Episode 159 | How Often Should I Be In the Office?
WITH MAUREEN WERRBACH
- Episode 159 | How Often Should I Be In the Office? 00:00
Hey Group Practice listeners! In this episode, I’m talking all about how often you should be in the office as practice owner!
In this episode I cover:
- What’s typical for different stages of practice ownership
- Exploring your role as practice owner
- What an office means to you
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Today, we are taking a question from the Exchange Membership group. And today’s question is: how often should I be working in the office as a group practice owner?
I thought this was a really good question. And thought for a little bit on how to answer it in a way that is both succinct because as you all know, I love short, actionable and content heavy podcasts that aren’t an hour and a half long. But also, this is the type of question that can go for a really long time. So I thought about about it for a little bit. And I think I have a pretty good answer for you guys.
So how long? Or how often should you be in the office if you have a physical brick and mortar office? As the group practice owner?
My answer is…drumroll. It depends.
Some things I want you to think about if this is a question that you’re asking yourself right now and trying to figure out how often you should be in the office? Is it every day for a couple of hours? If you have multiple locations should you be going to each and every location? How much time should you be spending in each of those locations? Or are you feeling guilt for not being in the office as much as you used to be? This will be a good answer for you guys. So it depends.
And what I think you should be thinking about is where are you at in the group practice building process. Oftentimes, newer group practice owners are naturally in the office more, because they might still be seeing clients. And they are spending time in the office to put policies and procedures together and get to know their staff as they’re hiring them. And just naturally, being in the office space helps newer group practice owners figure out what they need to know about the practice building experience, and about the process of putting procedures together when they’re actually physically in the office and they see what’s working and what’s not working. But if you’re well established, and maybe you’ve stopped growing, or you have other people on your team that are helping your spaces grow, you might spend way less time in the office because you know what the process and procedures are in your office and you don’t necessarily need to be there. So it definitely depends when it comes to the stage that your group practices in, in terms of whether it’s new or established, or whether you’re in a growth mode.
And sometimes when you’re opening locations, you end up spending more time in those new locations and less time in the existing ones as you’re putting together a new office location. And so there might be an ebb and flow depending on where what stage you’re at in growing with your group practice. And whether you’re kind of newly forming your practice or a super established group practice owner who has all of their policies and procedures in place, and the space itself might need you less physically.
The next thing to think about is what is your role as the group practice owner. That’s going to vary depending on what you want your role to be. So there are plenty of group practice owners who spend all of their time as a group practice owner or the whole time that they own a group practice still seeing clients. And you’ll also see group practice owners who eventually see no clients. So there’s a lot of variety in terms of the actual role that the group practice owner plays in their business. Most importantly, it’s always visionary, because the group practice owner has put together the vision of the business. And their biggest role is to move that vision forward.
But you might see as a group, practice owner yourself that your time is split on other things that are really important to you. And maybe that’s seeing clients, maybe that’s providing supervision, maybe it’s doing things that require you to be in the office. And maybe it’s just doing the visionary work and having a leadership team that does everything else. And so it really depends on what your role is in its entirety, as a business owner, and how important it is, for your role for you to be in the office.
There are plenty of group practice owners that at some point, never have to step foot into their offices again, or very rarely do and there are others who thrive as a leader in being in the office, and neither option is wrong or bad. It just totally depends on how you’re defining your role as a group practice owner, someone else can’t do that for you. And you’ll see every other decision under the sun from not coming in at all, to coming in every day, 10 hours a day, if you ask 100 different group practice owners. So it really at its core depends on what role you play in your group practice that can help you define what’s really the appropriate amount of time for you to be in the office? Where do you see your role heading? Right? So you might be in your role might be a certain way right now, but are you seeing it shift or change in any sort of way. Because you want to make sure that decisions that you’re making, whether that’s being in the office more or being in the office less have to align with where you see your role as a business owner going in the next a year or two years.
For some people that might be seeing no clients and just doing the visionary work, while not being a part of the day to day activity anymore. And that might be conducive to you being able to work from home and not step into the office anymore for other people. Because what really fills their cup is to be part of the people part where they’re providing supervision and leadership to staff in the operations of the of the business, that they’re likely to spend more time in the office than another group practice owner who’s really just doing the visionary work. So you want to think a little bit about where you’re at now, and how that relates to working in the office or at home. But also where you see yourself moving towards? And is it going to stay the same your role? Or is that going to shift in any sort of way? And how does that align with your personal goals, your family goals, and just how you navigate the world as a person outside of being a business owner?
