When an OD decides to take an extended vacation spanning across a week or more (especially for single OD practices), you might wonder if you should keep the office open the entire time, or what projects your staff can work on in their downtime. While we're sure that you and your staff aren't short on a to-do list in your practice, we've rounded up 16 different staff projects or ways to organize office hours while you're enjoying your time away from the office.
How to Keep Your Optometric Practice Running While You're Away
Hire a Fill-In OD
Getting a fill-in OD, even just for a day or two while you're away, can help keep your office productive while you're out. Employees would probably like the time to catch up on other projects, but if your vacation is a longer one, a fill-in for a couple of days could be a good option so patients have a doctor to see if needed.
Have your staff sign up for online education to knock out any needed CE credits, or to brush up on skills they want to learn more about. Encouraging online education is an important part of staff development and is something that can be hard to find the time for during normal business days.
Schedule Rep Visits
Have your team schedule rep visits to get the latest trends and products into your office. Just like with online education, it can be hard to squeeze in rep visits when the day is loaded with patients. Now is the time to get the reps into your practice.
When was the last time your office was cleaned from corner to corner? Without patients in the office your team can take advantage of cleaning every room in the practice.
Call Inactive Patients
The best way to have a full schedule when you come back from vacation is having your staff recall your most inactive patients. During normal hours it's hard for your staff to have time to make endless phone calls to a list of inactive patients. But, without a full patient day to worry about, your team can make the calls to get these patients back into your office.
Cut Off Two Hours Each Day
Keeping your staff happy is an important part of keeping them working for your office. And, if you're happy with their performance you could reward them with shorter work days while you're away.
Organize Paper Charts
Paper charts can get unorganized real fast in a busy practice. Use this down time to organize and de-clutter the stacks of paper in the office. Or better yet, have the team research electronic options for your paper records so that when the time is right, your office can make the switch to the right practice management and EHR solution.
Catch Up Time
A few extra hours each day for your team to catch up on their own work that has been put off will be appreciated. Whether it's catching up on rejected claims or managing frame inventory in the dispensary each team member likely has their own running to-do list they'd like to catch up on.
Day Off for Each
As we mentioned before, an extra hour or two shaved off the full work day will be enjoyed by your team. Or, you could take it a step farther and give each team member a full day off to show appreciation for all the time they put in throughout the year. Little things like this can go a long way when it comes to an enjoyable work-life balance.
Frame Inventory Check
A frame inventory check is an important task that can oftentimes be put on the back burner. Use this downtime for your opticians to run through your inventory and determine what trends and styles are missing from your frame boards.
Update Process and Training Documents
Onboarding a new employee in your practice can be a time-consuming task to get them up-to-speed on your practice's processes. Having your team create or update process docs or any training materials can make it easier when that new employee arrives.
Update Forms and Handouts
Are your patient forms and handouts outdated? Use this time to have your front desk team update any outdated patient or marketing materials.
Teamwork is an important part of running a successful eyecare practice. With patients touching every team member in your office, managing an efficient patient flow together is critical. Have your team prepare some fun team building activities for the group to participate in upon your return. These help strengthen your culture and build trust among the team.
Gifts to Referring Providers
Do you work with other providers who send referrals to your office? Give your team a budget to prepare gifts to send out to your biggest partners. They won't go unnoticed.
Equipment Wish List
Could your office equipment use an update? Have your team create a wish list of things they wish they had that would make their jobs easier or increase patient satisfaction in your office. Sometimes, when you're removed from a role, you might not be aware of the options that exist to make certain daily jobs easier.
Hold a Trunk Show
Having a trunk show in your practice is a good way to generate dispensary sales. For the most part, your team can manage this on their own, and you could hold it on a day you have a fill-in OD in case anyone needs a quick Rx appointment.
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