Optometric Management Tip # 261   -   Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Office Design with Staff in Mind

Attracting good employees, maintaining high staff morale and reducing turnover are important goals for owners and managers of eye care practices. You simply canít build a great practice without a great staff. Human resource issues are often described as the most challenging of all practice management duties. The office culture that leads to a high level of job satisfaction for employees is made up of many diverse and complex factors, but many of them begin with office design.

The design of an eye care office is generally determined when the space is initially built out. The practice owner, a designer or architect and a contractor collaborate and draw up a floor plan. Since office space is limited, rooms and features are selected and prioritized based on function and importance. Even with the best design effort, most offices evolve and change after the tenant moves in.

Whether you are considering a minor office update, a major remodel, a new addition or a completely new location, be sure to consider the spaces that are devoted to staff. Here are some ideas to consider, some of which require very little square footage, but go a long way toward making the office a pleasant and efficient environment for employees. I strongly discourage staff members from hanging out in the business office when they have down time. While this may be a natural place to go when there are no patients to care for, it creates a bad impression when someone walks into the office. Generally, the employees are chatting away about personal issues and they stop abruptly and everyone stares at the new person who interrupted the party. In addition to requesting that staff avoid this habit, itís best to tell them where they should go and what work assignments should be attended to.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management