Championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

8 March, 2019

Geraldine Hough, Human Resources Project Officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), tells us more about her average day at work, although as anyone employed here will tell you, there is no such thing as a typical day in the office.

Emails, catch up and events

My working day starts early (around 7am) to avoid spending my commute stuck in traffic. Early mornings do have some perks including incredible sunrises and the odd grazing deer. It’s great to be able to take advantage of the flexible working system at BAS, to help relieve some pressure on my daily journey to and from work.

First, I catch up with my emails which include requests for information, training opportunities and legal updates. To some these may not seem like the most exciting topics, but they are crucial for keeping up with the latest developments in creating positive work environments.

8am is time for a coffee break and a quick catch up with the rest of the team.  It is really important to make time to see how everyone is so that we can support each other if needed.

The first part of my morning is filled with booking rooms and sending invitations for a number of internal events.  Finding a spare room can be challenging but the energy created by so much going on is one of the many things I love about working at BAS.  This week, I have been arranging wellbeing sessions on healthy eating, stress management and sleep, as well as finalising details for our training programme.

Communicating with colleagues

I’m continuing work on our Athena SWAN action plan for equality which requires a lot of data on gender, ethnicity, and disability.  This gives me the opportunity to visit many different departments across BAS. Communicating face-to-face gets me away from my desk and personally I find it a more efficient way of communicating – no back and forth across computers.  It is also a great way to find out more about my colleagues and their interesting projects.

Lunch time walks

At midday, I try to get out for a walk, it helps that one of my colleagues gets outside each lunchtime, encouraging me to do the same.  We’re lucky that our offices are located close to a range of routes, perfect for lunchtime strolls surrounded by fields and woodland.

Challenging but Inspiring

Afternoon activities vary from meetings to analysing the information gathered from staff across the organisation. This week, I’ve been focussing on planning for stress awareness month in April. This involves thinking about the types of activities BAS can run for staff to mark the campaign. Ideas include a mix of workshops, fun sessions like meditation and taster sessions in gardening, crafting and juggling.

Due to the geographical distance between BAS Cambridge and our colleagues at sea and on our stations, it’s challenging to make sure everyone is included in our wellbeing campaigns. Having said that, the range of novel ideas that staff come up to help us achieve this is always inspiring.

Fulfilling and different

Every day at BAS is different.  I can be going from a spreadsheet with very long calculations to having a serious discussion about mental health, then laughing over tea and biscuits within the space of a few hours.  I’m really lucky to have such a varied and fulfilling role within a passionate organisation.