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The same great service – just delivered differently: Debbie’s blog

World Health Day TSO blogs - Debbie (1)

Here's a blog from Debbie, one of our Tenancy Services Officers who, like all our frontline colleagues, has adapted to different ways of working during the government lockdown to ensure our customers are still receiving a great service during these difficult times...

"I’ve worked in Housing for the last 15 years, and have never seen as much change in such a short period as I have during the last few weeks of Lockdown ordered by the government.
Within my normal working week, I’d be driving to Wiltshire for a few of those days but now I only carry out essential sign ups.

We’re still housing the most vulnerable people, as it’s important that people are not homeless during this crisis. Even so, I’m still spending a very unusual amount of time at my desk – that said, I’m a homeworker so this isn’t new for me!

The majority of my time is now spent returning calls to customers who have called in with queries and questions regarding rent. I’ve also been carrying out post inspections using WhatsApp video calls, which has definitely resulted in a few laughs as customers have been walking me around their homes.

Apart from sign ups, I’ve also been visiting properties to support contractors who need Tenancy Services Officers (TSOs) along with them. We still need to carry out essential repairs, and to make sure customers are safe in their homes. For me, the most important part of these is communicating ahead of time, to ensure we have a clear plan in place for social distancing.

Back in the (home) office, we’re carrying out all of our meetings via Webex, and it’s nice to see familiar faces.
As part of my TSO role, I’m also an Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Champion, and we held a really positive meeting this week to review our current ways of working. Hannah, Stonewater’s Anti-Social Behaviour Manager, is writing a new policy for Coronavirus, which demonstrates how agile we are as a company. Letters have also already been produced for TSOs, so we we’re able to address any issues in a timely manner.

Whilst it was great to have the meeting and see how quickly we’re reacting, it also really brought home how serious this is, and the extent of the restrictions we’re under – we’d never normally think twice about being able to hand out letters, enforce orders or serve notices.

I have called a number of customers who I know are vulnerable, they are happy to hear from me, as some people have no family and are very isolated. I then book back in to call them again in a weeks’ time and ensure they know we are at the end of the phone - even if we don’t have the answers we can always find out information for them, it’s really about everyone working as a team at this unsettling time.

I have been cleaning the surfaces with Milton. My daughter is a teacher so we ensure that we wash all clothes after being out for the day then rinse the machine with a quick Milton wash, I also spend time on my iPad FaceTiming my granddaughter so we can play together, as she is three and does not understand why she cannot come to my house to stay."