COVID Safety Paperless – What are We Doing Differently?

COVID Safety Paperless – What are We Doing Differently?

The coronavirus pandemic has made fundamental changes to the way we do most things – and, of course, social care recruitment is at the heart of OUTT’s purpose.

Covid Safety Paperless

Our newest initiative looks to reduce all plastic items and paper timesheets – not only to improve our environmental footprint but also to affect a safer way of working, in line with enhanced responses to the COVID-19 virus.

As an innovative social care recruitment app, we are always prepared to challenge the status quo when we see a better, faster, easier and safer way of working. Reimagining the onerous paper trails that care managers are faced with is our latest focus.

How Paperless Processes Streamline Social Care Staff Management

We all know the traditional approaches to managing agency and contingency staff, which revolve around printed documents, physical signatures, and triplicate forms.

While assurance and oversight remain critical, we knew there had to be a better way to leverage our digital know-how to reduce paper waste.

Alongside this comes a consideration of COVID safety protocols.

Most of us are now familiar with wipe-down menus, or app-based solutions in the hospitality sector. We believe it is time for the social care industry to get on board with these anti-contamination procedures.

Here is the problem:

  • Paper timesheets are completed to record shifts.
  • The authorised manager signs these at the end of the shift.
  • Triplicate copies are produced, of each form.

It is essential to have a verification process in place and to ensure social care employers manage the hours claimed; however, the implications are profound.

COVID-19 virus particles can remain live on paper for up to 24-hours, and so transporting documents between sites, or having them handled by more than one person, is a distinct contamination risk.

  • Increased risk of virus transmission with multiple documents being handled by numerous people.
  • Locum workers visit multiple social care facilities in any one working week, increasing exposure.
  • The environmental impacts of producing several copies of each paper document create waste, potential data hazards, and additional resource costs.

Here is the solution:

Digital, automated timesheets and located-based QR codes, to eliminate the requirement for hard copy documents, and thus protect staff and patients in all employment locations.

Let’s explain in a little more detail!

Digital Innovation for Agency Staff Managers

It stands to reason that, if we can coordinate networks of social care professionals, high-quality employers and multiple shift patterns into one app  – there is a way to incorporate timesheet management into those systems!

The OUTT team has developed a new protocol, allowing employers to retain the same control over timesheet approvals, and for staff to accurately record their hours worked, but without the waste or potential contamination factors.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Timesheets are available on the candidates’ mobile device, created automatically for completion after the shift.
  2. QR codes can be scanned online on arrival and departure from the placement.
  3. Managers on-site can approve the timesheet electronically.
  4. Employers receive a weekly notification to review and approve, claims submitted.


The same digital processes carry applications across multiple paper trails and document chains used throughout the social care sector.

As the OUTT team rolls out our new approvals systems, we will be introducing further initiatives, all equally aimed at cutting down on waste production and creating a paperless system.

Our drive is to elevate COVID security best practise at a time when contamination risks may be business-critical to care homes and social care facilities, as well as to the safety of their patients.

The Security of a Paperless System

While some fundamental processes might require physical signatures and hard copy documents, timesheet approvals are not one of them.

In researching the sector-wide impact of potential cross-contamination risks from plastic items and paper-based records, we identified that existing systems create upwards of 30,000 triplicate timesheets – for every agency, every single year.

If those figures aren’t startling enough, when we dived deeper to see what risk factors we could remove, and how we could impact overall paper usage, we found that this applies across the board, with cost factors such as:

  • Printing hard copy paper documents.
  • Delivery packages and envelopes.
  • Postage costs for document distribution

OUTT believes that not only can digital systems create a safer social care society, but that we can further reduce employer costs by eliminating outdated techniques.

As we move forward, ID cards with printed plastic formats will also be superseded by a digital, contactless alternative.

Live ID cards, generated centrally with tamper-proof technology, will enable candidates to display their credentials via any mobile device, with the same information displayed in the employer’s OUTT control panel.

ID cards are another traditional element prevalent in the social care workforce – and we recognise the critical importance of staff screening and ID verification – but by making this process digital, we introduce a further development to increase COVID awareness.

Coronavirus particles can live for up to 72 hours on plastic. So, this is not just efficiency and convenience  – it might be a life-saving technique to afford the highest levels of protection to our most vulnerable patients.

Our Responsibility to Drive COVID Awareness

There is no sector, family or individual who hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic. As such, we need to work together to create solutions to make our environment as safe and protected as we can.

And, when it comes to environmental impacts, it is hard to find a negative.

In 2016/17, the NHS alone produced 29,062 tonnes of CO2 through paper transactions.

The estimate is that this could have been almost halved to 15,840 tonnes were recycled materials used – but OUTT is setting our sights on net zero.

