A day in the life: Right at Home - Alistair Shanks

6:45am I start the day by going out for a run with our dog, then get back in time to have breakfast with the family.

8:00am I usually have time to do some reading or homework with my daughters, who are aged five and six now – I love this time with them and I drop them both off at school on my way into the office, which is only a 10 minute drive from home. Having young children, being close to the office was an important factor for me when looking at franchise options.

10:00am Networking and local marketing is very important when it comes to building brand awareness and establishing your reputation in the quality care sector. This week a writer from the local parish magazine came into the office to do an interview with me, for an article about our home care services.

11:00am Today, the Care Manager and I had one of our fortnightly reviews, looking at the business performance, team performance and any HR developments, client satisfaction and the number, type and source of enquiries that we have received over the last two weeks. This lasts at least an hour, depending on what has been happening.

1:00pm After lunch I went to pick up Rene, one of our clients, and took her to the Singing for the Brain session in Farnham. This is an interactive singing group for people with dementia; it’s a new initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society which our office sponsors. We have been open for three years now and these days I don’t get to spend as much time with our clients as I used to, because we have built up a strong team of CareGivers and support staff. But I am a trained Dementia Friends champion and we provide regular information sessions to help people understand what it is like to live with dementia. So going to Singing for the Brain is a nice chance to engage with our clients, support the service that we sponsor and meet our friends from the local Alzheimer’s Society. The session runs from 1:30pm – 3pm and then I drop Rene back home again, so unless I have other visits to referral sources I get back to the office for about 3:30pm.

4:00pm Each Monday I try to sit in on the weekly capacity meeting, which is led by my Care Manager, Sara. This is where we review the recruitment funnel and the enquiries funnel to work out where we have capacity to take on new clients. We try to ensure that clients are visited by the same people every week, so the review helps the scheduling team to manage the rotas and it means when Sara goes to assess new clients she can be confident in the visit times we can offer them. It also means that when we are recruiting, we know where we need availability.

5:00pm I wrap up the day by making some phone calls to set up visits with potential or existing referral sources; clear any emails which I’ve not been able to respond to during the day and write up minutes from that day’s meetings.

5:30pm I leave the office in time to get home for a meal with the family. Sometimes I will have an evening appointment, such as Rotary or speaking about dementia and the scope of quality home care services at a local function. Occasionally I will spend an hour working after the girls have gone to bed; possibly posting content on our website and social media, but I feel I’ve succeeded in building a good work/life balance and love the job satisfaction that comes from running this business. Although each day is different, it is evident that every day we are making a difference to our clients’ lives and that is a great feeling.