Business case studies

Increasing flexible working options for care workers

Community Integrated Care employs more than 5,850 people – including 900+ in Scotland. The majority are frontline workers, who support adults with a range of physical and mental needs in their own homes so they can live independent lives.

4-day week for support staff

Last year the charity ran a successful pilot for a four-day week for its Support Services colleagues, who are not frontline workers. There was no detrimental effect on productivity. In many cases, it even improved. Colleagues reported better work-life balance and greater capacity for creativity and problem solving. Now all Support Services colleagues have been offered the opportunity to move to four-day weeks. People either work compressed full-time hours over four days, or have chosen to reduce their hours and pay down to four days.

Support Services colleagues have also been working remotely during the pandemic, and Community Integrated Care has closed some smaller offices, leaving one main office per region. Their Scotland office is based in Glasgow.

Flex for frontline workers

Helping frontline staff work more flexibly presents different challenges.

Holly Nicholson, the Charity’s HR Business Partner responsible for increasing flexible working, said: “Obviously, our frontline workers can’t work from home, they need to be with the individual they support and they understand this completely. But we can give them more flexibility around their hours.

“We’re currently looking at a range of new shift patterns, that might involve monthly, or fortnightly hours. There’s a shift pattern where you work four days on, four days off, three days on and three days off, which means you work seven days over 14, which we’re considering too.

“We’ve seen some really interesting research about nurses in Sweden working four-day weeks and achieving better outcomes for the people they support. Patterns where staff have more consecutive days off mean your employees are better rested. They’re not turning up to work tired and grumpy, which is a good thing for the people we support. We’re exploring all this at the moment and aim to run a pilot in the autumn across a few of our services offering different types of support to try out new ways of working.”

Retaining staff

“Retaining good employees in social care is hard, and we’re expecting it to get even harder as more industries begin opening up again after Covid and people have more choice over jobs. The pay in our sector is sadly not very competitive, so we need to give them other reasons to stay with us.

 

Education for leaders and managers

“Our service is always, and rightly, centred around the needs of the person we are supporting. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have any flexibility for our colleagues too. It’s just about how you approach it.

“Educating and training our leaders and managers in how they can be more creative when putting together rotas is a big piece of work for us. For example, we might have someone we’re supporting who loves to go out in the evening, and an employee who prefers to work evenings, so we can match them up.

“We hope our pilots this autumn will give us a clearer framework of shift options for managers to consider when putting rotas together.”

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