To address workplace isolation, the department of Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (HEaLL) hosted a departmental coffee session on Friday, 11 March 2022, to boost the spirit of collegiality amongst staff members.
The ingenuity was inspired by scholarly work at the University of Namibia that recommends creating workplace affinity groups to combat the culture of anti-socialization, loneliness, and burnout that is so often associated with the profession of academia.
The session brought together staff members from all departments in the School of Education under the Faculty of Education and Human Sciences. During the session, staff members from diverse backgrounds had the chance to interact with one another over breakfast.
Dr. Sadrag Panduleni Shihomeka, head of the department and driver of the initiative, remarked that a positive and nurturing social environment improves teamwork and creates a space where individuals feel recognised during a brief introduction of the event.
“Optimistic social relationships between employees build a strong company culture that stresses respect, trust and helps to build a successful workforce. To this effect, the department recognised the need to introduce activities to foster positive social relations”, said Dr. Shihomeka.
He further stated that the Social Coffee Sessions foster synergy, positive internal culture, and socialisation among staff members in diverse departments and specialisations. He added that “a happy workforce is a productive workforce”.
Ms Helena Naitsuwe Amadhila, lecturer and chairperson of the Social Coffee Session, announced that the coffee session will take place every Friday between 10 and 11 am, at Main or Khomasdal Campus. “The sessions are aimed at attracting commonality and creating social bonding. Each department gets a rotational chance to host the social event each Friday”, said Amadhila.
Although the event is a new concept at the University of Namibia, Dr. Shihomeka encouraged staff to look into creating other departmental leisure-orientated activities.
“At HEaLL, we support social gatherings and encourage each Faculty/Unit/Department/Centre to create leisure-oriented, or office detoxing sessions for staff members to relax and socialize with other colleagues”, urged Dr. Shihomeka.
About the department of Higher Education and Lifelong Learning
The department of Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (HEaLL) formerly known as the Department of Lifelong Learning and Community Education (DLLCE) was established in 1997. The department’s mandate is to develop capable, well-educated and skilled citizens who are able to compete in a diversified, sustainable and knowledge-based international economy, which meets the development goals of the country.
HEaLL offers academic programmes from Diploma to PhD level. These include Bachelor of Education Honors, Master of Education in Adult Education, Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education, and a PhD in Adult Education.