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Meet Jamila, our account manager

Jamila Chergui account manager Selwood Housing income team,

Jamila, an account manager working in our income team, has worked for Selwood Housing since July 2009. Here Jamila shares with us what her experience has been over this time and how she's found some of the more recent changes to our ways of working.

It's not just about collecting rent. We're a listening ear. I understand the struggle of living on little.

Jamila spoke to us in December 2020, as many of us were working from home, but continuing to provide services for our customers. Jamila shares:

“Even working from home, no two days are the same. Sometimes, we're a lifeline for customers who may not have spoken to anyone else recently…at other times we may face difficult conversations where we need to use our skills to calm matters down. I enjoy talking to everyone!”

Our staff have seen a massive change to their working lives over the last year, as so many in the UK have. And those friendships and relationships that have been formed at work, are really important right now.

“There isn't really a hierarchy at work” Jamila shares. “Even Barry, our CEO is really approachable. I remember an occasion of ensuring Barry hadn't jumped the microwave queue once!”

This peer support and opportunity to laugh together is crucial when supporting customers through some really challenging times.

It's the people that make Selwood Housing.

Jamila's role as an income manager involves supporting customers to be able to pay their rent, sometimes through providing benefits advice and ensuring customers are claiming support with their finances where they can. Our eviction rate is low. We work to keep people in their homes as much as possible, but it's not always easy.

When we spoke, Jamila had recently been supporting a customer who had felt suicidal over their finances. Jamila supported the customer to be able to successfully claim a discretionary housing payment and had kept regular contact with the customer throughout. Jamila was happy to report that the customer looked a lot brighter on seeing Jamila recently.

“Being a customer as well as a staff member, I know what it's like to try and make sense of benefits and the struggle of living on little. It's not easy but we can help customers to get on top of their finances.”

Jamila's career at Selwood Housing started in the customer support team. Then, through a secondment opportunity, Jamila tried her hand at lettings and was then invited to join the income team, where Jamila has stayed.

Secondments are a great way to learn more and try out new things, without having to say goodbye to your current job.

In the last few years, Selwood has introduced a flexible working scheme to give employees more freedom about when and where they carry out their work. Originally, Jamila had concerns about changing her structured work pattern and losing her routine, but soon realised the benefits when she had to take her dad to the hospital mid-week and was able to flex her hours around the appointment.

“If a customer needs a call before work starts, at 7:30am, you can start earlier and give them more flexibility”, she pointed out. It allows us to provide a better service for our customers.

Jamila commented that flexible working allows for a better work-life balance, especially being able to work flexibly from home.

“Working from home during Covid has allowed for much more flexibility. I don't have to rush to try and fit a walk in, I can take a break and step away, especially with better weather.”

We're still getting our work done and servicing our customers. We're measured on our work outcomes, not on how long we've been sat at a desk.

When we asked Jamila what advice she would give to anyone thinking about joining Selwood Housing, she said:

“Just do it! You won't regret it. Yes there's ups and lows, but we're one big family! We will welcome you and we'll feed you well – we love a bit of a cake sale and the social side is great!”

Come and join an organisation where you're appreciated, you feel supported and loved.