Thursday Troubleshooter: Team is frustrated dentist contacts them after hours

Dentist may not realize he's intruding on team's personal time

Frustrated Texting

QUESTION: Our doctor has a very bad habit of emailing and texting us about office questions and situations after hours, and especially on Saturdays when he is in the office alone. One morning we had a texting dialogue going for three hours back and forth with 11 team members regarding a CE course we planned to take. Select your preferred courses NOW, arrange your car transportation, decide who will room with who, and the list goes on. While our doctor is devoted to his practice and we fully understand that in a busy office we may not have time to do all this planning with patients coming and going, we all resent our family and personal time being used for office business. We are appreciative of going to the CDA Meeting and know his heart is in the right place, but this has gotten out of hand and our spouses are angry. What can we do?

ANSWER FROM LINDA MILES, Founder of Speaking Consulting Network:
You and your team members have every right to put a stop to these off hour emails and texts that are being done on personal time. Unless you are paid for the hours you are “working” on anything that pertains to the office, your doctor is out of line, but perhaps he doesn’t realize it. It’s great to work with such a dedicated doctor, and even greater to work with one who takes the entire team to CE, but your off hours belong to you and your family. These conversations should take place at team meetings, or through communication that doesn’t take you away from your patients or family. Sending a three-question survey asking for a response by Thursday at 5 p.m. about desired courses, organized transportation, and roommate selection can be done in minutes versus hours if done properly and on office time. Team members can actually figure this out over lunch in 10 minutes while waiting for their lunch to be delivered. Some people take a 10-minute job and turn it into a three-hour project. But that won’t be the case if the communication is carried out as I suggest here.

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