My wife will tell you that I can be an old fashioned guy, a bit out of step with current trends. In particular, she’ll tell you about how bullish I have been about casual dress at work. I just don’t believe in it. I’ve always thought that one should dress professionally; if you’re dressed for the beach then you’re in the wrong mindset. I’ve also never been a proponent of having ping pong tables and video games at the office. As a business owner I’m not paying you to play games.
So it might have surprised her when, late in 2021, we decided to move our employees to a 4 day work week, following a burgeoning and, to my way of thinking, important current trend.
Personally I’ve never understood the mentality that suggests working harder is working smarter. I could never wrap my head around the idea that working 60/70 hours a week (or more) was something to celebrate and be proud of, let alone be rewarded for. I always tried to manage in the opposite direction, insisting that my staff take their holidays and having employees’ accrued days off as an agenda item in my meetings with department heads. “Matt has a ton of vacation time left”, I’d say to his manager as we approached the fall. “Why is that?”
I’m really glad to see this idea trending upward. Scotland, Spain and Iceland have all recently experimented with 4 day work weeks, with no impact to employee salaries or benefits. Big name organizations like Bolt and Dockwa are as well, citing improvements in productivity and employee wellness. But it’s not just the hip tech firms. In a country well known for their 90 hour work weeks, Panasonic, the legacy Japanese manufacturer is offering a reduced work week as has Microsoft Japan. In the US, another hard-working nation, Democratic Senator Mark Takano has introduced legislation supporting a 32 hour work week, citing lower child care expenses, reduced health care costs, operating costs and environmental impact as benefits to both companies and employees.
Companies implementing this policy report employees returning to work more refreshed and relaxed, no reductions in corporate culture, reduced absenteeism, increases in staff retention (SO critical right now), increases in productivity and the general feeling that work/life balance (yes, that old myth) was actually now attainable. Some companies are experimenting with variations on the theme; flexible work hours, half day options and so on.
There were over 200,000 vacant shifts posted through ShiftLink in 2021. 200,000! With so much pressure on staffing, increases in anxiety and depression, worker burnout and reduced wellness it’s time for us to stop throwing money at people and start giving them what they really need and want…..time.
The 5 day work week was established in the 1930’s. As we approach the 100th anniversary of that industrial breakthrough it’s time to take the next step, for everyone’s sake. If an outdated, uncool, curmudgeon like me can do it, maybe you can too.
ShiftLink is all about solving problems when it comes to shift filling. For healthcare facilities especially, it can be a daunting task. Many hours can be spent calling employees to cover shifts. Our goal is always to help an organization truly make a difference when it comes to caring for not only clients, but employees of course! When Liz, a staff scheduler at Stevenson Memorial Hospital needed to fill a shift she pulled out her long list of nurses and personal support workers and settled in for an hour or two of making calls. Depending on which department is short, Liz could be calling over 25 people to fill one or many shifts.
Over at Markham Stouffville Hospital, Paul and Chantel would spend up to 45 minutes filling just one shift, from their 120 person staff. Chantel was only able to fill shifts for one department in the Environmental Services area – housekeeping. Seniority rules made it very difficult to notify staff quickly, it took a lot of time, ¾ of a day sometimes, calling, tracking, and recording the outcome of calls to staff for shifts.
How has ShiftLink helped them you ask? With the click of a button, Liz, at SMH can fill vacant shifts – saving her about two hours a day while simultaneously helping to enhance both staff morale and the patient care experience. Liz says she can co-ordinate the staffing for nursing across the hospital! ShiftLink allows Liz to create shifts, organized by time, date, and location… within a minute or two Liz can see who is available and book them in.
We had a chance to speak to the Vice-President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive at Stevenson Memorial, Carrie Jeffreys, and she said “The experience of scheduling – not only for the hospital, but for our clinicians from a personal perspective – has improved. It helps to make life more predictable in a business that runs 24/7, and by making the process easier, we are not running short which has a major impact on patient care.”
Over at Markham Stouffville Hospital, the Director of Environmental Services, Paul said “It’s great to be able to notify the entire seniority list in one shot, Not only do staff have more time to respond to a shift, but also more time to get ready and get to work. Since implementing ShiftLink things have become a lot easier.” ShiftLink has made life easier for Chantal who can now complete shift management tasks for 3 departments – patient transport and dietary, not just housekeeping!
ShiftLink helps hospitals like MSH reduce time spent on the phone by 75 per cent which means saving over $400,000 in productivity alone. With an average of four people responding per post, hospitals are provided greater choice of available and interested staff, thus avoiding the need to pay overtime or fill the shift through an external staffing agency, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
In 2020, Stevenson Memorial Hospital reached out to staff more than 34 000 times and Markham Stouffville Hospital reached out to staff more than 35 000 times by using ShiftLink instead of making traditional phone calls! That is a lot of time saved calling out to their respective teams.
Like I said at the start, not only are we saving time and money for organizations like these two hospitals, we are making a difference one shift at a time, while improving staff morale, and overall engagement!