Reflecting on our recent experience of virtual working with councils, health services, social workers and schools
Last week I helped a council work out how to support their residents who are long term self-isolating. What I didn’t mention to them is that I am one of these people. I have chronic asthma, so I’ll be spending the duration of the COVID-19 response at home. The evolving guidance for councils in the response to coronavirus, and NHS advice and guidance aimed at individual citizens, is pivotal for the UK to get through this pandemic – providing we all follow the guidance.
From a work perspective, I am all geared up to be able to continue to support our clients through this time. Technological innovation enables me to work from any office around the country, at least in a virtual capacity. And as my colleague Jeremy Cooper mentioned in his recent blogpost ‘5 common themes from local government’s response to coronavirus’, only 10% of our project work cannot be completed without face-to-face meetings.
The bigger challenge for me is how this will affect my personal life. I’ve adopted a military style operation to get all my medication and food supplies sorted. The offers I have received from friends and the local community to help me out has been fantastic. And on Sunday, a friend left a bunch of colourful tulips on my doorstep which really brightened up my day.
However, some things just can’t be done in another way. Every year my whole family celebrate Passover by getting together for the ceremonial meal called Seder. I was starting to plan the meal for 13 of the family clan last week when the government advice around social gatherings was issued. Whilst I am still able to virtually connect with local government colleagues via telephone and video calls, Jewish holidays are a time for respite from digital connectivity. So unfortunately a virtual family Seder isn’t an option, and for the first time ever I will be alone for it. What is usually one of the biggest communal events in the calendar will be a solitary undertaking.
This is clearly a challenging time for all of us and will affect us all in different ways. I want to thank everyone that I’ll be depending on to keep me safe and well in the coming weeks – from public sector staff to food delivery drivers and members of the public (who will hopefully be keeping their distance!) As someone who at high risk from COVID-19, I am grateful for everything you’re doing.