Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust
Over a third of our workforce became home workers overnight and rapidly had to get to grips with different ways of working, different work, lack of team connections, new technology and possible feelings of isolation.
We wanted to look at how, as an organisation, we supported managers to support their employees and didn’t rely completely on them in their very busy roles. We also wanted to provide a space for those at home to connect and share their experiences.
This was made more important when the government announced that people should go back into work if they couldn’t work from home and further contributed to rising anxiety for employees. Our target audience was any colleague now at home or working from home.
This was a piece of work that needed some rapid implementation. The organisational development team started by looking at what technology we could use to connect people, what content we may put in a session and who may deliver it. This was a ‘give it a go and see’ process and was set up within two weeks. The decided intervention was to offer two 1.5-hour sessions for employees to access using the Zoom platform. The session followed a model of a short input by a speaker followed by a section of questions and answers using the chat box and a feedback session.
Our first speaker was a senior clinician working from home and shielding. He talked very honestly about how it felt for him and we then encouraged others to share how they were feeling. We then had two of our psychologists talking about the psychological impact of COVID-19 designed to reassure people that it was ok to not be ok, followed by us asking employees what tips and support they had found useful.
Our next speaker was our director of workforce and organisational development who talked about what the organisations approach would be re returning to work safely and then further chat box questions and finally a session about the wellbeing offer available from line managers, the internal employee wellbeing services the national offer and the planned offer through the resilience hub in the North West.
Several things enabled us to put this in place so quickly:
- The technology.
- The skills (and bravery) of the organisational development team in setting up the administration and facilitation of the event including using new technology to deliver remote sessions.
- Drive from the director of workforce and organisational development as the sponsor to the session.
- The willingness to support from the psychology team and the senior clinician.
The sessions were really well subscribed to with over 200 employees registering to attend the sessions with only a weeks’ notice. This would not have been possible if we were delivering the same sessions face to face.