Mission accomplished – supporting Annmarie back into office life

With a little preparation and planning, it has been a seamless passage into a familiar role with a changed environment


Annmarie happily at work in The Hive



Annmarie has been NOW Group’s ever-bubbly receptionist since January 2007. During recent years, she has received in-job support from her Workable Officer, Niamh Rainey, which has involved working with policy and procedures, adjusting to changes in the workplace, and guidance in availing of relevant training courses.


Like many others, Annmarie has been on furlough since the beginning of the global pandemic in March 2020 (with a short return between November and December). As a consequence, the nature of her Workable support had to change, shifting in the direction of a plan for lockdown life. Together with Niamh, they created structure and routine to nurture wellbeing and identified resources for the things that Annmarie enjoys, including colouring pieces and wordsearch puzzles.


On Monday 17 May, however, the time at long last arrived for Annmarie to return to the reception environment that she has made her own. And in the weeks leading up to this, it was important to undertake some steps to get ready for a return to work after an extended period of time away.

Through Zoom and socially-distanced meetings, Annmarie and Niamh worked on a COVID policy refresher, watched a video of a layout of the office’s one-way system, and rehearsed reassurance for change. They also spent some time talking through Annmarie’s score card so she was aware of what was expected, and practised mindfulness techniques.


As a result, Annmarie felt more fulfilled and confident in coming back to role, safe in the knowledge that she had support available at all times, which included job coaching on her first day back.


“The support has been very good,” Annmarie says, “I have received job coaching for JAM-Card requests, refresher training, Niamh has been here to motivate me and discuss changes in the office, with catch up Zooms to discuss how the week has went.”


Now just over two weeks since she resumed reception duties, Annmarie is fully back into the swing of things “like I was never gone”, and is enjoying seeing all her colleagues again and being part of the NOW team.


Those who have been working in The Hive have been lucky enough to feed off Annmarie’s infectious energy. Indeed, it is almost like she has never been away.


Interested in learning more about our support services? Give us a call on 028 9043 6044 or drop us an email at admin@nowgroup.org. Our team is ready to help you into work in 2021.


This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy.