The New Normal: Best Practices for Scheduling Your Workforce Amid COVID-19

January 8, 2021

Creating and managing a staff schedule during this pandemic has presented unique challenges to the healthcare industry. Schedulers are feeling the pressure as they are tasked with overseeing and approving changes to schedules, keeping their eyes on OT thresholds, and maintaining safe staffing levels to ensure patients are receiving the quality care they deserve.

It may seem at times like balancing it all is an impossible task, but using the right tools to simplify your scheduling process will allow you to optimize your workforce without sacrificing your time or resources.

Administrator talking to colleagues on a video conference.

Cover Gaps in Schedule Fast and Efficiently

The right scheduling software makes it easy to cover last-minute schedule openings with qualified staff. Specific scheduling needs can be quickly dispatched to all qualified and available staff to ensure proper shift balance is occurring, even when urgent shift coverage is required. It’s easy to fill the space with any available employee-but that’s not going to do your unit any good if there are credential needs that aren’t addressed when re-assigning open shifts.

The collective tools you need to optimize your staff aren’t available with every scheduling software solution you’ve considered. Automating tasks like employees swapping shifts, self-scheduling, and OT alerts will relieve you of some of the biggest headaches you face when maintaining your healthcare staff schedule. It’s not like you’ll be throwing it to the wind, though. You set the rules for which credentials can cover certain shifts, when and how much of the schedule can be filled by self-scheduling, and whether or not OT will require approval before the shift can be filled by those approaching their OT thresholds. These aren’t by any means new challenges, but with the heightened demand on your facility in the presence of COVID-19, these seemingly small scheduling tasks can leave their mark on your unit’s proficiency and your scheduler’s mental load.

Ensure Employees are Healthy Before Every Shift

Send messages and updates to staff with ease, including COVID-19 health and safety checklists and screening tools along with specific guidelines all employees need to follow in order to stay compliant with COVID-19 precautions. Last-minute changes will be necessary from time to time due to including proactive measures like removing a shift for a staff member who has been exposed or isn’t feeling well. Guidelines could state that anyone feeling ill or exposed needs to be tested before returning to work. The challenges that present are two-fold: transparency in availability status and covering shifts that need to be re-assigned to available and qualified staff. The right scheduling software will give you the features you need to keep your scheduling process organized with a messaging system to keep everyone informed.

Internal Messaging Platform

Workforce management software that includes an internal messaging platform just makes sense. With internal messaging, administrators are able to quickly and efficiently relay any vital information to staff, versus having to make time consuming phone calls or typing out email messages that you aren’t even sure employees will receive. Sent messages are time stamped when opened, which eliminates or at the very least greatly reduces the all too familiar breakdowns in communication when relying on manual methods.

Schedule Transparency

Simplified staffing solutions include schedule transparency like 24/7 access to all schedules from any device with an internet connection. This eliminates schedule confusion and helps to streamline the process without monopolizing the scheduler’s day with scheduling related inquiries and manual tasks.

Guided Implementation and Continued Tech Support

The last thing you need right now is one more thing to figure out. Teaching your entire staff a new workflow pattern would be nearly impossible. Schedule360 works with what you’ve already got going on and simplifies not only what you are doing, but what you want to accomplish. You tell us how you manage your schedule and what would make your scheduling tasks easier, we set up a demo based on your unique scheduling needs, and you can see first-hand how we pull everything together without uprooting your current system. We’ll be there to guide you through the entire implementation process, and we’ll be there after launch to support you with our team of tech specialists, 24/7.

Ready to Take Control of Your Scheduling Tasks?

With the right scheduling software solution, managing your healthcare staff during COVID-19 (or anytime) is so much easier. Workforce management software is a necessary key component to streamlining and simplifying all of your scheduling needs, which is especially helpful during difficult times like these. Disaster proof your scheduling process with Schedule360’s simplified features that are set up to optimize your resources and create more efficiency in your workflows. Contact us today for a configured demo of our award-winning software.