If you're experiencing the good fortune of having weeknights packed with exams, you might be considering opening up your practice on Saturdays. We know weekend hours can be one way to set your practice apart from local competition. Maybe you've crunched the numbers and established that it's a good move for your practice, but you're not sure how to convince your staff to extend their work hours?
We took advice from ODs who have tested the waters and gained the trust of their staff to scale their weekend hours. We want to help you figure out what motivates your team to push for your practice's success. Let us know in the comments if you have any other creative and successful techniques.
4 Ways to Make Weekend Shifts Worthwhile
Once you start with opening maybe two Saturdays a week, your demand for Saturday appointments will increase steadily. Prepare your staff for this onslaught by giving them a good reason to work on the weekends. Depending on what your practice can afford to offer, we've compiled a few tried and true methods.
Some optometrists pay $1.50 extra per hour on Saturdays if they have the ability to do so. Overtime pay not only motivates your staff to show up, but also might have them actively competing over Saturday slots. If your practice can afford to pay a special hourly wage for weekends, it's probably the most effective way to increase your office's functioning capacity.
Paid Time Off or Vacation Days
Other practices agree that maybe working a certain amount of weekend shifts could lead to an extra "floating PTO" that your staff could use anytime before the end of the calendar year. This incentive is great motivation that doesn't result in any monetary loss for your practice. However, it definitely works better if your staff's Saturday hours are shorter than those on the weekdays, so that they can work towards the reward. Also, keep in mind that this incentive works better for staff who highly value their PTO, take frequent vacations, or have young children.
5-Day Work Week
For staff that have to work a full 8-hour shift on Saturdays, it's only fair to offer them another day off such as Monday. This way, they still get a two day weekend and experience their normal five day work week. This method is great if you can alternate who works the weekend shift. This is a helpful option for staff members who have to hire child care during the weekdays, have many errands to run or appointments to attend to and want to avoid traffic, or those who have another job. Make sure the weekday off is a selling point for your staff and keep on top of your rotations so that responsibilities are divided equally.
Although this is the least expensive incentive, it's a good option if you're only starting out with opening from 8am-12pm on Saturdays. If you order in lunch, the whole staff has the option to decompress together after their weekend shift or take their lunch home. Especially if you employ college students or have a small patient base, a free lunch could be all the push your staff needs.
For more advice on scaling your optical practice, read our ebook below on upgrading your software to support a larger patient base.