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Productivity

Unlike the wider economy, eyecare business reported rising outputs. It’s partly due to increased efficiency and use of technology but also reflects the fewer hands doing the work.

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Has your office or business become more or less productive in recent years?

The Big Survey 2023: Productivity

If you answered “Less” in the previous question, what’s been the main reason for this decrease in productivity?

Technology (interruption caused by phones, social media, etc.)
1%
Having to constantly hire and train new people
8%
Employees’ changing attitudes to work or working hard
5%
Outside issues impacting operations (supply chain disruption, inflation, etc.)
4%
Lingering disruption caused by the pandemic
6%
Government regulations
2%
Other
6%
Other responses mostly said a variation of all of these things combined contributed to less productivity; while 70% of respondents said none of these things applied to them. beautiful August afternoon and we are literally across the street from a high school.”

And if you answered “modestly” or “dramatically more productive” in the previous question, what’s been the main reason for this improved productivity?

Increased use of technology
15%
Additional staff/new employees
12%
Consistent or formal training systems
3%
Reduced number of vendors
3%
Streamlined operations or processes
30%
Other
11%
While 25% said none of these reasons applied; among the “other” responses: increased patient volume/influx of people into the area, social media, luxury eyewear, increased use of independent products, natural growth as the business ages, building an additional exam lane, and the closing of another optometry business down the street were reasons cited for improved productivity.
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What’s your preferred way of measuring your staff’s productivity?

A financial metric (say sales, profit margin or a ratio such as salaries vs. sales)
38%
Task-based (e.g. number of complete pairs sold, multiple-pair sales, lens upgrades)
25%
Time-based, efficiency (number of patients seen per hour, jobs logged)
10%
Client feedback (positive reviews, patient referrals)
19%
Other
7%

There has been much discussion about worker malaise over the last few years, including talk about burnout, quiet quitting, and “reset” thinking. Have you seen any evidence of such behavioral change among your staff?

Yes
55%
No
45%

YES

  • Increasing dissatisfaction with all forms of insurance and polarizing topics in daily discussions and we’re findings folks simply aren’t nice…that’s overwhelming. Being nice, not right or better than, is where we should all start.
  • They are tired of dealing with demanding patients.
  • Patients have been impacted by the pandemic and are bring it onto the staff. Staff is also working harder than they did four years ago due to high demand.
  • Employees feeling like they should be paid based on their personal value, not the value of the position.
  • Just burnout in general. Changes in their personal life
  • or health affecting work productivity.
    We’ve had a few quit for higher paying jobs. The young ones we hire do not want to do work. Can’t win right now.
  • You can definitely feel boundaries being set by staff as to what are ‘acceptable’ requests from their employers.
  • Sometimes leaders aren’t held accountable therefore, staff quiet quits. Some opticians also don’t want to have the conversation of better pay, so they go elsewhere.
  • Staff definitely need more personal time but we think this is important to resetting and making sure each person is as close to 100% as possible when in the store.
  • I have elected to spend more time with each patient and to have reduced stress on myself and staff.
  • We are having to work harder to make people happy and we now do it with less staff.
  • I can sense a palpable change in employees’ priorities after the pandemic. They value personal time and mental health more, as they should.
  • I am so burned out from having to pick up the slack of non-trained employees and also the train all the new hires. The increased insurance intake has also caused extra work filing claims.
  • The cost of living is so high, it’s hard to pay the cost of living at this point.

NO

  • A happy staff stays loyal!
  • We develop our team through seminars, playing outside the office and meetings where we ask probing questions and get them involved in the growth of the practice.
  • We make it a point to decorate for each season and holiday, have pens, calendars, bubbles and school supplies for kids, and participate in a lot of community events. This helps create a fun, fresh atmosphere all the time.
  • It goes in spurts, which is only human.
  • We appreciate our employees; their comfort and happiness are premier to our practice.
  • Certain patients can frustrate staff, so we move those patients to work with different staff.
  • The most important focus of our practice is our team and their happiness. Without them we don’t have a business. We are very serious about work-life balance, mental/emotional health, and financial security. If you take care of your team they take care of you.
  • We always talk about how we’re older so our work ethic is different. We feel fortunate to have a great place to work so there’s an atmosphere of thankfulness in having such a great little business (no Dr.) surviving among the giants.
  • We’re lucky to have a really close team. Typically the only reasons somebody leaves is following a spouse’s job change or the kids need them at home.
  • We have a very tight team who work together well. We support and hold each other accountable but in the end we respect that we are all just people trying to exist in a challenging world.

On a scale of 1-5 rate the productivity of the following areas of your office or business over the last few years:

The Big Survey 2023: Productivity

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Please tell us about an app, software program or other tool that you started using in the last few years that has greatly improved productivity in your business.

We didn’t anticipate one technology dominating the answers to this question, but that’s exactly what happened. Weave, an all-in-one platform that brings together phone systems, texting, scheduling, reminders, payment and reviews, received the most responses by far — three times more than the next two technologies, SolutionReach and Optify, another patient retention and communication platform and an e-commerce solution, respectively. Others that received several nods each were Eyecloud Pro, Anagram, Canva, Crystal PM, Doctible, Eyecare Pro, Marlo, Practice Pal, HootSuite, Abby, EdgePro, Eidon imaging, Google Drive, Next Gen, QuickBooks, Revolution EHR, and Vision Web. Here are a few other notable responses:

  • Midjourney and ChatGPT has saved me hours. I’m using ChatGPT to draft or edit quick patient emails. I use Midjourney to illustrate original backgrounds to use on our many social media posts.
  • Right Inbox. It allows me to schedule emails to go out to patients with follow up via email in a week. I can also use it to send reminders to myself.
  • Spectangle Pro has reduced optician error redos significantly and saves time while impressing patients.
  • Spexy! It has given us great ideas to incorporate. Frame Turn has really helped change the way we buy and stock frames.
  • We started frame-making so CAD/CAM programs like CamBam, Rhino and Fusion 360 have been big boosts to our productivity.

On a personal basis, what is most likely to torpedo your day and stop you from getting things done?

The Big Survey 2023: Productivity

NOTE: Not all customers who demand your attention are unhappy. Indeed, the chatty, the chronic undeciders, the complicated fits, and even drop-in customers looking to socialize can all derail a day. “Customer service, always a welcome torpedo!” said one ECP. Other responses included insurance issues, equipment breaking or the phones or internet going down, staff training, getting off to a slow start, and “midday fatigue when the coffee wears off.” We should also mention the couple of respondents who said the problem lay closer to home: “My own ADHD” and “For me, it’s simply procrastination that gets in my way.”

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