Hello and happy holidays to you, our Florence nurses and carers.

Our mission at Florence is to provide people with the care and dignity that they deserve.

As we approach the end of 2019, it’s a good time for us all at Florence to reflect on how we’re tracking to that mission, celebrate what we have achieved over the course of the year and look forward to our plans for 2020.  

With this in mind, I’d like to share what’s been accomplished for our nurses and carers in 2019, as well as plans to help you further you in 2020. I also have an IR35 update for our limited company nurses and carers.

2019 achievements for nurses and carers

2019 has been incredible.  

Since the start of the year, we have tripled the number of shifts available on the platform and expanded our geographical reach considerably, supporting our goal to give you the flexibility and freedom to choose exactly how you want to work.

Looking back at the last year, I’d like to share three initiatives that have helped Florence workers...

1. Carers join Florence

In the second half of this year, we opened Florence to carers in London and the South East.

We are incredibly grateful to all our early sign ups, and will be looking to expand this offering across all of the UK over the course of next year. If you know any care workers that might benefit from Florence then we’d love for you to put them in touch with us!

2. More support for you

In order to give us the opportunity to serve you better, we have built out our team significantly. You might see some new faces pop up on the LiveChat - if you do, say hi - and if you’re near our office, we’d love you to pay us a visit.  We’re based in Central London and our door is always open!

Every person that has joined the Florence team this year brings a unique skill set to the organisation, but I want to make special mention of Fiona Millington, our new Chief Nurse.  

Fiona is taking on an incredibly important role and will be acting as an advocate for our nurses and carers, supporting you with professional development and revalidation alongside guiding us all through any incidents that may occur.  

Fiona has over 30 years of nursing experience in both the NHS and social care, and we’re very excited to have her on the team.  

3. Launching Florence Academy

In order to support our nurses and carers with their professional development, we built and launched Florence Academy. Today, Florence Academy has a full suite of accredited mandatory training courses which you are able to access for free.

We will be adding more content to Academy over the course of next year, including tools to help you with your revalidation. If you haven’t seen the ‘Dementia Awareness’ video course then head here to check it out now.

Tell us what you think

Despite the success highlighted above, there is still so much more to do: we will not stop until you are empowered to work in any healthcare setting that you want.

We always want to improve your experience, and will continue to push the frontiers of creating beautiful products that you love. If you have any suggestions for things we should be doing, then please let me know - you can email ideas to [email protected], speak to us on LiveChat or post feedback in the Florence Community.  

An IR35 update for limited company nurses

As I’m sure you may have heard, from April next year, there is a change coming to the industry related to IR35 legislation that will affect people working via their own limited company. At this point, changes to tax and employment law mean that some organisations will likely choose not to work with limited company contractors.

We understand that this will affect a large number of you, and we are working hard to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible.

If today you are working via your own limited company, from April next year you will still be able to book shifts with Florence.  

We anticipate that there will be some clients who will still want to work with limited companies and, for the ones that don’t, you will be able to be paid for shifts you work, as long as your taxes are deducted via PAYE.

In many cases, the ease of not having to pay to file company accounts, alongside the benefits of PAYE (e.g. holiday pay, pension contributions and training), may be better than the current limited company system.

We’ll stay in communication with you on IR35 as the situation evolves over January, February and March. Rest assured, you’ll be the first to know about any changes made to Florence based on the new legislation.

Plans for new features in 2020

We’re always striving to be better, and we’re keen to hear your feedback.  

Thank you to everyone that takes time to submit their thoughts to the Florence Community.  We read every comment you make, and any effort you make to tell us how we can be better is taken incredibly seriously.  

Over the course of this year we’ve identified three main points where we want to make improvements:

1. Mobile apps 

We are currently developing our iOS and Android apps to allow you to book shifts and submit timesheets more easily on the go. We’re in the testing phase for these at the moment. If you want to gain early access to the IOS mobile app, and you have an Apple phone, please let your account manager know and they’ll send instructions for how to download it.

2. More free courses and revalidation training

Next year we will continue to add to Florence Academy to give you the best training courses at your fingertips. We also know how challenging it can be to keep up with the requirements for revalidation, so will be adding features to allow you to build up the evidence required for the NMC.  

3. Hourly rates, cancellations and timesheet approvals  

We have a number of ideas for how we’re going to improve your experience when it comes to finding shifts with great hourly rates. We also understand the frustrations associated with having shifts cancelled at the last minute or waiting for timesheets to be approved. These are pain points that we will be looking to improve on across 2020. Watch this space!

Thank you from Florence

We know from speaking to you all how challenging it can be to work as a nurse or care worker. It seems to be getting harder every day, as you are asked to do more and more with less and less. Against the backdrop of a crisis of funding, recruitment and morale within social care, we want Florence to be there for you in every way we can.

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of all our wonderful nurses, carers and care homes.

If you know anyone that you think would benefit from Florence, let them know. The more people we have on the platform, the greater the experience for everybody.

I am, as ever, incredibly grateful for all of the diligence, care and dignity with which you go about your working lives. I hope you manage to find time for some well-deserved rest over the festive period.  

I wish you all a happy, prosperous and caring 2020.

Happy holidays.

Charles Armitage, Florence CEO and Co-Founder