Reflections of an Accommodation Officer

Submitted by Shirley
Accommodation Officer

The first lock down I remember it being so peaceful and quiet and no cars on the road. I could hear the birds singing again.

But at work we were not singing but trying to adapt to a very different way of working. Apart from panic and concern for our colleagues and tenants, it soon became clear that things were going to be done differently.

The call went out that we had to protect our tenants and that meant no more long term bookings. Our own clinical staff also needed protecting, so we arranged emergency rooms for them to rest in after their exhausting shifts.

Behind the scenes it was scary. The masks went on, the hand gel was everywhere. People were scared to touch anything in case they picked something up.

Our offices were changed, people sat further apart, glass screens went in to separate us, it became isolating but safer, notices went up all over the place: keep safe, wash hands.

We dealt with those that had a positive test and were unable to work. They stayed in their rooms/flats until the period had passed and they could return.

We had to make sure our cleaning team were also safe, by issuing extra protective aprons and gloves and special cleaning products.

Room bookings were few and far between, but we continued to try and maintain help through steering people to the Covid Hotels Booking system.

This meant that people who had to shield from their loved ones could do so safely. We were unable to place them in with our own staff as that would lead to unwanted outbreaks that would jeopardize the work force. Some fraught conversations were had as people were panicking.

It’s hard to remember those early days, but as lockdowns continued the issues changed.

We then had to deal with staff joining the Trust from abroad and the isolation period that some countries had to adhere to. The so called ‘Red list’, which meant the overseas team had to go into Government bases hotels to quarantine. We had to double check all those coming from abroad to make sure our staff and colleagues were safe.

As the death rate continues to fall, we are slowly returning to the new normal.

Our accommodation is now required again and people feel safe coming to us.

We soldier on armed with facemasks and gel. I am just so grateful that I was able to carry on working throughout and that my family and colleagues are all safe.

I want to see people smile again without masks on, but that is in the future and one that I am looking forward to seeing safely when that day arrives.

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