CASE STUDY: How technologies helped Askham care staff stay connected during pandemic


A Cambridgeshire care community has revealed how its implementation of new technologies has enhanced its internal operations and ensured its commitment to staff wellbeing.

In a webinar hosted by instant messaging platform Yapster and digital HR rota system Alpaka, Askham Village Community, a specialist rehabilitation and care group near Doddington, shared how integrating the two technologies pre-COVID-19 had been a revelation in keeping staff connected in a time of social distancing and remote working.

Having already implemented Alpaka across its care community, Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, director at Askham, said Yapster was rolled out to 50% of staff within just 24 to 48 hours.

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Nasser said: “Yapster was really easy to implement because of Alpaka. We already had a very clear set of data where we knew who our staff were, who was in what team, and how it was all aligned, which meant that essentially, Yapster was put straight in and staff could then communicate through it immediately. And I have to say the fact that it’s been embraced by everyone so swiftly is amazing.”

She also commented on how the platforms have enabled management to quickly update staff on infection control policies as they change, something that’s been extremely beneficial when government guidance for care homes has not always been straightforward.

“Yapster has come into its own from a safety perspective,” she continued. “You have this tool where you can communicate to 250 people instantly and securely.”

One example Nasser referred to was a Lead Nurse being able to share a positive statistic about the number of people who had recovered and been discharged from a Cambridgeshire hospital. “It’s that kind of narrative of changing social leadership, which I think has been enormously valuable, protecting staff wellbeing and helping ensure that they’re seeing all sides of this horrible crisis,” Nasser said. “I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have access to these platforms during it.”

Nasser also linked having access to effective communication as being a driver in staff retention, pointing out that by providing a means of efficient communication channels, staff were more likely to receive the clarity and support needed to effectively perform their jobs.

“We wanted to make sure we could easily demonstrate – not just for the purposes of CQC, but also because it’s what staff need – that we can respond to questions, new policy changes, etc, as quickly as possible,” she said. “We wanted to create a situation where no staff member would ever be left not knowing what was expected of them, or didn’t have the latest guidance.”

Around 2 billion of the world’s 3 billion workforce are deskless, and in the care sector (which falls within that 2 billion) only 20% of the workforce have access to an official work email address.

Rob Liddiard, CEO of Yapster, said: “Aliyyah and the whole team at Askham Village Community have inspired us with their innovative, positive use of our platform at a difficult time for the care sector. We’re now excited to make significant further investment in supporting the UK care sector and its rapidly emerging class of ‘social Leaders’.”

Phill Rodgers, founder of Alpaka, also shared how the company had made more than 75,000 timesheets, saving an estimated 15 minutes per worker from having to physically write and deliver them. This equates to around 781 days of free time which, in a care environment, can then be spent caring and spending time with residents.

Rodgers said: “We’re so proud of our integration with Yapster and the positive impact we’ve been able make on Askham’s people and business together, going forward Alpaka will cover the full cost of the Yapster messaging bolt-on for any new Alpaka customer with over 100 employees.”

Nasser concluded: “Joining forces with Yapster and Alpaka was the best decision we made at the start of this lockdown. Having the speed and the ease with which we can now communicate means that messages are going out to the entire staff team that otherwise wouldn’t have been communicated.

“Yapster will form a key part of the comms for Askham, which has been a challenge for many years. I think with this we’ve really been able to take the next step for real change. I couldn’t recommend them enough to other care providers who are still heavily reliant on word of mouth and print outs to communicate to staff.”

To view the full webinar transcript, click here

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Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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