The greatest people persons working from home - what could go wrong?
Our volunteer coordinators have big responsibilities, not only making sure that our clients and befrienders are well matched but that their relationships continue to flourish over time. Now their usual avenues of providing support have been cawed from under them and they are trying to adapt quickly to new methods of remote working.
Marketa and Shonagh are a wonderful, self-effacing duo who have been working hard to adapt and remain flexible while maintaining the organisation's strong, effective practices. Working remotely has had a huge impact on the way they can communicate with each other, let alone with others in the team.
'The biggest challenge is dealing with the increased volume of applicants and ensuring a consistent service,' Shoangh says, ready to face this challenge head on. ‘Keeping in touch to support our current volunteers is more important than ever and, as always, is a juggling act, but it is more challenging when you can't just lean across your desk and get a colleague's perspective on something.'
Marketa, our longest-standing volunteer coordinator, has a similar perspective:
'We were overwhelmed with applications for the telephone befriender role. We got over 30 responses within a day! Since the recruitment process is very lengthy, it is challenging to keep people in the loop and be responsive to their requests. And there are also certain challenges in remote working. I had to adjust my living room for work and it is a weird feeling, spending my free time in the same environment where I spend 8 hours working every day.'
In general, working from home is not so bad. Marketa enjoys quick yoga breaks and Shonagh's fabulous kids bring her ‘elevensies’ every day.
'Suprisingly, I am perhaps in an enviable situation?' Shonagh says. 'Having joined just a couple months ago, I haven't experienced how the organisation worked previously so I am just getting stuck into the current way of working. For me, there's no sense of 'that's not how we normally do things'. Also the current 'flux' is very exciting. It feels fantastic playing a proactive role in the effort to reduce isolation and loneliness which we see happening nationwide.'
Marketa: 'I feel we can rise to the challenges given to us and it is great to be collaborating with Shonagh. Hopefully, we will be organised moving forwards and set realistic targets to maintain the progress we have started.'
Shonagh nods, once again in agreement. 'The feeling of being disconnected from 'normal' everyday life can only help us in the work with our clients.'