Skip to content

What We Learned From Our Talis Insight Interactive Workshops

Emma Dodd

During our November Talis Insight webinars, we saw some fantastic webinars and discussions and had the opportunity to bring our community together to share best practice and experiences from their peers. 

Speaking to our community daily, our Services Team identified three key themes which were important to our universities and facilitated interactive workshops on these.They utilised an online discussion board where participants could add their own post-it-notes around the questions posed on the topic. 

The first of these was ‘Onboarding team members remotely’. We understand that a number of colleagues have joined institutions and teams without meeting them in person. We asked ‘how do you ensure new team members feel connected?’ there were some great ideas shared including:

  • Staff buddy assigned to understand the culture 
  • Casual coffee video calls 
  • Scheduling weekly meeting touchpoints 
  • Video meeting introductions 

There have been a variety of ways that positive working relationships have been developed online. Our community shared their approaches: 

  • Delivering and planning successful projects collaboratively working 
  • Creating online communities of shared interest, such as hobbies and pets to encourage non-work conversations 
  • Making informal coffee catch-ups optional to attend 
  • Increasing more informal communication, including emoticons 

Our second title was ‘Delivering a Library Service in a changing landscape.’ We wanted to examine what issues libraries have identified and addressed over the last couple of years to continue delivering an effective service to their users. 

The range of responses we received highlighted the different approaches that institutions have been pursuing, some of the interesting points included:

  • Academics are now more willing to engage in online library training
  • Student recognition of the importance of library as a place to work (and the challenges of providing space in a social distancing environment)
  • Some universities have recognised the benefits of hybrid working for staff
  • The growing demand for e-books to be made available

Finally, we discussed ‘What does a hybrid working environment look like?’

We asked our Talis Insight Webinars attendees what types of tools have been adopted and used during the hybrid working environment, of which there is a wide range, this included: MS Teams, Jabber, Slack and Zoom. 

Our community shared how there are some aspects they have lost from working in a hybrid way:

  • An unpleasant commute – not a bad loss! 
  • Challenging to have casual conversations with colleagues to get to know them 
  • The loss of serendipity was mentioned by a couple of our attendees
  • Observing students and library users to monitor the service experience

In addition to the losses, our community shared the things they have gained from working in a hybrid way, there were a number of positive contributions which included: 

  • The ability to concentrate more 
  • A reduction in commuting and childcare costs 
  • A better work/life balance
  • Ability to attend more CPD events due to flexible hours 
  • A forced look at improving efficiencies 

Overall, it was fantastic for our community to share and dive into these relevant areas to them, understanding how others have both faced the same challenges, and to share approaches they have taken. 

Talis are always looking at ways to support our community networking. If there are particular topics you would like us to cover either in a webinar, blog or future event, do let us know! 

You are able to find out about our upcoming webinars and register to attend to receive the recording by checking our events page, monthly newsletters and reminders via our Service Announcements mailing list. 

We would love to hear from you! If you have any topics you would like us to cover in our upcoming webinars or if you have any areas of best practice or projects you would like to share with our community, do let us know by emailing and we’d be delighted to host a webinar with you.

More from the blog