Your Guide to Using Deputy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Caity Wynn, · 4 minutes

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift and hard on businesses around the world.

From hospitality venues rapidly pivoting their dine-in business to takeaway and delivery models to healthcare and essential retail services that are being completely overwhelmed, everyone is trying to adapt to the ever-changing realities.

Whatever your industry, wherever you are, we’re in this together.

Whether you’re seeing increased demand or need to think quickly about how to work even more efficiently, read on for tips on how Deputy can help navigate through these challenging times.

1. Keep your team updated

You’re likely already communicating with your team. In a time of such uncertainty, it’s important to provide your team with ongoing updates about how your business is responding to the rapidly changing situation. And that can be time-consuming.

Make communication easier.

The Deputy News feed should be your central notice board to keep your team across any critical changes such as operational procedures, stricter hygiene practices, or altered opening hours.

Use Video for News feed for a faster, more personal way to communicate with your team. Or, use it as a way to introduce new team members remotely through a time of social distancing.

Check that your team has their notifications enabled for Deputy, and remember to turn on the “required confirmation” toggle for any critical updates so you know who has seen it and who hasn’t.

At a time like this, you can’t really be overcommunicating with your team. Keep them informed, and do it often.

2. Look at your labor percentage

Even if you’re looking at your labor percentage to think through scheduling, keep reading for best practices.

Your labor percentage is defined by all labor related costs (including wages, sick leave, overtime, and holiday) compared to your gross sales within a specific period. While that will differ between each business, a normal labor percentage is usually somewhere between 23-30%. The lower the percentage, the more efficient the schedule.

Deputy can provide a real-time visualisation of your wage cost to predicted sales cost as you schedule with our updated Stats Panel.

After you’ve made adjustments to your sales forecast based on your most recent days of trade (rather than looking at this time last year), you’ll be able to tweak your regular schedule to ensure your wages are optimised within your new budget.

To view your labor percentage accurately, you’ll need to have pay rates updated for all employees so Deputy can compare the wage cost totals against sales.

3. Where possible, keep scheduling fair

Some industries are in the midst of making dramatic reductions to the number of shifts on their schedules. Other industries are struggling to avoid overscheduling their already under-resourced team to meet a new, heaving demand.

Whether the goal is mitigating the financial hardship for your team or avoiding mass burnout, Deputy’s Auto-Fill feature is the best way to ensure shifts are distributed appropriately across the team.

With the correct shift structure in place, Deputy’s Auto-Fill will automatically distribute shifts to ensure an even spread of hours across the team. That will also help avoid “clopening” shifts —times when employees are left with minimal time between ending their shift and starting the next. Plus, auto scheduling will help ensure there’s no overlap with approved leave or unavailability.

4. Prepare for employee self-quarantine periods

If an individual has possibly been exposed to or contracted coronavirus, they must self-quarantine for 14 days even if they don’t feel unwell.

For any business that has employees who are in constant contact with people throughout the day, it’s especially important that they are able to remove themselves from work and stay home.

As a business owner, the best way to manage these sudden and prolonged absences is to create a dedicated sick leave type for coronavirus quarantine.

If an employee is required to isolate, you can submit this leave type on behalf of the employee which will block them from your schedule for the duration of their quarantine.

With quarantine leave added, Deputy will also instantly flag any existing shifts that this employee had been scheduled to work during that period, with options to set the shift as “Open” so you can immediately replace them across the schedule with an appropriate team member.

5. Prepare for more last-minute swaps

Schools are closed, dog walkers are unavailable, and public transit is scarce. As we experience a shift in all of our usual routines, you can also expect an increase in the number of employees needing to be more flexible around their working hours.

Help employees easily swap shifts between themselves to minimize disruptions to the schedule.

Turning on shift swaps allows employees to offer up shifts to be claimed to other suitable members of their team, which removes the need for the ring-around at the last minute to try and find a replacement.

Another alternative to ensure the schedule is covered, is through setting the shift to “Open” and offering it out to either a select group or the whole team, and allowing another employee to claim it on a first come first serve basis.

With a clearly communicated policy around how employees can swap out of their shifts, you can ensure less disruption to your business and ensure your team isn’t coming in to work if they could be at risk of spreading the virus.

We’re here to help. We mean it.

Through this incredibly challenging time, our 24/7 support team is here to help wherever we can. Please get in touch with the team to see how we can assist you through our online support chat.

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