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Flexible work arrangements refer to non-traditional work schedules, such as part-time, job-sharing, telecommuting, and flexible working hours. These arrangements offer healthcare organizations the opportunity to provide their employees with greater autonomy and flexibility in their work schedules while still fulfilling their professional obligations. Flexible work arrangements have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their numerous benefits, which include improved work-life balance, increased productivity, and reduced stress and burnout.

Different options for flexible working:

A. Part-time work: Part-time work involves working fewer hours than a full-time position, typically less than 40 hours per week. This option can be attractive to healthcare professionals who are seeking a better work-life balance, have caregiving responsibilities, or want to reduce their workload. By offering part-time work, healthcare organizations can retain experienced staff members who might otherwise leave the industry altogether.

B. Job sharing: Job sharing involves two or more employees sharing the responsibilities of a full-time position. This can be an attractive option for healthcare professionals who want to work part-time but also want to maintain a level of involvement and responsibility in their role. Healthcare organizations can benefit from job sharing by retaining experienced staff members and ensuring continuity of care for patients.

C. Remote work or Hybrid working: Remote work involves working from a location outside of the traditional workplace, such as from home or a co-working space. This option can be attractive to healthcare professionals including but not limited to nurses, pharmacists, doctors and social workers. This attracts top candidates who want to avoid long commutes or reduce travel cost, need to care for family members or have disabilities that make it difficult to travel to work. By offering remote work, healthcare organizations can attract candidates who might not otherwise consider their organisation due to geographical limitations.

D. Compressed workweek: A compressed workweek involves working full-time hours on fewer than five days per week. This option can be attractive to healthcare professionals who want to have more consecutive days off or to those who want to reduce their commute time by working longer days. For example, some hospitals are offering new parents a chance to work for only four days a week so they can spend more time with their newborns.

By offering compressed workweeks, healthcare organizations can attract and retain candidates who value a better work-life balance.

E. Flex-time: This involves allowing employees to set their own schedules within specific guidelines, such as being available during core hours. This option can be attractive to healthcare professionals who need to adjust their work hours to accommodate personal or caregiving responsibilities. By offering flex-time, healthcare organizations can provide employees with more control over their schedules and help them achieve a better work-life balance.

F. On-call or as-needed work: Bank work involves having healthcare professionals available to work when needed, such as in emergency situations or to cover unexpected absences. This option can be attractive to healthcare professionals who want more control over their schedules and have the flexibility to work when it's convenient for them. By offering on-call or as-needed work, healthcare organizations can retain experienced staff members and ensure continuity of care for patients

In the healthcare industry, these arrangements can also lead to improved recruitment and retention, increased diversity and inclusion, and improved patient care.

As well as this, it may also be easier to attract new staff if they know that there is an established support network in place. Locums are also a great way to attract new nurses or other healthcare professionals who do not want to commit to permanent employment. When a locum finds the culture in your practice welcoming,  they feed that back to their agencies. At Verovian recruitment agency, we work with a network of locums. As we know locums who are ready to take a more permanent role will be keen to recommend other professionals that they know who are interested in working with you. This is a great way to build a strong team and build your reputation within the local community.

If you are looking for a locum, it can be difficult to find someone who is right for your practice. It is important to make sure that you have clearly defined the role and responsibilities of each position before advertising so that potential candidates understand what they will be doing. Working with an agency helps to manage this search. At Verovian, we match your requirements with locums we know. This reduces the search and allows your locums to hit the ground running in your practice.

