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Communication, Communication, Communication with Your Homecare Team During COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak has created fear and uncertainty among your team, particularly among homecare caregivers who are providing care to your clients on a daily basis.  To successfully navigate through this challenging period, it is imperative that you as the leader communicate to your homecare team frequently in a consistent and transparent manner. Here are a few key principles you can use to develop your communication playbook as you lead your homecare team to future success.

Be Visible to Your Team 

Now is the time that your team needs you to step up and be more visible to them – demonstrating a calm demeanor, providing clear directions and addressing their concerns and fears.  Your team is relying on you to provide them with hope for the future and a plan to get there.  You need to help them picture the light at the end of the tunnel, reinforce the importance of their work to the lives of the most vulnerable people that they serve, and describe your plan for all of your team to succeed.  Use the tools you have as part of your digital homecare automation solution, secure emails, chat messaging, SMS text, mobile notifications, alerts, and phone calls. Your homecare platform has many ways to make communication to your teams easy, using different channels to keep it fresh and top of mind.

Lay Out Your Plan 

When laying out your plans to address the new why of operating your homecare agency during these times to your team, you need to describe it in detail – outlining the risks and rewards transparently and honestly – amend the plan as necessary over time and repeat the message to everyone on the team.  

In addition to communicating the overall plan, you need to make sure that each team member understands their role and their expectations.  Make sure everyone is clear about how their individual roles and responsibilities contribute to the overall success of the team and meeting your client’s needs.  Use your homecare software to publish those plans to your team, make them available in your document library so your care teams can return to them via their mobile App access in the future. Reinforce the plan through message reminders that you push to your team’s mobile App on their smartphones.

Listen to Your Team

Provide frequent opportunities for your team to give you input and feedback. Really listening actively to what they are telling you benefits both of you; your team members will feel valued and allows them an opportunity to unload some of the burden of stress and fear as well as you will gain information that allows you to amend and improve your plans.

Be Clear About Communication

For many of your office team members, remote work may be something new and challenging.  Carefully think through your current communication processes and determine what will need to change when being done in a remote work environment versus in an office.  Think of ways to virtually bring the team together through a weekly group video chat. For example, doing a weekly “stand-up” meeting with the office team to ensure everyone hears the same message and has time to interact as a group. Ask questions during this time and give the team an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

 Once again, getting feedback from your team and really listening to them is key in establishing the new communication plan and amend over time as needed.  

Some key things to consider:

  • What different ways do you want to use to communicate – mobile phone, landline, secure caregiver and staff chat messaging, email, SMS text, video conference, Facetime, Slack, fax, shared folders, etc.? Use your homecare software platform’s wide verity of communication resources to keep connected with your team.
  • What is the best way to communicate for different items?  (For instance, send files by e-mail or send link to secure document folders on your homecare platform for sharing, use video chat for meetings)  You will find that some communication tools are better for specific types of communication. 
  • Protocol for communication – it is very distracting to get a litany of non-urgent phone calls when you are trying to get work done.  Differentiate different type of communication categories and expectations for communication and responses.  (For instance, Urgent – immediate action needed, Urgent – immediate response needed, NOT Urgent – please reply, for your information only)

If you successfully follow these steps, you will help your team successfully navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.  Remember that as your team’s leader, it is really important for you to honestly and transparently communicate your vision of the future and your plan to get there, repeatedly communicate this information to your team, and listen closely to your team.

 To find out how SmartCare™ software and support can help you manage communication with your team more effectively, please contact us at 1+ (800) 450-9104 or via email: hello@smartcaresoftware.com

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