Planning your 'Day in the Life'

A Day In The Life is flexible: participants together decide when to meet, what their objectives are for the days, and what activities they will organise for their partner.

To get the most out of their days, participants should contact their partner before their swap to discuss their aims and what they are going to do.

Some participants find it useful to use a template to plan their partner’s day. Examples and planning tools are provided below.

Decide what you want to get out of the day

The scheme can help you to meet a broad range of learning objectives – think about what you want to achieve when planning the swap. Talk with your host, and work together to organise the most appropriate activities.

You could:

  • improve your understanding of how the other sector works, and how your organisation can work better with the other
  • raise awareness of the work that your own organisation does
  • get a fresh perspective on your own work, and reflecting on your own work practices – possibly findings areas for change
  • observe the issues and challenges within a different type of workplace
  • developing on-going relationships with the organisation you are visiting
  • learn from a different management style or way or working
  • get experience of practice outside your own organisation
  • start understanding of the skills required in other roles.

Tips

The focus of each shadowing day will vary for each participant, but you could:

  • Network: Try and get contact details for people who you would like to keep in contact with or build new relationships with
  • Contribute: Be an active participant in any meetings you go to
  • Ask questions: It could help to think about areas you want to find out more about in advance of your shadowing day.

Be a good host – plan your activities

As a host, it is important to discuss what activities your partner would like to take part in, and how they could fit with your partner’s learning objectives.

Some activities that participants have done in previous swaps include:

  • showing participants round your organisation’s premises
  • introducing participants to staff and explaining the activities of individual staff members/ teams/ departments, including providing an organisational structure diagram
  • explaining your organisation’s management styles and tools
  • talking them through a typical day/week/month in your role
  • inviting your partner to sit in on internal or external meetings you are scheduled to attend
  • inviting your partner to a team meeting so they can understand your day-to-day issues
  • providing relevant literature such as annual reports or project reports, and other resources that your organisation produces
  • arranging a meeting with some of your beneficiaries or members
  • having lunch with your partner – this can provide an opportunity to reflect informally about what you've discussed and shared.

Check with your organisation

Please check your organisation’s visitor policy before you host your A Day In The Life partner. These vary between organisations, but could, for example, include specific arrangements that need to be made with regards to security, data protection and confidentiality. NCVO is unable to vet applicants.

Sample hosting plans

Some participants find it useful to use a plan for organising their hosting day. Below is an example, based on the activities arranged for one shadowing day with a focus on policy.

Time

Activity

Aim

10.30

Arrive and welcome

 

10.35-12.00

Introductory session, including: a tour of the building; an overview of what the host organisation does; an overview of the partner’s role; and a discussion surrounding a key project to illustrate the host organisation’s approach.

- Understand the work being done in the organisation you are visiting

- Understand what skills are required in other roles

- Understand different ways of working outside of your organisation

12.00-13.00

Discussion with a different member of staff about the host organisation’s policy response to a particular subject.

- Understand the work being done in the organisation you are visiting

- Understand the key issues in the organisation you are visiting

- Experience practice outside of your own organisation

13.00-14.00

Lunch

 

14.00-15.00

Discussions with other team members about their work

- Understand the work being done within the host organisation

- Understand what skills are required in other roles

15.00-16.30

Attend an internal meeting discussing a key policy area with the host partner.

- See a different management style

- Experience practice outside of your own organisation

- Understand the key issues in the organisation you are visiting

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