Have you ever considered working as a remote lone worker providing care to people in their homes?
Home care work can be very rewarding. It can also be very challenging. As a remote lone worker, you’ll need to work with technology, maintain personal boundaries, and establish trust with clients. Here are some top tips on how to make this work for you.
Home care work is about working with people. Often people working in home care establish strong and lasting professional relationships with their clients. This is important because it can help ensure that your care remains consistent and reliable.
Your clients will often be vulnerable people who will depend on you to arrive on time and they will trust you to work in the sanctuary of their home. This is why outstanding providers provide appropriate training and support to their remote teams, and maintain high standards of compliance with the law and regulation that governs home care work.
Technology has significantly changed our lives and is developing to support people in their respective roles in home care. Like most businesses and organisations, there is no standard technology in home care. Your employer will have chosen their preferred software and this might include a mobile app to support you in your role.
What is a lone worker?
The Health and Safety Executive describe lone workers as people that work by themselves without close or direct supervision.
Anybody that works alone, including contractors, self-employed people and employees, are classed as a lone worker.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the remote lone worker is physically or literally alone; it means they are in a separate location to the rest of their team or manager.
Lone workers exist in all sectors. They include people who work alone outside of normal business hours, work from home, or provide services in people’s homes.
It is estimated that in the UK there are 8 million people working as lone workers.
Lone working can feel different compared to a job surrounded by people in an office for instance. But if you’re looking to work independently, often in hours that fit around other commitments, lone working can be the perfect fit.
Being a Remote Lone Worker
When you work remotely, you have to make sure that your responsibilities are clear and manageable. This means that you can’t be the only person responsible for everything. You’ll need to learn how to delegate tasks or escalate concerns, and ask for help when you need it.
Your employer will provide you with a rota which will show the clients you will visit on the days that you are scheduled to work. As a remote lone worker, you will be travelling to and working in client’s homes sometimes on your own, or as part of team which is known as a ‘double-up’.
To avoid burnout, it’s important not to take on too much at once. It’s also crucial to find healthy ways to manage your workload and stay organised. You can set boundaries by sharing your availability to work with your employer, and arrange regular check-ins with your supervisor to ensure you are receiving the best available support. This might include talking through any concerns or challenges, creating a personal career development plan, or arranging training or top-up training courses.
Reconnect with Yourself
Driving in their car or taking the bus on their own can sometimes lead to new care professionals feeling isolated and disconnected from the world. They often find themselves struggling with self-doubt and guilt. This can lead to burnout and a lack of motivation.
It’s important to focus on your personal needs as a care professional so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed or emotionally drained. Seeing someone else’s perspective is also helpful in breaking down these feelings.
Take a few minutes each day to step outside of yourself and think about your work life, what you miss, what you love, and what motivates you. As you do this, write it all down in a journal or an email to yourself. Then arrange some time to share this with your employer; good employers will do what they can to support you in your role. You are vital to their provision and they will want to do everything they can to ensure you are happy and engaged in your work.
The Key Strengths of Remote Work in Home Care
The key strengths of people working remotely in home care are:
1. A passion for caring for people
2. Emotional support (from your team)
3. Opportunity for advancement (create career development plans, if you want to)
4. Flexible schedule (swap or share shifts or visits with your team, should you need to)
5. Professionalism (this is a critical role in society and you will have significant regulated responsibilities)
6. Flexibility (in your working hours)
Flexibility and autonomy
When you work for yourself, your schedule is yours to make. You’re the one who sets your own hours, whether that means some days you work in a set work week and other days you take off, or if it means that each day is different. As a remote lone worker you have control over your schedule, it’s easier to build time into your life and have some flexibility.
If you’re doing this kind of work, you’ll need to establish boundaries – such as when your are available to work, where you are happy to travel to provide care, when you can visit the office for meetings, attend training and supervisions. It’s important that you set these boundaries early on so you and your employer know what’s expected.
The joy of learning new skills and working with diverse people
Working as a home care professional is a huge opportunity to learn new skills. As a remote lone worker it can be challenging, but the knowledge you gain and the experience will last a lifetime.
One great benefit of this job is that you’ll get to work with people from all walks of life. You’ll have the opportunity to help people in situations where they might not be able to live independently and with dignity otherwise. You’ll also see how your work impacts those around you, in addition to earning a wage for the vital services you provide.
Supporting lives brings no higher reward
If you are considering a career in home care, it is important that you understand the importance of helping people.
We spend so much time at work and in our personal lives that we often forget about what is happening around us. There are millions of individuals who rely on our support for their day-to-day existence, whether it be for physical or emotional reasons.
If you choose to work for a home care agency, you will have an opportunity to provide this support and experience what it means to support life, and be the one person that makes a difference that transcends material things, to being human.
You will also have the opportunity to form relationships with clients who will change your life in ways you may never have expected. These relationships are more than just business transactions; they become genuine connections where one person recognises and respects another. For some clients, you may become the reason they have purpose, avoid crippling loneliness and isolation, and experience happiness.