Friday 28th August 2020

Days of dealing with Covid

Hannah Harvey, Executive Director, Operations at Saffron Housing shares her days of dealing with Covid in the early days of lockdown.

Days of dealing with Covid


By Hannah Harvey, Executive Director – Operations, Saffron Housing

Two weeks ago I was starting to think about what I could talk about in my next Exec blog. It’s been a period of relative calm, performance had been improving and we are hopeful that the outcome of the In Depth Assessment is going to be positive. I was sitting at Helen House and the news was breaking that coronavirus was taking hold in Italy. I opened the strategic risk register and thought “I think I’d better let James know we will be increasing that risk”. Fast forward 14 days and I have literally spent pretty much every waking minute thinking about it and working with the fabulous team we have at Saffron to make sure we do all we can to protect the community we work in, but also all of you. It’s fair to say that this has become all-consuming and we know that it will be a very different landscape for us all in the weeks ahead. 

I wanted to take a bit of time to talk you all through my current day, I am currently in a period of self-isolation as I have a son who falls into the vulnerable category, so am slightly ahead of the curve with the social distancing. I have now been working from home full time since Monday. It’s not always easy and you can feel a little unsure, but what I can reassure you about is that you’re not alone in this. The main thing Saffron has in abundance is compassion and kindness, something that we will all need in the coming weeks. I know for some of you that working from home is something you have not done before and you may worry about. You worry that you don’t have enough work to do, that you have to sit by your surface pro or laptop waiting for the emails to roll in. I can assure you that’s not our expectation. In times like these it’s not about hours, it’s about output and it’s about looking after your mental health as well as your physical health. I thought I would give you all a little insight into my day, which I hope helps:

9am - start my day, go through my emails – my daughter brings me a coffee (this is unusual and believe me short lived as she is 15).

9.30am - Kingfisher committee call. This is when the core pandemic planning group come together and make decisions based on what the government has announced.

10am - go through some of my everyday tasks – board reports etc.

11.30am - go and spend time with my four children.… yes four, and yes, it is loud - normally I head into the garden with them. A house full of Liverpool football fans means the garden turns into Anfield for a little while every day.

12.15pm - have some lunch. At the moment one of my children (I call them munchkins) brings it to me. But again, I’m sure the novelty will wear off after a few more days.

1pm - I sit down and start going through emails again, reviewing policy, figuring out ways to make the ‘no eviction’ process announced by government work for our tenants. I then have my daily catch up with my five fabulous reports, hear what’s going on and how they are all coping. 

3pm - I absolutely stop again. I get up and walk around, do some washing, mundane house stuff.

3.30pm - conference call with NORSE about pandemic plans for extra care.

4.15pm - I now choose to pause my work day. This works for me as I have dinner with my children, spend some time with my wife, I then put my two year old son to bed at 7pm and my seven year old son to bed at about 7.15pm. At this point I invariably get a thorough hammering from my 12 year old son on Fifa 20.

7.30pm - I come back to work and spend a few more hours preparing for the next day reviewing what the government has announced today what that means for us as a business and how we can get through these tricky weeks ahead. I work best at this time as I am focused, undistracted and productive.

The above is a typical day for me but this is not our expectation of you. All we want is for you to make the decisions you feel are best for you. Whether that be working from home or you want to remain in an office, that’s ok. In fact, it’s more than ok, its agility at its best. I wish for all of us I could put a timeframe on these weeks ahead. I wish I could make a simple plan that made all of us feel more certain in these uncertain times. I think if I could do those things I would be the most in demand individual in the world right now. But what I don’t have to think about is knowing Saffron will come through this on the other side. We are resilient and committed, we are an incredible group of people striving to make a difference but more importantly than that we are a strong unified team that delivers great things every day.  #proudtobesaffron   


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