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2018 Winter conference

21st Century University Workplace

Eat | Live | Work | Play

Work, play, learning and laughter: Conference round-up

Leeds Beckett University host CUBO's biggest winter conference to date.

Professor Peter Slee, VC of Leeds Beckett, opened with a look at the four big trends identified by futurologists - globalisation, population, environmental cost and technological convergence - and their impact on higher education. Consultant Michele Moore then provided an evidence-based formula to boost staff engagement, retention and productivity, and with it customer satisfaction.

In Life at Planet Brewdog, Andrew Marrins shared the inside story of this high-energy, fast-growing company, from their outdoor activity recruitment programme to the high-performance work culture and charitable foundation. A key takeaway was the need to support staff through their constantly evolving roles in today’s workplace.

This year's hot topics were both research-focused: Tom Laskey of Sodexo on global university trends and Jo Hardman, CUBO Vice Chair, on benchmarking and future research into the impact of campus services.

Day one rounded off with a panel debate on emerging food trends chaired by Professor David Russell, covering current trends from veganism to gut health. All strands of the debate pointed to a ‘fragmentation of healthy eating’, where the challenge is to cater for different diets and lifestyles while remaining inclusive by offering this choice in shared eating spaces.

Our food and drink choices throughout the conference were certainly varied and inclusive, with Vegan Punks cooking up katsu curry and vegan burgers, Brewdog treating us to a Beer tasting, and Leeds Beckett showcasing their best chefs at the conference dinner.

Thursday got off to a flying start as Carnegie Great Outdoors had everyone out of their seats in a game of “human bingo,” demonstrating unique skills like the moonwalk and the macarena in a laughter-filled session focused on personal and professional growth.

Jo Haigh’s talk on directors in the 21st Century included tips on managing millennials as well as sound governance advice. Digital guru Simon McCaskill then illustrated how to work smarter and complete a week’s work in just four days, thanks in part to JOMO – the joy of missing out! There were also insights into the next generation workforce and all-important influencer.

The final session from the Yorkshire Rows was the awe-inspiring story of their physical and mental journey preparing for and crossing the Atlantic: a motivating end to a packed conference programme.

It was then time for delegates to experience a physical challenge of their own, rowing (indoors) in aid of CUBO’s chosen charity, Student Minds. Seven pairs, each featuring a CUBO member and partner, vied to go the greatest distance in two minutes. Bets were taken, the distances were impressive and there were some dark horses among the competitors! It was a great end to the conference and has so far raised £400.

“The best Winter Conference I have ever attended, and I've seen a few!”

Jon Greenwood, Director of Commercial Services, University of York.

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