Family-owned residential and dementia care provider Ideal Care (North) have operated care homes since 1986. Ideal Care (North)’s current site, St Aidan Lodge in Durham, is home to approximately 70 residents, and also provides respite care for service users with dementia.
Director Ben Maredia’s goal is to make the administrative processes at Ideal Care (North) entirely paperless. We spoke with him about the challenges he’d faced before switching to RotaCloud, and what he wanted to achieve by switching to a cloud-based system like ours.
“There are massive savings to be had around admin, the processing of payroll, and keeping records and information accurate,” he said via video call.
“We're trying to move most of our business over to cloud-based systems — to go paper-free.”
The reason for this? Like so many care businesses, keeping track of his employees’ shifts, holidays, and attendance data was becoming a real headache.
“We had lots of different places where we held information,” Ben told us. “Sometimes they weren't always kept synchronised — the information was across three different folders.”
“We'd record something in one place but not record it in another. So when you came to actually look at, say, someone's absence or their timesheets, it was hard to correlate what the bigger picture was.”
Keeping the rota updated whenever a member of the Ideal Care (North) team called in sick or asked to swap a shift was also proving difficult.
“Things happen quite fast and fluid — someone's child is ill, or something happened and they can’t come in,” he explained. “People would ring up, and it’d be recorded on a paper rota in the office, but it didn't quite agree with the master copy — it would change all the time.”
In need of a digital system that would enable his management team to work from one, consistent source of information, Ben took to Google.
We know everything's accurate and synchronised — it’s saved probably half of my admin’s wages.
Initially unaware of RotaCloud, Ben started his search by researching clocking-in machines that would feed staff attendance data through to a spreadsheet that he and his managers could work from.
After spotting RotaCloud during his research, however, he quickly changed his mind.
“Looking at the cost of [a clocking-in machine] compared to the cost of having an app that does a lot more — having the added functionality of staff being able to pick up their shifts, request time off, see what was going on, it just made sense,” he said.
Ben decided to roll RotaCloud out across his company, combining clocking in with rota planning and leave management — all ready for him to run payroll. It helped him on his way to making Ideal Care (North) a paperless operation, and solved the data disparity problem.
“The best thing [about RotaCloud] has got to be the consistency of data,” Ben told us. “Previously, we had a paper rota in an office, a master rota with the manager, a sickness file, a holiday file, a timesheet file — it was difficult sometimes to make sure the information was accurate across them all. Whereas now, one person makes a change and all of us in our management team can see it.”
By streamlining his operations in this way, Ben has also found that he was able to hold off on replacing an employee who left at the start of the pandemic, because RotaCloud lifted so much of the team’s admin burden.
“For various reasons, at the start of the pandemic my admin wasn't able to keep working,” he told us. “But we haven’t replaced them because a large part of their time has been saved through being able to manage leave, holiday, sickness and payroll through RotaCloud.”
“It’s allowed me, the manager, and my deputy to be able to pick that work up and do it between the three of us, piecemeal. We know everything's accurate and synchronised, and it’s saved probably half of my admin’s wages.”
Finally, as an added bonus, Ben has even found that his staff have become much more proactive about keeping track of their shifts and annual leave.
“It’s put the onus on the individual staff member more to check their own rota, to check their own time sheets, request leave, and [know] how much leave they've got left,” he said.
“All these were questions that, previously, they’d ask us or expect us to have all the answers to — if you've got 10 members of staff coming to you each day asking about the rota, it's such a waste of your time.
“But now, we don't get phone calls about this. We don't get queries about how much holiday they've got left — it's empowered the staff actually to do a little bit themselves. And I think actually, they appreciate it too.”