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Want to boost practice morale and productivity? Allow remote work.

Article

Even small practices can see gains in revenue, productivity, and morale when employees are allowed to work remotely.

Covid created many changes in the workplace, including a massive increase in remote work, and this was also true in medical practices. According to a study from Software Advice, 83% of medical practices that use a hybrid or remote working model began doing so during the pandemic, but have no plans to eliminate it. Small practices using remote work report increases in revenue, productivity, and employee morale.

  • 56% saw increased productivity
  • 39% saw increased revenue
  • 61% saw more patients
  • 89% say employees feel positive about remote work
  • 86% say they saw morale improve

The cost to set up remote work were mostly small, with 51% of practices saying they spent less than $5,000, with the most common purchases being telemedicine software (77%) and hardware (74%). For practices with five or fewer providers, 50% spent less than $3,000. These costs were usually offset by productivity gains, according to the report. More than half of practices reported productivity gains, with 61% reporting they were able to increase their patient load, while only 3% reported a decrease in patient load.

In terms of revenue gains, 39% reported an increase after going to a hybrid or remote work model, and more than half reported that revenue stayed the same. The report notes that while revenue may not have increased for those practices after going to remote work, but they did see the other benefits that affect employees.

And those employees like the remote work option. Only 9% said they were neutral about transitioning to a hybrid working environment, while 89% felt positively about it, and 86% say it improved morale – a boon in an era where employees can be hard to find.

The report reads in part: “By allowing employees some control over their own schedules—and some flexible hours within those schedules—employers can make major headway in improving the working experience of their staff and keeping them happy.”

While the assumption may be that only office staff works remotely, the study found otherwise. Of those surveyed, 69% said they allow their physicians or licensed providers to work remotely some or all of the time, and at least a third let nurses do so. For all employees, the average breakdown was 26 hours working in the office compared to 14 working remotely.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health