In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Your Journey team members – like majority of Australians – have been working from home for the past several months.
As a service that provides support to young people in the local community, Your Journey has had to adapt and find new and creative ways to deliver a range of supports for young people while working from home. Once a heavily face-to-face role, youth workers have in many cases had to transition in-person visits to phone calls, texts and video chats to maintain connections with young people.
“Since the restrictions and switching to a work from home arrangement, my usual day to day has changed dramatically. Thankfully I have been able to continue in my role supporting young people in their transition to out of care, and leap towards independence remotely via phone calls or text. Supporting a young person’s goals, whether it be education, employment, or life and living skills has still been possible throughout the pandemic.” – Helen Valsamakis, Better Futures – Youth Worker.
While the change has had its challenges, it has also provided Your Journey with a chance to learn and alter the way they work for the better. New opportunities for online, digital engagement with the community have been rolled out and team members have commented on many advantages implementing more technology is bringing to their role. Benefits include attending meetings virtually, using video calls to engage young people and utilising online shopping to purchase essential items for young people.
“Working from home has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate what exactly can be done remotely and what needs to be done in person. While we enjoy seeing our young people and will always prefer face to face contact, I can definitely see us utilising technology more in our roles. Technology will allow us to spend more time providing direct support to young people, which I think will be extremely beneficial.” – Brigitte Deville, Youth Worker – Housing.
Working from home has been an interesting experience and one that Your Journey team members have learnt a lot from. Although the team has adapted well, there is still a lot of excitement around their eventual return to the office.
“I am really looking forward to connecting with the team again in person and being able to yell out if I need a hand or second opinion. The general chit chat with everyone around me at the office was one of the best parts of my day. I also can’t wait to enforce my daily singing on those who sit around me – I know they all love it deep down!” – Pauline McGahon, Targeted Care Packages – Key Worker.
The team look forward to resuming in person visits when it is safe and using their experiences and new skills to best support young people in the community achieve their goals.