How to have important conversations from a distance!

We have seen significant changes over the last year due to the pandemic. COVID-19 has reached into our lives in many ways, not just in how we live, but also how we attend to those who we care for and support.

With enforced visiting restrictions in place, many staff are having challenging, yet important, conversations concerning the wellbeing of their residents and clients on the phone or virtually rather than in person. During this last year, we have all had to adapt our practice and discover new and creative ways to support the family members of those individuals in our care. When family are unable to visit their loved ones, good communication skills are critical.

It is important to remember how we communicate and what we need to emphasise when on the phone. Over 50% of how we communicate is not verbal, even when on the phone. The tone, pace and the words we choose become even more critical in how our communication is received when on the phone.

Tips to preparing yourself for the call:

  • Are you able to find a quiet room where you will not be interrupted?
  • Is the person receiving the call aware of the news or will it come out of the blue?
  • Do you have all the facts to hand?
  • If the person does not answer the phone, do not leave a message.
  • There is much talk about a ‘warning shot’ when delivering bad news. Your tone of voice can be instrumental in preparing a relative to hear bad news.
  • Tone of voice, vocal clarity and verbal expressiveness make up 38% of the overall message, words (7%) and facial expressions make up 55% of the message.

Tips for when you are on the call:

  • Introduce yourself clearly and check with the person that they know where you are calling from.
  • Check where the person is who is receiving the call. With so many people having mobile phones they could be anywhere, such as driving or in the supermarket.
  • Check who you are speaking to, as you wouldn’t want to speak to the wrong person.
  • Remember to speak clearly and slowly.
  • Find out what they already know to gather more information.
  • Pausing is one of the most empathetic things you can do to give a relative the chance to catch up with what you are saying.
  • Be clear with your message.
  • Make sure you have all the facts as to what the family will need to do next. Can they visit?
  • Have an up-to-date information sheet on current restrictions due to the pandemic for your area.
  • Find out if there is someone you can ring to support the family member.

We want to let you know that we are here to support you, and if you would like to discuss the findings in the above report, or about how we can collaborate, please let us know. To get in touch, email

As a specialist, family run recruitment business, we provide a proactive and consultative approach to recruitment. We help organisations to target issues such as continuity of staffing, reducing spend where you have a high volume of agency usage and supporting those who have specific talent requirements or are in hard to fill locations. We can help with any immediate staffing requirements or longer-term recruitment projects to ultimately save you time and money on agency spend.

Click here to see what our clients say about how we have supported them throughout the pandemic.