How do teams effectively communicate and manage caseloads during social distancing?
Utilizing free open source digital platforms that can be managed from a smartphone will be necessary for team management and discussion of the caseload
Communicate with your team through technology
PREPARE FOR INCREASED PHONE EXPENSE
A potential expense for the organization will be ensuring that your team has sufficient phone capacity for talk, text and data, especially if the team typically meets in-person and members are not accustomed to using the phone for work purposes. Countries will vary on how phone bills are paid, but determine a reasonable amount of money to cover phone costs for your staff as your team works remotely.
START A WhatsApp GROUP
Start a WhatsApp chat group with your staff. WhatsApp corresponds with a person’s telephone number and is an accessible format for sharing data, documents, resources and reports. You can create sub-groups depending on the various teams that work within your operation.
Because WhatsApp is limited to four people at a time for a voice call, for group meetings, consider using Facebook Messenger. The video turns off when you exceed 6 people on the call, but the voice feature facilitates a group of 50 people.
REGISTER FOR G-SUITE WITH GOOGLE
In many countries G-Suite is free for registered charities and provides additional resources for working remotely. Google Hangout allows numerous people on calls and organizations can put their case management systems into the various G-Suite apps. Organizations can utilize the cloud-based portability and password protect documents for better confidentiality.
ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION STANDARDS
Establish standards of posting in the chat to ensure professionalism and confidentiality of the children and families that you are serving. Consider using a child’s initials when posting in WhatsApp so as to protect their identity in case the chat is compromised by someone outside the organization.
Reporting on your caseload
Using WhatsApp (or email, if available and secure), establish individual chats for children within the caseload where social workers can report back to program supervisors on the child’s well-being.
WRITE CASE NOTES
Establish a simple case note format for quicker reporting. Social workers can either write the note by hand and take a picture or type the note into their device. The note is then sent to the supervisor for review and filing.