These days with cell phones, texting and email, it seems that getting away from the practice is not as easy as it used to be back in the days when you could walk out the door and you were gone and incommunicado. Your evenings and weekends and even your vacations may not be entirely your own if your practice has hours longer than yours. You may find that your staff are too dependent on you.
There are solutions but most are not entirely workable. Such as, having a cell phone for production hours only and one for personal. Awkward. Or you could shut off your phone when you go home for the day, but that would mean personal calls in the evening cannot reach you either. And what about the emergency calls from the patients or clients of the practice if your cell number is on the voicemail at the practice for after hours emergencies? Shutting off is not too workable.
So what is the proper solution?
A Team, Protocols and Policy!
You have a team at the office. They SHOULD be able to handle most situations. They are YOUR team to take care of the business side of the practice. And, unless they are a bad staff member with poor work skills and the attitude of “it’s not my job”, then you should be able train them up to handle anything that comes up. Associates CAN take responsibility for anything imaginable from the technical side if you give them that responsibility. You need to get things to the point where you completely trust them.
Of course, you must write up the policies, protocols and job descriptions for everyone and require that they follow those. They cannot make decisions for the practice if everything is run in a willy nilly or arbitrary manner and only you can answer everyone’s questions.
As an example, one of our clients wanted to go to Africa and work in a village for two months with her husband and her children. So we grew the practice until she had two associates and a full complement of staff that she trained up, and the practice was super busy. Then, off she and her family went to Africa. She did set up a website that the stats were uploaded to each week by her staff, but when she returned, she said she needn’t have done that because they all knew exactly what to do and carried out their duties so well that the practice did great in her absence.
That is an extreme example, but does go to show you that you CAN get away with no bad consequences. You as the owner are the one who needs to put in your systems and protocols and procedures so that your superlative team that you put together can run independently of you at any time and especially in the after hours and when you go away.
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