In case any of you don’t know, Office Services is a department at Central where we cover many different areas of work. Most importantly we have ten people (assistants), from local MacIntyre services who work in the department, usually up to three people each day. Their jobs are varied and their skills are matched to various administrative tasks. Along with this the assistants also gain accreditation with Open College Network, helped along by the administrators in the department.
Working in Office Services we are in a prime position to see some wonderful interactions taking place. These can be between the team and the assistants and with staff from other departments here. Some of the best interactions take place between the assistants and visitors to the building and we have the pleasure of listening in!
There is a wonderful relationship between the assistants and the post man and I’m quite sure he enjoys it as much as they do! He is very happy to be called “Postman Pat” by Sharon, to be greeted by Jonny wearing his postman’s orange tabard and to be teased by Sui about his shorts! He takes this all in very good part and definitely gives as good as he gets!
There is a similar easy going friendship with Patrick, the maintenance man and I’m sure he’s not looked after better anywhere than he is by Rosie when he comes here! She only has to see him pulling into the car park and she has a cup of coffee made before he steps through the door. We try to make sure we call him in on a Tuesday or a Friday which are Rosie’s days here.
I’ve often heard Sui having a relaxed chat with a visitor who is here for an interview, asking them if they’ve travelled far, offering them a drink and then just having a discussion about anything that comes up. I often think if I was here for an interview and probably a bit apprehensive, talking to Sui would calm me down. She is relaxed and so natural in her role as receptionist two days each week.
The interaction amongst the assistants themselves can be interesting and some of them are very good at encouraging and supporting others when they need a bit of help. Each Wednesday we see Sui organising Mark, reminding him what to do next and prompting him if he stops working. Mark laps up the attention and seems very happy to have Sui “in charge”!
It’s lovely to hear conversations between the assistants and people from around the building. I think almost everyone here at Central likes the opportunity to come down to the ground floor and have a reason to speak to one of them. Many of the staff save little jobs for the assistants to do and so the good relationships develop. We know this also happens when the post is being delivered; that people stop and chat as they go, because often the post round takes quite a while!
As well as all of this we hear the phone interaction. We listen to the professional and friendly way in which the assistants speak to callers, and from the way the conversation goes we can tell that the response they are getting is encouraging for them.
We have assistants who started with us quite reluctantly and slowly we got to know them and how best to interact with them. Craig used to work here some years ago and decided to leave but then out of the blue told me he wanted to come back. We wondered how this would work out so we agreed a trial for him and did not push him to do too many things. With patience and encouragement from his link worker, Lesley, he has settled in well and now joins in with most things, still looking for a regular chat and reassurance from Lesley. Similarly Graham wasn’t confident to begin with but we soon established that he loves to talk about the football matches he’s been to and we now all wait to be shown the programs from the previous weekend. It pleases him when we ask our many questions about the matches.
This is a summary of what we experience on a daily basis and we feel privileged to see all this happening and to be part of it!
Office Services Co-ordinator