One of the many things COVID-19 has brought to light is the importance of flexible staff. While office workers across the country swapped a traditional PC in a cubicle for a laptop on their kitchen table, dental staff were forced to be flexible in an entirely different way.
When practices could only provide urgent treatment, dentists, hygienists and assistants were forced to almost permanently be on call, ready to rush into the dental practice whenever needed. Being able to drop whatever they were doing, don their PPE and provide potentially life-saving treatment to a patient without even knowing if they were putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus became the norm for weeks.
Not being able to operate a dental practice with a full range of treatments meant many owners had to relinquish valuable members of staff to furlough and instead begin working with temp dental hygienists and assistants. While all dental staff are flexible to some degree, temp workers provide practices with the support they need to be more agile than ever — something which is essential while uncertainty continues to reign supreme.
Although things have settled down now and almost all dental offices throughout the US are open for business as usual, practice owners can still benefit massively by working with flexible temp staff. Here are some of the benefits you can expect to experience as a practice owner.
Avoid referring patients to other practices
If your dental practice has a full patient quota and your appointment books are full, there’s a good chance you’ve had to turn away new patients. While refusing a patient as a one-off won’t affect your financial situation too severely right away, the decision could have a big impact on your future earnings.
If you were able to treat that patient and you did a great job, it’s likely they would have become a loyal customer to your business and returned twice each year for check-ups, as well as any necessary treatment. You could have turned into that patient’s family dentist and they may even have recommended your services to their friends.
By hiring temp workers, you can take on as much work as you like and never have to risk losing patients by referring them to other offices.
Reduce staff costs during quiet times
When you hire staff permanently, you have to pay them what’s stipulated in their contract. It doesn’t matter if business is quiet and there’s no work for them to do. They still showed up to work, so you’ve got to pay them. This isn’t the way it works with temp staff.
You only pay temp hygienists and assistants for the exact hours that they work. If you know you’ve only got two appointments scheduled for one day, you only hire the staff for a few hours to cover those appointments. You don’t need to waste money paying employees when there’s no work to do.
Temp workers give you the capability to only pay staff when they’re bringing money into your practice.
Offer more treatments
One of the primary ways dental practice owners lose out on income is by being forced to refer patients to specialists for complex treatment. If you’re a general dentist running your own practice, it’s unlikely you have the time to go back to school and learn specialist dentistry. Temp workers open up a world of new opportunities, allowing you to expand your range of treatments and increase profits.
Before you pass on the name of a good specialist dentist to your patient and risk losing them forever, check to see if there’s a suitable dentist with the right qualifications on your preferred hiring platform. If so, you can schedule an appointment for the patient within your own practice and hire the specialist dentist for the time required to cover the appointment.
Being open to hiring temp dentists means you can broaden your range of treatments to appeal to more patients and boost your earning potential.
Reduce HR headaches
Keeping track of employee contracts, health benefits, sick pay and vacation leave can be such an inconvenience that some dental practice owners choose to outsource the job entirely. Others struggle on through the legalities, knowing fine well their time would be much better spent treating patients.
When you work with temp hygienists and assistants, the only backend work involved is paying them. And if you work with a reputable hiring company like Cloud Dentistry, the tricky parts of payment are often taken care of for you. As temp workers are independent contractors, they’re responsible for their taxes and health benefits — not you.
You can easily avoid wasting hours doing HR paperwork and filing taxes by working with temp dental staff.
Maintain a healthy team by accommodating time off
Being a dental hygienist or an assistant can sometimes be very stressful. When people work challenging positions for long periods of time, it’s easy to get burnt out or even sick. To continue providing your patients with the excellent care they’ve become accustomed to, it’s important your dental team is always on it’s “A” game. But for that to happen, you must provide them with time off when they need it.
Hiring temp dental staff to cover employees who want a couple of weeks away to enjoy a vacation or need a few days to recover at home from an illness means your team can avoid burnout. Because some hiring platforms provide you with real-time booking schedules, you can see who’s available for last minute cover work to ensure you don’t have to cancel any patient appointments and your staff can have some much-needed downtime.
Working with temporary RDHs and RDAs means you can always cover staff members who need time off.
A custom solution
While working exclusively with temp workers is a great solution for some practices, you don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. Many practices benefit from the best of both worlds and use temp RDHs and RDAs to support the permanent staff who have worked at the practice for years. Temp workers can help take the pressure off of permanent employees while maintaining the high level of service you’ve always provided for your clients.
Whichever solution works best for you, all practice owners can benefit from working with temp staff. Hire your first temporary dental hygienist or assistant today to see for yourself!