From Kevin’s Desk: Small Changes in the Right Direction (2/19/2021)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

As I mentioned last week, our positive energizers have kicked off a new challenge focused on compassion and kindness. Research shows that intentionally practicing compassion and kindness towards yourself and others results in numerous benefits, including increased happiness, improved medical outcomes, reduced stress, and increased social connectedness. I encourage you to learn more by talking with your positive energizer about strategies you can use to incorporate these practices into your life.

I also encourage you to join me in making a related 1% positive change – a simple thing such as beginning every email with a friendly greeting or just taking a minute to ask a colleague about something you know is important to them. One thing I like to do is arrive at meetings a few minutes early, so I have time to say hello and visit informally with folks before the meeting starts. Making time to check in with colleagues not only shows you care, but also adds a little positive energy to your day as well!  Small changes made by each of us can add up to a better workplace for all of us. Check out this fun, short video that explains why we’re focused on making 1% changes. 

Our colleagues in University Human Resources recently released the findings of their COVID-19 survey, which show a continued interest in flexible work options among many university staff. The findings also highlight the ongoing concerns about health and wellbeing and increased stress caused by the pandemic. You can read more about the survey findings in the Record.

Speaking of COVID-19, I read recently that scammers are using personal info on vaccination cards for fraud and identity theft. If you post an image on social media after you get your vaccine, experts say to show only a sticker or possibly a landmark, such as the Michigan Stadium scoreboard – not a pic of your vaccination card. Better to be safe than sorry!

It’s been cold here in Austin and, as you may have read, we have been without power for most of the week. I know there is a lot of snow and cold in Ann Arbor, too, and I hope you are staying safe and warm!

With much appreciation and gratitude,