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Flexible Caring: The Need for Change
Christian Brøndum is the CEO of Planday, a start-up that provides workforce management software to businesses working across all sectors including both hospitality and care homes. Here, he tells Care & Nursing Essentials about how software can aid flexible caring and help deal with the challenges of retaining staff…
Recently, Carers UK announced the results of a report which found that over 600 people quit their job every day to prioritise caring for older and disabled relatives. Anyone working in the care sector will be familiar with the unique stresses of caring for an elderly or disabled person. Perhaps even more stressful is the fact that often, employers fail to provide the flexibility necessary for workers to keep their jobs whilst caring for their loved ones. Whether you work in the care sector or find yourself struggling to care for relatives whilst working, the need for flexibility is a pressing issue.
Care work was found to be the most stressful profession in a recent survey; respondents cited the workload in the industry, having to cope with tight deadlines and the potential impact of making a mistake as their reasons for feeling stressed. Alongside this, 47.4% of respondents mentioned that work-related stress impacts their lives outside of work, highlighting the need for a refreshed look at work-life balance in the industry. A new perspective is needed to revitalise the motivation and culture of the sector.
New resources brought about by technological advances can help care homes deal with these particular challenges. The arrival of the cloud, for example, has encouraged businesses across all industries to provide online and mobile platforms which redirect more control over scheduling back to employees. The sophisticated technology helps with increasing contact with employers, speeding processes to ensure deadlines are more achievable, and helping teams to communicate more easily to avoid mistakes. A ‘personal’ management style is not always enough when dealing with teams with varied skills across multiple sites.
Digitalizing your management approach reduces the amount of time spent on traditionally manual processes and lowers frustration amongst employees, meaning that retaining those employees becomes much easier. With a 2018 Skills for Care report finding that employee turnover rate in adult social care is 30.7% (equivalent to around 390,000 leavers in the past 12 months), there’s a considerable need for an improved focus on retention.
An online platform for workforce management means that problems are flagged and dealt with before they cause any complications. Mistakes are fewer and both patients and employees benefit from a more open and efficient process.
The trend for flexible working is increasingly being adopted in other sectors and has the potential to go beyond being merely a trend and become the norm. All workplaces can make small changes to put welfare at the core of their management style, and help to have happier, more effective employees.