I’m Sick Of Overtime!

Q. No one follows our time schedules—I regularly work at least 30 minutes after my shift was supposed to end. Is this fair?

“Rather than asking, ‘Is this fair?’ I recommend tracking the reason your shift isn’t ending on time for 30 days,” says Pamela Stevenson, CVPM, a practice management consultant who owns Veterinary Results Management in Durham, N.C. Here are some common problems and solutions:

  • One or more co-workers is tardy. “In this case, you may need a well-defined and enforced system for tracking and addressing tardiness,” Stevenson says. “If several team members consistently arrive late, discuss the problem with your supervisor.” If one person consistently lags behind, talk to your co-worker one-on-one about the problem.
  • Your case load is too heavy. “When it seems that there’s not enough staff to cover the appointments, in-house patients, surgical and dental procedures, and drop offs, everyone can feel abused,” Stevenson says. “So the practice may need to adjust its systems, explore ways to work more efficiently, improve patient and client flow, and schedule accordingly.”
  • Your practice doesn’t schedule appropriately. If you’re running behind because you’re still offering treatment or conducting staff rounds, it may be time to revisit your schedule, Stevenson says. “For example, I recommend scheduling shifts to overlap 30 minutes for general practices and up to two hours for 24-hour specialty and emergency practices so you can finish all treatments before the next crew takes over.”

Originally published February 1, 2006 in First Line, view on DVM360