Here are top reasons to introduce flexible work arrangements in your healthcare

  1. Differentiate from competitors: In today's competitive job market, attracting and retaining top talent is essential for healthcare organizations. By offering flexible work arrangements to your current team, healthcare organizations can differentiate themselves from their competitors and become more attractive to job seekers. This can be particularly important in areas where there is a shortage of healthcare professionals, as offering flexible work arrangements can help organizations stand out and become the employer of choice.
  2. Appeal to a broader range of candidates: By offering flexible work arrangements, healthcare organizations can appeal to a broader range of candidates. For example, healthcare professionals who have family or caregiving responsibilities may prefer workplaces that offer more flexibility in their work arrangements. By accommodating these needs, healthcare organizations can attract a more diverse pool of candidates and benefit from the unique perspectives and experiences that these individuals bring.
  3. Retaining current employees: In addition to attracting new talent, flexible work arrangements can also help retain current employees. Many healthcare professionals report that they would be more likely to stay in their current jobs if they had more control over their schedules or were able to work remotely. By offering these options, healthcare organizations can reduce staff turnover and the associated costs of hiring and training new employees.
  4. Meet changing employee expectations: Today's healthcare professionals have different expectations and priorities than previous generations. As younger generations enter the workforce, they are increasingly seeking workplaces that offer more flexibility and work-life balance. By failing to offer these options, healthcare organizations risk falling behind and losing out on top talent. Many are seeking workplaces that offer a better work-life balance and more opportunities for personal and professional growth. By embracing flexible work arrangements, healthcare organizations can stay ahead of the curve and provide the workplace environment that healthcare professionals are looking for and show that they are committed to providing a positive and supportive work environment.
  5. Increase employee engagement and productivity: Flexible work arrangements have been found to increase employee engagement and productivity. When employees have more control over their work schedules and can manage their personal commitments more effectively, they are likely to be more motivated and productive at work. This can have a positive impact on the quality of care provided and help healthcare organizations to achieve their organizational goals.
  6. Reduce turnover costs: The cost of replacing an employee who leaves is high, especially for healthcare organizations where the turnover rate is already high. Flexible work arrangements can help reduce turnover by helping employees feel more satisfied with their jobs.
  7. Reduce employee turnover and absenteeism: Healthcare organizations often have high rates of employee turnover and absenteeism due to factors such as long work hours, shift work, night shifts, and the physical demands of the job. Flexible work arrangements can help reduce these issues by giving employees more control over their schedules.

Healthcare professionals make up a large proportion of the flexible workforce in the United Kingdom, they are also often among the most over-stretched due to ongoing demand from patients. This leads to both challenges and advantages for healthcare organisations when implementing flexible working options that benefit both the individual and treatment services. The role given to the nurse has changed over the years: they are expected to offer a wide range of services, such as prevention and counselling, while they still take phone calls, meet with patients and do clerical work. These roles combined together create a long-hour workday that is usually very difficult to manage. This means the healthcare industry has invested in cutting-edge technology that allows their professionals to reach out across the world when at work. Some companies have already adapted to this new model, while many still struggle to introduce flexible working options in their organisation. Many healthcare professionals are happy to work flexibly. This is especially true for those who primarily work in primary care or community services, where the demands on an individual’s time may be less than those working in secondary care. However, not all healthcare professionals are happy to work flexibly. Many doctors and nurses are reluctant to adapt their working patterns because they feel it will have an impact on patient care and their ability to deliver a high standard of care. There are a number of reasons why healthcare professionals might be reluctant to work flexibly. These include:

-The fear that flexible hours will negatively affect their career progression;

-Lack of trust in employers who offer flexible working options; and

-Concerns over whether they can still maintain the same level of patient care if they work flexibly. The reluctance of some healthcare professionals to adapt their working patterns may be due to a lack of understanding about the benefits of flexible working. It’s important for employers to ensure that staff are fully informed about the benefits, both for themselves and for patients.

Here are some challenges of implementing flexible work in healthcare environment

A. Cost considerations: Implementing flexible work arrangements may require additional costs, such as providing equipment for remote work or hiring additional staff to cover part-time or job-sharing positions. Additionally, healthcare organizations need to invest in technology to support flexible work arrangements, such as telehealth services, cybersecurity, remote monitoring and many more to ensure patient safety and to provide high-quality patient care. As such, healthcare organizations need to weigh the costs and benefits of implementing flexible work arrangements to ensure they are financially viable.

