Lucie shines a light on living with OCD

While many people are experiencing stress around COVID-19, for some, this time is even harder. For Lucie, who battles with OCD, the constant hand-washing messaging has served as a challenge over the last few weeks.

Over the past 12 months, Lucie has experienced a flare up of constant handwashing, a common symptom of OCD. With the help of therapy and treatment, she has been making great strides to calm this compulsion.

Thankfully, her workplace understands the challenges that Lucie’s condition entails, and were able to put measures in place to make her more comfortable. Back in 2016, WISE helped Lucie secure work at Clean Force, a social enterprise with approximately 50% of employees diagnosed with a disability or disadvantaged.

Lucie works with Clean Force as an Administration Assistant – but they refer to her as the ‘The Gatekeeper’! Over the last four years, her responsibilities have included greeting people, answering phone calls and emails, data entry, invoicing and helping others with admin tasks.

Lucie loves her job, and the flexibility it offers with her health. She is proud that she has had far fewer sick days since embarking on her treatment, and is grateful that she can call her Manager and be honest about what she needs, however small.

Lucie’s employment consultant, Uliana, stays in touch with her regularly, and supports her if she has any issues. Lucie said “Uliana has helped me immensely over the years, she has a heart of gold and an empathetic listening ear. Without her, and WISE, I would have never accessed the treatment for my OCD”.

Recently, Uliana helped Lucie with some cotton gloves and moisturiser for under her latex gloves, to help her get through the day without over using hand sanitiser and handwashing excessively. She says the gloves have been a gamechanger for her hands over the past few weeks.

When COVID-19 hand washing messaging increased Lucie found it really exacerbated her compulsions. To help her get these under control Jim, her manager at Clean Force, offered Lucie a week off work. “We don’t have a problem offering time off if it helps our employees look after themselves – it’s part of the support we provide,” Jim explained.

Jim also ensures that the team do little things to make Lucie comfortable at work, like ensuring she can clean her own workspace.

His biggest piece of advice to other workplaces is to “make sure you and your team practice empathy, because that’s how you’re going to support employees with a disability”.

Lucie says her workplace is like a family, and they put a smile on her face every day. “Having a job means I can be independent, support myself and implement a healthy routine,” she says.

Although we’re not yet in the clear with COVID-19, Lucie is proud of the progress she has made in managing her condition. She is extremely grateful she can go to work each day knowing she has support from both Clean Force and WISE, especially during this challenging time.

Linda celebrates ten years with Clean Force

Linda celebrates ten years with Clean Force

In 1998 Linda was sadly involved in a car accident that left her with a brain injury and memory loss.

Linda, who likes to keep busy with activities such as painting, sewing and fishing; first came to Clean Force after extensive speech therapy and rehabilitation. Clean Force, a social enterprise that provides work for people with a disability through commercial cleaning services, gave Linda an opportunity to get back into the community.

Linda recently celebrated her ten-year work anniversary with Clean Force and has come a long way. Her interaction with colleagues and customers has helped improve her speech impediment and confidence, as well as letting her regain her independence.

“I love working. I am loyal to my customers and they are loyal to me; they look after me. I love talking to people in the offices where I clean. I have also met many other cleaners at Clean Force, we like to meet at head office and have cups of coffee and tea”.

One of the close and special bonds Linda has formed is with her supervisor Vickie. Linda checks in with Vickie weekly and her continued support has allowed Linda to open up with any challenges, fears and wins over the years.

“Linda is committed and loyal. She goes over and above on every job and has amazing attention to detail. She’s an independent cleaner and works her own timetable to balance her work with play. It’s been wonderful to see Linda flourish over the years, particularly with the major development in her speech. She is now a social butterfly!”, explained Vickie.

Linda’s love of cleaning and friendly nature has led to many customers retaining her services, with select businesses employing Linda for almost eight consecutive years. She’s developed a great rapport and positive relationships in every office she works in. Employment has enabled Linda to own her own vehicle, which she uses to get herself to and from her jobs with Clean Force supplying all the cleaning products.

Thanks to her supportive and loyal network at work, Linda is excited about what the future holds.

Jojo returns to work, more confident than ever

Jojo returns to work, more confident than ever

Jojo first approached WISE Employment Rosebud after being out of work for one year.

After being unemployed for that period of time, Jojo was starting to fear that she lacked the skill set and experience to find a job that she would truly enjoy.

“I was starting to feel a bit down and flat whilst I was out of work, which I guess could happen to anyone. After some time, I decided to get some extra help and that’s how I connected with WISE Employment,” explained Jojo.

Jojo was connected with Candidate Officer, Allison, who was there to guide and support her in finding a suitable role. Not long after connecting, Allison presented a potential job opportunity to Jojo, and that very same day she went for the interview.

“At first, I didn’t think I was prepared, I hadn’t been interviewed for over 20 years! I was so scared, but Allison was there to encourage me and gave me the confidence to go ahead with the interview,” said Jojo.

Clean Force, a cleaning organisation that employs people who suffer from a mental illness, a disability, those living in social housing or recently settled refugees, were looking for new employees. Jojo’s determination and courage really stood out and that’s what landed her the job.

“I went into the interview with a positive attitude and it ended up going really well! I’d been offered the job by the end of that day!”

Jojo’s manager, Frank, said he’s been very impressed with the work Jojo has been delivering.

“Never in 30 years have I received such positive feedback in regard to an employee. People regularly leave her love heart notes thanking her for her thorough work,” Frank explained.

Jojo went on to explain that working with Clean Force is wonderful and that the role has given her a new-found confidence.

“It’s fantastic to have a job that I actually enjoy. I think it’s important to love what you do and to wake up in the morning excited for work, which is exactly what I’ve found working at Clean Force.”