26 Apr 2022

Impact of pandemic piles pressure on frontline housing staff

In a new snapshot report from Housing Futures Cymru focussing on the challenges facing housing professionals working in customer-facing roles, the heavy workloads of frontline staff in part caused by the backlog in work resulting from operating under the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic features prominently.

The report, which captures the views of 53 frontline housing professionals working across Wales, collects together critical insights on the current pressures faced by staff working directly with tenants and communities.

Whilst 88 per cent of respondents reported that their main drive for working in the housing sector was found in being able to help people actively, a number also highlighted the substantial impact of the current cost of living crisis and the pandemic on tenants and communities.

Greater collaboration, particularly in mental health and social care services, was frequently highlighted, but in practice, waiting times for referrals could hamper effective collaborative working.

To support staff in their work, exploring more flexible ways of working (such as a 4-day week), moving to more face-to-face meetings and less digital engagement, and bringing teams together on a more frequent basis were all viewed positively.

Gareth Leech  |  Chair, Housing Futures Cymru

We’re grateful to those professionals who took the time to complete the survey, sharing their views candidly on what the reality of working directly with tenants and communities feels like at the moment. It’s encouraging to read that one of the main draws attracting people to work in the sector is the desire to help people. Still, we know that the rapid cost of living increases felt recently will hamper this and have a long-lasting impact on tenants and communities. Staff will inevitably need more support to keep them in the right place to provide help in the face of increasing hardship. As a group, Housing Futures Cymru will continue advocating for frontline professionals ensuring decision-makers at the highest levels are aware of the reality that many colleagues across the sector face each day.

Matt Dicks  |  National director, CIH Cymru

There’s a great weight of expectation on the housing sector in Wales – reducing and ending homelessness in all its forms, regenerating local areas, building 20,000 low carbon social homes whilst improving the efficiency and safety of existing homes. It is unsurprising, although no less worrying that staff at the sharp end of delivering services are feeling that pressure. It is vital that social housing providers continue to look at ways to support staff resilience and well-being in the face of every growing demand on services so that they as housing professionals can have maximum impact on those communities they serve and work with.