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Staff at St Davids and St Christophers Nursing and Residential Homes in North Ascot | Guidance on Care Homes

Workforce rostering the answer to managing staff shortages

Care homes are facing increasing challenges as staff shortages make planning and managing rosters more difficult.

According to workforce management app Deputy, more than 20,000 workers in UK residential care homes have increased their rostered hours by 230% year on year between February 2020 and 2021.

At the same time, advanced planning of shifts has become more erratic, reducing from an average of 18-20 days to 12-14 days.

Last month the National Care Forum revealed that most care homes have been dealing with between 11% and 40% staff absences. Some have been functioning without 50% of their staff due to Covid-19, self-isolation following contact tracing, shielding and childcare responsibilities.

David Kelly, general manager for EMEA at Deputy, said there has been a fluctuating level of demand with many staff being unavailable to work.

This has prompted a sharp rise in care homes using software to manage their workforce in a more agile and structured way.

Managing shortages

David Kelly from Deputy
David Kelly

Over the past 12 months, Deputy has worked with more than 20,000 residential care workers across the UK. It helps providers to manage unpredictable staff rotas and last-minute changes.

“If someone calls in sick, a manager can find a replacement quickly,” said Kelly. “Our workforce rostering app advertises available shifts instantly to all qualified staff who are not already due to be working. It also offers a shift swapping feature, which reduces the need for agency cover.”

Leeds care home Aspen Hill Village has 242 staff and says Deputy saves it between £2,000-£5,000 each month on timesheet inaccuracies.

Meanwhile, David Tanner, owner of St David’s and St Christopher’s Nursing and Residential Homes in North Ascot in Berkshire, said the time spent administering payroll has been cut from 160 hours to eight hours per month.

“The hours we save go back into extra pay and staffing,” he said.

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