And then another question I would ask myself is what does an office mean to you? Like, why is it important to even be thinking about your time in the office, and that’ll help stir up some things around why it’s even a concern for you on how much time you’re spending in the office, you probably are placing some value on what it means to be in the office. For some people, it might be kind of superficial, right, that being in the office, makes your staff think that you’re doing work. Whereas if you’re at home working, there might be this sense that your team thinks that you’re not working, and what does that mean about you, they think you’re not working, which is something that can be worked on, right.
But a lot of times I hear this from group owners is there’s the sense of like, like an ego thing, that they just want their staff to think that they’re productive, even though they maybe are being actually productive when they’re working at home. But if their staff doesn’t see them, they’ll make this assumption that their staff will think they’re not working.
And too, even if you are working less what mindset blocks are coming up that are making you feel like not working means that you don’t deserve to have the profit that the business brings in, right?
But if, if there’s another thought related to why you feel like it’s important for you, as a business owner to be in the office, I’m guessing that if you dig deep down, it has to do with leadership and modeling the value of work and kind of as a leader putting putting in the work and showing that you’re committed to the practice just as much as they are. And that leads to my last question of: can anyone else do that? I mean, maybe if that’s important to you that you are showing that you’re physically in the office just like they are then it sounds like that’s meant for you to be in the office more than than less. But if it’s around the idea that you want to want to model as leadership, work in the office and be available to them, are there other ways that that can happen? Especially if you are wanting to work less in the office, and that might be having a leadership team that can be in office who can support your team and provide them all the supports that you can give them plus them, right?
I have a leadership team of about seven or eight people. And combined, they provide way more support than my single body can ever provide. And so I’m not needed in the office, when I go in, it’s to kind of hang out and see who’s there and chat and have fun. But all my work I do from home, and I don’t need to go in the office, my staff is supported. My leadership team is there providing them the support that they need, they are modeling the workplace culture that is important to our practice. And whether it’s me doing it or the leadership team it doesn’t matter as much to the overall culture of the workplace, and the sustainability of the workplace.
And that’s why it’s really important to look at why is this question coming up for you? What’s the most important part of this concept of how often or not you’re going into the office? What is making that question come up, and to see if it’s coming up from a sense of ego, or guilt or insecurity, or if it’s coming from a place of you maybe wanting to reduce your time, but not knowing if, if that’s okay and allowed.
What I love about owning a business is that, really at the bottom of it all, is that business owners should be creating businesses that work for them. Business ownership is hard. And you should have the ability to have it working for you. And if that means that you are starting a business and running a group practice so that you can have more time at home with your family, then your goal should be to set up policies and procedures and systems and teams that allow you to get to that point.
So that’s my long winded answer to how often should you be in. In a way doesn’t answer it, but totally answers it is there’s no amount of time, you can have zero hours if you’d like and spend zero minutes in the office ever again, and have a thriving, successful, well established, well, cultured workplace, or you can spend 40 hours a week in the office and have that same level of success, positive workplace culture and connection, that practice that doesn’t have a group practice owner in the office at all is having so totally dependent.
So my questions, just as a recap: Where are you in the group practice building stage? I think that really plays a big role on how much you’ll be in the office. What is your role as the leader and business owner? Where do you see that going in the next year? Or two? Is it going to change at all? And what does it mean to you value wise to be in the office? Why is this an important question to ask what’s coming up for you? And can anyone else do that? If if something comes up for you as to why it’s important for you as a leader to be in the office? It’s likely not that you the group practice owner have to be in the office, but more from the leadership aspect? And if that’s the case, is there someone else that can play that role? Or perhaps be that role for you where you can still continue to do work from home if that’s what you’d like to do? So there’s options for every kind of answer.
Alright, if you have a question that you want me to answer on the podcast, please put it inside our membership Facebook group, which is called the exchange and I’ll find it and I’ll get to it. See you next week.
Thanks For Listening
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Meet your host
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
The podcast is structured so that you get practice building tips in small doses, where an episode can be listened to (and a group practice building lesson can be learned) in a single car ride.
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