From Cornwall to the Falklands – managing hospice communications remotely

Categories: Care, Featured, and Leadership.

When Cornwall Hospice Care’s Head of PR and Communications offered to resign as she was accompanying her husband on an overseas posting, she didn’t expect the reaction of the Chief Executive. His immediate thought was to raise the possibility of remote working, and now that forward thinking approach has proved Cornwall has a global reach. Here Tamsin Thomas talks more about connecting with the county from the southern hemisphere.

I remember once considering the idea of freelancing and being terrified of losing the guarantee of regular work, interaction with team colleagues and direction. Who would have thought then that some years later I would find myself discussing the possibility of remote working? Our Chief Executive Paul Brinsley’s refreshing approach was to ask if it was feasible, what I would need, how would my team of two cope without me and how we would measure success. He’s a leader keen to retain staff and open to innovative ways of working.

So here I am 11 months in to life in the Falklands, nearly 8,000 miles away from Cornwall and happily running our remote Cornwall Hospice Care office. From here I’ve produced our annual report, edited our bi-weekly internal newsletter and our monthly clinical newsletter and kept in touch with everyone thanks to Skype for Business.

The good news is that the positives outweigh the negatives. The huge plus is the gift of time. There are no interruptions here, no people wandering in and out or stopping me at the water cooler, and no phones ringing. I can plan, develop and consider ideas and projects. Thanks to remote working we’re way ahead in our planning for our 40th anniversary in 2020.

I’m a communicator, so I do miss face-to-face interaction and there’s always that fear of ‘out of sight out of mind’, but Skype brings me in to weekly catch-ups, to board meetings and planning sessions and I’ve taken the opportunity to harness the thoughts of others, holding volunteer focus groups with people down here.

Wi-fi here is costly (I pay for it, not my employer) and sometimes unpredictable, but the upshot of remote working is that I achieve in 20 hours spread over five days what I would normally manage to do in a 37.5 hour a week. I also enjoy an enviable work/life balance, finding time to indulge in the extraordinary wildlife I’m surrounded by from penguins to albatross and sea lions. Connecting with Cornwall from the other side of the world is a pleasure, a privilege and highly productive.

For more information visit Cornwall Hospice Care