Throughout lockdown we’re publishing articles written by our advocates all about their experiences of home working. We may have changed the way we’re doing things but we’re still providing advocacy support to our customers through a host of online, over-the-phone and socially distanced methods.

In today’s article, Louise tells us how she’s adjusted to being an advocate working from home.

I am not one to shy away from a challenge. When the Government advice said we should work from home, we made final organisational changes to enable us to be ready and equipped, and my newest challenge commenced.

Having never worked from home before, but with plenty of courses under my belt – evidence I was disciplined enough to make this work – I set off for home at 5pm ready to give this my best shot!

On Thursday 19th March I had my first working from home day. I had a productive morning making telephone calls and keeping in touch with some of the people I support and also with their families, staff that care for them and checking everyone was okay with the new restrictions placed on us all.

The afternoon wasn’t quite so smooth, some IT difficulties meant I had to phone our I.T. support and this really highlighted some training opportunities for me. I.T. has always been a struggle; me and technology don’t always get on. I’m sure it senses my fear and plays up accordingly.

I was, and am still able, to chat with my colleagues, both in my team and across the organisation from all four offices having successfully followed step-by-step instructions to download Microsoft Teams. Just a few clicks and we can dial in to a full staff meeting, team meetings or one-to-one chats. It’s so good to see people face-to-face and know everyone is experiencing the same struggles, both with the COVID 19 daily updates placing restrictions on us and preventing us from continuing with our daily lives as we ordinarily would, and with adapting to the new way of working too. It really was reassuring. We are not alone in this.

I quickly realised working from my dining room table was impractical so I moved to a bedroom. Using a dressing table as my desk, it suddenly felt much better – like I was better equipped somehow. This is still my workspace today. This is where I intend to work until we can return to the office environment I miss so much. I miss the feel of the office, the voices you hear in the background without knowing who or what. I miss the tea round, the chat between our work and during our shared lunchtimes. And I miss my colleagues. Thank goodness for technology and being able to keep in touch.

Stay safe everyone, look for the positives in this and every situation you find yourself in. There are many people doing many good things. People are once again looking out for each other. Letters are being sent in place of face-to-face contact and these are gratefully received.

Random bags of goodies; both essential and often with a treat are appearing on people’s doorsteps. Rainbows and Teddy Bears are carefully hung and placed in windows for us to look out for if we are able to go out (to the shops, for work, or as part of our one daily exercise route.)

The Rainbows are made with love, often hand drawn/hand made and displaying a message from us in our homes thanking the NHS and other key workers. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

‘Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.’