College staff ‘Home but not alone’

Borders College staff members

Borders College Curriculum Learning Manager Joan Cairney came up with a fresh approach to keeping her staff connected and supported throughout the lockdown. Read her story below. 

Through this difficult time, it’s vital that we all stay in touch and help each other out. This gave me the idea of setting up a WhatsApp group called ‘Home but not alone.’

I and the team have been sharing chat and photos of our gardening work, DIY, recipes and baking, as well as scenery from walks. I go for my daily exercise each morning before work and post a few photos taken on my walk. 

We have shared ideas, news, recipes, jokes and supported each other during difficult periods when people feel most alone and vulnerable. I also set up a daily chat slot on Teams, which gives staff the opportunity to check-in for a chat if they feel up to it. This has allowed them to come and go as they feel they need to. 

I have found the WhatsApp group and the daily chat helps me to still feel connected to the staff team. Staying in touch in a more relaxed manner helps with morale, and the mutual support has kept our spirits up. 

I’ve had some great feedback from my team, with comments such as:

“I feel that even although I haven’t seen everyone for 7 weeks, I still feel connected, knowing that if I want to speak to everyone you are all there every day.”

“There has been so much change recently, all our routines, not seeing loved ones etc. This is the one constant support I can rely on.”

“Reassuring to know that we can message or go on Teams whenever we want to share anything or get support.” 

“Communicating with everyone and being able to discuss things is so important to staying positive and relieving anxieties at this difficult time.”

Remember, we’re all in this together, and helping and supporting each other is vital to ensure we get through this difficult time.

Stay safe, stay well and stay connected!

Joan Cairney

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