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A Visit to the Mothership



Disclaimer-This is the independent Spotlight view. It does not necessarily represent the views of Origin management

Hello! I’m Kirsten from Spotlight, the Origin residents’ group. We write a blog post every month, looking at what are our concerns as Origin residents - what’s gotten worse and what have been recent successes. This month it’s my turn.

I’m going to first talk about a visit four Spotlight residents made to Origin HQ in October, to see for ourselves how the office functions after the pandemic. We do get quarterly performance reports from Origin, but nothing beats seeing it for yourself, up close and personal.

My first impression was the sheer amount of workstations at the office. There must have been close to a hundred desks with computers and phones. Only half of them had someone actually working there, I later learnt that the other half were working from home. After Covid, a system of rotation has been established to maintain personal distance in the office. Seems sensible.

We were shown around several floors and introduced to lots of people from Finance to Allocations to Repairs to Community Relations and lastly the (in)famous Helpline! We stopped at the helpline, and each spent the next half hour with a Customer Relations Officer.

This was quite an eye opener. The calls come thick and fast. Not only is every call completely different and you never know what’s going to be the issue or who else you might have to rope in to help solve the situation. It could be a neighbourhood manager, or Gilmartin, or the Pest Control people or someone completely different.
Sometimes callers are not exactly patient or pleasant, but you have to keep your cool. (I know I’d find that hard!). Customer Relations Officers try to fix an appointment there and then, while the resident is on the line, so they have to be on hold while a time is being sorted out. Not always popular!

This was followed by a meeting with a large group of Origin staff, in person and online for those working from home, to talk about resident relations – good and not so good. All in all, this was a really useful, informative few hours for both Origin residents and colleagues – we all learned a lot about each other’s challenges. We agreed to repeat the exercise at regular intervals.

Now, do you remember this 1990’s advertising slogan “Save water, shower with a friend”? Well, we’re back there now! One of our big challenges as residents and as housing providers is, of course, the climate emergency. We need to save on our electricity, our gas and our water. And here’s something super useful and ridiculously simple we can all do right now. If you spot a leaking tap, call Origin and book a visit from your friendly plumber to fix the leak. You’d be surprised how much drip-drip-dripping goes on around you! Fixing this saves money, saves water and stops your dripping taps being really annoying. What’s not to like?

And do have a lovely festive season!