Dementia UK home working: Eloise Heap, Community Fundraising Assistant

October 16, 2020

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in March 2020, many people have been working differently to normal. Replacing face-to-face meetings, travelling, and office working are makeshift desks in living rooms, Zoom calls and a more virtual way of working. With the recent Government guidance advising office workers to work from home over the winter if they are able to, it looks as though for many of us, this will be the ‘new normal’ until at least Spring 2021.

We decided to speak to some of the staff at Dementia UK to find out more about their role, how they have adjusted to this new way of working over the past six months, and what they see the future of office working to be. We spoke to Eloise Heap, Community Fundraising Assistant.

How long have you been working at Dementia UK?

Since January this year.

Eloise outside her mum’s caravan where she lived for four months during lockdown

Why did you want to work for Dementia UK?

I was previously working at an NHS charity and often visited wards with dementia patients. The care given by Admiral Nurses to people living with dementia and their loved ones is second to none. Also, when I came for my interview, the staff seemed really friendly.

What is a typical working day for you like?

I support new community fundraisers, by phone and email. I send out the Dementia UK fundraising materials to deck out our wonderful supporters’ fundraising events, and send out thank you letters and certificates to show our appreciation.

What is your favourite part about working for Dementia UK?

My favourite part is hearing about supporters’ experience with Admiral Nurses and how much the charity means to them – it definitely keeps me motivated to support them along their fundraising journey.

Eloise’s dog enjoying an Institute of Fundraising conference seminar

Before coronavirus, how often were you working in the office?

I was working in the office Monday-Friday! (Crazy to think about it that way now).

How are you working now?

I’m working part-office, part-home.

What do you enjoy about working from home?

Not having to commute! Living in London is not blissful when taking the trains (especially before the pandemic when everyone was jam-packed on the tubes).

How do you stay motivated while working from home?

Lots of cups of tea and biscuits! I made a very sensible lockdown purchase of a coffee machine – so I am now saving on the coffees I used to have on my way to work and lunch.

Do you live with anyone else and does this impact you working from home?

Yes, I live with my boyfriend. We have a good system at the moment as three days of the week one of us is at our office – so the other gets the flat to themselves with no distractions. My boyfriend is also designated tea maker, so that keeps me fuelled throughout the day!

What do you miss most about working in the office?

The team. I only had three months to get to know everyone in the office, but I miss seeing them and working with them in person. It’s not quite the same on Teams/Zoom.

How has your team worked together throughout the pandemic?

Regular catch ups on Teams, including walking catch ups where we will phone each other on a walk (for a break from the screen). We’ve had to pivot and try new things out in community fundraising, because we can’t fundraise in the same way we did before the pandemic.

Do you have any tips or funny stories about working from home?

At the beginning of lockdown, I went back to my family home in Wales. I had to self-isolate for two weeks in my mum’s caravan on their drive, as they live with my 91 year old granny. After the two weeks, I just continued to live and work in the caravan – for four months! My little lockdown home was definitely a talking point.

What do you see the future of office working being?

Flexible working is definitely the way forward. In a matter of days, the world was able to go from five days working in the office to five days working from their kitchen table. I miss seeing colleagues in person, and it’s so important to keep some form of contact with people for our mental wellbeing, but being adaptable and working from home is a significant attribute in this current climate.

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