Peter Greedy: The Staff Room: a great barometer of a belonging culture in practice/business

SightCare Business Coach Peter Greedy discusses staff room and culture in optical practices.

Having worked as a locum optometrist for the last 15 years, I have seen and experienced many work cultures in practices. As a locum I work hard to connect with the employed practice team – owners, managers, dispensing colleagues, optical assistants and front of house staff.

Being a coach and leadership consultant, as I attend my locum clinics, I am always observing small and large details of the working relationships and provisions made for staff by the business owners. There are numerous tell tale signs of how staff are regarded.

Many of the practices I have worked at are beautiful – to the visiting clients. However, the biggest sign of how the staff are looked after and regarded as part of the business can be seen by looking at the staff room. And some I have seen are absolutely dire! Ugly, dirty, cramped, poor facilities and worse.

Richard Branson is famous for saying “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients”.

How do you look after your staff, in both the big details and small details?

Apart from wages, holidays, working hours, bonuses…
– Do you provide a comfortable space for your staff to relax, eat and drink in?
– Is your staff coffee machine as good as the one for clients?
– Are the staff chairs (reception, OA, DO and optom) comfortable and ergonomic?
– Does the staff room have the same heating and air con as the rest of the practice? – Is there suitable provisions for storing coats, bags, lunch provisions?
– Who does the cleaning in the practice?
– Etc…

Business owners (and I am one) will be prepared to tolerate significant discomfort and suboptimal conditions for the sake of your customers and profit margins. Does that mean your staff should be expected to do the same? Absolutely not.

Treating your staff suboptimally will result in suboptimal performance, loyalty, satisfaction and retention. It will directly affect the performance of your business.

How you look after them speaks volumes for how you feel about them compared to your customers – and they notice it.

Anyone challenged by this? Great!

Now, what are you going to do about it?

Peter Greedy is a SightCare Business Coach. If you’d like to request his help with leadership development or exam building training, please contact

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