Working safely through the pandemic
NUJ TRAINING, in collaboration with the union's health and safety committee, has put together a webinar called Working Safely through the Pandemic, hosted by London Freelance Branch.
Covid's likely to be around for a while yet. It'll take ages to vaccinate everybody who needs vaccinating (at least twice) and to give us all a chance to develop antibodies after vaccination. We don't yet know how long the immunity conferred on us by vaccines will last. We can expect still to be working at home, or at least to be doing a combination of homeworking and shifts in socially-distanced workplaces, for a while yet. Some of us will be going out and about on socially-distanced assignments.
Winter presents new challenges. The ventilation of socially-distanced workplaces - with windows less likely to be open - will be an issue as some of us start to return to working in an office.
Then there's the effect of all this working in isolation - with, for example, more screentime than usual - is having on both our physical and our mental health.
The webinar, developed by Caroline Holmes, coordinator of the NUJ's trade union training programme, lasts about 90 minutes. It uses Zoom and should help participants learn how to:
- understand why it's important to look after your health and wellbeing at this time;
- identify some of the challenges you face in working safely, whether from home, back in the workplace or a blend of the two;
- be clear about what support you can expect from your employer, or what support you would have a reasonable chance of negotiating with your client; and
- identify support available from the NUJ.
Each session will include a short presentation followed by a chance for questions and a short open discussion.
How interactive each of these webinars can be depends on how many participants it has, which is why LFB (the biggest Branch by far) has booked four dates for Working Safely Through the Pandemic.
LFB-hosted Working Safely Through the Pandemic seminars will be on:
- Thursday 21 January 2021, 1pm to 2:30pm
- Thursday 28 January, 5:30pm to 7pm
- Thursday 11 February, 5:30pm to 7pm
The daytime or early evening slots reflect the "no screentime close to bedtime" wellbeing ethos of the webinar. It is hoped that the content can be tweaked to reflect freelance issues, while the question-and-answer element will certainly allow participants to raise aspects of freelancing in (or coming out of) a pandemic.
The webinars are free to NUJ members. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org, indicating which date is your preference. They'll need your NUJ membership number (it's on your Press Card if you have one).