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Offices, administration and staff accommodation

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Abstract

Office space in veterinary practices is often under-valued as a resource. Space, particularly when limited, tends to be prioritized for clinical or fee-generating areas. However, well designed and functional office space, together with an effective administrative and management team, will make a huge difference to the profitability of a practice. This chapter explores office accommodation; administration; meeting rooms; staff accommodation; practice vehicles; practice insurance, and disaster recovery.

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Figures

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16.1 Offices are often fitted into the upper floors of a practice.
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16.2 A dedicated vets office.
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16.3 Hot desking in a quiet corner of the office is appreciated by vets and nurses for essential administrative tasks and for returning telephone calls. Clinicians can keep pending paperwork in personal wall-mounted trays.
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16.4 Clear plastic chair mats facilitate free movement of wheeled chairs and protect the carpet from wear and rucking.
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16.5 Electrical sockets in floor boxes can be very useful for open-plan offices. Clearing PC base units (‘boxes’) from desks and stowing them neatly can give a less cluttered look.
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16.6 Elements of a well designed computer workstation. Drawn by S.J. Elmhurst BA Hons (www.livingart.org.uk) and reproduced with her permission.
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16.7 A small multifunction scanner/printer/fax may be sufficient for personal or light use, and as back-up for a larger machine.
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16.8 A large leased networked multi-function printer/scanner/copier on a service contract can be used to: archive patient records electronically; copy and print in colour and black & white; staple; punch; create booklets; and convert documents using OCR.
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16.9 Auto feed scanner: patient records can be scanned using a stand-alone scanner and attached to individual patient records via the PMS.
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16.10 Floor-standing safe with a deposit drawer. Takings and small items can be deposited into the safe without opening it, by using the deposit drawer. The safe is securely bolted to the floor.
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16.13 Leaving a clear marker where a file has been removed alerts others to its absence and facilitates replacement.
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16.14 Making use of the practice meeting room.
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16.15 Staff should have an area where they can relax during breaks. This should be well maintained.
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16.16 Although not required by law, providing a fridge large enough to accommodate lunchboxes for staff is always appreciated. A label reminding people of how it should and should not be used is helpful.
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16.19 Particularly when working out of hours, remote monitoring can be useful for observing patients and different areas of the practice.
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16.20 Duty accommodation should be comfortable and secure with laundered bedding. Two beds allows for clean sheets to be available for consecutive shifts by different individuals. There is a security grille at the bedroom window. Ensuite facilities allow privacy and are secure for lone workers. Easy maintenance is important for duty accommodation: a moulded shower cubicle is easy to clean; shower heads should be descaled regularly in hard-water areas.
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16.21 Internal doors to accommodation or staff areas, including offices, should be fitted with appropriate security locks to prevent unauthorized access.
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16.22 A well maintained and liveried veterinary ambulance is a great marketing tool, as well as a useful vehicle. © Kingston Veterinary Group

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Examples of practice policies and banking risk assessment

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