B. Staffing and scheduling challenges: Implementing flexible work arrangements can create challenges in staffing and scheduling, particularly if not all staff members are willing or able to participate in flexible work arrangements. Healthcare organizations may need to adjust their scheduling systems, such as rotating on-call or as-needed positions, to ensure that all positions are adequately staffed. Additionally, healthcare organizations may need to develop new training and orientation programs to ensure that all staff members are able to work effectively within a flexible work arrangement.

C. Security and Confidentiality. A key concern is how to ensure that patient data is not compromised. To ensure this, all staff must have appropriate levels of access, only authorised staff can access patient records and there are strict rules around how information is stored and shared.

The security of patient records has been a hot topic for many years now, particularly since the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 which places more stringent requirements on organisations when it comes to protecting customer information from cyber-attacks and data theft.

Practices need to ensure they have the right technology in place to access, store and share patient information confidentially and for the information not to be compromised. This entails facilities having the appropriate infrastructure such as firewalls as well as monitoring tools to quickly detect any breach which may occur. Healthcare professionals should be adequately trained about their responsibility with patient data and security at home or at work. Training should be held regularly on how to keep patient data safe from hackers, phishers and also other team mates who may not need/have access to certain patient data.

D. Training is essential for staff to be able to use the technology and to communicate with each other. It's also important that they know how to communicate with patients, as this can help them resolve any issues that may arise during a consultation or treatment. Staff need to feel confident in using the technology, so ongoing training is essential; if necessary, provide refresher courses as well as initial training sessions.

If you're planning on implementing flexible working arrangements within your organisation but don't have enough resources available at present (for example because there aren't enough staff members), then consider holding off until you do have sufficient numbers before launching this initiative.

E. Resistance to change: Implementing flexible work arrangements may face resistance from some staff members who are used to traditional work arrangements. Some staff members may be hesitant to embrace new technologies or work arrangements that require different ways of working. To overcome resistance to change, healthcare organizations must provide training, support, and resources to help staff members transition to flexible work arrangements. Additionally, organizations can foster a culture of flexibility and encourage staff members to share their experiences and provide feedback to continuously improve the program.

Implementing flexible work arrangements in healthcare:

A. Conducting a needs assessment: Before implementing flexible work arrangements, healthcare organizations should conduct a needs assessment to determine what types of arrangements are needed and what resources will be required to support them. This assessment should take into account the needs of patients, staff, and the organization as a whole, and may involve gathering feedback from staff members and other stakeholders.

B. Developing a flexible work policy: Healthcare organizations should develop a flexible work policy that clearly outlines the types of arrangements that are available, the eligibility criteria, and the procedures for requesting and approving flexible work arrangements. This policy should also address issues such as confidentiality, data security, and performance expectations.

C. Providing training and support: Healthcare organizations should provide training and support to staff members who participate in flexible work arrangements. This may include training on new technologies, communication tools, and work processes. Healthcare organizations should also provide ongoing support and resources to staff members to ensure that they can work effectively within the flexible work arrangement.

D. Encouraging open communication: Healthcare organizations should encourage open communication between staff members, managers, and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware of the goals and expectations of the flexible work arrangement. Healthcare organizations should also encourage feedback from staff members and stakeholders to continuously improve the program.

E. Measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of flexible work arrangements: Healthcare organizations should regularly measure and evaluate the effectiveness of flexible work arrangements to ensure that they are meeting the needs of patients, staff, and the organization as a whole. This may involve tracking key performance indicators such as patient satisfaction, staff retention rates, and productivity. Healthcare organizations should use this information to continuously improve the program and make any necessary adjustments.

By following these best practices, healthcare organizations can successfully implement flexible work arrangements and benefit from the competitive advantages that they offer, such as attracting and retaining top talent and improving patient care.

