Walk in your manager’s shoes for a day…


Gillian is the manager of a small residential care home with 20 residents in Edinburgh.


My story to share is about something we call ‘Funday Friday’.

One day a month, one of my team gets to walk in my shoes and be in charge of the care home for the day.

You might be responding the way my deputy did when I first told her – she thought it was the most ludicrous idea she’d ever heard.

But we have a great team, very close knit and lots of them have worked in our care home for years, and they really deserve something to make them feel special. So eventually, I won her round!

How it works

We decide on the Funday Friday itself who will be the person in charge by picking a name out of a hat. We’ve only been doing it a few months so we haven’t been round everyone yet, but everyone wants a turn! My plan is to make sure everyone has a chance to do it once, and then have a lottery system after that.

The chosen member of staff will be in charge of which team is doing what that day; they can identify the best people to do different tasks. Initially folk were a bit shy about it – they didn’t want to tell each other what to do!

We make sure everyone understands and shares expectations about how we work together on those days – when we started people were joking with it, saying that no-one will get any breaks on their day in charge, but that’s stopped now we’re into our stride.

Now we’ve done it a few times, it’s more about everyone agreeing what they’re doing together. I’ve seen people really realise that they are able to make choices about what happens on a day to day basis – they take charge of themselves in their work more and are more confident.

It does take a little bit of effort to make sure everything carries on running – so I usually come in early, do all my emails and get everything ready so I can help out for the start of the day. During the day we never ask anyone to do anything they’re not trained for, so responsibilities like first aid and the drug round don’t change – and we always have a senior carer on the floor. And of course I’m there all day, on hand if anyone needs anything.

My advice – just go with it!

I’m loving the monthly Funday Fridays because you can see how well the staff work together and say they really enjoy working with everyone on those days. In such a small team I’ve found it really hard to make them feel special but everyone feels really empowered by doing this. So my advice is – just go with it!


Photographs are used for illustrative purposes only.