Working within a MST Team during Covid … a Business Support Officer’s experience

The experience from a MST Business Support Officer working throughout the pandemic

Before Covid 19 became a huge part of our lives I was working with my MST team in our local authorities’ offices alongside social work colleagues. Chats over the kettle regarding referrals or other queries were a normal part of my day. However, in March when a national lockdown was announced I took my laptop home and have not returned to office since. To start with technology was a significant barrier to completing work for instance we only had skype to use for video calls and virtual meetings. The supervisor and therapists worked hard to move the togetherness felt in weekly Supervision and Consultation sessions to an on-line setting. The whole team thought outside the box to continue providing therapy sessions to the families that we worked with, whilst maintaining engagement and positive outcomes. This included increasing the number of sessions that families had each week and using a variety of methods of communication.


After a while we got the news that the therapists could start face to face sessions again with social distancing and the use PPE. At this time there was national shortage of supplies so to get round this I drove to our head office to pick up the PPE supplies and delivered them across the county to my colleagues. Thanks to the glorious weather we experienced at this time sessions were held in local parks and family’s gardens. I don’t think the therapists minded although there were complaints of ‘mask tans’ being an issue. As the MST motto says ‘whatever it takes’!


Personally, at times I felt isolated from the team. As a BSO you become a sounding board to your colleagues when they pop into the office after sessions, drop in to collect printing or pick up paperwork packs for families. However, due to the lockdown they were now a thing of the past. To overcome this my supervisor set up a Thursday morning virtual coffee break where we could all get together online and just have a chat. No work talk, just a time to chat and have a laugh over everyone’s lock down hair and the guy’s beards. As the months went on the technology available to us improved – I can’t tell you how exciting getting Zoom and Microsoft Teams was, seeing people’s faces made such a difference to communication. Lockdown has brought some positives too –I don’t miss the commute the office each day and technology has meant that meetings have become more accessible without a long commute to them. In the summer I also enjoyed training sessions from my back garden in glorious sunshine.


Lockdown has continued longer than I think any of us could have imagined and it’s nearly a year since I left the office with a handful of stationary and my laptop. Fortunately, it feels as though things are starting to move in the right direction and I hope it’s not long before I can see my team face to face and return to the office.