Four Tips for Preparing Your Medical Office for Holiday Hours

Written by: NORM-National Organization of Rheumatology Management

It is official; the holidays are upon us. As they quickly approach, it’s crucial that we are prepared. While many people gather their favorite recipes and organize gift lists, medical offices are preparing for holiday hours and the changes that come with them.

For medical practices, it is essential that our staff is happy and that our patients remain a top priority. Here are a few tips for avoiding the many frustrations and stress that can happen with holiday closures.

Have a policy in place for holiday closures.

It is essential that this policy is put into place early in the year (start preparing now for next year!), so there is no confusion when holidays arrive. Make sure your specific office observes holidays based on patient and staff needs.

The policy created should include a list of all mandatory holidays and information about days that will not be observed. This policy should be shared with the team as they are hired and when updates are made. Plan and note what will happen when any mandatory holiday falls on non-workdays, i.e., will the office be closed the business day before, the following day, or both?

Communicate closures to patients.

Once your team is clear on the parameters and expectations of holiday closures, your patients must be well aware of your holiday hours too. Start sending out communications to your patients about a month before. You can communicate this notice with patients in the following ways:

  • Emails, and or newsletters.
  • Social media.
  • Your practice’s website.
  • Signs in the waiting room.

Ensure that these are included in any online calendars, so appointments cannot be booked during those times. Update any social media accounts early and frequently. The earlier these communications are made, the easier it is to ensure your patients are happy.

Be clear about holiday pay.

Nothing causes more frustration and hurt feelings than confusion regarding money. Include with your holiday closure policy clear information about pay.

Each employee classification should be aware of the policy and how they will be compensated for these days.

Plan for additional time off for staff.

Staff may want to take additional time off around the holidays. And during this time of year, time is as precious as money. If policies and expectations aren’t clear, this can cause internal issues.

Your policy should discuss how time off will be handled. These requests should fall under an approval process, and it is important to discuss how many employees can take off at one time.

The holidays are a fabulous time of year for you, your staff, and your patients – don’t let poor communication take away from this wonderful season.

Be prepared, transparent, and communicative, and leave the stress for cooking that turkey – not holiday working hours. With a little planning and preparation, you will find some peace and joy this holiday season!

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