2 Apr 2021

NQSW supervision resource 9 - Virtual supervision

NQSW supervision resource 9 - Virtual supervision

Good supervision practices

Good practice includes creating the right supportive environment for supervision that is holistic and meets the needs of NQSWs. Individual contracting or negotiation of supervision is important even when there is a local policy in place.

There are several practical concerns as well as professional issues related to virtual working. While this is established practice in many remote or rural settings it has been a rapid change for some because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has brought challenges with unforeseen compulsory working from home due to restrictions.

While familiar to many people in remote and rural locations in Scotland virtual working has recently become essential for almost everyone since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are key tips from research across the globe about improving the quality of online supervision:

  • Strong internet connections (wired connection to broadband routers)
  • Having a backup plan for failed connection (retries followed by phone call)
  • Consider the use of headphones to improve audio quality and increasing confidentiality
  • Having the camera level with your face improves eye contact and sense of listening 
  • Be about an arm’s length from the camera, as this will offer the best quality image
  • Discussions about the environment including the use of virtual backgrounds for additional privacy
  • Making sure your face is well lit, with no strong light behind you eliminates a silhouette
  • Try to look at the webcam at least some of the time, particularly at emotive moments
  • Once your image is clear and well lit, consider turning off self-view to reduce distraction
  • Reduce non-verbal intensity if appropriate by ‘screen sharing’ useful materials 
  • Be aware of the visible background and consider application-based backgrounds.
  • Manage distractions by pausing PC notifications, silencing phones or excluding pets

It can be important to talk about how working online helps or hinders your communication style and how it impacts working with any strong emotions.

Reflective questions

  • Think about ways in which you conduct online meetings.
  • Write down three things that you are using effectively and three things you could improve on.
  • This might be useful for any online client work as well as supervision and other professional meetings.

Information and links

Go to NQSW supervision resource 10 – Supervision models

Contact information

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