Has anyone told you how well you have managed since March 15, 2020? Well, hopefully you have heard these words many times!

At this time last year, I was writing about how glad we were to see 2020 come to an end. COVID threw the world into utter chaos, and many wondered how and when we would recover.

Looking back, did you ever think you would have the courage, stamina, and leadership skills to get yourself to this point?

Owners of offices really do deserve accolades for navigating these treacherous waters. Even if you are not an owner, you are still providing care to people who are facing anxieties and fears more than ever before. For this, all optometrists, opticians and staff, deserve a huge pat on the back.

Life is Full of Learning
The global pandemic has taught us countless lessons about the world in which we live. One of these lessons is that life can be utterly unpredictable.

While we could never have imagined our world being turned upside down in March 2020, we learned the importance of being flexible and adaptable. This pandemic altered our personal lives, and drastically changed our professional lives—and it continues to do so, even as we approach the end of 2021.

Over the past year and a half, the pandemic created profound changes to the way we work, play, and interact.

While healthcare offices had to adapt to treat patients in “safer” environments, the people who visit your clinic have been impacted by the pandemic because their work environments have been impacted.

Prior to the pandemic, professional and personal identities were not connected.

Merging of Personal and Professional Life
However, after Zoom calls from home offices, with spouses, children, and pets making numerous appearances, your patients’ professional and personal identities have merged and this most likely will not change as we move into a post-pandemic normal.

As a healthcare provider, you do not make small talk anymore. Patients are presenting with varying degrees of stress, and perhaps, anxiety. Their need to make a clear division between work and home life is no longer viable.

Because professional and personal identities have become intertwined, people’s stress levels cannot help but increase, work and personal life can no longer be treated as two separate concepts.

If we thought we had a difficult time maintaining the balance before, this pandemic really challenged us to create work-life balance.

Importance of Soft Skills
Owners and their teams have been forced to communicate differently with patients who had to cope through isolation, the forced closure of schools, places of worship, community centres and businesses.

You were always sensitive to patients, but your empathy skills had to triple as you spoke to people who were prevented in seeing loved ones and doing the things they loved. And you did this while you went through the same stressors of social-distancing and or self-isolating.

Leadership is never easy. Managing a practice pre-Covid was not easy. This pandemic took everyone and everything to new levels.

Dealing with staff, managing the finances, attracting new patients, and managing existing patients was enough to handle.

Managing a practice during Covid is difficult to say the least. As exhilarating and rewarding as ownership is, the
reality of being responsible for so much can take its toll. Hopefully, coming out of this chaotic time, owners have been able to reflect on the positives.

2022 Might Well be Your Time
If you own your own practice or are thinking of getting into ownership, 2022 is the time. You have already demonstrated tremendous courage in navigating the past 20 months.

You deserve so much credit for working tirelessly to preserve the mental health of your patients, staff, and families. Those who took the plunge to pursue ownership ought to be commended as well.

Pandemic aside, people continue to buy and sell practices.

Instead of doing the traditional goal setting as many of us do, moving into the new year, perhaps, we can look back at all we have accomplished and be grateful we are entering 2022 with fresh perspective, optimism, and a new sense of purpose.

Today, while numbers continue to creep up in some communities, arguments between those vaccinated and those who are not rage on but on which we can all agree is that we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Saying goodbye to 2021 and wishing you continued health, prosperity, and peace in 2022.

Jackie Joachim

Jackie Joachim

is Chief Operating Officer of ROI Corporation, Canada’s national
professional practice and brokerage firm. Please contact her at
Jackie.joachim@roicorp.com or 1-888-764-4145.