Adele, Operations Director for the Group's Property Services shares her day shadowing our gas and electric teams

'Spending a day on the front line with our operatives, out and about in our communities is something that I had done in previous roles and gives a great insight into all of the different roles within the team, my first adventure was with the gas and electric teams so in full uniform (it appears we do not have small t-shirts!) I joined Richard, one of our gas engineers for a morning of appointments.

The first task was obviously a photoshoot, to ensure that the visit was recorded for prosperity (and keep our markrting, and learning and development teams happy!) Once the photo shoot was over we set off on our way on one of the hottest days of the year so far, I was very grateful that the van had air conditioning.

The first stop was a report of a leaking radiator. We arrived at the house and did the COVID risk assessment with the customer (as we did with all customers we visited) before entering their home to establish where the problem was and what we could do to assist – I say we, Richard was the only one that was going to be able to help and he immediately got on with the task in hand whilst I checked in with the customer and asked if she had any other issues outstanding.

After completing the post-repair update on the iPad we moved onto our next appointment – a total of six appointments were completed across the morning including two cap offs at void properties, one had been left clean and tidy whilst the second not so much – a real contrast and sadly not all that unusual according to Richard, a lot of our voids are left with lots of rubbish and items for us to remove.

Throughout the morning Richard and I chatted about the job, what worked well, what didn't. It was great to see Richard at work and how he interacted with our customers, explaining to them (and me) what he was doing and checking if there was anything else we could do. I now know what an expansion vessel is and how to repressurise it, what happens when we cap off the gas supply, and the checks we undertake! Richard also told me how much he enjoys his role that he feels that he is able to raise any concerns or issues with his manager and that nothing is off-limits something that was not always possible where he has worked before which was really positive to hear.

The morning flew by and before we knew it I was being dropped back at Progress House for the next stage of my adventure, I thanked Richard for his time and putting up with me and my questions throughout the morning – I had a great time and couldn't have had a better teacher, now off to meet Chris in St Annes……..

The second half of my day was with Chris, one of our electricians who mainly covers the Fylde area, I arrived at Rigby Court to be met by Chris and we were off to our first job to replace a light fitting for a customer at Don Street, whilst there I discussed with the new customer about tenants' responsibilities for certain repairs and maintenance.

After helping Chris unpack the new light and clear the rubbish away we were on our way to the next job to replace a shower for customers in one of the independent living schemes, again I stepped in as labourer unpacking, clearing away old parts and trying not to lose screws which had been handed to me for safekeeping. Another job successfully completed, and two more happy customers. Another three appointments followed more lighting faults and smoke detectors to be replaced, a busy but successful afternoon. On our way back to the drop off point Sam from scheduling contacted us to see if we could attend an emergency at St Johns Court where they were having a problem with lights on the corridor, we duly obliged, and in the spirit of teamwork I was sent off to check whether lights came on as Chris worked on a different floor tripping switches – we successfully resolved the issue – brownie points earned again as an assistant I think!

Chris was a joy to work with, he knows his patch and his customers and provided a great service to everyone we met; where additional work had to be booked, we agreed on appointments with the schedulers and told the customers what the next steps were.

Throughout the afternoon we discussed the role and what came through loud and clear again was how much Chris enjoyed his role and working for the Group, that he feels empowered to get on with his job but knows he has support when he needs it.

The whole day was a fabulous experience which I cannot wait to repeat with other parts of the team (if they will have me), it was really good to be able to spend quality time with colleagues I might not ordinarily get to the opportunity to chat to for so long or so openly and to be back with customers face to face.

I am so proud of the great job that the Property Services team does in helping keep our customers happy, safe, and secure in their homes – thank you so much to both Richard and Chris for making my experience so enjoyable and for highlighting areas where we can look to improve.'