As with organisations right across the globe, RA Tas staff and clients were faced with the prospect of making some drastic and sudden adaptations to our services and processing response to the impacts of COVID-19 in March 2020. This included staff working from home, and services being delivered primarily through phone and online options.
Nearly six months later and following the relaxation of some of the COVID-19 restrictions in Tasmania and subsequent return to work by many at RA Tas, we felt it was time to think about how to shape, and progress with, our new normal.
Considering what we have learned so far this year while operating throughout a pandemic, returning to our previous methods and processes of service delivery, without giving due consideration to these adaptations, seemed like we were throwing away an opportunity.
In an effort to maintain the positive gains and continue to support procedures and approaches that uphold our improved client focus, all the while continuing to keep both clients and staff safe, we established a New Normal Project.
Implementing innovative and positive approaches to service delivery will be just one way in which we’ve been able to turn our experience in this pandemic into something that benefits our clients…
The aim of this project, which will run from July to December 2020, is to produce an implementation plan for our return to the ‘new normal’ situation shaped by client and staff input on the modes and flexibility of service delivery that are now available to us.
The plan outlines specific processes and procedures that we wish to retain or develop further, and designates who, when and how these will be addressed.
The New Normal Project is guided by our values and as such, it puts our clients first.
Specifically, the project considers certain service delivery issues and determines if we should continue with our adapted practice. Of the issues related to service delivery, it examines:
- Modality (face-to-face, phone, videoconferencing, outreach, home visits)
- Universal Screening (iPads, phone, online and other methodologies)
- Scheduling for practitioners, accommodating modalities
- Client flexibility and requirements
- Staff flexibility, particularly working from home arrangements
Consultation is taking place via three main channels: the operational management group, the ‘new normal’ advisory group made up of staff representatives, and consumer advisory groups that will seek input from our clients.
At the conclusion of the consultation period in December, the groups will produce an implementation plan, with recommendations that will advise the CEO’s Leadership Group for consideration of the new normal.
Implementing innovative and positive approaches to service delivery will be just one way in which we’ve been able to turn our experience in this pandemic into something that benefits our clients, and which takes their needs and their safety, as well as ours, into consideration as we segue to our new normal.