Could You Have a Phone-Free™ Practice?
Working with a remote team is a hot topic in vet med.
Could it work for your practice?
Could you really get rid of phones at the front desk?
Let’s go over the pros and cons.
5 Pros of Remote Employees
1. Money and/or time savings
On the surface, hiring a CSR or a technician costs your practice $10, $15, or 20/hour.
In reality, for every hire, you need to factor in real costs (benefits, taxes, workstation, overhead, etc.) and less visible costs (writing and placing ads, interviewing, recruiting, training, firing).
When Tina Trainer spends an hour training Nancy Newbie, your real cost is both hourly wages combined. To make matters worse, Tina Trainer doesn’t produce revenue for the practice during this time.
A direct corollary is that hiring a trained, remote team member saves the time it takes to implement all of the above tasks.
So when you delegate hiring and training team members, you save both time and money.
2. Larger talent pool
Some practices are located in areas where there are only so many people capable of fulfilling the positions you need. You may lack local talent.
It could be because you are in a rural location, or because of a large number of competing vet clinics, or because corporate or referral practices can offer higher wages, better benefits, and even a sign-on bonus. We know of a practice that offers a sign-on bonus of $3,500 for a vet tech. Can you offer that?
But wait, it gets better!
According to an article by iVet360, sign-on bonuses for an experienced, credentialed nurse (LVT/ RVT/ CVT) ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.
Can you compete with that?
Remote workers can be located anywhere in the country, which means the talent pool is much larger.
3. Cost of living
Some practices are located in areas that are so expensive (e.g., Silicon Valley, NYC) that some employees simply can’t afford to live nearby.
Here is the average rent for a ONE-bedroom apartment in various locations according to a recent Dr. Google search:
- Concord, CA (Silicon Valley): $2,269
- Seattle, WA: $2,334
- Fort Lauderdale, FL:$2,719
- Brooklyn, NY: $3,194
- San Francisco: $3,397
You can imagine how much a two or three-bedroom apartment would cost…
4. Happier employees
Remote work has many benefits from the employee standpoint: better work-life balance, time and money saved in commuting, and more family or “me” time.
In turn, happier employees make better team members and happier coworkers, with less turnover.
5. Higher productivity
Interruptions and multitasking are notorious efficiency busters in daily practice. Remote employees have fewer interruptions, and therefore, they can better focus on the task at hand.
A beneficial side-effect of not working at a practice is a smaller risk of catching a contagious disease – a huge plus in the new world we live in. Which means less absenteeism…
5 Cons of Remote Employees
1. Personal touch
The number 1 concern of working with a remote team is the loss of the personal touch with clients.
It probably depends on which company you work with.
If you use a company that provides random employees to fill in or take overflow calls, then clients will logically have a less consistent experience.
However, if you consistently work with the same remote team members, then clients will remember them, just like they remember in-house members.
Experience shows that bonding with clients is perfectly doable remotely.
We’ve had clients arrive at a practice and say: “Where is Lisa? She’s wonderful; I need to give her a hug,” or “Becky was so sweet and helpful when I needed help, I brought her flowers.” True stories!
2. Poor communication
Communication is difficult enough inside a practice; does it get worse with outside team members?
A common concern is that remote and in-house team members may not be able to get in touch with each other as frequently.
In reality, with modern communication options, Chronos team members are in constant contact with in-house teams. Depending on the practice, they use phones, email, instant messaging, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.
3. Staff meetings
A perceived detriment of remote employees is that, unless they live nearby, they can’t participate in staff meetings.
In reality, they can and do participate. With the technology we have access to, anyone can join a meeting remotely and actively contribute.
4. Cybersecurity concerns
In this day and age, cyberattacks could even happen to a vet clinic.
Our team members don’t use their own computers. They use Chronos laptops, which have advanced security features (anti-virus, firewall, etc.).
5. Lack of control
Another concern of employers is the lack of control over remote employees. What do they do when you can’t supervise them?
Do they watch reruns of Friends?
Do they watch Oprah?
Do they nap on the clock?
Do they paint their nails?
Do they walk their dog?
Chronos uses sophisticated technology to make sure each remote team member is active at all times.
Even without it, Chronos only hires driven, motivated and ethical team members, so they just don’t dilly-dally on the clock. They work hard – and the results speak for themselves.
There are even more we didn’t even mention because they are more intangible. When the phone doesn’t ring every minute of the day, the stress level plummets for in-house team members and even clients and patients.
Chronos is a perfect solution for a cat practice, a Fear Free® practice, or any progressive practice.
Is a Phone-Free™ practice the answer for you?
If you’d like to learn how Chronos can help your practice, please visit www.ChronosVet.com.
Jeremy Wentz, VMD, Fear-Free Certified
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear-Free Certified
Co-founders of Chronos