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  • 23 November 2017
  • 3 min read

Christmas rota advice for Home Managers

  • Mark Redmond
    Senior Lecturer Health & Social Care, University of Gloucestershire

Mark Redmond offers valuable advice on how to compose a Christmas rota, to try and match the preferences of your staff.

This week, and in the run up to Christmas, most Home Managers will be thinking about the value of a good rota that meets the needs of service users, and tries to accommodate the wishes of the staff.

It’s fair to say that you can’t please everyone, and a rota over the Christmas and New Year period is a good example of this.

There are some excellent ways to save arguments and disappointment, and part of this comes by simple give and take.

Below are some suggestions on how to manage the Christmas/New Year rota:

• Stick with custom and practice. If there’s a way you’ve always done the Christmas rota, then stay with it. Staff will know where they are, and the chances are they’ve already worked out what shifts they’ll be doing. There may be some moaning, but everyone will know the score and can’t argue it’s unfair. One rule of thumb, is for those who worked the previous year to get time off this year, and visa-versa.

• Alternatively, you may keep the rota running as usual. This allows all staff to understand what is happening, and to make advanced plans for known days off. Long term staff will find that the rota will balance out for them over the years.

• Ask staff their preferences for working the Christmas or New Year break. With luck, and if you have a balanced team, you may find that some can work New Year, whilst others may be happy to work Christmas. You might not keep everyone happy, so don’t make promises. A preference is just that!

• Once the rota is finalised, reduce the staff workload where possible. In domiciliary care, for example, shopping, cleaning and sitting services can be carried out before or after the festive period. Service users leaving for Christmas will reduce the workload further. In residential and nursing homes, some of the workload undertaken by day staff can be transferred to night staff (or visa-versa) allowing them to spend quality time with those who don’t have family around them. It can also be put into the window between Christmas and New Year.

The cost of a bad rota

Someone close to me handed in their notice this week.

They’d not only worked every bank holiday this year, but been booked to work both Christmas and New Year.

Their managers are finding out that the cost of a poor rota can be expensive.

Don’t fall into the same trap!

  • Mark Redmond
    Senior Lecturer Health & Social Care, University of Gloucestershire

About the author

  • Mark Redmond
    Senior Lecturer Health & Social Care, University of Gloucestershire

For more than 30 years Mark has worked across higher education and adult social care in practice, research and consultancy settings. He is passionate about thinking about ‘doing’ social care differently, and creating new structures that maximizes opportunities for all involved in the care exchange.