Creating the right environment within your practice is vital, and office managers, along with doctors or nurse practitioners, often hold the reins in making sure practices run as smoothly as possible. Organization and efficiency aren’t the only qualities a well-run practice needs, either. The overall atmosphere of the office environment, the sense of comfort office workers and healthcare providers experience, and the satisfaction they take home with them are all just as vital.
Finding the right balance for an atmosphere of both ease and productivity can challenge even the most gifted minds in healthcare, so here are a few tips that might help you focus your efforts and succeed in creating a work environment that any healthcare provider would appreciate:
Tolerate no gossip or disrespect.
Gossip or negative/critical talk is often discouraging and can fill any office place with a general sense of unease. As a manager or top medical professional within a practice, one of your main priorities should be shutting down any kind of talk that could lead to tension between coworkers. It’s important, of course, to shut this down quietly and discreetly with a private conversation, so as not to alienate individuals violating any no gossip/negative talking rules, but repeat offenders should be disciplined if they are causing problems.
Do not underestimate the amount of damage words can do to the overall sense of comradery and cooperation within the office. Coworkers should be encouraged to take care with the feelings of those around them. Also, offering publicized praise for those who go beyond the norm in helping their fellow workers will encourage positive results.
As calls come in, paperwork lands on your desk, and various tasks vie for your attention, you must make responsiveness a priority, both internally and externally. Patients demand attention, definitely, and other healthcare providers and pharmaceutical representatives also require some level of priority, but you must also make time for the needs of internal coworkers and the issues they bring your way regarding office matters.
Prioritize issues as they come in—think of it as triage—and resolve quickly handled issues immediately. For more difficult or time-consuming issues, try to have a 24-48 hour turn-around time. This ensures that nothing gets too out of hand. Keep a running list—it helps greatly.
As a decision-maker in your practice, you should endeavor to make yourself present as often as possible. Establishing a regular presence and letting coworkers feel that you’re approachable is essential to creating a positive professional environment.
Make a point to approach others in the office, ask how things are going, and inquire about any incidents of which you should be aware. Your interest will remind coworkers that you care—which can be easily forgotten sometimes when the work gets away from you.
Show them how it’s done.
It’s been said a hundred times before, but it’s no less true now: lead by example. You have to avoid gossip and encourage positive exchange and communication by living it yourself if you hope to inspire it in others. As a major decision-maker, you will be looked up on to be the example of how your coworkers should conduct themselves in many ways. Make sure you are careful in your speech, thoughtful in your interactions, and considerate with your time.
Listen, thoughtfully and with an open mind.
Finally, good office management revolves entirely around problem-solving and prioritizing, but these tasks require good communication to accomplish successfully. This means two-way communication, with attention to both listening and expressing ideas. If you hope to be heard, you have to be seen as hearing others.
Beyond that, some of your employees and healthcare professionals may have some important ideas and suggestions that could actually amount to positive change in your practice’s office environment. Everyone thinks differently and while every idea may not pan out or be the right fit, listening and keeping an open mind about ideas presented to you are essential for building a good rapport with employees and not missing out on an opportunity for positive change along the way.
Good office management is a long, slowly developed skill, but the concepts above are a great start to help you focus your approach and to ensure your employees look forward to coming to work everyday.