How do you know when it’s time to finally make the move?
You must have heard other providers talking about their nursery management software. Maybe you’ve seen them advertised. Maybe you’ve even tried a few out. But there’s a reason why you haven’t taken the plunge yet.
The thing is, software is increasingly becoming a part of the early years landscape. As more providers choose to take their nursery management digital, those who continue to use paper and basic systems are in danger of being left behind.
Still undecided? Let’s take a look at eight problems that nursery management software can help you solve.
Hands up who got into childcare to do paperwork? How about ratio juggling? Debt chasing?
For many managers, it increasingly feels like providing quality childcare and growing your business is what goes on in the breaks between extreme bouts of paperwork. Not exactly what you signed up for.
Some managers are concerned that nursery management software is actually going to add to their paperwork load, but when done right, there’s no way that should be the case. With automatic reporting, a less complex system for invoicing, and having easy access to availability, your admin workload should definitely be going down.
All that should mean no more spreadsheet wizardry, and no more long hours trying to attach public funding to invoices.
It’s easy to feel like you’re just taking wild stabs in the dark with your efforts to improve your occupancy and maximise your revenue. Try some flyers out here. Maybe cut a bit of spending over there.
Working out where your occupancy is strong and where it’s weak is the key to making the right business decisions. But working this out by yourself is not easy. At best it’s time-consuming, and at worst you could be making mistakes that lead you to make the wrong decisions when it matters.
When the data is already being added as part of your day to day use of the software, an intelligent system can do all this work for you. No more double data entry, no more pulling together multiple spreadsheets. Instead, you can produce reports instantly, and see occupancy, availability, and ratios at a glance.
Once you have this information, making the right decisions about where to cut the costs, and where to target your promotions and marketing to improve your occupancy, suddenly becomes a whole lot easier.
How you communicate and work in partnership with parents is essential to a nursery’s success. And it’s not just about Ofsted.
Quality relationships with parents are the key to providing the best for the children in your care and helping to get the word out about all the great work you do in your setting.
Software brings all of your communication with parents into one place. Instant messaging and automatic reminders can help to make sure nothing’s forgotten and parents can update child information from the Parent Portal to save you a bit of time.
When it comes to child development, using nursery management software can be a huge time-saver too. Easy sharing of observations and learning journeys can make sure that you’re doing more than just satisfying Ofsted. Sending updates direct to parents’ pockets makes sure they’re actually getting seen and will increase parent engagement.
What folder was that spreadsheet in? Where did we put those papers? And what was that password again?
Paperwork only seems to be going up, and that means more and more stuff that you have to save and more and more stuff that can get lost.
Nursery management software will help you to keep everything in one place. Systems can include document storage and sharing, automatic reports, and all the child information you need at your fingertips.
You’ll know exactly where you need to go to get any sort of information because there’s only one place it could be.
Are you having to put staff on overtime just so they can finish their paperwork? Maybe you’ve even had to add extra staff into the rooms just so that they can finish off their observations.
Excessive paperwork can lead to costly overstaffing and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Managing ratios, sorting out rotas, organising training days and staff meetings. I feel a migraine coming on just thinking about it…
Yet again it’s about streamlining the way you work to save you time and avoid wasting your energy on something that can be done more easily. Seeing updated ratios throughout the day lets you avoid costly overstaffing, while better routes for communications through file sharing, shared calendars and messaging can only help you be more organised and closer to your staff.
Physical storage of sensitive information, whether in paper form or on a desktop, isn’t necessarily the safest way to store the early years kind of data. Vulnerable to break-ins, it’s also far more difficult to prevent staff from accessing things they shouldn’t – particularly with a shared computer or an open filing cabinet.
Not all software is built with data security in mind. But many nursery management software providers understand the importance of handling such delicate and sensitive information.
The key is proper data encryption both when the data is in transit and at rest, and most cloud-based software companies will have this, leaving your data safer than in a physical storage. Amazon Web Services, the biggest cloud computing provider, is a great start. They use over 1800 security measures on their service.
We know that no-one wants to take their work home with them. But the truth is, sometimes it’s unavoidable, and there’s nothing worse than leaving that one folder that you needed at the nursery.
Similarly, your whole life is a lot easier if you can get the information you need whenever you need to. That might be on your phone, a tablet or a computer, and it might be while you’re out and about, in the setting, or at home.
Access controls ensure people can’t access things when you don’t want them to, but as managers and owners, your life is a lot easier when you can access the most up to date information at a time that suits you.
Time spent doing things the long way around demands hard work and ruins your motivation. Wasted staff time racks up your staffing bills. And if you can save your own time, you’ll find you have the energy and space to work on that to-do list. You know, the one that is full of ideas to actually improve and grow your business, rather than just helping to keep your head above water.
Everything we’ve talked about really.
Most nursery management software is targeted at saving time and reducing your paperwork. How do you know if it’ll work for you? Take just a week, and chart everything you spend your time on. Take particular notice of those activities that are draining your time and your energy. Then, when you go to look at software options, see if they’re offering to help you with those things draining your resources the most.
Chances are, they will be.
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.