A day at a time, we have all survived a year that came with its own plans. As we finally prepare to move out of lockdown, let’s take a look at some small steps childcare providers can take to bounce back and rebuild.
Training staff on furlough
With the furlough scheme extended till the end of September 2021 in the UK, many providers are using the time to upskill their staff and offer any necessary training before they head back to work, all within compliance regulations. The scheme clearly states employees can undertake training whilst on furlough as long as it does not generate revenue for the business.
Your furloughed staff can use this opportunity to enhance their skills and get certificates up to date without being distracted by the pressure of their usual workload. Depending on the type of training required, the staff on flexible furlough can undertake sessions either on their furlough days or on the days they are at work.
You can find more details here on the government regulations regarding training for staff on furlough.
Keeping debt in check
With the circumstances having changed for many parents, it is important to be sensitive to their changing needs while being mindful of the profitability of your business. It is easy to slide into bad debt when late payments/non-payments combined with government funding changes make it unable for you to recover enough in revenue to cover the costs per child.
Keep a close eye on your account, review your expenses and occupancy levels weekly and chase up delayed payments if your revenue falls below your projected revenue. If you are using a childcare software like Cheqdin, make sure you make the most of the billing dashboard to keep track of all dues and late payments.
Encouraging parents to pay you by direct debit and enabling easier payments can also help to reduce late payments to some extent. You could look at integrated childcare payment solutions that will allow parents to make their payments online by direct debit, credit/debit card, PayPal etc. It would be useful to use these platforms to automate your billing and fee collection, where possible, and assign a staff member solely to handle and monitor the finances.
Building confidence among parents
As much as the majority of parents are desperate to get their children back to childcare, there is understandably a paranoia among many about the safety of sending young children to a confined space they will share with other children.
Even though the restrictions are being slowly lifted across the globe, it could be a while before people are completely comfortable to use public spaces without sufficient precautions. From temperature monitoring, social distancing at pick-ups and drop-offs to following a strict hygiene protocol, it is important to continue many of the healthy practices and non-contact alternatives we have gotten used to by now.
As we know by now, no one has all the answers to what lies ahead as Covid remains among us. But, the resilient lot that we have become, we will all have to continue evolving, reinventing and experimenting with sustainable solutions that will help us all and our businesses bounce back as we ease out of the lockdown.
Many of our customers have back to us to say how much they love using our platform but are holding off because of their financial uncertainties. To help our customers in a small way that we can, we are now offering a 30% discount on annual plans for all new and existing customers.
If you are considering non-contact/contactless registrations, payment and checkout for your centre, please sign up here or feel free to explore our free childcare package if you are a small centre with less than 15 children.