March 19, 2020
How proper labor management is helping health care businesses save lives and protect their business amidst the COVID-19 crisis
Health care and services are in the eye of a hurricane. While some industries are forced to close their doors, your business is going to remain on the frontline. To focus on keeping your residents healthy, and preventing an outbreak, you will have to manage your workforce and account for last minute changes as team members fall ill.
Although it feels like the end of times, there are some simple steps you can take to mitigate the damage to your business. Proper labor management will ensure appropriate coverage and ensure residents receive high quality care from healthy staff.
Here are five things you can do to help manage your labor and deal with the upcoming challenges ahead:
Build a manager contingency plan
Ask yourself some core questions:
- How many managers do I have in my company?
- How many managers do I need to run day-to-day operations?
- What would happen if half of my managers called in sick?
- What would happen if all of my managers called in sick?
Based on the answers to these questions you will know where you stand. We recommend you identify future managers and cross train them to serve as backup managers. You can mark employees as cross trained in OpenSimSim and record the skill in a worker’s profile. When the going gets rough —and it will get rough– just search for backup managers and be glad that you prepared to keep your senior care facility on track.
Prepare for an increase in ‘swap and drop’ requests
Your health facility is about to get a lot of drop shift requests – sick employees will drop shifts. If you are using pen and paper, post it notes, or just phone calls to track everything, you will be stressed out.
Therefore your drop shift process needs to be ironed out. Pair up workers with similar positions and availability in advance to ensure you have a worker on deck for an unexpected drop. If this feels like a lot of work, use OpenSimSim’s shift opportunity feature to filter employees by availability and skill/position. See them ranked by best fit for a dropped shift and select the most qualified person for the job. Get all the benefits of optimized labor with almost no effort.
Explain shift expectations to back-up workers
At the end of the day, keeping the lights on and caring for patients comes down to having the right people with the right health information at the right time. Eliminate the chance that new team members won’t know what is expected of them. Look into how you currently communicate with employees. Ask yourself, “Do I have to email and text everyone to give updates?”
You need a centralized system to communicate and collaborate with your workforce, and you need to know which team members have read your messages. Send push notifications to specific positions, departments, or people at moment’s notice and communicate expectations to employees. Ensure that team members consistently understand what is expected of them — just by glancing at their phone.
Avoid communal punch-in/out tools
If someone told you that your employees had a ritual where they all shook each other’s hands before starting work, you’d panic and stop it in a heartbeat. Communal punch-in/out kiosks are equally likely to spread potential germs to all staff members.
Using hand-sanitizer would be an effective strategy but there is a country wide shortage! The good news is that your employees can all punch-in/out with their own smart phone using OpenSimSim. Avoiding communal punch-in/out is another step towards minimising the likelihood that COVID-19 would spreadwithin your workforce.
As OpenSimSim’s punch-in/out is GPS fenced, employees will still be clocking in/out on the job site. By using mobile punch-in/out, you create fewer ways for the virus tospread to your staff.
Get employees who have recovered back on the floor
If an employee has recovered fully from COVID-19 – or any illness – it’s great to get them back on the floor. After people contract a virus and recover, they build-up immunity. Getting caregivers back on the floor after recovering from an illness means that your facility decreases the odds that residents, and other employees, will fall ill.
Keep track of employees that have recovered: the more you have on the floor, the safer your residents and staff will be. You can certify team members as having recovered from COVID-19 in OpenSimSim using the ‘Certificates’ window. In less drastic times, the feature is used for certifying that employees have a needed skill such as CPR; lifting residents; permission to distribute medicine; or other common care skills. However, in these rough times it can be used to track and certify the health of employees and keep your residents protected!
Learn more at the CDC’s webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html