The Countdown to Summer IS ON!

There is nothing like the thought of a nice break in sunnier climes, relaxing on a beach and watching the world go by.  The holiday season is now upon us and we can all reward ourselves with a well-deserved holiday.  However, this is also a headache for care home management as a large number of staff will be on leave within a short period of time.

Most homes have plans in place well in advance.  There are, however, always those last few shifts that prove hard to sort.  We spoke to our customers to find out their top tips on making this part of care home management as easy as possible.

Here are the top three last minute ideas for filling your summer care home rota:

Tip 1. Be Flexible with Shift Swapping

Usually you want to keep your rota as routine as possible but over the summer period it can be tricky.  It might seem fairer for you to dictate who does what shift giving a “luck of the draw” element but it’s worth noting that everyone’s needs differ.

Some may need to fit into their partners’ factory close-down and within the school holiday window.  Others may be content work around other less flexible workers and employees without children may wish to delay their holiday until September, to get a better deal.

If you enable staff to work it out between themselves and swap days, you are more likely to get cover and then you can manage these swaps effectively using the CoolCare4 staff rota.

It could be a headache for you to operate like this all year round but – as a one-off – it’s a quick solution that keeps your team content and your care home running smoothly.

Tip 2. Limit Non-Essential Absence

As your holiday absence will increase, look at limiting other absence types throughout the summer period.  Plan training so that only essential courses will be delivered during the peak holiday period.

Use the CoolCare4 training exception report to help plan your training effectively.   Be especially diligent managing sick absence through the summer.   The more you can discourage sick absence and be proactive managing sickness, gives you more wriggle room to allow holidays.

Don’t put off return to work interviews as they are essential to keep sickness at acceptable levels.

Tip 3. Get Creative with Budgeting

Be creative with your budget and add a higher level of contingency than usual. If you have a temporary overspend in the summer you have the rest of the year to balance it.  It’s certainly cheaper than having to keep falling-back on agency staff over the hols.

Remember, there are workers within your organisation who are outside of your usual permanent team, but are there for just this type of occasion.  Bank staff are an essential way to help manage summer staffing levels.  Build up your bank pool and check their availability so that they are used to the optimum.  Also, get in touch with your nearby sister care homes – do they have staff who are willing to cover shifts in your home too and vice versa?

We give a big high-five to all those incredible care staff who work selflessly throughout the year.  Its summer; take a well-earned rest and recharge those batteries!

Happy Holidays and all the very best for your summer break.