How has everyone been answering questions to the monthly report? Our center has been closed except f
... project there or from home, or is assisting someone from the center or home via phone/computer. I also have not counted our normal staff numbers unless an individual is assisting someone, so basically our staff went from 19 per month to 2. It looks like we're mostly closed (open maybe 6-10 hours) yet we have 250+ visitors in missionaries. How are you counting staff, hours open, visitors, etc? I hope this makes sense and you're understanding what feels like a dilemma to me.
@Chris Schmink, thank you so much for such a comprehensive reply. I too have experienced lots of different feedback on my questions to FS missionaries regarding the reports and have wondered why it's not more detailed in how to count the stats. In filing our reports, I have always counted myself as staff (no matter what) and some of our staff as visitors if they work on their own stuff past their regular shift hours, but I like your reasoning of counting them as visitors during their shift when there are no patrons. I hadn't thought about our computer use stats not reflecting true research on Salt Lake's side if I don't count our staff as patrons under the above scenario, so that's another good point. I feel better, so again, thank you for taking the time to answer my question. 😊0
@Ramona Cashmore When I first became director (now leader) of our FHC, I consulted the FHC Operations Guide. It left me with questions about what should be counted and how, including staff working on their own family history while in the FHC but with no patrons present. I was never able to get definitive answers to at least a few of the questions, and was told to consult with my stake leader and also prayerfully consider the spirit and intent of the available guidance. Why there aren't more definitive answers on how to count certain things, I'm still not certain, but I honestly don't think the "bean counters" are really going to hold us very accountable for extremely low stats during COVID shutdowns when it comes time for computer replacement as older ones age out.
For what it's worth, I've been counting the number of staff that are called and assigned as long as they are still available to come back to serve IF the center is open normal hours with COVID precautions no longer needed. All but one of our staff are over 65 (most over 70), and there are some compromising circumstances with several of them that keep them from currently serving. But they are still called, set apart temple and family history consultants assigned to the FHC - so we count them as staff members if they are still willing to serve once it's safe again.
Since I could never get a definitive answer about whether to count staff members as visitors if they are working on their own family history research during periods with zero or very limited numbers of patrons, we elected (with approval of our stake leaders) to ALSO count one of the two required staff members as a visitor if they also did personal research during their assigned hours in the FHC. Our reasoning: if there are no patrons, or perhaps just one or two working on their own with no need for assistance, it made no sense to us not to count legitimate use of the FHC by a serving staff member who otherwise would be merely wasting their time on non-research activities such as reading a book, talking with the other staff member, etc., while still "on duty" during their assigned hours. By at least counting one of them as a visitor (IF they were doing actual family history research that day), but not the other, we felt comfortable that our monthly report properly reflected that someone was always there watching out for needs of patrons, while at least some family history research use of the FHC was also able to be counted by the other staff member during slow periods. It is understood that personal research will immediately be discontinued whenever both staff members are needed to assist visitors, of course.
As for missionaries, we no longer have missionaries using the FHC outside of official open hours with FHC staff present. But before that was discontinued, we asked them to sign in just as we do with all other visitors, and indicate the time they were using the FHC. The Church allows FHCs to be used for their purposes, thus we felt very comfortable counting the time and the number of "visitors" on the monthly report. That way our monthly report would then be consistent with the times that the Family History Department logs the computers as having been turned on and being used.
In short, there is not sufficient written official guidance to answer every question, and we got varying answers from the FHC telephone support staff in the beginning. So the decision was made to follow the spirit of the intent in reporting, have our monthly reports accurately reflect what the Family History Department "sees" as they monitor computer usage, and we then provided numbers accordingly without inflating, but also without neglecting to count legitimate use of the FHC. I can't imagine decision-makers penalizing FHCs for severe deviations from previous monthly report numbers as a result of COVID. We've just done our best to understand the reasoning behind the Church's need for those numbers (from equipment orders to planning purposed in the FH Department, etc.), and reported as best we could.
Understand that the above is just one FHC's best effort after consulting with our stake leaders, getting the best guidance we could from FHC telephone support, and doing our best to follow both the spirit as well as the letter of the information contained in the FHC Operations Guide.
When I was called as a director, Sister Hanson from FS told me to count 2 of the 3 helpers as staff, the rest as patrons. The director prior to me did the same. I always had 3 on duty in class someone had to leave the center for any reason, and one was a brother.0