Embracing Flexible Working in the NHS: A Key to Staff Retention and Work-Life Balance

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07 June 2024

The NHS is currently facing a significant staffing crisis, with thousands of vacancies across various roles, including paramedics, nurses, healthcare assistants, and cleaners. One of the key solutions to this problem is offering more flexible working arrangements to NHS staff. The recent “Let’s Talk about Flex” campaign by NHS unions, highlighted by UNISON, underscores the importance of flexible working in improving work-life balance and retaining experienced staff.

Addressing the NHS Staffing Crisis

The UNISON survey revealed that a significant proportion of healthcare workers are not being given the alternative work patterns they’ve requested. With RotaMaster’s Auto-Allocation tool, NHS managers can offer more flexible working arrangements, which can help attract new staff and retain experienced employees. This, in turn, can reduce vacancy rates, cut waiting times, and improve the quality of care provided to patients.

The benefits of flexible working in the NHS are multifaceted:

  1. Improved Staff Retention: By allowing staff to work flexibly, the NHS can better accommodate their personal and family commitments, leading to increased job satisfaction and reduced turnover rates. This is particularly relevant for women, who make up a significant portion of the NHS workforce and often have caregiving responsibilities
  2. Attracting New Talent: Offering flexible working options makes the NHS more appealing to potential employees, especially those seeking a better work-life balance. This can help attract a diverse pool of talented individuals who might otherwise find it challenging to work standard hours
  3. Increased Productivity and Engagement: Research has shown that flexible working arrangements can lead to improved employee performance, as staff are better able to balance their work and personal lives. Additionally, employees who feel empowered and trusted tend to be more engaged and committed to their roles
  4. Supporting Diverse Needs: Flexible working enables the NHS to accommodate the needs of various groups, such as those with disabilities, caregiving responsibilities, or those approaching retirement. This inclusivity helps create a more diverse and supportive workforce

Key Features of RotaMaster’s Auto-Allocation Tool

  • Flexibility in Working Patterns: RotaMaster’s Auto-Allocation tool empowers NHS staff by allowing them to set their own availability to work. This flexibility is crucial for staff members who need to balance their professional responsibilities with personal commitments, such as caring for children or elderly relatives.
  • Logging Availability: Staff can log their availability against specific shifts or general dates and times. This feature ensures that staff members can plan their work schedules around their personal lives, leading to a better work-life balance.
  • Improved Work-Life Balance: By giving staff the ability to set their own availability, RotaMaster helps them achieve a better work-life balance. This flexibility allows staff to plan their home life around their work, reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction.
  • Compliance and Skill Matching: The Auto-Allocation tool ensures that all compliance requirements are met, including valid GMC, NMC, DBS checks, and mandatory training. Additionally, it matches staff members’ skills to the appropriate shifts, ensuring that the right person is assigned to the right job.
  • Integrated Rotas and Annual Leave: All rotas and annual leave are integrated into the staff hub/app, providing a comprehensive view of their schedules. This integration helps staff members plan better by having all necessary information in one place.


RotaMaster’s Auto-Allocation tool is a powerful solution for addressing the NHS staffing crisis by offering flexible working arrangements. By allowing staff to set their own availability, ensuring compliance, and integrating all scheduling information in one place, RotaMaster helps NHS staff achieve a better work-life balance. This flexibility is essential for attracting and retaining staff, ultimately leading to improved patient care and reduced vacancy rates.

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