For the majority of businesses around the world, the outbreak of COVID-19 will have a financial and social impact we can’t yet measure. But with advice from experts warning that it’s the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions who are most vulnerable to the virus, COVID-19 is having a very different impact on healthcare centres and the people who work for them.
So, in talking with some of our customers and leaders in the healthcare sector, we have compiled a list of digital tools, advice and information on Government assistance which can help you get through.
No matter what you do for business, this is an extraordinary and difficult time and while we advise you to consider official websites and information and get personal, professional advice before making any business decisions, we hope this information can help you make sense of the changing situation.
Before we start
In this unpredictable time there are only two certainties which we encourage everyone to follow: listen to the advice of the experts and authorities and protect yourself with good health and hygiene habits. Together, this can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and can help those who are most vulnerable get through and millions of businesses around the world bounce back.
We are proud of the work you’re doing
The worst in this virus is bringing out the best in the people who work in healthcare and care homes. With the sad and distressing news about vulnerable people coming out of countries across Europe and around the world every day, we are proud of the thousands of healthcare workers who are still doing such an extraordinary job in such unbelievable times.
We celebrate those on the frontline
More than ever, businesses like yours need a communications tool to help you and your people stay in touch and informed. We are proud to support thousands of care home and healthcare workers across the UK and other parts of the world as they take on one of the most important roles during this crisis — caring for the vulnerable.
We are also really proud to hear that using digital tools has helped some of these businesses do what they do best. Digital tools help those businesses find people on nearby sites and distribute them to areas that need to be covered, so your core business — caring for people — can continue as best as it can.
So remember three things. Stay safe. Stay in touch. Stay calm.
We wish you, your colleagues and families safety, wellness and positivity during these challenging times and we hope you find this ebook useful as you deal with COVID-19.
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Government assistance for healthcare businesses during COVID-19
There is a lot of support for healthcare professionals and workers at the moment.
The UK Government has announced it will pay 80% of people’s wages if their employment is affected by COVID-19, up to £2,500 a month. This is so people who would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis can continue to get the support they need to get through.
Deferring VAT payments
All businesses will have VAT deferred for three months, running from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. The Government’s advice is that this is automatically applied to all businesses so you won’t have to make an application to access this. If you’re a business which pays its VAT or income tax via direct debit, you should make sure you cancel it.
Help with paying your people while they’re sick
It can be tough covering things when you have sick staff at the best of times, but it’s even more stressful these days. Businesses with fewer than 250 people working there will be able to claim two weeks’ worth of sick pay back from the Government if they have been off work because of COVID-19.
As well as the limits on the number of staff, there are a number of other things to consider:
- the size of an business is defined as the number of people they employed on 28 February 2020
- you should maintain records of staff absences and payments, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
Loans and finance for businesses affected by COVID-19
There is a loans and finance scheme in place for businesses whose trade has been interrupted by COVID-19. Up to 40 lenders will be able to administer the scheme to businesses like yours, including all the major banks.
This means businesses like yours could be eligible for access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to 6 years. The Government will cover the interest payments for the first year and any fees levied by your lender, as well as offering a guarantee of 80% (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders the confidence to assist you in getting access to finance should you need it.
Support for the self-employed
For the many business owners who are self-employed, you can apply for assistance to get a cash grant of 80 per cent of your average monthly trading profit over the past three months, capped at £2,500. While this will help businesses such as smaller care homes, who will often have several people in your team, if your taxable profit above £50,000, you will be excluded from the scheme.
How digital tools help healthcare centres during a crisis
We are really proud to hear that using digital tools has helped some of these businesses do what they do best. Here are a few of their stories and ideas.
Having a mobile communication app in everyone’s pocket really helps
Things are scary at the moment and moving very fast. From one moment to the next, the advice we have about the way we live our everyday lives is changing. And for businesses and carers that don’t have the simple, office-based solution of working from home, being able to communicate with everyone at once can make a real difference.
