The Office-less Office: Why every Owner should get rid of their office for good!
When I opened my practice in 2001 the first thing I did was give myself an office. Before ordering exercise equipment, computers or even supplies, I focused on my office.
At the time, the look of success was having my own office in my very own clinic. My thoughts were that I could use it to hold meetings, have a place to do my important work, a place to hang up pictures of my family and store my growing library of books.
Twelve years after opening up my practice I finally got wise and got rid of my office.
What a freakin’ waste of space!
First of all, except for holding the occasional one-on-one staff meeting and doing interviews, I rarely ever had anyone in my office. I used it to mostly to do notes, return emails and make calls. Basically, my office was a place where I did lots of administrative work (and wasted a lot of time!)
I don’t think I’ve have ever had a creative idea in my office or ever conjured up an amazing process to help streamline my practice.
No, my office was just a heaping pile of admin stuff and a place where I got my ego stroked…at least initially!
I felt the need to show others who had the pleasure of seeing my office, that I was the boss and that you should be impressed (for some reason, my name on the door wasn’t enough!)
Worse, I had this large desk (the larger the better, right?) where people who sat on the other side would feel a little intimated. I even bought a big leather chair like the ones you see in the movies to show I was the man!
What a bunch of crap! I wish someone had slapped some sense into me and said “get over yourself, Jamey”; an office doesn’t make you successful nor does a leather chair.
It wasn’t until many years later I realized that my office was the one place where I was the least creative. It was also the place where I was interrupted the most and the least productive. My mind couldn’t stay focused for a minute.
When I was in there, I could hear the front desk answer the phones and schedule patients. When I sat there, all I could do was listen to the conversations and cringe! Occasionally, I got so frustrated that I went up to the front desk and corrected them. Looking back, it was probably not the smartest thing to do but I couldn’t help it!
My office was decorated with yellow Post It notes…hundreds of them! I had all sorts of reminders and ‘to-do’s’ ranging from people I had to call back, ideas I had and even groceries I had to pick up on the way home.
My office turned into one big “to-do” list. I had them on the desk, my computer, the arms of my leather chair, and the lamp. The only thing my office did was remind me of all of the things I hadn’t done yet. It was a terrible feeling especially after a long day of treating patients and answering the seemingly endless questions from my staff.
A few years ago, I learned of people, Owners of businesses, getting rid of their offices. At first, I was like “No way”, I need my office.
However, my goal was to grow and free myself from the day to day operations. So, with a less than optimistic attitude, I packed up my stuff including my books, family pictures and, of course, all of those post it notes and took it all home!
I can’t describe the feeling I had the next day when I walked into my stripped down, near empty office, but if I had to I would say…relieved!
I felt like a weight was lifted.
No longer did I have a bunch of post it notes staring at me. Having no formal office forced me to get my notes done during the visit or soon after in the PT area instead of my office. That turned out to be much more efficient because there was nothing else to focus on.
At the end of the day when I would usually wind down in my office for an hour or two, I just went home. My family couldn’t believe how early I started to come home. No more 8 or 9pm. I was home at 5:30pm! For the first time in years, I was home for dinner…early!
After a few weeks of this “office-less office” solution, my new normal became coming home early. If I needed to make calls I used a phone and made them. Sometimes I made them from my car or from a back office phone or even my previous office, but I never felt the need to stay there and hang out.
When I met with employees, we just grabbed an empty treatment room. As I became more and more comfortable not having an office, I realized most of my admin activities were either done by computer or by phone. In that case, my office could be anywhere; Starbucks, an outside bench or even my kitchen table.
The time I spent on admin stuff was cut in half! However, the creativity energy that I got from not being in the office as much skyrocketed! These creative ideas turned into better processes, better hires and consistent referrals.
The “Office-less Office” is a radical new concept in the healthcare community, however, in other industries it’s nothing new. Even the government has “work from home” days. They realized, as I did, that an office is the least productive and creative place.
I can’t say that not having an office within your practice will do for you what it did for me, but having shared this concept with hundreds of other private practice owners and hearing their incredible results, I’m confident that it will help you get rid of the unnecessary clutter and increase your productivity, efficiency, creativity and thinking!
For more information on the “Office-less Office” Solution and other radically successful concepts email Jamey at firstname.lastname@example.org