There’s no doubt that in the short space of under a month, our entire working processes have been well and truly shaken up thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, if there’s one thing we know, care providers are resilient, hardworking, problem-solving and supportive by nature - so changing up routines may be difficult, but it’s by no means impossible.
We’ve put together some of our top tips for making the switch to remote working for your office team, to help make the transmission smoother, and keep you working efficiently.
If you’re still using paper in your home care agency, you’ll need to bring a lot of it home with you. Before you arrive home with boxes of paper, make sure you’ve set aside a workspace to house them. Try to put them in an order that’s easily accessible, as this will save you time later on, when you need to access important documents. Of course, if you’ve made the switch to a system like Birdie, you can access everything from your home computer or laptop, so you can leave most of the boxes at work. If you do need to go back to work at any point, make sure that it’s at a time when other staff won’t be there, and be sure to practice good hygiene practices like handwashing whenever you enter and leave a building.
Remember to divert your office calls to either your own personal mobile, or those of your office team. Clients’ and their families will still need to be able to get in touch with you, alongside important calls from your local council regarding things like PPE provision and capacity, so it’s important you’re available to answer, just as you would be when you’re in the office.
If you have kids that are off school, or live with other people who are not working currently, you’ll need to ensure that you lay down some rules about what they can or cannot do during your working hours. By setting this out from the start you’ll help create a divide in your working day and home life. You should also be aware that just because you’re at home, you may find yourself taking on more chores, or looking after pets. Trying to fit everything in to one day can leave you feeling drained, so assign responsibilities early on.
Whether it’s other office staff or your care team, make them aware of your schedule everyday. This could be a quick WhatsApp message to let them know your availability, or you could update them on things that will take you ‘away from the office’ like picking up medications, making an essential trip or taking a break. You should also talk to your team about your working hours too, so they know when you’re available.
We know that things are busy right now. As a care manager, you’ll have a lot on your plate. But, it’s never been more important to check in with your care staff on a regular basis and be sure that you’re still visible to them. Try to send positive messages on a daily basis and encourage your staff to come together for a full team meeting using video calls as often as you can. It doesn’t have to last long but understanding how everyone is doing will help you maintain morale at this difficult time.
If you haven’t heard of NHSmail, it’s “a secure email service approved by the Department of Health and Social Care for sharing patient identifiable and sensitive information.” It allows any organisation that’s commissioned to deliver publicly funded health and social care to share patient identifiable and sensitive information with the highest, government approved, levels of security. It’s ideal for care providers as it allows safe transfer of information between office staff and external bodies like GPs and others involved in care. Previously, NHS Mail required lots of steps and application forms, but in light of COVID-19, these have been relaxed, so there’s never been a better time to sign up.
For more information about how you can enable your office team to work efficiently during the crisis, click here.
TIP: We mentioned earlier how using a tool to help manage your care can reduce the amount of paperwork for your business, but it can also help with reducing contact and social distancing, which is crucial at this time. From eMAR to call monitoring, family access and instant care logs, it’s easy to stay in control of your care, even from afar. Our team will gladly walk you through how it could help your agency, and right now, Birdie is free for new home care agencies in the UK, to help you deal better with COVID-19. To find out more, just click here.