In October, Joanne Reed, OD, PA, and most of her staff from Visionary Eye Care at Murabella in St. Augustine, Florida, will be packing their bags and headed to Tybee Island, Georgia, for an all-expense paid vacation. Just an Uber ride away from Savannah, it will be the fifth year of this team building and bonding experience that Dr. Reed has hosted for her staff—all in different locations of their choice. “The staff plans the trip. Because we live in Florida, there are plenty of places to go that don’t require air travel,” Dr. Reed says.
Vacationing with your office staff may not be the norm, but Dr. Reed grew fascinated by the concept after working for 20 years at a laser eye surgery center. The ophthalmologist who owned the business was an avid traveler. “He was a great guy, and he loved to travel and wanted everyone around him to be able to experience it,” she recalls. The small staff of five went on many trips over the time they worked together, visiting London, Hawaii and Cabo. “Everyone got to be so close.” And she’s found that to be the case with her team, as well, forming better relationships inside and outside of the office.
Throughout the year, Dr. Reed’s team saves up its VSPOne rebates, and Dr. Reed presents them with the amount that they have to spend. “They find the accommodations and the special activities, and they nail down the dates. They submit all of this to the doctors, and we finalize the trip,” Dr. Reed says. “They love it and look forward to when it’s time to plan because they do it together.” Then in the early fall, everyone who has worked for a year or more goes on a special three- or four-day vacation.
When she started four years ago, four employees were eligible for the trip. This year, she will have eight of their team of 12 attending. “We have gone on a cruise to the Bahamas, stayed in a beach house on Clearwater Beach and enjoyed a stay at Club Med,” she says. As the team has grown, she says it’s harder to find those times to work on being a family, and the entire team looks forward to these trips. New team members man the office while they are away—looking forward to attending the following year—and Dr. Reed often hires a fill-in OD for a day or two of coverage while they are away. “It’s four days of just enjoying each other’s company and not worrying about work,” she says.
Add Some Fun to the Schedule
Dr. Joanne Reed hosts the staff on a once-a-year vacation getaway, but she also finds time for fun during the rest of the year. Twice a year, the office has a trunk show, which requires a lot of preparation work as well as time dedicated afterwards preparing all of the eyeglasses orders. So after this event is over, Dr. Reed has hosted a Family Fun Day for the office family to unwind. A recent fun day include taking DiSC® personality testing to learn more about themselves and patients. According to its official site at discprofile.com, the DiSC model provides a common language that people can use to better understand themselves and adapt their behaviors with others—within a work team, a sales relationship, a leadership position or other relationships. Then the team went to get their nails done and had a pizza dinner, discussing the results together. “It was a full day that was work-related but fun, and it was neat to talk about everyone’s experiences.”
When Dr. Reed recently was on her first VOSH mission trip in Romania in July—spending two weeks working with a team of 20 to provide care for 2,000 patients—her office manager hosted a fun afternoon after work to reward the team’s hard work. From hula hoops to an egg toss, this field day-inspired activity was just another way this team has spent time just getting to know each other as individuals beyond simply coworkers.