How poor communication robs you of time and money - and what you can do about it

Poor communication is the biggest disruptor at work - also in care. But what can be done about it?

Internal communication is the biggest disruptor at work

When it comes to communication at work, the usual answer from managers in care is: "Communication works great here". A look at the figures suggests something quite different: in a survey, 37% of respondents answered that they were most annoyed by poor internal communication, ahead of a bad working atmosphere (35%) and too much overtime (22%).

This result often comes as a surprise to managers. However, taking a look at internal communication, it is easy to find the reasons for the respondents' answers.

7 reasons for poor communication in homecare

Information is inadequate or missing: information is not transmitted correctly or is incomplete, incomprehensible, or incorrect. At the same time, information is rarely shared across teams and related departments are not connected, for example supervisors, carers and admin & accounting.

  1. Information at the wrong time: information is not available when needed or reaches staff too late. This often happens in homecare as carers, coordinators and supervisors work different times due to rotas or part-time work.

  2. Information in the wrong place: information is not streamlined and cannot be shared or viewed by different team members who are not in the same place, e.g. when a carer is with a client and the coordinator is in the office.

  3. Too many tools: telephone, email, messenger, paper, fax, answering machine, team meetings and conversations - all of these while keeping a thousand things in mind. Due to the multitude of tools, information is lost, faulty or forgotten, especially when managers or staff need to keep it in their head.

  4. Missing tools: solutions for streamlining communication are either missing completely or are inadequate. Where homecare providers introduce a solution, access rights or the necessary equipment is often missing, for example work phones or access rights for part-time and hourly staff.

  5. Wrong tools: due to a lack of alternatives, tools are used for communication that are difficult to use, lack key functionalities, or are not GDPR-compliant. Managers and staff resort to unsuited means of communication and workarounds or, in some situations, give up exchanging information altogether.

  6. Missing structures and processes: many homecare providers see communication as a necessary overhead cost, even though it need not be this way. Managers and staff therefore do not think about improving communication as they do not see it as something that can, or needs, to be improved.

Poor communication = more admin

We experienced it first-hand across homecare providers: streamlined communication reduces admin by up to 40%. However, this unnecessary admin often goes unnoticed. For example, it seems normal that...

  1. ...many different tools are used, for example software for patient records, messengers for group chats, fax and email for documents and pictures, calls for time-sensitive information, or notes on paper and post-its to quickly jot down tasks.

  2. ...faulty or missing communication takes up an unreasonable amount of time and nerves, e.g. with care planning, rotas, customer requests, compliance, reconciliation, or accounting.

  3. ...there is no coordination between carers, coordinators and teams or it is slow and unreliable.

  4. ...there is no feeling of togetherness.

  5. ...there is no exchange of knowledge.

  6. ...there is little time for patients and colleagues.

  7. ...stress and burn-out have become commonplace.

These are only a few examples, most of which are often not even perceived as disturbances. Making a call, writing a note or sending a quick email - people have been doing this for years. So that cannot be wrong, can it?

The answer to this is "yes". Streamlined, targeted communication not only improves work atmosphere and quality of care, but it also reduces admin by up to 40% through direct communication channels and regular coordination.

What can I do about it?

"We don't want change"

We know from experience, that it is particularly hard to change communication habits. Employees often "don't want to learn something new".

The way forward is based on discoveries from brain research: instead of banning bad habits, it is a lot more effective to simply replace them with new ones.

An example: you drink 5 cups of coffee a day and want to reduce this to 3. The approach suggested by science is not to cut 2 cups from one day to the next, but to replace them with something else, for example two cups of tea or water.

What does this mean for internal communication? It means that you should replace old communication habits with new, better ones. Therefore, go for a streamlined communication solution that does not feel like "something new".

The best way forward

Since managers often lack time and have too many projects already on the agenda, streamlining communication is often treated with low priority. Do not make the same mistake.

You need not fear a 6-month never-ending IT project. There are solutions for streamlined communication which get homecare providers up and running in less than an hour. Amongst them, nooa stands out.

Sound too good to be true?

Absolutely not. Everyone already has the most important thing in their pocket - their smartphone. In 2020, almost everyone aged 25 to 54 used a smartphone. More importantly, 87% of people aged 55 to 64 also used a smartphone. So across the board, your staff is already using their smartphone every day - with pleasure.

Why shouldn't it be just as easy for them at work?

Feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, where you can get to know our solution better and put it through its paces. We look forward to helping you save 40% time on admin.

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