As the COVID-19 situation gets worse every day, businesses all around the world have to continue adapting to the new conditions. Veterinary practices are one of many businesses looking for a lifeline to hold on to. Some of them have found a way to keep providing their services by limiting access to specific areas within the premises. Others rely on drive through services, necessary precautions, and telemedicine. Still, it seems as though all those measures aren’t enough for a practice to run smoothly day in day out. Owners and managers of veterinary practices have to make additional adjustments to successfully cope with the pandemic. Here are some tips and tricks on how to adapt your practice during the unprecedented pandemic.
Communicate with the team
Chances are your veterinary practice has many frontline workers. For your business to stay afloat throughout the crisis, communication is the key element. To make internal communication easier for everyone involved, technology is the best option. You can choose whether you want separate tools for video conferencing, chatting, and task management or not. If not, then your secret weapon is definitely the intranet. It’s an all-in-one tool that will allow you to communicate effectively with all staff members. Employees can make announcements and share updates privately, with vets or front desk staff, or publicly, with everyone in the practice. As a result, your staff is well connected and communicative while the practice runs like a well-oiled machine.
Adjust working hours
During the pandemic, you will have to adjust working hours. Why? Because now you need extra time to disinfect all surfaces and areas in the practice every day. Besides, shorter working hours mean there are less chances of experiencing a burnout in the workplace. Moreover, you surely have working parents as members of your staff. Their wellbeing and work-life balance is something you should always prioritize, especially now when they have to homeschool their children, make a living, and run a household.
For example, you can work only on workdays and take the weekends off. Or you can even shift to part time and have enough time to sanitize the offices and spend time with the family.
Communicate with the clients
The pandemic has forced most businesses to close their doors, go remote, or continue working by following strict regulations and policies. This means, keeping social distance, wearing masks, and washing their hands as often as possible, among other things.
Apart from the government issued policies, you can also establish some protocols of your own to keep everyone protected and safe. For example, when clients have to bring their pet to the vet practice, they should call the front desk from the parking lot. Vets can then shuttle the pet from the car to the practice without engaging in any physical contact with the owner. Then, the front desk staff can keep pet owners posted by phone or text messages. Clients can also contact the vets the same way if they have any questions about dog training, vaccinations, vitamins, etc.
The most important thing is to share news about safety protocols in the practice with the clients. The easiest way for keeping them in the loop is through social media. Post updates and changes to your website and social media profiles, so clients can adequately prepare before their appointment.
Be aware of employees’ needs
The pandemic has an impact not only on your pet business but also on your staff. Now more than ever, you have to be attentive to their needs. Some employees may live with their elederly parents and small kids, which they have to take care of. Others may suffer from some chronic diseases, so they have to be extra careful not to contract the coronavirus. Every employee has their individual needs. It’s your responsibility as the owner or the manager to show support, empathy, and meet their needs whenever possible. If they need a day off, or want to work from home indefinitely, allow them to do so. Make sure they know they aren’t going to lose their job because of their needs.
Overcome challenges as a team
Like many, your employees have probably never faced such a global pandemic before. They are unfamiliar with the logistics and don’t know how to overcome challenges and difficulties. The best way to navigate through this crisis is by acting as a team. Teamwork and collaboration are your secret weapons. When you decide on a regulation or a policy, run it by the staff. Since all challenges affect them, they might as well have a say in how the management is going to tackle them. It is also a great opportunity for engaging them in all decisions and changes taking place in the practice. They can give feedback, suggestions, and ideas thus participating in the problem solving activities. This way, you are building a comfortable and pleasant work environment which is something your employees could use right now.
All in all, veterinary practices are no exception when it comes to adapting to the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vets and other staff members have to communicate well with clients, work together on meeting safety regulations, work shorter hours, and cater for their needs as well. These tips will help you and other owners to get through the global crisis.