Home working – it’s great (isn’t it?)

We have adapted and found ways to keep delivering our project and we are proud of that, but that’s a discussion for a different blog. The focus here is on our Peer Support Workers (PSW’s), the people in our team who normally provide that face to face participant support but are now themselves working from home finding their feet in the different world we all find ourselves in. It’s not easy, and everyone has had up’s and downs that’s for sure (and to be expected).

How have our PSW’s done it? Faced the challenges of working from home, staying positive and motivated, looking after the own wellbeing and then still being able to provide the support that is so important for our participants.

We asked our team of PSW’s and here is how they’re doing it………

The positives: there were quite a few! Lots of people enjoyed being able to focus and concentrate more when they needed to and loved having less travel so more time especially in the mornings. Several people have also surprised themselves by enjoying learning new ways to stay in touch, especially digitally – they expected to not like that bit!

The not so greats: It took people a while to get ‘strict’ on having a ‘home time’ and turning off their laptops/phones and the initial tech set up was tricky at times. Main issue is the lack of face to face contact with ‘other humans’ and all that that gives us. Some felt less able to fully support their participants too but appreciated that it is great that we can keep going in such tricky times.

Keeping organised: Lists and diaries is the name of the game here for pretty much everyone. Helping to keep focussed and providing assurance that they’ve managed to do what they set out to do.

Keeping well and positive: Taking regular breaks was a response from all, even if you must put it in your diary to remember! Focusing on what has been achieved rather than what is not possible (which is why crossing things off a list works well). Allowing yourself to acknowledge how you feel and adapting what you are doing to reflect that when you can i.e.: a simple task if you are perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the current situation. A big one is having a definite ‘home time’ and putting your work away.

Staying Motivated: Sticking to routines, getting up at certain times, proper lunch break and so on. Having goals and rewards, a cuppa and a biscuit once you have achieved a task for example. In true form several responses from our PSW’s were that ‘if our participants can keep going then we certainly can’ and this is the very attitude that makes our PSW’s the great colleagues that they are, and why they are so appreciated by the participants who they support.

The final word is to the pets of our PSW’s who provide ongoing amusement with their snoring and snuffling just at that point when there’s an important work call to make 😊

Teamwork = ‘Mock Interviews’ still an option for our participants

One of the most important skills an employer looks for is the ability to work in a team, and here at HeadsUp we are proud of our track record of pulling together for the benefit of our participants.

Recently, a Peer Support Worker identified that one of his participants would really benefit from Development and Skills Officer support and referred them to Jess, his local “DSO”. Even though we are all currently working remotely, Jess was able to quickly establish a rapport through a series of telephone chats and agreed that the participant would benefit from a mock interview.
Looking at the specific job role the participant was interested in Jess was able to construct a relevant interview, and enlisted the support of Geoff (the other DSO) to hold a telephone mock interview “in character” as an employer to make the experience as realistic as possible.

The interview was a success, with all those involved learning a great deal from the process: most importantly the participant was able to receive structured feedback from a complete stranger, just like in real life.

We all know things are “different” right now; but it is increasingly likely that recruitment will take place through telephone or video interviews. We are proud that we are able to deliver such practice to our participants, helping them to the front of the queue when the time is right for them to turn to work, education, training or volunteering.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week!

This week is MHAW a national event which this year concentrates on Kindness. We have worked with Mid and North Essex Mind and North Essex IAPT to create a programme of creative and supportive films that each explore elements of Kindness, be that showing kindness or being kind to yourself.

A film will be added each day throughout the week, to take a look click HERE