This post has been written by John, our Admin Supervisor working in the Business Support Team.
John shares his daily routine with us, giving a really interesting insight to the complexity of his role, his fascinating interests outside of work, and the challenges he’s faced while being stuck indoors!
What a crazy year 2020 has become! Sometimes I think we’re living in the twilight zone! Like lots of people I have had to overcome lots of personal challenges, working from home being just one.
Our organisation is full of resourceful, hardworking and inventive people. The Business Support Team is a key part of that. While we have moved away from client face to face contact, we are still working behind the scenes, supporting staff, volunteers and clients.
Mornings are my absolute worst time of the day.
I only really feel awake by 10am so please don’t be organising 9am meetings with me if at all possible! Most mornings involve lots of coffee and procrastination time. I check in with family via WhatsApp, do some gardening and update my to-do lists for the day.
Sometimes I might go running but eating toast is more common!
By 9am I am at the desk.
My team receive a wide range of emails and tasks on Casebook. Although we’re not giving advice, our tasks aren’t just printing letters.
We might have to call and remind a vulnerable client about an appointment, we might have to chase creditors or third parties, draft letters or assist with larger pieces of work such as assisting with projects, creating spreadsheets or collecting data.
By now I’m absolutely starving. The positive thing about working from home is that my travel time is greatly reduced. I used to spend somewhere near 15 hours a week getting from office to office, so I am more efficient now. I no longer spend loads of money on coffee and chocolate brownies getting to Trafford!
I try to make something healthy for me and my daughter so I guess our diet has improved with all these salads!
Afternoons are when we have our team hangout. I like to organise these twice weekly and try to keep them informal. Initially using video conferencing was weird but I think we have all adapted to it now. I think the loss of informal conversations has been the most difficult thing for me so the virtual coffee breaks are a good way of catching up with people from other teams.
At the moment roughly once a week I am going into the Oldham office which we are currently getting ready for our new way of working. We are now on our way to becoming paperless and have been scanning, attaching, archiving and shredding like never before!
By now most requests have been dealt with and I wind down for my daily trip to the post box! We have worked really hard to minimise the amount of post we send out but for some vulnerable clients and some third parties we still need to send physical post.
I think we have saved the organisation lots of money by communicating more via email and have saved time too.
No more checking the inbox! I think it’s really important to stop working and to remember we have personal lives.
I found home schooling alongside working really challenging as well as not seeing friends and family. Being at home so much has felt claustrophobic and limiting. Normally I would go back to London every 6 weeks or so to touch base with everyone and eat my way through Brick Lane!
This is the longest I have stayed up north continually but I can’t say I understand some accents any better! Maybe my vowels have shifted — I’ll have to ask when I go back!
I try to keep busy in the evenings! I am a student at the Alliance Francaise and City Lit in French, now going up to Higher 1 after nearly 2 years. We have a weekly conversation Zoom too which is always a great laugh. I wouldn’t say that I am much better now, but my confidence has improved and it’s a real brain work-out. Although I hate quizzes, I have helped set up a monthly social via Zoom which has kept our community together.
Walks locally are great too and there’s some great views near where I live!
Before lockdown I was a stand-up comedian and theatre maker so there’s been no more running off to gigs or rehearsals and I miss all the camaraderie and challenges of working on the fringe. This whole period has made me re-think things and I didn’t feel much like laughing to be honest!
I do have some funny lockdown stories up my sleeve, so maybe I’ll tread the boards again before too long!