Getting Out of the Office: A Key to Success in Care Home Management – Easier said than done!

In the demanding environment of care homes, effective management is crucial to ensuring high-quality care and a positive living experience for residents. Despite the importance of hands-on leadership, a significant number of managers remain confined to their offices, particularly during critical times such as Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. This blog explores the benefits of managers stepping out of their offices, engaging with staff and residents, and how this proactive approach can lead to better outcomes during inspections and beyond.

The Office Trap: Why Managers Stay Behind Desks

It’s no secret that the role of a care home manager is laden with administrative tasks. From handling paperwork to managing budgets, the list of responsibilities is extensive. The pressure to stay on top of these duties often keeps managers tethered to their desks. However, this office-centric approach can create a disconnect between managers and the day-to-day realities of care home life.

During the CQC inspection process, the tendency for managers to retreat into their offices becomes even more pronounced. Understandably, they want to ensure that all documentation is in order and that they are prepared to answer any queries from inspectors. Yet, this can inadvertently lead to missed opportunities to demonstrate the quality of care and the strong, supportive environment they have cultivated.

The Benefits of Getting Out and About

  1. Enhanced Visibility and Approachability
    • When managers are visible and approachable, staff feel more supported and valued. This can lead to higher morale, increased job satisfaction, and ultimately better care for residents.
  2. Improved Communication
    • Regular interaction with staff and residents allows for open lines of communication. Managers can gain firsthand insights into the challenges and successes of the team, making it easier to address issues promptly and effectively.
  3. Hands-On Problem Solving
    • By being on the floor, managers can quickly identify and resolve problems. This proactive approach can prevent minor issues from escalating into major concerns.
  4. Stronger Relationships with Residents
    • Engaging with residents helps managers understand their needs and preferences, fostering a more personalised and compassionate care environment.
  5. Positive Perception During Inspections
    • CQC inspectors appreciate seeing managers who are actively involved in the daily operations of the care home. It demonstrates commitment, leadership, and a genuine interest in the well-being of residents and staff.

Practical Steps for Managers to Step Out

  1. Schedule Regular Walkabouts
    • Set aside specific times each day or week for walking around the facility. Use this time to observe, interact, and listen.
  2. Participate in Daily Routines
    • Join in on staff handovers, resident activities, and even meal times. This not only shows support but also provides valuable insights into the home’s operations.
  3. Open-Door Policy
    • While it’s important to have uninterrupted office time, balancing this with an open-door policy encourages staff to share their thoughts and concerns.
  4. Delegate Administrative Tasks
    • Empower other team members to handle certain administrative duties. This not only frees up the manager’s time but also helps in developing the leadership skills of other staff members.
  5. Be Present During Inspections
    • Instead of staying in the office, accompany inspectors as they tour the facility. Highlight the positive aspects of the home and be prepared to address any questions or concerns on the spot.

Conclusion

The role of a care home manager extends far beyond the confines of an office. By stepping out and engaging directly with staff and residents, managers can foster a more cohesive, supportive, and responsive care environment. This approach not only enhances the day-to-day experiences of everyone in the care home but also positions the facility for success during CQC inspections. It’s time for managers to embrace a more visible and hands-on leadership style, proving that the best oversight happens outside the office.

At Swift Management we know all managers are committed and work hard and often long hours, but could a strategic review of work help you to work not longer hours but work smarter in potentially less time. Our specialist management coach is happy to help and provide practical advice. To discuss how Swift Management coaching may assist, book a confidential no obligation consultation by visiting our website at www.swiftmanagement.org.uk or call 020 8087 2072.