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Spotlight On… Staying connected

With current government guidance advising everyone to stay at home and work from home where possible, it’s important to consider how you’ll keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues during this time.

Whether it’s via a daily Skype call, a morning group message or by holding your own virtual quiz, combatting loneliness and staying connected in the coming weeks is vital for our own wellbeing and for those around us. To help you get inventive with keeping in contact, here are a few things to try:


Netflix Party

From Ru Paul’s Drag Race to The Good Place, Netflix has tons of great shows to help you while away the hours. However, there is an absolute game-changer addition to make your night of Netflix a social one.

The ‘Netflix Party’ Google Chrome extension allows you to select a show, invite friends and hold a live chat while doing so. This mean you watch the same show at the same time while having a chinwag, even if you’re at opposite ends of the country.  

Available on the Netflix Party website.


Words with Friends

To keep the mind stimulated, why not revive the classic ‘Words with Friends’ app on Facebook? The game allows you to invite friends, or play with random opponents online, to a game of virtual scrabble.

Find out more about the game on the Words with Friends Facebook page.


Virtual quiz

If your go-to pub quiz has been cancelled, why not try a virtual quiz to replace it. Websites such as Sporcle and Trivia Plaza have hundreds of pre-made quizzes from naming all the US states to deciding which sport came first: basketball or volleyball?

Not only can you take the quizzes yourself, the multiplayer option allows you and your friends to compete against one another at the same time. If these pre-made quizzes aren’t cutting it, then you can always make your own and challenge others.


Communication routine

Working from home? Advice from Kevin Daniels, professor of organizational behaviour at Norwich Business School, says communication is key.

Prof Daniels said: “Most of the issues that arise from home working can be addressed through regular scheduled communication with managers and co-workers, plus the explicit permission to contact others if needed - although some limits may be needed here to prevent email ping pong.

“The more extensive video communication media will help considerably. Communication needs to be empathic, address the concerns of workers and two-way - so that worker concerns are aired and workers' solutions to problems encountered with IT or other issues can be shared. Setting up worker support groups through online communities can help too.”


Take Five UEA

Throughout the year the team behind the wellbeing initiative, Take Five UEA, have been running events across campus, from board games evenings to computer games sessions at lunchtime. Take Five has now moved to the online platform Discord to continue their events during the COVID-19 outbreak. From this platform you’ll be able to hang out virtually with fellow students, play games and chat to one another at the same time.

You can sign up and join the server here.