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Welcome to my workspace - Kelly O'Hanlon

As working from home becomes increasingly important to our staff and students, our ‘Welcome to my workspace’ feature allows our staff to share their work environments, offer tips on best practice, and gives us a chance to reflect upon the new normal. This week we talk to Senior Lecturer in PR, Kelly O'Hanlon.

Kelly's Office

My home workspace is...

Filled with things I love and that inspire me. During the first lockdown, I had to move around the house a fair bit whilst juggling work and looking after my two sons, one of whom we tried to do home-school activities with. I could be found at the breakfast bar, the dining table, the sofa or in the playroom, laptop balanced, keeping an eye on home school projects or a toddler attempting to take his first steps whilst responding to emails. It was a juggle! Fortunately now, they are both at school or nursery during the day, so I can make the most of my study. It’s a spare bedroom that I decorated and made my own during the summer. I have a large desk with shelving to hold books, items I collect and to showcase my Harry Potter collection. I am quite the fan, so there is a bit of a theme to the room as I have so many books and memorabilia. My students don’t get to see all this during our Teams classes though, as it’s all on the wall behind the computer!

My favourite thing about my workspace is..

It is 100% my room, with photos and books and everything that I’m interested in. I don’t share this room, except for when guests come to stay, and it has a really calm feel to it, plus it is on the sunny side of our house and with everything being so quiet outside, I can hear birds tweeting away. There’s also a day bed, which is the view students have when I am teaching online, so if I want to take a break, I don’t have to go too far.

My workspace companion(s) is/are...

Two cats that like to sunbathe wherever the sunshine streams in through the windows. Arty likes to jump up on the desk and surprise students with a cameo in some of my classes, and Sherlock is often on the windowsill when I am teaching. My dog Watson patiently waits for me to give him another snack when I am working from home, and he can sometimes be found snoozing on the bed behind me. My husband, who works in comms and engagement for several NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, is also working from home, but he has his own study and there are some days where we don’t even cross paths, we are so busy. Occasionally he manages to sneak a cup of tea in whilst I am running an online class!

Kelly's Office

While working, I like to listen to...

Nothing at all, if I am working. During the summer, the soundtrack to my working was Hey Duggee, a fun CBeebies cartoon my youngest loves, or Animal Crossing, which the eldest is obsessed with. Now, aside from Arty snoring, I can enjoy more peace and quiet during the day. However, I start the day with the news, then if I’m doing administrative tasks or taking a lunchbreak, like most people, I’ve got a few Netflix box sets to dip into. I have found that working from home has given me more opportunity to catch up on podcasts, such as the Future PRoof series, and to listen into webinars, of which the Chartered Institute of Public Relations has had an impressions series of this year. But now it’s December, I think the Christmas song playlist needs to come out…

Since working from home, I’ve discovered...

How quickly the day goes but how much you can also fit in, when there are less distractions. I do have some really productive days, which is very rewarding, but of course I do miss being around my colleagues and having chats and discussions with my students, in person. The contact I have with fellow School of Media staff and my students quickly became highlights in my working day when all this began.

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