Working during the Covid 19 Pandemic

I’m sure that we can all safely say that we didn’t see the pandemic having such a profound effect on our work and home lives. With the project, it initially felt that we were losing momentum, and that all the hard work of the past year was not going to be maintained. But we have adapted and found new ways of working, mirroring what is happening in social work across all fields.

I feel that we are all missing that face to face contact that we previously took for granted. I certainly feel isolated at times, and long to be back in the offices, having those informal chats with workers. Although we can, and do, connect over MS Teams, it certainly doesn’t replace the sharing of information and invaluable support you get from being around a team of workers.

We are aware of how difficult working collaboratively can be when working virtually and because of the concerns surrounding the virus and the risks it may pose. Social workers have a strong value base and I feel that the want to work together with families (as opposed to the ‘doing to’ which we hear about within social work) during this time will shine through.

At the beginning of the pandemic, one of my main dilemmas as a practice mentor in the project was wanting to contact workers, but not knowing when would be a good time to do so. I was aware that everyone was under enormous pressure to change their ways of working and to try and work creatively to ensure that children’s wellbeing and safety needs were being met. The one to one and group sessions had to take a back seat temporarily whilst everyone adjusted. It soon became clear that temporary was going to mean much longer than anticipated. And so we had to plan ahead and consider the best ways forward.

One to one sessions and group sessions are now held virtually – this has been a great step forward and has enabled the project to move ahead. We have redesigned the briefing sessions for multi-agency professionals, and the Effective Child Protection training session, to be delivered virtually which means that we can continue to support the sharing of knowledge and information with others as needed. We move forward through 2020 feeling positive about what we can still achieve despite the difficulties faced by social workers during the pandemic.