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Durham University

Organisation Development


CONNECTING is all about being there, talking, listening and feeling a sense of belonging. Evidence shows that CONNECTING with others; colleagues, friends, and wider Durham communities helps promote your overall wellbeing. It does this by building a support network, which is something we will all benefit from especially as we look to pivot and deliver learning digitally.

“The main emphasis from me has been around wellbeing and we have made sure that every member of our departmental community (academics, PS staff, phd students, and research staff) is able to talk to someone on a regular basis, to discuss challenges, difficulties, lifehacks that are working for them, and who can bring concerns to the leadership team where necessary. ”

Academic Head of Department

When did you last catch up with a colleague, or group of colleagues?

Building strong relationships with others, exchanging ideas with colleagues, is an essential part of building resilience and boosting wellbeing. Whilst it may not be as simple as bumping into colleagues in the kitchen, or at the top of cardiac hill, the new technology available can still facilitate our connections.

Microsoft Teams is available as part of Office 365 suite, and is available to all colleagues in the Durham community.

Channels within Teams:

You can set up channels within your faculty/department/school Microsoft Teams. You could establish a ‘social’ channel, or maybe a ‘digital learning’ channel to exchange conversations on all things virtual learning, as well as kids, hobbies etc.

Chat within Teams:

There is also a ‘chat’ facility on Microsoft Teams which means you can connect and engage with anyone within the Durham community. This can be a single individual, or group of individuals.

- Why not use this to host a virtual coffee morning? (colleagues in Physics recently held one and exchanged ideas and insights into preparing for the new academic year.)

- If you, or members of your discipline have been able to return to campus in some capacity work out a buddy system to help each other whilst working in this blended/hybrid way.

Help Us Help You (HUHY):

This is a Microsoft Team that all colleagues can be part of, and contribute to. It boasts a variety of channels including: Common Room, Digital remote working, Supporting research, Supporting teaching, and Wellbeing and working differently.

Durham University Chaplaincy:

Are an integral part of the welfare provision and pastoral support for both staff and students.

They offer a listening service which operates through the University's Chaplaincy Network for students or staff who want to touch base on any concerns or anxieties or are looking for someone to listen attentively.

To make an appointment to meet online with one of the Chaplains, email

Remember you don't have to be religious to talk to a Chaplain.

What are our colleagues doing?

Information and advice for colleagues can be found on our Covid-19 response page.