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Crawford School introduces our fantastic staff, so you can meet the people of Asia and the Pacific’s leading graduate policy school.
This time, Manager of Communications and Engagement Martyn Pearce tells us how to equip your office to feel like a Bond villain’s lair, and why recording podcasts during the COVID-19 crisis often required additional qualifications in remote IT support.
What does your job involve?
I manage Crawford’s Communications and Engagement team. I’m Editor of the School’s Policy Forum site, and producer and occasionally presenter of its podcast series – Democracy Sausage and Policy Forum Pod. It’s a busy job – we publish on Policy Forum at least twice a day, put out multiple podcasts every week, manage 17 social media channels, and work with partners from all around the university who want to engage with policy audiences. I have an amazing, hardworking, and super-creative team that I work with though, and everything we do is a real team effort.
How did your job change while working from home?
During the bushfire crisis we had experience of working from home and that gave us the chance to put in place some processes to make that transition easier, so in that sense it’s been pretty smooth.
Tell us about your home office.
I have two laptops going at once which makes me feel like some kind of rubbish Bond villian. One is usually whatever I’m working on at that time, the other is the very active Slack group the team works in. I do, however, share the office with my bike which is currently set up on a smart trainer so that I can do virtual rides – I’m a keen cyclist. I have a recurring nightmare that one day one of those laptops will flick into an open Zoom meeting while I’m wearing my cycling bib shorts. Nobody deserves to see that.
What challenges were there in doing your job at home?
The podcasts were a particular challenge for all of us. Queuing up guests in remote locations is easy enough, making sure that they have the technology to participate, and the technological know-how to navigate their way through the process is much harder. We all spent a lot of time over the last few months doing Zoom meetings where we’ve had to show people everything from how to install a new browser to how to use their own mobile phones. The other big challenge has been making sure that everyone involved in the pods has the tools they need to do it. I live in Yass, and it’s meant a few emergency drives into Canberra to deliver microphones, pick up SD cards and so on.
Have you started any new working-from-home routines or habits?
Plenty! I do a virtual cycle in the morning before work so I can get some exercise – this morning it was 40 kilometres around rural France. I make a pot of tea at 11, make sure I spend some time hanging out with my dogs, and try to switch off for a few hours in the evening.
Can you share any tips or advice you’ve learnt from this year?
Be kind to yourself and to others. This is uncharted waters for all of us, and we’re all learning on the run, so being patient, generous, and forgiving is a must.
Is there anything you will miss when you return to working on campus?
The option of wearing track suit bottoms to school meetings.