'This year has thrown us lots of challenges around ensuring people can work from home’: Civil Service Disability Network chair Sue Reeves on 2020

2020 was a year unlike any other, with the coronavirus pandemic upending the work of government and changing how we live our daily lives. Senior figures from across the civil service tell us how the unprecedented 12 months affected them, and look ahead to 2021
Sue Reeves Chair Civil Service Disability Network

By Civil Service World

18 Dec 2020

 

What are you proudest of government achieving in 2020?

Over the past year members of the civil service have had to change the way we work dramatically. Having to work from home, communicate by virtual conferencing and deal with the pandemic has been quite a shift. As part of this the Civil Service Disability Network has also changed but we, like much of the civil service, have taken this opportunity and grown in strength and size. We now have meetings remotely, we have more sub-networks and we are linking up with other diversity networks. Working from home and moving towards a more flexible working environment will be one of the areas that can make the civil service a brilliantly accessible employer, as my CSDN executive colleague Paul has recently mentioned.

What was the hardest part of being a leader in 2020?

This year has thrown us lots of challenges around ensuring that people are able to work from home, have the workplace adjustments that they need whilst they are at home, and importantly, don’t feel alone or forgotten.

What are the main challenges facing government in the coming year?

The biggest challenge for leaders in the civil service is to ensure that the gains that have been made over the past year, in terms of working from home, being flexible in how staff work, and having the right IT in place, are not lost. Since much of this is in place already I’m hopeful it is something that can continue into 2021 and beyond.

People will have to be more creative about celebrating this year. How will you make the festive period on Zoom special?

CSDN network members are going purple where possible, and particularly on 3 December to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Some departmental buildings will be lit up in purple. Some intranets are being turned purple on the day and throughout disability history month. We’re also expecting baking, costumes, webinars, speakers and more, though all enjoyed remotely.

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