Time isn’t wasted chasing people’s phone numbers or checking that everyone is in a group chat. When things move as fast as they are now, the luxury of calling around to let people know the changes simply isn’t possible. Being able to connect with everyone at once — and knowing they’ll get the same message at the same time — is the reassuring thing our customers are telling us they need at the moment.
Digital tools stop people handling pieces of paper
So in times when unnecessarily touching surfaces and touching your face is discouraged as a health measure, having people complete forms like timesheets, rotas and holiday forms on their own device — and not on a piece of paper that gets passed to another person — limits the chance of spreading infections via unnecessary paperwork.
Daily communications can update staff on changes in strategy
Every business is adapting its practices every day on the advice of experts and governments, which is affecting the way people work and interact. And for healthcare centres and businesses, this is even more apparent.
Making sure a clear and concise daily message is sent to people — whether they are at work or not, with the ability to see whether someone’s read it — prevents confusion, ensures the new strategy is followed and ultimately improves safety for the patients and residents in your care.
Accurate reporting can show who’s at work
If an infection does sweep through a healthcare centre, containment and making sure management is aware of who has potentially been exposed to it is the most important thing for any business.
Digital tools allow businesses to track which buildings have the most people in them on a work day, who has come in and out of a building and when and — as part of good planning processes — healthcare centres and care homes can score the amount of risk in a particular site to prevent against the likelihood of infection.
Real time tracking of sickness
Stay at home so I can stay at work. That’s the very real message medical professionals are sharing on social media sites at the moment so people who need treatment in a hospital can get it, while the rest of us follow the advice of professionals and self-isolate to stop further spread.
But if there are a number of staff who are affected or need to self-isolate, digital tools can help businesses understand who is or is not available and for how long they might be out of action, so other staffing arrangements can be made.
Find other people to cover for those who are sick
If you work in a business like healthcare or care homes that can’t just send people home, replacement arrangements will have to be made so the care for your patients and residents can continue as undisrupted as possible.
Digital tools help those businesses find people on nearby sites and distribute them to areas that need to be covered, so your core business — caring for people — can continue as best as it can.
How we can help
Planday is a communications tool to help you and your people stay in touch and informed. As COVID-19 continues to challenge the way we work and the situation changes rapidly, here are a few key features we suggest you use in this period.
Shift swaps, changes and flexibility
As the situation with COVID-19 changes rapidly, businesses like yours will need to be as quick and agile as possible, understanding that your staff’s availability can change in an instant. For our tips on managing this quickly and simply, read here.
Quick templates to manage unexpected changes
No two days will likely be the same in the coming days and weeks, but using templates will help you get a head-start on whatever changes are thrown your way. Have a look at how some of our templates can help you schedule smarter.
Trigger notifications to instantly alert your employees
When things change quickly, it is vital to keep your people informed. Planday lets you send notifications and updates to your staff quickly, with notifications to make sure everyone gets the message at the same time. See how here.
*Please note: SMS messages may incur additional fees
Communicate with everyone in one go
It is more important than ever to make sure everyone is informed and no one misses any message. Planday helps you communicate with all your employees in one go. You can read more about it here.
Optimised scheduling: get the right person in the right place
Now is more important than ever to make sure you have the right people in the right place at the right time. To see how Planday helps you schedule by position so you have the right person every time, see here.
Planday guides — your ‘how to’ info in one place
For all the information you need on:
- Time Off And Vacation
- Time Tracking
- Contracts & Documents
We support you
Look after yourself. Look after your people.
We know this is a really tough time for a lot of people and the challenge of living in the COVID-19 crisis changes every day. We are proud to help thousands of UK businesses as a communications tool that brings your team together in tough times like this.
We encourage you all to continue to monitor and follow the advice of medical and scientific experts – to stay safe and look after each other as we face this global crisis together.
We wish you, your colleagues and families safety, wellness and positivity during these challenging times.
This piece is general in nature and should not be taken as professional, legal or qualified advice. Before taking any action at this time, we urge you to read the terms and conditions of each of the relevant agencies and seek your own specific professional advice before making any business decision. All information has been sourced from Government agencies and websites and links are contained within. Information was sourced and up to date as at 27 March 2020 local time.