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Three ways technology can help your nursery during Covid-19

As we find ourselves halfway through another UK lockdown with an end date that might feasibly run into Christmas holidays, the final months of 2020, and possibly the first quarter of 2021 look uncertain once again. This time however, we have more insight into what’s coming and the ability to manage our way through it.

Technology is the ultimate enabler and managing your way through a pandemic is easier armed with the technology to know what’s happening in your business minute by minute, to manage those situations efficiently and communicate with all of your audiences seamlessly.

Here we look at three ways that technology can help you during Covid-19.

1. Nursery management

Let’s start at the beginning. Managing occupancy in 2020 has been somewhat like shooting at a moving target completely blindfolded. But a nursery management system like Nursery in a Box is able to deliver a visual impact of a reduction in occupancy and a more granular detail of daily attendance by site and across a group of nurseries to help manage a changing picture. Registers can also be automatically adjusted for accuracy based on absence or holiday requests putting you back in control of a rapidly changing situation.  

Occupancy by month

At the same time, lost revenues can also be tracked across a defined date range to understand the financial impact of children’s places being put on hold, which in turn, provides the nursery highly accurate data to produce a detailed insurance claim.

Revenue on hold

By adding in payroll totals, technology will automatically calculate the claim, and as the furlough scheme has evolved and changed over the months, there is a simple flip switch to filter a claim so that the relevant furlough payroll percentage is used going forward.

Funding claim calculator

2. Nursery employees and furlough

With furlough schemes continuing into 2021, having the ability to easily manage them with technology removes some of the uncertainties for nurseries in an ever moving landscape of government red tape. Most businesses had no understanding of what furlough meant until Covid-19, but many are now experts – understandably so. Technology has provided the ability to better manage employees and their requirements without the need for huge paper trails that have been created by government schemes and red tape. Key workers can be put ‘on hold’ within the software to give childcare settings a way of placing children and staff into a holding pattern so that accurate registers can be produced. It is as simple as sliding an ‘on hold’ button within the software which logs the date and time that occurred. 

Likewise, via a furlough staff app, nursery staff are able to sign their furlough agreements with a digital signature which is then recorded in their staff admin account. Furlough notice agreements could be sent to the employee providing a simple click through from the employee to find the furlough agreement section in their admin account.

A simple staff agreement tracker to easily see who has signed and who needs chasing includes a view function where a nursery can view and print each signed furlough form.

Staff on furlough

3. Improved communications

Technology provides the ultimate communication tool for notifying parents and employees of changes in real-time. In-built notifications and email for parents can be dropped into the downloaded app on their smartphone so that information can be found in one location and shows the conversation between the nursery and the parent. Gone are the ‘we didn’t get the message’ conversations – it’s all there in black and white.

Likewise, welfare calls can be added to parent, children or staff records so that nurseries can track them via log reporting. Absence and health related issues can be reported in the same way – delivering a digital log of them. Remote working is also possible thanks to software being cloud-based (accessed via any internet connection) providing the ability for nursery owners and managers to work from anywhere.

And when the time comes for the fog to lift, ‘back-to-nursery’ surveys can be completed via the app too – determining when children may be restarted, how that affects occupancies and allowing nurseries to plan ahead based upon real-time information.

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