The workforce management landscape is constantly evolving in all disciplines; in the healthcare industry in particular. Healthcare organisations must stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive in today's fast-paced business environment. From automation and artificial intelligence to remote work and flexible schedules, workforce management is undergoing a profound transformation. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the trends and predictions that are shaping the future of workforce management.

  1. Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Automation and artificial intelligence are revolutionising the way Healthcare facilities and practices manage their workforce. Working with brands like locumbooking.com and Verovian Healthcare where chatbots and self-service portals are deployed to obtain predictive analytics and automated scheduling. This allows our partners to seamlessly manage all the healthcare professional resources available to them, manage agencies, bank staff, travel nurses and other healthcare professionals.  AI is making it easier for healthcare companies to manage and optimize their workforce in real time. In the future, we can expect to see an even greater emphasis on automation and AI in the workforce management industry. The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. This means that there will continue to be a strong demand for workers, which makes it even more important for companies to find ways to optimize their workforce. Partnership with the right recruitment agency will optimise your practice in attracting and retaining the best healthcare professionals to fit your practice culture and values.

We are a leading healthcare recruitment agency with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Our team of consultants specialise in providing a bespoke service that is tailored to your specific needs. We work closely with our clients to understand their culture and practice objectives so that we can find the best candidates for them.

  1. Remote Work and Flexible Scheduling

Remote work has been on the rise for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend. With employees seeking greater flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, companies are adapting by offering more flexible work arrangements and remote work options. General Practitioners (GPs), Nurses, Pharmacists (Independent prescribers), Social workers, and many healthcare professionals are working from home more than ever. In the future, we can expect to see an increase in remote work and flexible scheduling as a permanent fixture of the modern workforce. Remote working comes with its own technological demands. Healthcare facilities must ensure the right tools, security and communication methods are in place to support the new ways of working.

  1. Employee Engagement and Wellness

Employee engagement and wellness are becoming increasingly important in the world of workforce management. Companies are recognizing the need to create a supportive and empowering work environment to attract and retain top talent. From wellness programs and employee recognition initiatives to flexible work arrangements and career development opportunities, companies are investing in their employees to improve engagement and overall satisfaction. The benefits of employee engagement and wellness include lower turnover rates, improved productivity, and reduced healthcare costs. The future of work will be an environment where employees feel valued, respected and supported. A recent Gallup poll found that only 30% of employees are engaged at work. A majority of workers (55%) are “not engaged” and 15% are “actively disengaged”. The results indicate that companies need to do more than just offer traditional benefits like health insurance and paid time off. Employees want opportunities for development, recognition, and support in order for them to feel valued and motivated by their jobs.

we can expect to see an increase in remote work and flexible scheduling as a permanent fixture of the modern workforce.

  1. Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision-making is becoming increasingly important in workforce management. With the rise of big data and advanced analytics, healthcare facilities are using data to make informed decisions about their workforce. From predictive analytics to real-time reporting and metrics, companies are using data to optimize their workforce and make better business decisions with respect to staffing, scheduling, and recruitment. When it comes to workforce planning and management, the data needs to be accessible and actionable for facility leaders. This can be achieved by implementing tools that integrate data from multiple sources into a single platform.

Here are five ways that data-driven decision-making can help healthcare facilities optimize their workforce:

A. Staffing: Data-driven staffing allows healthcare facilities to make decisions based on concrete data rather than hunches or intuition. This allows facilities to optimize their staff levels, schedule shifts more efficiently and effectively, and reduce overtime expenses. This helps to manage contingency planning, bank staff, locum bookings and healthcare professional workforce hiring and planning.

B. Scheduling: Data-driven scheduling allows facilities to accurately predict patient volume and staffing needs, which helps them optimize their staff levels and reduce overtime expenses.

C. Recruitment: Data-driven recruitment enables facilities to attract, train, recruit and retain employees who will be most likely to succeed in their roles. This reduces attrition rates within the team, and  optimises staffing level at healthcare practices. In turn, reduces overtime and excessive contingency staffing.

