Everybody Deserves Their Six Feet

Posted on April 16, 2020

6 Feet

The Buzz with Jordan Rae Hillman, Director of  Planning & Development for the city of Jackson, Mississippi

  • What I’m Listening To: Trolls World Tour for the 22nd time
  • What I Want for Lunch: Crawfish
  • What I’m Watching:  Trolls World Tour for the 22nd time

Over the past few weeks we all have made huge adjustments to offer services of all types in new and innovative ways. Many of us get to do that at home, or do it in a building where the public is restricted from entry. This is a privilege and hasn’t been afforded to all staff members.

Turns out that many of those left behind as “essential” are incredibly important for offering certain services. Our security staff, bus drivers, grass cutting crews, custodial teams, etc. While I could write another post on this issue- these folks are often some of lowest paid – these people are keeping the lights on.

In an effort to make our building permit operations safer, we shut off our floor to the public. In the process, our team put a drop box in our building’s lobby. Sounded like a great plan. Those unable to use our online services should be able to run in quickly, drop of a envelope and leave. We collect it without contact.

And then the security guard calls me. His desk is by the front door. He is frustrated because people are now asking him questions, crowding his desk, and in general not practicing social distancing while they are trying to drop of permit information. I ran by to see him and witnessed this.  I’m so glad he felt comfortable calling me. What if he didn’t.

We solved that problem. But how many more little issues are interfering with those who are left on the frontlines abilities to protect their own safety? And do they feel comfortable telling someone that they too need help thinking through their normal job.

We settled on moving the drop box into a better location and also lined off the security guard’s area to protect his six feet. He also was given authority to limit entry so that the lobby did not become overcrowded.

Feeling heard and safe right now matters. I have had some requests that simply weren’t possible, but most have been really reasonable accommodations that were easy to make. Some greats ideas have come from the frontline team members who are trying to make things work and protect their own health.  Remember to encourage an environment where everyone can make suggestions and feel comfortable letting their concerns be known.  Everyone deserves their six feet.

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