But not so for NHS Fife in Scotland. We sat down with Business Manager Graeme Pettigrew – who oversaw the implementation of Planday for the organisation in 2015 – to see how Planday makes their day work.
“We have about 120 staff who use Planday,” Graeme says.
With long and unpredictable hours, NHS Fife uses a mixture of casual and contracted staff.
“Our dental clinics are a 7 day a week service, but at the weekend we run an emergency service – and that is staffed almost universally by casual staff. So they don’t have set, contracted hours,” Graeme says.
Graeme says NHS Fife’s dental clinics’ staff scheduling and communications have been modernised and simplified thanks to Planday.
“In the old way of rostering, none of the systems talked to each other. You got an email about your roster, a phone call to change it and perhaps an email again,” Graeme says.
“People were turning up in the wrong place or you’d get a roster emailed to you and you were actually on annual leave. We would even sometimes phone staff on their day off to tell them where they needed to be the next day.
“All of these very fundamental things – that when you start to add them up – begin to annoy staff. And that has been an enormous benefit from using Planday.”
“I cannot tell you how pleased I am Planday has the Contracted Hours feature.”
With many NHS staff also having set, contracted hours or limits, Graeme says Planday helps keep scheduling and planning on track so managers can be confident their rota keeps to the rules – and that casual staff can pick up a shift when they want to.
“I cannot tell you how pleased and delighted I am that Planday has this feature,” Graeme says.
“You can set everything up and then the schedule view tells you exactly what each employee is contracted to work. It makes a massive difference.
“First, it gives us the ability to look at contracted staff and get them on first. And then there’s the flexibility staff have – this is a crucial benefit. It means if you’re a part time staff member working 22-and-a-half hours a week and we have an open shift and you want to work additional hours, then you can just pick up that shift.
“If you’re a casual member of staff and you don’t have any set hours, but you want to put your unavailability in if you want some time off, Planday will tell me if you can work or not. I absolutely love that.”
“Being able to go into the app and look at swapping or putting something up for sale… I cannot begin to tell you what a positive change that is for our staff and what a difference it has made to their lives.
“Previously, once you had a shift you were sort of stuck with it and you’d have to call in favours to try and change it. Planday makes a world of difference for people to change and swap shifts simply, all in the app.”
Communication with the right people at the right time
But there’s more than just the day-to-day that makes the dental clinics’ planning painless, Graeme says.
“Back in March 2018, we got hit with a snowstorm. We really saw the difference Planday had made when we compared this to one we’d had in 2010,” Graeme says.
“I had been able to build into Planday our business continuity plan. It meant the procedures and processes were available to all staff on Planday.
“We have groups for the reception staff, for the senior clinicians and other groups by using the communication tool within Planday. Management didn’t have to wait until they got in to start to communicate with staff and we could communicate – even the night before – the contingency plan we had in place.
“So rather than getting caught short in a situation such as this like we did before Planday, it really helped communicate and implement our contingency planning quickly and easily.
Long-term business benefits
Combining the streamlined processes and the better communications for business continuity, plus staff flexiblity and precision around the rules for people with contracted hourly limits, has made a big difference to the time and money NHS Fife spends on admin tasks.
“Over the course of using Planday, we’ve been able to gradually restructure our operation and that’s now saving us something in the order of £45,000 to £50,000 a year,” Graeme says.
“It’s really changed the way we do things!”
Are you ready to make your day work?
Whether it’s balancing a mixture of casual and contracted staff or knowing you have the right people with the right skills on a shift, running a busy dental clinic means managing a range of variables to make sure your shift is always right. To see how Planday can help you take the guesswork out of your dental clinic staff management and make your day work, speak to a specialist for a solution tailored to your needs.