Thank you for the webinar - there was some great discussion and insights!
One question which was posed by several participants before the webinar, and also came up as a challenge in several of the six-monthly reports, was how to engage service users when working remotely. Remote working is harder for everyone - especially when you are less confident in technology, or don't have the necessary equipment or internet access.
How do you ensure that your service users and other stakeholders continue to be involved in your projects, even when working remotely? We look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Thanks a lot
This might also be of interest from Homeless Link (umbrella body for the homeless sector in England): https://www.homeless.org.uk/our-work/resources/reboot-digital-inclusion
Some links for free support with devices I've come across:
Computer Aid (global), devicesdotnow (UK), and Wavelength (UK). Does anyone have any experience of these orgs (good/bad) or know of other sources?
Thanks to you and Lucrecia for facilitating the meeting and for inviting me along. In terms of the question posed (remote working), I'm happy to share my experiences - more of a 'what not to do'!
- Let the lockdown dictate things. It's a challenge, but shouldn't automatically mean we are all isolated and 'that's just how it is'.
- Assume that stakeholders have other networks, friends and family - many rely on relationships made through coproduction for mutual support, companionship etc
- Lose touch. A scheduled phone-call or Zoom call once a week can give people confidence that they are not forgotten and are important
- Forget to offer support if stakeholders participate in online meetings; e.g. a 5 minute debrief afterwards to gauge how they feel it went etc.
- Make assumptions about how much stakeholders want to do, or get involved. I didn't want to ask too much of the group, (lots of involvement requests) and when we discussed it, they clearly expressed "We'll tell you if/when it's too much - until then, keep it coming!". Lesson learned.
- Remember that volunteer stakeholders may not have the same reasons or opportunities to stay in touch with others as I might (through work networks, emails etc)
- Send out regular email/post updates on what's going on. It's not the same as a conversation, but keeps stakeholders feeling involved and up to date
- Explore grants and charity IT offers for those who do not have smartphones, computers etc
- Encourage (but don't 'engineer') social networks between stakeholders - mention things like Whatsapp, forums etc as a great way to stay in touch with others.
- Make sure you are up to date with latest Government guidance on who can and can't meet together, 'support groups' in the UK can continue meeting
- Use Zoom catchup's as 'training' to help stakeholders feel more comfortable with being on camera, good lighting, turning microphone on & off, having a go at Chairing a meeting etc.
- Keep some structure in online 'catch up' meetings - it helps keep everyone feeling safe. We all 'check in' (how you are doing etc) at the beginning and 'check out' (how are you feeling now/how was it for you) at the end. Borrowed that one from David Ford at Expert Link!
Hope that's of some help to someone 😊