In the media, we often hear adverse reports about the social care sector, relating to underfunding, mass skills shortages, or out-dated infrastructure.

Now is our chance to make a difference.

The personal touch will forever remain crucial to social care facilities, and make a significant difference in the quality of care and communication we offer to residents and patients.

However, by embracing technological innovation, and being open to the possibility of new systems and protocols, we can move social care recruitment into the 21st Century, adopting safety measures that set the tone for best practise in COVID-19 safety and patient safeguarding.

For more information about the latest OUTT developments, or managing timesheet approvals through your digital app, visit us online or get in touch!

Social Care News


Social Care Worker Safety during Covid-19

Social Care Worker Safety during Covid-19

Our social care workers are invaluable, and provide an amazing service in caring for us when we need it most! (Well we are clapping you every week)

For social care worker safety during Covid-19, here are a few things to think about to make sure you stay safe during the pandemic.

Complications of Workplace Safety in Social Care

Social care is a diverse area of the UK jobs world. With so many different settings and innumerable types of work included within social care jobs, there isn’t an easy way to produce a set of guidelines that will work everywhere!

One of the biggest challenges is that many social care jobs involve working alone. That could include, for example:

  • Supported living houses, where one project worker can support a few residents
  • Home care workers providing one to one care in someone’s home
  • Overnight workers keeping a careful watch over their residents to keep them safe at night
  • Homeless support workers providing essential concierge services to shelters and refuses

Skills for Care spoke to our healthcare workers to understand what lone working is like. They report back that 80% of respondents feel a high level of job satisfaction, and that 76% feel that having the responsibility of working alone provides a positive impact on their decision-making skills.

As you can see, social care jobs cover such a broad range of skills and services that a one size fits all solution just isn’t going to work for such a broad range of posts!

Why is Social Care a High-Risk Areas?

As well as having lots of social care jobs where staff work alone, the key reason that healthcare is considered high risk is that it is impossible to do an amazing job without being in contact with people.

Every social care worker is a helper. You care for people who need assistance with their daily lives, help the elderly or immobile to get around every day, and provide care for the sick, the disabled and the vulnerable.

Social care is one of the most meaningful and rewarding careers since you make a huge difference every day!

What this does mean is direct contact is essential to the job. During the Covid-19 pandemic more than ever, every care worker is vital. Where would we be without you?

So that in mind, let’s look at what you, and your employer, can do to make sure that you are kept safe and well, whilst providing these most crucial of services.

Maintaining Social Care Workers Safety during Covid-19

The first step is to consider the basics; which we know every healthcare professional working social care shifts already knows!

  • Make sure to wear PPE wherever appropriate, and swap out your gloves and face masks after every use
  • If you are short on supplies, report it immediately to your employer or manager where you at working; don’t put yourself at risk!
  • We know that constant hand washing is a pain, but keep it up, and wash your hands thoroughly after each contact
  • Change out of your work clothes before travelling home
  • Observe social distancing where you can; we know that this sometimes just isn’t possible, but when you can try to keep your 2m distances
  • If you feel unwell or have any symptoms, make sure to stay at home and self-isolate
  • Should you need to cough or blow your nose, make sure to use a tissue and throw it away immediately, or cough into your elbow if you have to – but if you aren’t well, make sure to stay at home and look after yourself!

If you need a quick recap, have a look at the government advice that is updated regularly. There is also guidance about key services, and which roles are essential (including yours!).

Help for Social Care Workers during the Pandemic

If your job changes in any way, you’ll need a risk assessment. Whilst it might sound like a lot of paperwork, this is there as a tool to help you.

Don’t forget that if you are looking for a new job, or perhaps to try something new whilst demand for skilled care workers is so high, to check out the job app for opportunities across London!

Chat with your employer if you’re unsure of their specific policy, but they will either help you create a risk assessment or write one with you. This means working out any problems you might face, where you might be exposed to risk, and what they can do to make sure you’re kept safe and well.

It’s also a great time to think about your mental health. Whilst everybody is under more stress than usual, being on the front line of healthcare means going out much more than non-essential workers, so take a moment to check in with yourself!

If you’re experiencing any problems or anxieties, make sure to speak up and see what you can do to ease the strain. Key workers are essential all the time and will be just as important after the pandemic. Skills for Care publishes a guide that explains all about the responsibilities and duties of employers and employees, so if you are in any doubt take the time to have a read!

We hope these guidelines help as a recap. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup, so try to take as great care of yourself as you do for your clients!

Registering with OUTT provides experienced social care candidates the opportunity to build an employer review base and take full control of where and when they work. It’s your life, live it! Register with us now!

Social Care News