The answer to staff shortages - could it be a digital platform?
Exhausted by their increased workload due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s cleaners have reached a breaking point and are voting with their feet to leave the sector. According to HEFMA, the extra procedures put in place and an increased workload from covering for sick colleagues have created “a dangerous cocktail” of staff shortages and burnout.
While a workflow automation platform like mpro5 can’t solve the recruitment gap, it can help your cleaners work more efficiently and make their jobs a little easier:
1. Eliminates the paperwork burden
- Time spent cleaning is only half the story. Proving that cleaning has been performed to audit standards accounts for a huge amount of cleaners’ time. With the mpro5 app installed on their mobiles, your cleaners’ attendance is validated by real-time proof of presence scans and all they need to do is click the ‘job done’ button.
- The app has been designed to be ‘Facebook-easy’, making data capture an intrinsic, painless part of the job.
2. Improves communication
- When two people are cleaning a ward, it’s standard practice for them to start at opposite ends and work their way to meet in the middle. Or, one cleaner will work on the left-hand side while the other takes the right. Either way, if a cleaner attempts to tackle an area that’s already been cleaned, the app will alert them to the fact, preventing duplication of efforts and wasted time.
- Importantly, the app can also log exceptions or deviations from the routine. For example, a cleaner might be assigned a room that is still being used by a doctor and patient, so with an app they can log this as a reason the clean was missed and the clean can be picked up later, once they have completed the rest of their routine.
- If a clean isn’t up to scratch, instead of a supervisor wasting precious time tracking down the errant cleaner personally, instructions can be communicated clearly and efficiently via the app. Usefully, the cleaner can acknowledge receipt of the instruction and report action taken, closing the feedback loop.
mpro5 removes human fallibility and prevents things falling through the cracks. If a cleaner is told to ‘come back later’ because it’s not convenient to clean now but their shift ends, the cleaner can log this in the app the clean to be passed to the next shift automatically and it won’t be missed.
3. Focuses resources where they’re most needed
Combining your workflow platform with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors enables you to move from a rigid system of scheduled cleans, to reactive cleaning in which areas are cleaned relative to demand. That means instead of wasting time cleaning offices that haven’t been used that day, cleaners can be directed to a toilet that has experienced heavier than usual traffic and desperately needs some attention.
4. Provides assurance
For managers on the ground, a digital solution gives peace of mind that cleaning activity is running smoothly, and they no longer need to constantly interrupt cleaners to check how things are going. Of course, reporting by exception is the only viable solution. (After all, no one needs an “Everything’s ok!” alarm).
5. Generates valuable insights
- A custom made dashboard that structures data can enable managers to see which areas of the healthcare facility are cleaned well and which not so well - at a glance. These insights can reveal otherwise hidden information.
For example, if you’re getting a low score for your Technical Audit but a high score for your Efficacy Audit, the mismatch tells you your cleaners are doing their jobs properly, but they’re stretched too thin. Conversely, if you get a high Technical score but rate poorly for Efficacy, this could mean the cleaners are not doing their jobs well and you’re overstaffed in that space: they’re all doing half a job.
6. Raises the status of cleaning professionals
- The first step in changing the perception of cleaning is understanding what it involves at grass roots level. A digital platform gives managers significant business information that can be used to make the case for cleaners.
The BCC’s open letter makes it very clear that part of the problem is that people don’t appreciate the skills, experience and dedication required to work as a cleaner in a healthcare environment.
Seeing how targets translate to the number of rooms to be cleaned in a single shift, understanding how often cleaners are turned away from an area they’re trying to clean and seeing the other obstacles they face daily should lead to a greater appreciation of the work cleaners do. mpro5 provides the objective evidence needed to support a request for more resources and, on a grander scale, can help to raise the status of healthcare cleaning as a job.
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Visit our healthcare page to see how mpro5 can solve your healthcare problems.