But as the UK starts a wide-scale COVID-19 vaccination program, Graeme’s responsibilities have changed to help coordinate the area’s 15 vaccination centres and almost 300 staff.  

Having used it in the NHS’ dental surgeries, Graeme says it was obvious that Planday would make his day work in vaccination centres too.  

“I suggested that our management look at how the dental service uses Planday to get things set up quickly,” Graeme says.  

“It took them about four minutes, and they were like “hell yes, we love that!” 

“So I then moved from my normal role to support the full implementation of Planday and also the wider management of the vaccination program.” 

Graeme says the set-up and administration of the vaccine across 15 locations had the potential to be an enormous logistical challenge. 

“We will end up with around 15 sites all delivering the COVID vaccine. But they aren’t all NHS sites – some are community centres, leisure centres, hospitals and even a football stadium. So it’s a potential logistical nightmare to coordinate all that with a vaccine which will be difficult to distribute anyway,” Graeme says.  

“We wanted a very cohesive, all-in-one rostering tool, which Planday delivers on.” 

“So with ongoing responsibility for the vaccine program for at least a year if not longer – and the potential that it repeats every year – it just makes sense to put everyone on the one system.

“That way all the managers of these different services are able to collaborate with their teams from the one system. That gives the global view of what we’re trying to deliver and it’s something we can benchmark.” 

Graeme is also confident that Planday is his powerful partner as the vaccine program scales its capacity. 

“Knowing just how easy it is to manage positions and sites – that is why I love the system even more now than I did when we got it five years ago. This will be a great help as we scale.”

They will also use Planday to stagger staff shifts and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. 

“The centres will be open between 9am and 8pm, so there isn’t any member of staff who we will have scheduled for that whole time. I’ve been working with the senior managers about what the actual shift structures may be and we can use Planday to do all of that,” Graeme says.  

“We are going to implement shift structures and overlaps. We have set up the locations to make sure if we have some sites that will have up to eight vaccinators at any one time, those venues are big enough to accommodate them, including the shift-turn around.” 

The centres can also use a new Planday feature – contracted hours – to take the guesswork out of scheduling for the many staff who have set hours in their contract, as well as better flexibility for casual and part-time workers. 

“I cannot tell you how pleased and delighted I was to see that Planday has the contracted hours feature now. You set everything up and go into the schedule view and it tells you exactly what hours each employee is contracted to work,” Graeme says. 

“The centres have many casual and part time staff and I love the flexibility they have thanks to Planday. 

“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 availability in, it comes up as a green thumbs up or a red thumbs down – I absolutely love that. 

“Because all those three-to-four things added together means we aren’t going to be constantly – and I mean constantly – looking for people for shifts, phoning people round. We will open those shifts, publish them and people will take them.” 

Graeme says Planday will be the centre’s partner as COVID vaccine programs are monitored in the coming months. 

“We will obviously get monitored very closely on performance, and the staffing part of that will be very important,” Graeme says.  

“Management will want to know at the drop of a hat that if we’re not putting in enough needles in arms, why is that the case? And if staffing is the reason for that, then they want to know how many shifts have gone unfilled. 

“Press that shift overview button from the schedule once and it shows you all your open shifts. These are hugely important things that not only let us get the job done, but if we can’t get the job done, then we will be able to explain why.  

“And that’s all done in Planday.” 

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