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15 December 2021

The power of reflecting: something we should all do more

David Wilkinson

Reflection, in a work context, is a way of assessing yourself, your ways of working and the impact of your outputs. In this blog, I explain how actually allowing myself the time to reflect, has prompted a new pride in the work I do.

On a recent away day for all staff involved with the NHS login programme, two statistics stuck with me:

  1. NHS login now has more than 25 million users, which equates to one in every two adults in England.
  2. NHS login received 12,600 logins in its first 120 days.
    On 2 June 2021, there were 12,600 logins in 120 seconds.

For anyone unfamiliar with NHS login, it is a simple and easy way to access multiple health websites and apps with one single login.

The fact that I, and many others, have played a part in designing, building and delivering this service is a phenomenal feeling. It has also made me reconsider the work I do.

Since March 2020 millions of us have been living in a state of the unknown as a result of COVID 19. Despite this upheaval, many of us quickly adapted to a new working life by doing the jobs we did before, but from home (albeit with a few teething problems).

Working in the tech/digital sector made the transition to remote working easier for me and my colleagues than for a lot of others. So, if you’d asked me to describe what work was like during the pandemic, I would have said that it was the same, except it was done from home.

But thanks in part to the stats mentioned earlier, I have completely changed my view of the work I do and its impact.

I have been a Content Designer at Hippo since 2019. One of our main strengths is that we design and build digital services that improve people’s lives. Realising that I am part of a team that has created, designed and built a service that is used by 50% of the adult population of England has brought home to me how true that is.

From a content perspective, our design team has:

  • Created new, accessible versions of the registration journey, to make the service accessible to more users, especially those with visual or hearing impairments
  • Designed and delivered new content to help scale the service from 2m verified identities in May 2021, to 16m by October
  • Focussed on improving the content for users who have English as a second language.

The connectivity of NHS login has helped the country make progress getting through the worst of the pandemic. By supporting the NHS app for example, the most downloaded free app in England, which allows people to see their vaccination records and access their COVID pass.

From a personal perspective, being hospitalised and requiring immediate healthcare during the pandemic also made me realise — first hand — how hard the NHS was working throughout that time and how technology can support those front line workers in their vital roles.

It’s not just NHS login either; Hippo has worked on other crucial healthcare projects, such as the Shielding Vulnerable People’s Service, amongst others. Proving yet again that Hippo is a company that really does deliver real-world solutions to major problems, for actual users.

Not many people are in jobs where they can say they have contributed to the build and development of a life-saving service, used by half the country. Yet I am proud that I can reflect and say, both now and in the future, that is what I did during this unprecedented time.

Having the time to reflect on the work we do, whatever job we are in, is not something we often get time to do. Perhaps, though, we should do it more. After all, as the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, said: “There is one art of which people should be masters — the art of reflection.”