What does a day the in the life of a lone worker look like exactly? Well how long have you got for us to explain?
The challenge is there is no such thing as a typical lone worker. They may be someone working totally alone, travelling out and about in the community, they may be working in a retail store for just a few hours alone, they may be guarding, selling, supporting, fixing, caring, building or they may be entering into other people’s homes to discuss sensitive matters.
Sarah Johnstone has been a neighbourhood co-ordinator at Thirteen for over eight years. Here she gives a snapshot of her day and describes how the lone working device she uses, helps her to feel safe when working on her own in Middlesbrough.
To try and describe a typical day is so difficult as one of the things I like about my job is that no two days are the same. One day I’ll be out inspecting properties, another I’ll be interviewing families who’ve applied for a new home and another I could be responding to complaints of anti-social behaviour.
Although my job is extremely rewarding, there’s no denying it can be tough sometimes, and on occasions I can find myself faced with challenging behaviour which requires me to be reactive and think quickly on my feet. Thankfully, this is rare, but it’s days like these I’m reassured that I go out on every visit with a range of specialised security products.
We use a key fob style device with built-in GPS developed by Orbis Protect. This is attached to our staff lanyards and slots into a moulded ID badge. We activate the amber function on this device every time we visit a customer and this information can be used to identify our location. In the rare event we need to activate the SOS function, the call is monitored and recorded, and this information will be passed on to the emergency services if necessary. Thankfully, I don’t need to use it often, but it really does give me peace of mind.
A typical day will start at 8 am. I arrive in the office, grab a coffee and catch up on my emails and paperwork. I’ll often head out around 9:30am to visit customers in some of the 350 properties I look after in Middlesbrough, but before I leave, I’ll familiarise myself with who I’m visiting. I’ll check the customers details on the system and if there are any reasons why they shouldn’t be visited alone, then I’ll ask a colleague to come along with me. Even if we go out in pairs, we both make sure we use our device.
While I’m visiting customers it’s also a great opportunity for me keep an eye open for any neighbourhood issues such as fly-tipping, minor damage to properties and graffiti.
We get hundreds of applications for our properties. I get so much satisfaction from helping people who really need a home, find one. I enjoy showing prospective customers around our properties, but for my own safety I always have my device with me and switched on.
I’ll normally head back to the office at midday for a spot of lunch which also gives me the chance to catch up with some of my colleagues.
One part of the job we thankfully don’t have to do often is carry out evictions and we will only seek legal action as a last resort. We provide a wide range of tailored tenancy support services for customers to suit their individual needs. Only if all attempts to help have been exhausted will we take this action. If it is necessary, I work alongside a fantastic team of professionals including the local police, partners and other colleagues to help make sure this goes as smoothly as possible.
Once again, my device is essential, and I will have already alerted Orbis before I arrive, activating the SOS function so I can speak to the call handler and inform them of what I am doing and ask them to keep the line open. They will monitor the call, and if anything escalates where my safety is compromised, they are ready to help and again, will contact the emergency services providing them with all the required information.
Late afternoon and the end of the day
Towards the end of the day, I might have an interview with a customer to discuss a tenancy issue, in one of our office meetings rooms. Where I am based, all our rooms have CCTV and panic alarms, plus I can use my device during interviews too. It’s also useful for walking to and from my car and I like the fact I can activate it if I feel vulnerable, speak to someone and tell them when I am safely inside my vehicle.
Peace of mind
Over my eight-year career as a neighbourhood co-ordinator, I do think that being a lone worker has become safer than ever. Lone Worker systems such as the one we use is invaluable. Knowing there’s someone at the end of the device to listen, able to locate me using GPS and can get the emergency services to me if needed, feels very comforting as a lone worker.
I’m passionate about safety, and I regularly attend training sessions for colleagues, sharing my experience and showing them how to use these safety products.
Being a lone worker has the potential to be challenging, but it’s encouraging to know that my organisation ensures there are support systems in place for my safety and well-being.
If you want to learn more about Lone Worker Systems, devices and solutions, come along and talk with a few of our trusted exhibitors at the event of 15th October. There are still a few places left and don’t forget as well as taking away valuable information, you will receive a full day CPD points when you attend.