Our weekly ASPECT member discussions continue on Wednesdays at 1pm. Last week we discussed some of the fatigue being experienced by our essential service providers and shared some ideas.
- Clients with complex mental health challenges are even more at risk from the stress of the crisis. Frontline staff are feeling the fatigue associated with becoming a counsellor in addition to a career developer.
- Some staff working from home must also care for others or homeschool their children. Those without similar home responsibilities may be experiencing workload inequities.
- Clients without computers or computer skills are difficult to serve in the virtual environment and may fall further through the cracks.
It is difficult to distill all of the great advice and conversations from a 1-hour member discussion to this space. My apologies to those on the call that said something poignant that I did not capture here. Our next member discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at 1 pm. I look forward to seeing you there.
- Support staff with opportunities to share their feelings in a safe environment through online discussions, using humour, and provide training. Members reported that keeping a regular check-in schedule using Microsoft Team, Zoom, a dedicated Facebook group, or creating virtual coffee rooms, humour boards and games, as well as providing staff with training are helpful. Other helpful resources are the CERIC "Thriving Through Chaos" webinars and the Science of Well Being course. Some members have supported their staff by providing them with a food gift basket, access to counselling, and ergonomic supports for their home office.
- Managers should acknowledge the inequities exist and provide staff with latitude to how and when they complete their work, understanding that now everyone will be able to deliver a full 8-hour work day. One member suggested providing a paid "siesta" time during the day for staff to take time away from work.
- At the very least, service providers are proactively checking in with their clients by telephone. Through community contacts and funders, members are sending their clients the computer equipment needed and providing dedicated technical support to help their clients go online. Some are using Google Duo to share desktops and communicate with their clients and workshop cohorts. ASPECT member Neil Squire Society offers a "Computer Comfort" program giving refurbished tech hardware for those who self-identify with a disability. Also, as a part of their WorkBC Assistive Technology Services, you can access training supports through a weekly webinar. Contact Nate Toevs for more information.