Residential Practice in COVID
The advent of COVID-19 has forced many agencies to review their capacity for remote administrative and service provision functions. The following outline recommends procedures for assessing and meeting such capacity.
Assess Remote Work Options
- Assess staff to identify which teams can work remotely vs. who must work “onsite,” based upon job description.
- Develop instrument(s) for supervisors and directors to assess remote workability.
- Partner with HR to disseminate instrument(s) and collect/analyze data.
- Evaluate equipment needs and gaps for remote workers.
- Develop and implement a simple survey to identify hardware (e.g. tablets, phones), network issues (e.g. Wi-Fi access), and software gaps.
- The survey should ask staff to identify what technology hardware, software, and accessibility they had and what they needed in order to work remotely and/or implement “social distancing” guidelines on site.
Identify and Address Hardware Concerns
- For staff missing agency phones and tablets, source inventory and place orders immediately.
- Until new tablets arrive, implement Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) for all staff missing agency tablets, but who have a home computer and reliable Wi-Fi so that remote work can commence.
- Until new phones arrive, implement an app such as “talkatone” or “Google voice” so that staff can use their personal phones in a secure manner. These apps permit staff to use their own phone to text/call clients but provide a masked phone number.
- To support social distancing for onsite workers, determine what work can be done remotely given appropriate tools and technology. Move as much of their work as possible to online/remote tools using the above steps.
Tech Support for Clients
- Develop a simple survey to identify tech needs (hardware, software, and Wi-Fi) for kids in cottages and clients in our communities.
- Telehealth – see Behavioral Health section
- E-learning – see E-Learning and Recreation section
- Source inventory and identify needs for cottages and place orders immediately.
- Assess opportunities for free or low-cost hardware, software, and Wi-Fi capacity available to communities.
- Free Wi-Fi access
- DOE – opportunities for free hardware
- Free or low-cost external platforms for telehealth and e-learning
- Generate email/phone number for clients to access tech support
- Expand the capacity of broadband to meet increased remote activity:
- Expand VPN broadband strength/utility to ensure it can support a larger number of subscribers.
- Add new subscribers to this tool, particularly remote staff who need access to apps and files on onsite servers
- Increase tech support to manage the shift to on-line/remote activity:
- Hire short-term contractors to assist us with the setup and rollout of new technology to remote staff as well as with the subsequent increase in support requests.
- Create new help desk ticket categories to track requests.
- Create a live dashboard to allow the IT department to manage the ongoing work of the team across a variety of areas of support (e.g. support tickets, special requests, telehealth tech needs)
- Create a centralized repository of information (perhaps on an intranet page or SharePoint) to share tech updates, protocols, and guidelines for staff to easily access.
Office Phones/Phone Lines
- Develop and disseminate instructions on how to forward landline calls, change outgoing voicemail messages remotely, and access landline voicemail remotely.
- Set up outgoing lines for large broadcast messages; to share simple messages about program activities such as “The agency is closed today” or “Please visit our website for latest COVID-19 information.
- One for internal communications with staff.
- One for clients.
- Set up broadband texting capability for cell phones
Telephone and Video Conference Tools
- Assess and roll out a variety of tools for staff to use with internal and external stakeholders both on the phone and via tablet.
- Internal Platforms
- Microsoft Teams Video/Telephone Conferencing – and training guides
- Zoom video conferencing
- Paid Conference lines for select staff (better quality and reliability than free conference calls).
- FOR ALL PROVIDERS
- FaceTime (iPhone only)
- WhatsApp Messenger (free Wi-Fi calling and messaging)
- Skype for Business iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac OS
- Zoom video conferencing
- FOR PRESCRIBED TELEHEALTH PROVIDERS ONLY [See section on Behavioral Health]
- Review BH Telehealth Vendor Analysis attached
- Zoom for Healthcare Apple, Android, Windows, Mac OS
Scan, Sign, Fax, and Printing Capabilities:
- Address immediate needs to manage documents electronically.
- Install Adobe Acrobat Reader or provide staff with instructions for installing Adobe Acrobat Reader on all agency devices.
- Ensure that staff have remote scanning, signature, faxing, and printing capabilities.
- BH Telehealth Vendor Analysis
- Telework technology guidance for staff
- Zoom user quick start guide
- Using Microsoft Teams to hold one-line video meetings and audio calls
- Using “Talkatone” for staff without agency issued phones.
- How to apply your electronic signature to a pdf document.
- Connecting to VPN using an agency-issued device.