By Lee Zweig
A recent poll by GP Online has shown that 63% of GP’s think that some degree of home working will remain after the pandemic is over, given there are some clear benefits - both short and long term.
This blog will take a look at three of the long term benefits, but first let’s have a quick recap of the short term benefits:
Short term benefits (during the pandemic):
- Mitigate the risk of practice closures by reducing the number of staff in the practice each day
- Enable staff who need to work from home (isolating / shielding) to keep working, as if they were at the practice
- Ensure a fluidity of service and care despite daily/weekly changes in the ability to be physically open
Now we will consider three long standing issues that many GP surgeries have suffered from, and how a flexible working policy can address them.
Long term benefits (after the pandemic):
Grow the practice
This is a problem that practices have been dealing with for years. Many don’t even have enough space to cope now, let alone to grow. So let's imagine you have 5 clinical rooms, all accounted for currently. If clinicians carried out triage from home half the week, then visited the practice the other half to see patients, you’ve immediately doubled the number of clinical staff you can employ and patients you can speak to.
Recruitment has long been an issue for many surgeries. With as many as 90,000 vacancies across the NHS, it’s clear that new ideas are essential to help attract and retain staff. Flexible working has been the norm for other sectors for years, so offering some degree of flexible working will increase the attractiveness of new roles, especially to people new to this sector. It will also enable you to be more creative when hiring from within the sector:
- Hire part-time receptionists to help with call answering at peak hours only
- Attract staff from further away who wouldn’t want to commute long distances 5 days a week
- Employ staff, part or full time, who never need to visit the practice, opening up the entire country as potential grounds for recruitment
- Attract staff from other sectors - with unemployment forecast to reach record heights, there will be large volumes of people looking for new roles
Improve quality of life for staff
Working in a surgery is a stressful job, regardless of your role. It might not be the solution for everyone, but if I’m a busy practice manager or GP for example, working from home occasionally could make a huge difference to my life. Benefits could include:
- Reducing a long commute
- Space to focus
- More family time
To conclude, it is clear why 63% of GP’s expect home working to stay, and we can’t help but to agree. Here at VTSL, we’ve been extolling the virtues of flexible working for years. We have seen our non-NHS customers reap the benefits, and are now excited to see GPs embrace the benefits. The technology needed to make it happen is ready and waiting for you.
VTSL is a leading cloud communications technology company, providing organisations across the UK and Ireland with the solutions they need to work smarter. From integrated telephony-CRM systems, to video conferencing, to fibre connectivity and work-from-home solutions, VTSL is committed to helping companies use technology to get ahead. Find out more about VTSL's award-winning cloud business telephony system, network solutions and software integrations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or giving us a call.