March 27, 2024

How long it should take you to do rostering

Table of contents

How much time do you spend on rostering every week? If it’s hours (and hours and hours…) then you’re not alone.

Rostering in domiciliary care is a complex task that requires balancing the needs of care recipients with the availability and skills of care professionals. It's a critical function that, if not managed efficiently, can consume an excessive amount of time and resources. The bigger your client base and care team, the more complicated it becomes!

However, did you know that with the right tools and tricks it’s possible to get the amount of time spent rostering down to less than 2 hours a week? Even less for smaller care businesses serving less than 60 clients.

This article aims to identify some of the most common pitfalls in the rostering process and provide a comprehensive guide on streamlining it, ensuring it's both time-effective and meets the needs of your team and your clients.

Common Time Wasters in Rostering

Do any of these sound like you?

  1. Manual Rostering Processes
    • Why It Wastes Time: Manual rostering typically involves paper schedules or spreadsheets, requiring physical updating and distribution. For example, if a care professional calls in sick, the manager must manually find a replacement and update the schedule, a process that might involve multiple phone calls and adjustments.
    • The Impact: This method is prone to human error, like double-booking staff or overlooking availability, leading to scheduling conflicts. It also makes it challenging to respond quickly to last-minute changes, resulting in a significant waste of administrative time and potential gaps in care coverage.
  2. Lack of Staff Availability Visibility
    • Why It Wastes Time: Without a clear view of staff availability, managers often spend hours trying to figure out who is available for a shift. For instance, a manager might schedule a caregiver who is already booked for another appointment, only realising the mistake when the caregiver points it out.
    • The Impact: This leads to last-minute scrambles to find replacements, causing stress and inefficiency. It can result in overstaffing or understaffing, affecting both operational costs and quality of care.
  3. Inefficient Communication Channels
    • Why It Wastes Time: Relying on traditional communication methods like phone calls or emails for rostering is slow and inefficient. For example, confirming a week's schedule might involve multiple back-and-forth calls or email threads with each staff member.
    • The Impact: This approach increases the risk of miscommunication and scheduling errors, such as a caregiver showing up at the wrong time or location. It also consumes time that could be better spent on other tasks.
  4. Ignoring Staff Preferences and Skills
    • Why It Wastes Time: Not considering staff preferences and skills in rostering can lead to assigning caregivers to unsuitable shifts or locations. For instance, assigning a caregiver who prefers morning shifts to a late-night shift may affect their performance.
    • The Impact: This can result in increased absenteeism and turnover, leading to more time spent on recruiting and training new staff. It can also affect the quality of care provided if staff are not working in their areas of strength or preference.
  5. Overlooking Automated Rostering Tools
    • Why It Wastes Time: Many providers stick to manual methods or basic software that doesn’t fully support automated rostering. For example, not using a tool that automatically matches caregivers' availability with care recipients' needs means spending hours each week manually creating the schedule.
    • The Impact: By not leveraging technology that can automate and optimize rostering, providers miss out on efficiencies that could save hours of work each week. Automated tools can also provide insights for better staffing decisions, reducing operational costs and improving service delivery.

Each of these common time wasters in rostering contributes to inefficiencies that can consume unnecessary hours and negatively impact both the staff and the quality of care. Addressing these issues with more efficient processes and technology can lead to significant time savings and improved operational effectiveness.

Now that you’re aware of some of the areas you may be spending the most time, let’s look at how to cut that down…

Solutions for efficient rostering

Transitioning to digital rostering systems

Detailed Exploration:

  • What it Involves: Moving from manual to digital rostering means adopting software tools that automate and simplify the scheduling process. These systems can integrate various aspects of rostering, including staff availability, shift preferences, and compliance with working hours regulations.
  • First Steps to Implementation:
    • Choosing the Right System: Evaluate different rostering software for features like user-friendliness, customisation, and integration capabilities. Book a demo with a care management platform that provides rostering built in - make sure to ask lots of questions to make sure it’s a good fit for you and how you want to run your business!
    • Training and Transition: Conduct comprehensive training sessions for your staff. It’s crucial to ensure everyone understands how to use the new system effectively in order for it to be successful. Not completing the training leads to frustration and mistakes that hold everyone back.
    • Feedback and Iteration: After implementation, gather feedback from staff to identify any challenges or additional training needs.

Enhancing staff availability visibility

Detailed Exploration:

  • Why it's Crucial: Visibility into staff availability helps in anticipating scheduling conflicts and managing resources effectively. It ensures that you're not understaffed or overstaffed at any given time.
  • Strategies for Improvement:
    • Real-time Updates: Ensure your system allows for real-time updates from staff, reflecting changes in their availability.
    • Accessibility: Choose a system that is accessible on various devices, allowing staff to update their availability from anywhere.

Sara from Newcross Healthcare Solutions discusses how Newcross communicates effectively without emails and WhatsApp. Article continues below.

Streamlining communication

Detailed Exploration:

  • The Impact of Efficient Communication: Clear communication channels can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that shifts are covered adequately. It also saves administrative time spent in back-and-forth communications.
  • How to Achieve It:
    • Integrated Messaging Systems: Use rostering tools that include built-in messaging features, allowing staff to communicate directly within the system.
    • Clear Protocols: Establish clear protocols for communication, such as timely responses to shift confirmations and how to report absences or changes in availability.

Considering staff preferences and skills

Detailed Exploration:

  • Balancing Staff Needs with Operational Requirements: Acknowledging staff preferences can improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover. Aligning their skills with the needs of care recipients ensures quality care.
  • Actionable Steps:
    • Preference Profiles: Allow staff to create profiles in your rostering system where they can list their preferred shifts and areas of expertise.
    • Skill-Based Scheduling: Implement a scheduling approach that considers the skills and specializations of your staff, aligning them with the needs of your care recipients.

Leveraging automated rostering tools

Detailed Exploration:

  • The Power of Automation: Automated rostering can reduce the administrative burden by generating schedules based on pre-set criteria and staff input.
  • Implementing Automation:
    • Setting Parameters: Define parameters within your rostering system for automatic scheduling, such as minimum rest periods, maximum working hours, and skill requirements for certain shifts.
    • Ongoing Optimization: Continuously refine your automation rules based on feedback and operational changes.

Transforming your rostering processes through these detailed solutions can lead to significant time savings and operational improvements. It’s all about finding the right balance between technology and human touch, ensuring that your rostering system supports both your operational needs and the well-being of your staff.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at our article 'How to improve your rostering efficiency'

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