Founded in August 2020, Community Lettings manages bookings, liaisons and payments on behalf of schools and community centres, allowing them to generate additional income by opening up their premises to groups in need of spaces to meet, train, teach and study.
With sites all over Coventry, it’s essential that Managing Director Charlie Waterworth knows where his staff are — and that they’re on site well in advance of clients’ arrival.
Before switching to RotaCloud, however, there were occasions when his team were caught on the back foot.
“We had a situation about two months ago when a staff member overslept,” Charlie told us.
“They were due to be on site from half past seven, [but] the client called us not long before eight saying, ‘We're here, but the gates are closed,’ so we had a mad scramble to locate the staff member and get someone over there to unlock.
“We did manage to get someone on site but they were fifteen minutes late, so we came away from the situation asking how we could be better in that scenario,” he continued.
“Our staff used to clock in via a WhatsApp group when they arrived on site, but that’s a very reactive measure — we needed a way to prevent this happening, rather than just reacting to it.“
The clocking in is a bit of a lifesaver for us — it mitigates any risk and puts us on the front foot.
Having used RotaCloud at a previous workplace, Charlie decided to trial the software with his startup business. Within days, however, he’d decided to roll RotaCloud out across the entire company, signing up for our Rota Planning and Time & Attendance solutions.
“RotaCloud provides a proactive option for us in terms of staff clocking in,” Charlie said. “It uses GPS — we set about a mile radius, because the school sizes can be quite big — and we get a notification that a staff member is on site or if someone misses their clock-in.”
“If they do, we can get in touch with them to make sure everything’s OK and that we can get someone on site within the half-hour window that we have to unlock.”
“The clocking in is a bit of a lifesaver for us — it mitigates any risk in terms of issues that we might incur on a daily basis, and puts us on the front foot."
Creating and sharing rotas has also become much easier for Charlie and his team, saving them valuable hours each week.
“A lot of our staff work between sites to get more hours throughout the week,” Charlie told us. “The issue we had with the old Excel rotas was that staff would sometimes end up being scheduled to work at different sites at the same time.
“[Rota manager] Jamie would always spot the issue before the rota was sent to staff, but he was having to check the rotas three or four times before he could be confident in them, which would take him hours,” he explained.
“But with RotaCloud, if he was to make the same mistake, it would just come up with an error message straight away. And that's exactly what we need as we grow.”
Communicating and sharing rotas
Before using RotaCloud, Community Lettings’ rota manager would message the team via WhatsApp whenever their rota was ready to view. Unfortunately, this didn’t always work, resulting in staff missing important updates.
“WhatsApp’s great in terms of building morale, and communicating on a daily basis with employees,” Charlie said. “But you could stick a message in at nine o'clock saying, ‘Hi, guys. Please acknowledge the shifts for this coming week,’ and by 12 o'clock, we could be talking about a completely different topic.
“[RotaCloud] takes the responsibility off Jamie to have to liaise with staff — it's employee-led now, which is great. It gives them the ownership and the responsibility to manage their calendars and manage their shifts on a weekly basis.”
Payroll & budgeting
Asked whether he had a favourite feature, Charlie immediately pointed to RotaCloud’s budgeting tools.
“We've taken out the Pro package, [so] we're using the budgeting and forecasting tools. And that's massive for us. We have complete visibility now on what bookings are profitable.”
“Beforehand, it probably took us eight hours just to go through each individual rota, then put all the holiday pay in. Yesterday, we literally did it in about two hours — it‘s made our lives a lot easier.”
Finally, we asked Charlie whether he’d recommend RotaCloud to other businesses in the leisure industry.
“It'll give you the opportunity to invest more time with your staff and your clients,” he said.
”Rather than [being] stuck behind a computer, formalising your Excel, checking them three or four times making sure they're right, with literally a couple of clicks of a button you can formulate your rotas and be on site, face to face and building relationships with the people that matter,” he replied.
We’d call that a resounding ‘yes’!