Q&A: How to keep employees busy


Use this technique to find ways to fill hours for underworked employees.

First, take a look at your schedule, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Mark Opperman, CVPM, owner of VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "Having blank hours is not the norm—most practices don't have enough people scheduled, and team members are overworked," he says. You may have too many employees on staff, or you may need to adjust your doctors' office hours and surgery schedule to account for the dead time.

Mark Opperman

If you still have this problem after addressing these issues, try using a "job jar" as motivation for your employees, Opperman says. Write jobs that need to be performed—like cleaning the air ducts, sanitizing cage doors, and changing air filters—on 3-by-5-inch note cards and place them in the jar. Ask employees who complete these jobs to write their names on the back of the card and place it in a separate jar. Once a month, draw a couple of cards from the jar and reward the employees with a bonus, gift certificate, or some other gift. Your team members will stay busy and you won't have any trouble completing those pesky tasks that never seem to get done.

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