Combating Workforce Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Remotely: Coffee Time Conversations

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(1 hour session)

Workforce burnout and compassion fatigue: frontline specialists are at even more risk now than ever. If your I&R program went through the initial phase of the pandemic unphased, our hat is off to you. If, however, your specialists need a little extra TLC, or maybe you went through turnover due to the high volume of activity, this session is for you.

United Way of Greater Houston’s 211 Texas/United Way Helpline recognized the impact of stressful calls and work isolation of remote-working specialists who were handling those calls. About 30 days after moving to a remote environment (with no notice, by the way!), the Helpline implemented twice-monthly Coffee Time conversations. These conversations meet specialists where they are, providing a safe space for discussion. Although the facilitator will present a topic, coffee time takes on a form of its own becoming whatever the group needs it to be. Some specialists describe it as “magic,” while others say they can’t miss the sessions but have difficulty putting into words exactly why Coffee Time is an important component of their work experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding Coffee Time from several perspectives: agency leadership, managers, facilitators, and specialists
  • How to implement a similar process for your agency (choosing a facilitator, determining "ground rules" for conversations, and establishing talking points for meetings (i.e, using an established set of talking points vs. using new ones each time))

Sandra Ray

I&R Manager

2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE, Houston, Texas

I have been involved in information and referral since 1996 when I went to work for Casa de Amigos in Midland, TX. The I&R program we operated in those days was a small program - it "grew up" to become 2-1-1 Texas Permian Basin by 2002. While at Casa, my official title was Assistant Director. I wore many hats, though: Director of I&R Services, Director of Program Services (for the agency), Grant Writer, Media Liaison, Special Event Planner, IT Director (I'm an accidental techie - scary!), and just about anything else that they asked me to do.

I moved in 2006 to the Greater Houston area where I assumed the role of I&R Coordinator with United Way of Greater Houston with the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE. In 2007 (or was it 2008?), my job title changed to I&R Manager - and I added some new duties...but I still kept the old ones too. My responsibilities included overall operations of the 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE call center, supervising key department personnel, training and department communications, grant writer (not nearly as many grants as in my Casa days, though), AIRS Accreditation standards oversight/implementation...and a few other duties I can't remember right now. My position has changed recently. I am now the Manager for Quality Assurance and Training and oversee the resource database also.

I have developed trainings on a wide range of call specialist training topics, management topics, and community collaboration topics. I grew into my training responsibilities as a result of the work that I did at Casa for 10 years & have been honing those skills and learning from other great I&R trainers every day. I have presented at numerous AIRS and local Texas AIRS (TAIRS) conferences over the years. I also provide training to agencies in the Greater Houston area upon request. I write curriculum for not only our center, but for the full 2-1-1 Texas Network. I also develop e-learning training material that we share (as a 2-1-1 Network in Texas) through our e-learning portal (Relias Learning).

I'm not all work (although my family might argue that point). I am a freelance writer in my "spare" time. My work has appeared in print and online publications such as 9-1-1 Magazine, Social Work Today, County (published by the Texas Association of Counties), ePregnancy, Today's Caregiver (www.caregiver.com), the TAIRS member newsletter/website - one time I counted the number of published articles I had out there & I quit counting at 60 when I decided that the number wasn't really meaningful to me. It is more important to me that what I write and is eventually published with my name is helpful to a person or organization and through it they are able to make some type of measurable change in their lives.

I also spend too much time crocheting - you name it & I can crochet it. If there's not a pattern for it, I'll develop one. I've got more yarn in my house than most stores have in inventory.

In late 2016, I joined the unenviable ranks of widow when my husband of almost 24 years passed away. I have three awesome children plus one great teenager we took in during her high school years. The three girls have graduated from high school, gone onto college, gotten jobs and moved out. I have two grandsons who are simply delightful. My youngest child, the only boy, is still at home and in high school. Oddly enough, when the girls left, their pets stayed behind...I have three dogs and a cat who all beg for attention each day. If you think I'm busy at work, you've got to see how I manage at home!

Casey Harvey

Information Referral Specialist

211 Texas/United Way Helpline, Houston, Texas

Casey Harvey began her work as an Information Referral Specialist with the 211 Texas Helpline through the United Way of Greater Houston during the pandemic of 2020. Before relocating to Texas, Casey worked for a variety of charitable organizations in the state of Hawaii. She served a year with Aloha United Way 211 and worked for over 2 years helping the homeless and those with mental illness connect with programs that offered help and solutions. Casey has fought hard to return to work after 9 years on disability. To help raise suicide awareness, she presented her personal story at the Out of Darkness Suicide Awareness Walk two years in a row. During her downtime, you can find Casey playing fetch with her cat – Mr. Fred Rogers, painting and working towards earning her associate degree in communication.

Nancy Weatherall

Resources Specialist in Aging and Disabilities

211 Texas/United Way Helpline, Houston, Texas

Nancy Weatherall is a Certified Resources Specialist in Aging and Disabilities, who joined 211 Texas United Way of Greater Houston in 2019. She serves as the Liaison between the United Way and partnering senior service agencies. Prior to moving to Texas, Nancy worked for over 6 years as an Information Referral Specialist at Delaware 211, a United Way helpline. She became a Child Development Specialist under the Help Me Grow program and advocated for parents as a Family Support Provider through Champions for Children’s Mental Health. Although her degree is in multimedia design, Nancy has spent over a decade working in social services. She is passionate about helping others, particularly older adults and those with disabilities. Nancy is a native Spanish speaker, fluent in both English and Spanish. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family who originated from Uruguay, her children, and her local friends.

Shondria Criss

Information and Referral Specialist

211 Texas/United Way Helpline, Houston, Texas

Shondria Criss is a Certified Information and Referral Specialist and has worked at the United Way of Greater Houston for the past 6 years. Shondria has experience in crisis intervention, disaster recovery, human services, community investment and community resources. She holds an associate degree in Human Service Technology and is a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor.

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CLICK HERE TO JOIN - Combating Workforce Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Remotely: Coffee Time Conversations
10/13/2021 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes
10/13/2021 at 11:00 AM (EDT)   |  60 minutes (1 hour session) Workforce burnout and compassion fatigue: frontline specialists are at even more risk now than ever. If your I&R program went through the initial phase of the pandemic unphased, our hat is off to you. If, however, your specialists need a little extra TLC, or maybe you went through turnover due to the high volume of activity, this session is for you. United Way of Greater Houston’s 211 Texas/United Way Helpline recognized the impact of stressful calls and work isolation of remote-working specialists who were handling those calls. About 30 days after moving to a remote environment (with no notice, by the way!), the Helpline implemented twice-monthly Coffee Time conversations. These conversations meet specialists where they are, providing a safe space for discussion. Although the facilitator will present a topic, coffee time takes on a form of its own becoming whatever the group needs it to be. Some specialists describe it as “magic,” while others say they can’t miss the sessions but have difficulty putting into words exactly why Coffee Time is an important component of their work experience.
Quiz
8 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/8 points to pass
8 Questions  |  3 attempts  |  6/8 points to pass
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Live Viewing: 1.00 Hour(s) of Professional Development credit and certificate available
Live Viewing: 1.00 Hour(s) of Professional Development credit and certificate available