Benedictine Sisters of Erie Home Home

Required: Planning, hard work, creativity

Staff_using_Webcams_on_Ring_Central

In early October 2020, laptop computers were provided to all staff whose job allowed them to do some work at home. These were connected to office computers at SBEC so work could proceed securely and seamlessly. At that time Nancy Sabol, Executive Director of Saint Benedict Education Center, commented: These laptops will "strategically position us for whatever is to come..." The agency will provide essential tools for telework...to the extent possible." Pennsylvania has consistently encouraged agencies such as Saint Benedict Education Center to continue using remote teaching and activities with clients and telework -- work from home -- with staff to the extent possible. An underlying direction to all decisions and work has been to operate out of an abundance of caution. Nancy Sabol reminds the staff regularly, "We need our remote services to be robust so that we remain in compliance [with program guidelines] while at the same time keeping each other safe. The planning process began in July 2020. This included time to determine what was needed at SBEC and time to make connections and purchase the equipment needed. Ring Central, a communications platform similiar to Zoom, was purchased. This allows staff to communicate with each other and with clients safely, with necessary security safeguards approved for use by the State. Webcams were attached to office computers for more effective communications. Laptop computers were provided to staff in October 2020 for work at home, as noted above. A recent adjustment was made to upgrade Microsoft Office from the 2013 version to Office 365. Perhaps the most immediate difference noted by staff with this change is that they can directly access all their documents from their laptop at home, making their remote work easier and more productive. Have there been problems? Are there limitations to even the most robust remote services? Of course. While SBEC is trying to provide needed technology to the staff, participants don't always have access to the technology they need. Sometimes their phone may be disconnected, halting communication with the case manager or instructor. They may have a very poor internet connection during a video class or their wifi is not working properly. I've had some of my participants literally sitting as close to their window as possible to get the best reception," shares one staff member. "And then they apologize." On a more personal note staff members offered comments such as: "I miss the face-to-face interaction." "I miss my co-workers. It's lonely working at home." "The in-person group interaction is missing." All true. Yet, the interactions between staff and participants, and among staff members, has been on-going, creative, and effective through these months. [See article on the Home Page.] It is forethought and planning -- hard work -- on the part of the leadership and staff at SBEC that has enabled work to continue from home. Nancy was clear when she said, "We need our remote services to be robust so that we remain in compliance [with program guidelines] while at the same time keeping each other safe. This is currently the experience one has at Saint Benedict Education Center. It promises to continue, as long as it must.

Our remote services need to be robust
Our remote services need to be robust
Many staff receive laptops computers
Many staff receive laptops computers
Staff are working at home
Staff are working at home
Staff meet on Ring Central
Staff meet on Ring Central
Sometimes remote work seems very remote
Sometimes remote work seems very remote
Good to be back in the office near others
Good to be back in the office near others