Source: Great Places
Great Places Housing has been at the forefront of using modern technology solutions during the coronavirus pandemic. With over 24,000 homes in more than 30 local authority areas, the housing group have reacted quickly to the crisis and implemented a number of new technologies to allow them to continue serving their customers and rehousing those who are in need of support.
The fast-growing housing association has come up with solutions to the challenges they’re facing around continuing to house people during the crisis. The organisation shifted to non-contact sign-ups at their properties to ensure they can still re-house the most vulnerable people without the need for face-to-face contact. This includes ‘virtual’ property viewings to allow prospective tenants to see the property in advance of signing up. Plumlife, the affordable home ownership arm of the group, have worked with Great Places’ development team to produce a contact-free process that allows handovers and home completions to continue across their new-build properties.
Having implemented remote working for the large majority of their 700+ employees, Great Places have embraced agile working and continue to keep the business functioning by utilising video conferencing platforms such as StarLeaf and Microsoft Teams to mimic face-to-face conversations and meetings.
With colleagues from their office-based customer contact centre also working at home for the foreseeable future, their Technology Services team have implemented the use of a secure cloud-based communication system. The organisation prides itself on putting customers at the heart of everything they do, so having this platform in place still give customers the choice of speaking to an experienced call handler should they not wish to use the live webchat facility hosted on their website.
Technological solutions have also played a big part in ensuring that Great Places’ colleagues are kept up to date with their approach to the pandemic. The group are using their all-colleague intranet, hosted by Interact, to relay news stories and weekly vlog updates by Chief Executive Matthew Harrison to their colleagues. Their intranet also acts as a professional social platform where employees can connect by commenting, liking and sharing updates from one another, an approach which is proving a hit with colleagues at a time where their six regional offices are temporarily closed.
Maintaining and strengthening colleague health and wellbeing during this time is paramount to the organisation who have turned to Thrive, an online learning platform, to host videos, webinars and online resources around personal resilience, corporate inductions and social events.