Maintaining an inclusive environment for everyone in the Physics department at Exeter is a priority for our Inclusion Group. Some of our activities focus on meeting recognised standards of good practice from schemes such as Project Juno from the Institute of Physics. In addition to this, we regularly seek feedback and suggestions from staff and students in the department via our annual Pulse check event. One suggestion has been to increase the opportunity for social interaction.
Far from being a superfluous addition to the working day, social interaction at work can be vital for creating an inclusive environment. The increased contact increases social bonds, fostering a sense of belonging and promoting positive working relationships. As well as enhancing collaboration and cooperation, this can help nurture an inclusive environment.
In Physics, we now invite all PhD students, postdocs, academic staff, and professional service staff to meet up twice a month. We started with a monthly Friday afternoon event and then, following requests to widen the scope, added a monthly Tuesday morning event. We currently attract around 30 to 40 people, some who regularly attend and some who drop in occasionally.