May 2021

I am quickly approaching the end of my time at ForFarmers. Over the past year, it has been a challenging yet successful journey and one that I am glad to have had the opportunity to go on.

For those beginning a placement soon, I have created 4 top tips that have helped me get through my placement during the mist of a pandemic.

1. Picking up the phone

Working from home due to Coronavirus can really limit your contact with people across the business. To help allow more communication between you and other colleagues, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. If you have projects coming up then delve into who you will be working with or try and contact other people within the team. By getting to know others before you start can be a good helping hand for when you begin a project and you need advice or questions answered.

The second thing to note, is don’t be afraid to chase up emails. Colleagues who have been working in the business longer than yourself will have much more on their plate, so they won’t be ignoring you, they are just quite busy.

2. Out on farm

Out on farm with Philippa

If you are lucky enough to be out on farm during your placement year, it is important to follow safety procedures. Even before the pandemic, cross contamination is a bio-hazard, so it is important to turn up to farms with clean, sterilised wellies and clean overalls. This prevents you carrying any harmful diseases from one farm to another. I always try to keep a bucket, iodine and a scrub brush in my car so I can clean wellies before and after a visit.

The second line of sanitary defence is to keep safe by complying to Coronavirus protocols and Government guidance. If you are feeling unwell, don’t be afraid to contact your colleagues or boss to let them know. It’s better to be safe and you won’t be letting anyone down.

Secondly, always be prepared by carrying hand sanitiser, a mask and clean gloves in order to comply with the Government rules and the protocols of the farm you are visiting. They may have stronger precautions so make sure you ask on arrival if you need to compile with any additional rules.

3. Working from home

Hopefully by the time your placement comes around, you will be allowed more time in an office or work environment. However, if you are having to work from home it is important to schedule in breaks, this could be a mid-morning coffee or perhaps take a walk outside. By getting some fresh air or switching off your brain for a few minutes will help create a difference between living and working at home. You’ll also feel better, more focused and healthily if you are getting some steps in.

Another thing to remember is to create yourself a good working environment within your home. By setting up a desk, with a suitable chair in a quiet location will definitely benefit you long term. It’s important to sit at eye level to your computer and cables should be tucked away for safety purposes. This may be hard if you don’t have much space or if other family members are working from home as well. Make sure you speak to your employer as I’m sure they will be willing to help you and provide guidance for creating a safe working area.

Working from home

4. Balance

Finally, make sure you balance your living and working life. It’s been an unusual year but try to plan days out, keep in contact with your friends and continue with your hobbies. If you are moving away from home for your placement, it’s a good time to start new hobbies and explore new areas.

Make the most of your placement

Placement is all about learning and enjoying what you do, so embrace the time you have and get involved with as many projects as you can. You won’t believe how fast the time will go.

I hope these 4 top tips will be useful for you or perhaps a friend during your placement year/s.