Hi, I am Michelle and I am the Office Manager for Calon Cymru Fostering. I manage the admin team based in the Cardiff office. My team have a variety of responsibilities ranging from the day to day general admin tasks of opening post, answering phone calls and hospitality to name a few, to the more specific individual tasks such as Assessments, Panel administration, Carer checks, Annual reviews, carer training and for me CHARMS functions and development. There is never a dull moment in the admin office!
I have worked in the organisation for 10 years as of this year and have experienced many changes in staff and offices, but I have never experienced anything quite like this. I always thought that admin might struggle to work from home, as so much of our work is face to face with carers and other visitors to the office. However, this situation has proved me wrong and we seem to be busier than ever. I think I speak for us all in saying that we really miss the interaction with the carers, children and young people as well as missing each other – As well as being colleagues I feel that we are a team of good friends too.
We are working hard to manage the new ‘norm’ and have switched over quite easily to utilise new IT applications, often being the main points of contact for IT-related issues. We have weekly team catchups which I find is always a great way to boost team morale and it is great to be able to see everyone, albeit ‘virtually’! I have also had the pleasure of seeing some of our carers via Zoom in various meetings which have been lovely.
I, like many of you, face the daily challenges of working from home whilst being sat on the same table as my two children who are supposed to be doing their schoolwork! Whilst it is lovely to all be together (and I am sure I will miss them when we are back to ‘normal’) there have been some very challenging moments over the past few weeks! To relieve stress and go to my happy place, I like to bake and decorate cakes. As both of my children have had their birthday’s during Lockdown, I have put my skills to good use and made each of them a cake which they designed themselves. (My son actually told me that he wasn’t too bothered about what it looked like, he just wanted to eat it!)
This time has taught me how important it is to actually ‘slow it all down’ sometimes and appreciate the little things like playing a board game together or going for a family walk, both things which we struggle to have time for when we are back to our busy lives.
Our carers have always been inspirational to me in many ways, and I have been blown away by how well our they and the young people have managed during this time. I’m sure there have been tough times but you know what they say……… ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. You are all doing a fab job and I have the utmost respect for you. Thank you, I cannot wait to start seeing you all again soon.