D. Training: Data-driven training allows facilities to identify gaps in employee skill sets and create personalized learning plans that address those deficiencies. This may be soft skills including improving communication skills with patients, or certification to address growing concerns. Data-driven training improves the efficacy and professionalism of the entire healthcare team.

E. Talent Management: Data-driven talent management allows facilities to identify high-performing employees, understand what makes them successful, and replicate their success throughout the organization. This helps them optimize their workforce and reduce overtime expenses.

The future of workforce management is rapidly changing and evolving. From automation and artificial intelligence to remote work and flexible scheduling, companies must stay ahead of the curve to remain competitive in today's fast-paced business environment. By embracing these trends and predictions, companies can create a supportive and empowering work environment that attracts and retains top talent, while driving business success.

In healthcare practices and facilities, the ability to retain a strong workforce is critical. When Healthcare Professional (HCP) leaves, it can cause disruption in their department, as well as create holes that other employees need to fill. This can be mitigated by having a strong network of contingency workforce, locum pool, bank staff and the engagement of a robust recruitment agency. However, even with the engagement of seasoned locum healthcare professionals, it takes a moment for a healthcare practice to gain its full momentum to continue to offer excellent services to patients. This disruption, albeit temporary, may lead to more turnover and even lower productivity if workforce contingency is not adequately managed. It is therefore imperative that hiring managers in the healthcare environment manage employee turnover rates by creating a culture that empowers workers and increases job satisfaction

Review Your Hiring Process

The first step to reducing employee turnover rates is by hiring the right people. This means that hiring managers should make sure that they have clearly defined job requirements and qualifications, as well as a thorough screening process for applicants. Working with a seasoned recruitment agency or partner brings in a wealth of experience to your hiring practices. It’s not just about selecting good candidates; it’s also about selecting the right ones. The recruitment process should involve a thorough screening process that will ensure that only highly qualified healthcare professionals are employed by your organization. This can be done through a comprehensive assessment of credentials and experience. It is also important to consider how your company’s culture will fit with each potential employee in order to ensure an effective match between individuals and positions.

Invest in a strong, positive company culture.

A strong, positive healthcare brand culture is a key factor in reducing the high HCP turnover rate. Building a practice culture requires effort and dedication from both management and healthcare professionals. Here are some steps to help you build a strong positive culture:

Building a strong, positive organisation's culture takes time, but the benefits are well worth the effort. By prioritising and promoting a positive work environment, you can create a culture that supports employee satisfaction, engagement, and success. When employees feel that they are part of a supportive team and are working towards the same goals, they are more likely to feel happy and fulfilled at work. This can have a positive impact on productivity, reducing turnover and improving employee retention rates.

Celebrate wins together.

Encourage employee feedback and communication.

Offer challenging opportunities for growth.

Provide opportunities for growth

Employees who feel they are growing and learning are more likely to stay with your company. Even if you don't have a formal mentorship program, you can give employees the opportunity to work on projects they're passionate about, or mentor them yourself. Provide training and education opportunities as well--it's never too late to learn something new!

Engaged employees are more productive, loyal, and happy to be part of the team!

If you want to reduce turnover, you need to focus on engagement. Engaged employees are more productive and loyal than their disengaged counterparts. They're also happier to be part of the team, which means they're more likely to stick with you.

An engaged employee is one who feels a sense of ownership over their work--they feel like part of a big picture rather than just another cog in the machine. In other words, they feel valued by their employer and have faith that what they do matters for something bigger than themselves (i.e., company success).

Conclusion

We hope this article has inspired you to take a look at how your Healthcare facility is doing, and strategies to implement to improve your practice.  While it's important to create an environment where employees feel valued and supported, it's also crucial for companies to understand that by investing in their people, they will be rewarded with more productive and loyal workers who are happier at work!

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