Job Sharing/Passing the Baton

An Option for Covid-19 Team Development

Back in the mid 80’s I was a single mother of three with 2 daughters in school and a son who was pre-kindergarten.  Unfortunately, as a single working mom there were few options as far as daycare.  Private children centers had not come to prominence as yet, and the only choice we had was for a family member, friend, neighbor or paid babysitter to help care for our young.

I was working in dentistry at the time, holding a position in the business office. I was fortunate to have a wonderful neighbor with a morning kindergartener who kindly offered to watch my son.  I was so grateful and she was appreciative of making some extra money.  The only challenge was that she was only able to assist me from 9-1 while her child was at school.

I was working with a wonderful, caring dentist at the time and between us we decided to find my “counterpart” to manage holding down the fort from 2-6.  It was an unusual approach for our industry, but we both felt that with the right “partner” it could be a winning situation for all.  And now that I think about it, this was my first exposure to dental team hire.

Placing an ad in the newspaper was the best alternative then, and I was fortunate to find a perfect ying to my yang!  We worked together for two years.  From one to two was the lunch hour for the doctor and team, which gave Delores and I time for the “transfer”, as we called it. I would fill her in on the morning happenings from appointments scheduled, follow-up calls, the insurance I had submitted, etc. We really became a wonderful team as we passed the baton back and forth.  I would come in prior to the morning huddle and read her notes and the happenings from the past afternoon and be well prepared to start the day. The only thing we regretted is that we never actually worked side by side very much, other than the days we would return from vacation or holidays and both arranged to make this special time .

Do you remember the saying “when everything old is new again”? Well, I believe it may be time to look at some past approaches to business and apply it to our current hiring conundrum.

I realize that many of you will be saying, “if we are having problems locating employees, how are we ever going to hire two for one position?” I hear that, and I respect your concerns. But here’s some valuable information I’ve gathered from the many dental professionals I’ve interviewed and talked to over the past 5 months or so.

Many dental professionals want to return to work, but they are now faced with new challenges.  The childcare  options they have had are no longer there.  Many are not totally comfortable to work a full 40 hours.  For many employees, getting back to the workplace has gotten complicated, difficult, and costly.  And yes, let us not forget the fear factor–spending 40 hours per week in the dental environment is a concern to some as well.

Perhaps reinstating Job Sharing could resolve some of these issues and help dental practices to recover the manpower that has been weakening over the past few months.  I know how much employer/dentists have been struggling, as I’ve been working diligently to locate and onboard new employees.

If anyone is interested in learning how to orchestrate Job Sharing, please send me a private message and I’ll gladly fill you in.

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