Keepin’ it Productive!

We are all familiar with the term “death by meeting.” It refers to the seemingly endless cycle of leaders having meetings to prepare for other meetings during which strategies are discussed that require more meetings to implement! It’s exhausting to say, let alone live. Instead of having a positive impact on operations, it has quite the opposite effect. More time tends to be wasted “talking things through” than on actually taking action and managers end up attending so many meetings that they find it hard to complete their regular daily tasks. That’s not to say that meetings should be eradicated. There are certainly reasons and situations that warrant thorough discussion. However, when meetings need to occur, it is important to ensure that the time being spent is properly utilized and tracked. That way items can be prioritized, limiting the number of and need for meetings, and this inefficient management pattern can be broken once and for all.

When it comes to managing productivity, industry-standard practice is to include all education, orientation, and meeting time in the total worked hours. Many hospitals and health systems already have pay codes in their payroll systems to accurately allocate time to these categories. The difference lies in whether or not those pay codes are being grouped with the non-productive instead of the productive. Managers tend to view education, orientation, and meeting time as non-productive because they are hours, they feel, are not spent on direct job duties. Therefore, the non-productive category becomes a “catch-all” where leaders often assign hours that they are not how to classify. The problem occurs when this practice falsely inflates performance and when the time dedicated to these categories increases without being kept in check.

Keeping education, orientation, and meeting time in the productive category can help healthcare leaders manage the time spent on these functions and gain an appropriate assessment of operations. To keep this simple, remember that the productive category should include all time that staff, of any position or level, spend working. It should capture the regular/straight time, overtime, contract/agency, education, orientation, and meeting pay codes. The non-productive category should, therefore, include any time that staff is being paid NOT to work and should capture the PTO, bereavement, jury duty, LOA, and other relative pay codes. Handling the hours in this manner promotes accountability and works to minimize the misuse of valuable time!

To learn more about productivity and how ALTIUS can help guide your leaders to better staff/time management, please reach out to us here!

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