Should you allow the dental team to text in the office?

Posted on by HS We Do That | Category HR, Team Harmony

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Does it seem like your employees are constantly texting and/or checking at their phones? Is patient care and service being negatively impacted? Do you longingly remember the days before smartphones?

The bad new is: it’s never going to be 1993 again. The good news is: there are some things you can do to help ensure your practice is not adversely affected.

Successfully navigating smartphone use in your practice will typically take some flexibility and understanding on both sides. While it can be tempting to install cell phone jammers or lock all personal phones in a cage, the best solution is a mixture of understanding and clear boundaries.

Start by thinking about your “absolutes”. One might be an employee texting in front of a patient, which should absolutely never happen. Another reasonable boundary might be when patients are present in the clinical area or the front office, no employee should ever be using their phone. You could also clarify expectations about the phone vibrating on a countertop, or a chirping phone in an assistant’s pocket.

Next, think about areas where you can be flexible. For example, employees checking to ensure that kids made it to school safely or checking or responding at certain acceptable times during the day.

Spend some time thinking about your boundaries. Draft your expectations in a clear policy and remember, the stricter the policy, the harder it is to enforce. Enforce your boundaries consistently and fairly with all employees. If discipline becomes necessary, as with any liability-producing HR event, please contact the HR professionals at Bent Ericksen & Associates or a labor compliance professional prior to taking action.

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