May 1, 2020
Teamwork is the Key to Staying Safe, Especially with Our Residents
When Hayley Aiston goes to work for Avenue Living Communities in Bonnyville, Alta. she knows her day could have some challenges given the current pandemic. But her, and the rest of her coworkers, keep their "heads up" and take it "day by day" in knowing that they're making an impact helping ALC's residents, and each other, navigate uncertain times, despite their physical distance.
"We're here for the residents. To make sure they can settle into their homes… If they have any questions at all, we're here to answer. If I don't immediately know the answer, I will find it," says Aiston, a regional administrative assistant for Avenue Living Communities.
Aiston's daily routine would usually involve regular face to face interactions with residents, as her role includes dealing with resident questions and the collection of rent payments. This is something that has recently changed in process as ALC took steps in ensuring the well-being and safety of their residents, and their employees, these past two months.
Rent payments were frequently taken in person, but now more often involves digital transactions in the form of Interac e-Transfers, a method of payment ALC recently introduced for its residents, and the go-to method that Aiston is communicating to residents as it is "safe" and "contact-free" online. While Aiston reminds residents that if they are having a difficult time, there is help there for them via the ALC Call Centre at 1-855-247-1492.
"It's important to physically distance ourselves," said Aiston. "We're communicating a lot more through phone, email and text messages to our residents.We are all trying our best. We're all working as a team and staying positive… offering the help our residents need however we can. And letting them know the help is there for them."
Despite the efforts to move all processes to a digital, contact-free space, some residents need assistance to make payments. But living by ALC's core values, the Bonnyville team works, as is their duty of care, to ensure safe measures are in place should a resident want to visit the office to make a payment.
Access to the ALC Bonnyville office, to make a payment, is by appointment-only to ensure there is minimal foot traffic coming and going from the office. This method also gives Aiston the opportunity to ensure she is prepared for the sanitization of door handles, bank card machines, and countertops before another resident enters.
Furthermore, if a resident wants to pay using a debit or credit card but cannot travel to the ALC Bonnyville office, Aiston is in a position to go to the resident with a payment terminal. ALC has issued each team member with personal protective equipment (PPE), ensuring the safety of herself as well as the resident.
"If they're having troubles paying with virtual methods and making it into our office, I am going to their place of residence, being mindful of social distancing, taking the debit machine to them, making sure to sanitize and use PPE."
These quick transactions are becoming the new normal. Aiston says it is something to get used to.
"I am a friendly person with a big heart. So, it is hard that the residents aren't coming in as usual to be able to have that regular face-to-face communication."
As the Bonnyville team and ALC's residents adapt to life amidst COVID-19 in a physically distanced world, there is still opportunity to communicate, something Aiston says they're always doing amongst their team, and especially with residents.
"We're absolutely in it together… We're communicating all the time," says Aiston.
"One resident in particular is naturally stressed about the pandemic. She is nervous about losing her job. She will call me and we talk. I give her positive vibes… I say 'keep your head up, keep shining. We're in it together, and I'm here for you.'"