December 24, 2020
Inside: Find out what workplace bottlenecks could be affecting your pharmacy’s productivity.
Finishing up the last-minute details of your next pharmacy event. Meeting with a steady number of patients. Achieving your front-end sales goal for the month. These are just a few of the many projects you and your staff work to complete day in and day out at your independent community pharmacy.
You probably wouldn’t argue that at the end of every day you want to feel accomplished. But completing all of the tasks that need to get done can often seem impossible. It’s likely that your employees feel the same. If you’ve noticed a decline in productivity at your pharmacy, there are common factors that may be the culprit.
We’ve identified seven common workplace issues that impact productivity. If you’re struggling with any of these stumbling blocks, follow these tips to get back on track.
Employees flourish under proper management. Without the guidance and supervision of a talented leader, productivity can suffer.
Common management mistakes include micromanaging, macromanaging, and swooping in like a “seagull” — making a mess and then flying away, leaving everyone else to clean up.
A great manager creates a structured work environment that has clear expectations for employees. When onboarding, they ensure new hires have the proper training that they need to succeed in the pharmacy.
Most of all, efficient managers are great communicators. They build rapport with employees so that when questions arise, their staff members don’t hesitate to ask questions.
If you and your staff are constantly being interrupted in the middle of tasks, it hinders your productivity.
The number one source of interruptions by far is patients — whether they are calling on the phone or picking up prescriptions, you have to drop everything to make sure they are taken care of.
To make sure they are getting the service they need while still getting work done, you can position pharmacists far away from the counter, so technicians and other staff can greet them promptly and handle their requests without interrupting other work.
You can also implement an automated phone system to reduce phone interruptions and encourage patients to enroll in med sync to reduce the number of times patients come into the pharmacy.
Learn about other common workflow disruptions and what you can do to streamline your pharmacy.
In today’s world, being constantly connected is almost unavoidable. Text messages, phone calls, and personal emails can all contribute to a decrease in productivity.
Your staff members are adults, and you should trust them to use their best judgment when it comes to their cell phones. But if you find that staff members’ eyes are drifting to text messages or that they are scrolling through social media when they should be helping patients, it might be time to develop a common-sense policy about electronics.
Lay some ground rules to establish that personal phones need to stay out of sight while staff members are on the job. When they are using work computers, they should also refrain from browsing the web for personal reasons.
While too much personal tech can slow staff members down, not having the right tech in your pharmacy can also be a drain on productivity.
Streamline workflow to boost productivity by ensuring that all technology in your pharmacy is up-to-date. Select upgrades can make a world of difference.
Robotics that help you automate dispensing can be a big investment upfront, but they also have the potential to fill 30 to 60 percent of your volume every single day, freeing up staff members to provide personalized care.
A point-of-sale system specialized for use in the pharmacy is a must. Extra functions like integrating with your OTC wholesaler, patient birth date verification, and including a spot to record notes for patient counseling add organization and save time.
Other upgrades like an automated will call and a patient-facing app will also help you streamline your pharmacy for increased productivity.
Happy employees and productivity go hand-in-hand. Dissatisfied employees are less likely to work toward specific goals or go above what’s required of them.
In order to boost morale, work to make your employees feel like they are part of a team. Have a clear mission statement and goals that everyone can contribute to.
Employees also feel good about their job when they get recognition when they are performing well. Don’t assume your employees know when they’ve done a good job with something, and be sure to praise them frequently.
Recognize the signs of a toxic workplace — like employee cliques, high turnover, and burnout — and step in to support employees and turn things around before the workplace falls apart completely.
Studies have shown that a certain amount of personal chatter in the workplace can actually boost productivity, so don’t assume that because two staff members are talking about their weekend, they aren’t getting anything done.
However, too much socialization can get in the way of productivity. A single hyper-social staff member can end up roping everyone in their vicinity into the conversation, and as a manager, you need to step in.
If the chatter is happening during staff meetings, steer the conversation back to the agenda. If it’s happening on the work floor, politely interrupt and ask about something work-related to encourage staff members to refocus.
Out-of-date standard operating procedures could be slowing your employees down. If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your SOPs, it’s might be time to test them out.
Review your SOPs regularly. You’ll probably find that some steps are unnecessary, or that new technology means that your written SOPs no longer apply to how things are actually done in the pharmacy.
The language in your SOPs should also be clear enough for even your newest employees to understand, so make sure you’re not over-relying on jargon or making logical leaps that could end up confusing your employees.
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The member-owned company serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.
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