of my meetings via ZOOM, which was a nice way to stay connected to the office. And with my commitment to making ANU carbon negative, I'll be looking at ways I can sometimes phone into meetings, rather than travelling there in person, especially interstate or overseas.

On Monday night Professor Rory Medcalf launched his new book, 'Contest for the Indo-Pacific', which was attended by large number of government representatives and members of the diplomatic Corps. Even though I couldn't attend due to my illness, it was great to hear that both Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Senator the Hon Penny Wong attended and spoke at the launch. I'm very proud that ANU plays an important role in providing advice to both sides of our government on the most important issues of our times. For those of you like me who couldn't be there, you can listen to the recording here. Congratulations Rory!

Earlier today, we held our International Women's Day event, bringing together some incredible women who are making a difference in climate change. From research to communications, it is clear that our response to climate change must be a multidisciplinary effort and we each have something to contribute. 

At the IWD event, I also spoke about the importance of flexibility in the workplace.  I want everyone at ANU to have the ability to balance their work and other life responsibilities - and I want to ensure these responsibilities do not have a gendered component imposed by the University. Flexibility goes beyond working part-time, changing your start or finish time or accessing leave to support outside commitments. It is about where you work, when you work, and how you work. Here at ANU we are fostering and developing the environment in which we can simultaneously excel at our roles while fully participating in our broader lives. I encourage you - regardless of your gender -  to speak with your supervisor about ways you may want to work more flexibly - I have a number of staff in my office that have arrangements in place that work for them and for me, which ensures that our office runs more smoothly.

As you may have seen, University House continues to remain closed following the hailstorm and heavy rain in January. It has been a difficult decision, but we have closed the House until next year to ensure that repairs and renovations can be completed. I was pleased that the Drill Hall Gallery staff were able to remove the artwork without damage to this collection. It has been a tough few weeks for the team and we are thinking of ways to support our staff. Uni House will continue to provide some off-site catering so if you have an event, please reach out and see if they can work with you.

Finally, with the closure of University House, they will be holding a wine sale to clear the cellar. The event is on Friday 13 March and it's a great opportunity to pick up some great wine - I hear they have some of my Pinot Noir left - and it will not be bad luck if you get some of it!

I hope you have a nice long-weekend, I'm looking forward to spending some time with my family and working around the Farm.

Brian