VAL’s Road to Recovery: working within Covid-19 restrictions

This blog is the second in a series which will look at the steps Voluntary Action Leeds are taking to re-opening and bringing back services in the light of the COVID-19 crisis. We hope sharing our learning through this series will be useful to other organisations across Leeds and we encourage others to share their experiences too through submitting a blog on the Doing Good Leeds website.

Going back to usual working practices with a difference:

Zoom or Microsoft teams?

How do you do break out rooms?

Someone had an interactive workshop online it was great!

When would be a webinar be better than just a usual zoom meeting?

These are some of the conversations that we are starting to have now that staff teams are slowly starting to consider returning to usual work patterns but with one major difference – you can’t do much working face to face!

In the last blog we talked about the processes we put in place to ensure staff are safe to come back to the office to work: all staff must agree to and sign a Covid protocol; there is a list of reminders where we sign in  to sanitise our hands, clean the shared areas and what to do if there’s a spillage ; we have stripy line down the reception area to ensure people are keeping to the two metre distance. Each room is assigned a maximum number of people, with staff  names on the doors, and we have a cleaning station in every room .

 Our cleaner has a very different routine, where he has to daily clean much more – every surface that anyone can touch must be cleaned so door handles are polished and desks cleaned every night. As the meeting rooms are not being used the workload has shifted but the amount of work, currently, remains the same.

James in his PPE for cleaning safely

The numbers of staff coming into the office are still low with people opting to be in one or two times a week at the most, so Stringer House still has a quiet feel to it. Most meetings are by phone or zoom and internet issues are causing interesting shuffles from one room to another to get the best Wi-Fi signal.

Experimenting with Zoom and other online platforms is certainly a priority for a lot of staff and we are starting to come together to practice with each other different ways of running workshops, meetings and training on line. Writing up a protocol seems to be a good way forward as we quickly realised that you need to have one person operating the technical side leaving the facilitator to focus on the training.  Any training that we have come across is always publicised on the DGL website.  

Volunteering and connecting with communities are major parts of the work that we do and with other organisations across the city we are now looking at ways of delivering our services in a Covid world.

Iona Lyons

Co-ordinator Leeds Voices

Voluntary Action Leeds

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