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Par Timesphere | 5 February 2021

Time Smarts

Time Smarts

As a young boy, whenever I found myself in the family living room, I used to love watching the long hand of our wall clock mark the passage of time. Sometimes, I would even witness the subtile movement of the hour hand. Geez, how slow and unhurried it was, I thought to myself. I was not aware at that time that the modest distance travelled by this little hand was in fact equal to the 3,600 rotations the long hyperactive sweep hand had valiantly completed. Without knowing, an extraordinary spectacle, that was going to change the rest of my life, was taking place right before my very eyes; for this concept of time has never left my side and has defined who I am today.

This notion of time, the time that I will save, but that I will also loose; the time that I will try to divide, that I will try to occupy … that I will try to forget. And the time, one day certainly, I will regret not having taken. What is time other than a nonrenewable resource necessary to our existence that money can’t buy? We cannot enslave it, nor tame it. Time knows how to play with us: we can get caught in its whirligig, but it can also be cut short. We can try to manage it, but always, we remain at its mercy. As Gregory Porter sings: ‘Does life just spin round like the hands of a clock? Are we just pushing time? Or is time pushing us?’

So, what do we do with this time? Firstly, we need to become aware of it. Live intensely as if we were that long sweeping hand, while savouring the present moment at the pace of the hour hand. One must take the time, and when one can, give it too, and even spend it with others. Since everything is relative, a minute can sometimes feel like an eternity, and time can fly when you’re having fun. Be vigilant, creative, live in the present and don’t get caught up in the traps of comfort and conformism.  

Why then, do our systems, businesses, and organizations seem reluctant to take simple actions that could be so beneficial to our collective well-being? We must provide ourselves with the means to achieve our most intrinsic ambitions and live freely. We must eliminate useless constraints by using, for example, an automated employee scheduling software.

Imagine a tool that allows you to respect your collective agreement terms and conditions while allowing the effective management of replacements, and periods of leave… Imagine being in your employees’ shoes, and being able to indicate, with a simple click, your availability and your preferred time-off for your holidays; or as a supervisor, being able to quickly take a look at the hours an employee has worked and control their time.

Imagine yourself enjoying the time that is given to you, feeling at peace. Now that is ‘time smarts’.

Par Timesphere | 18 January 2021

How to survive staff shortages in the healthcare system by using shift bidding

How to survive staff shortages in the healthcare system by using shift bidding 

For many months, employees from the healthcare system have appealed for help over and over again and they are reaching a point of exhaustion. One of the main reasons for this sad situation is the shortage of staff, which makes life difficult for organizations when they have to fill vacant shifts. Not only is it difficult for employees of the healthcare system who feel powerless, but it is also difficult for patients who must face disruptions in services. Can we do things differently and find ways to alleviate the pressure in order to create a collaborative employer/employee environment? 

Even after the introduction of a range of measures such as hiring more staff, upgrading some positions and centralizing callback lists, the situation in our establishments persists. What if shift bidding could help? The effective use of schedule planning tools, by means of an employee portal, enables employers to post and put up at auction vacant shifts, which allows employees to manifest their interest to work an extra shift. For the organization, this process means less calls, provides an effective method of communication, encourages collaboration between the employer and employees, while respecting collective agreement provisions. 

The process is simple: 

  1. By means of an employee portal, the employer posts shifts that are vacant for the coming week. An employer can set the length of time for which a notice is posted (e.g. employees have 24 hours to manifest their interest for a particular shift). 
  2. During this time employees receive notices based on their sphere of competence and known availability and can prioritize the shifts they would like to work.
  3. When the posting period is over, the system crosschecks offers of interest with collective agreement conditions, such as seniority or order of priority, and assigns shifts to employees. 

There are many advantages to this approach. Firstly, the personnel assigned to the callback list will see a significant reduction in the number of calls it needs to make to fill vacant shifts. Facts show that, for a majority of replacement calls made, the use of an employee portal can replace dozens if not hundreds of phone calls. Secondly, employees don’t have to wait for one or more phone calls to know if they are working additional shifts or not. Just with a few clicks, an employee can indicate her or his interest for a particular shift, establish an order of preference and communicate her or his choice to the employer. Lastly, the organization, through an efficient system, ensures full compliance will all collective agreement dispositions and eases the undue pressure on all personnel. At any given time, the organization has a clear picture of what is going on and can increase the focus on its operations. 

The number of shifts up for bid, the bidding window and the offered opportunities can vary. Beyond the bidding function, the employee portal has many other unique and useful capabilities such as an absence request function, a shift exchange function, a current work schedule, and a messaging capability. The system is customizable; all you have to do is configure each function and make the functions accessible to employees. 

An efficient system can facilitate the way work replacements are managed and should be able to adapt to the needs of an organization while taking into account collective agreement provisions and organizational rules.

The crisis that the healthcare system is experiencing is forcing organizations to change their methods. To support other operational functions, such as staff recruitment and work reorganization, an organization must look at ways to create a collaborative employer/employee environment. And that can be done. Not only does our solution allow organizations to save time and money, but alleviates the pressure felt by staff and the healthcare system, a system in dire need of help. 

About the author: Renaud Grimard, M.A.Sc.

Renaud Grimard, who is the founding president of Timesphere, attended Polytechnique Montréal, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree in engineering. He is constantly focused on providing the most complete, simple and technically advanced solution to managing and optimizing employee scheduling systems that the industry has to offer. 

Par Timesphere | 14 December 2020

A proven vaccine

A proven vaccine

The current context of the pandemic has not only exposed the weaknesses in our system, but it has also disrupted our practices. The worldwide Covid-19 crisis has led most employers to reflect upon their priorities and to review their practices.

As an example, just think about the growing phenomenon of telework.

This poses a serious challenge for many employers especially in the area of human resources management. For numerous organizations, this new reality requires that they undergo a structural transformation. Preparing complex work schedules by hand appears to be one of the tasks that demands close examination to avoid errors and to make monitoring activities possible, even from a distance. Any organization wants to prevent errors in resource allocation and remuneration calculation, avoid skill mismatches, budgeted labour cost overruns and poor departmental planning and limit administration and document handling costs.

Timesphere is a leader in the field of automated scheduling systems. It has developed a solution to suppress the troublesome and unfortunate symptoms that occur as a result of completing some tasks by hand. Our product, which can be adapted to your needs and can take into account your reality, will result in savings of time and money, thus allowing you the liberty to focus on operations and to invest saved sums in other initiatives to pursue organizational strategies should you wish to do so.

When you adopt our customizable automated schedule planning system, which can be adapted according to provisions relevant to your organization, you’ll gain significant practical benefits, such as:

  • Recording of hours worked by employees;
  • Managing schedules as per collective agreement provisions;
  • Managing shift exchanges;
  • Planning and managing vacation time … among other operations.

One of the principles of evolution and adaptation requires that one must waste the least amount of resources to reach an objective. Do you embody this principle? Trust us on this. Many of our clients will positively assert that Timesphere has offered them a way to simultaneously buy and save precious time.