Although remote work poses challenges, revenue cycle leaders at the Spring Revenue Cycle Exchange in Naples, Florida, shared solutions to maintaining productivity, effectiveness, and engagement among their staff.
Managing a remote workforce was a hot topic at the HealthLeaders Spring Revenue Cycle Exchange, which is underway this week in Naples, Florida.
Although remote work poses challenges, revenue cycle leaders shared some of the solutions they've implemented at their own organizations to maintain productivity, effectiveness, and engagement among their staff.
Here are three top challenges and solutions to managing a remote or hybrid workforce.
The challenge: Technology
In March 2020, the scramble to get everyone working at home safely and quickly resulted in some less-than-ideal technology arrangements, from people working on small personal laptops, to using their cell phones and landlines work calls.
Now that remote work is becoming the norm, revenue cycle staff need an upgrade from those stopgap solutions.
The solution: Replicate the office infrastructure at home
Revenue cycles that choose to maintain their remote or hybrid workforce need to invest in equipment and technology that replicates the office infrastructure in employees' homes. That means making sure everyone has the equipment they need such as dual monitors, IP phones, and webcams.
Another issue that many revenue cycles faced was losing the ability to record employee calls. That's something that North Carolina-based Atrium Health has been working on; it has recently identified a vendor that will help them regain that capability.
The challenge: Virtual meetings
Although virtual huddles and meetings are a great way to keep remote employees connected, they only work if everyone in the meeting is fully engaged.
“People being present is a huge issue," said Candice Powers, chief revenue cycle officer for Mon Health System in West Virginia. Instead of fully participating in the discussion, employees often don’t pay attention, zone out, and multitask during meetings.
The solution: Turn on those cameras and microphones
Although not everyone enjoys being on camera during virtual meetings, requiring that employees—and managers—turn on their cameras and microphones ensures that they stay active and engaged in the discussion.
Not only does making eye contact and seeing people's faces make the conversation livelier, it's also harder to answer emails, look at Instagram, multitask, or mentally check out during meetings.
The challenge: Maintaining the culture
At organizations like UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa, a positive culture—one of office parties and celebrations, a healthy work-life balance, and employee recognition—is a critical part of the work experience that leaders have spent years cultivating. But that culture is hard to maintain when employees are scattered in their own home offices.
"As everyone moves home, the connection goes away," said Dennis Shirley, UnityPoint Health's executive director of patient financial services. "How do we create a family environment in that space?"
The solution: Up the communication ante
Being physically apart means doubling down on communications, including formalizing tiered huddles, holding town hall meetings, and having regular leadership-level check-ins.
Several Revenue Cycle Exchange members also talked about their newly launched weekly revenue cycle newsletters that include contributions from department leaders, birthday and other milestone announcements, and employee recognition.
Another leader described hosting virtual versions of in-person events, like a talent show and motivational speaker presentation.
Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for more key takeaways from the Spring Revenue Cycle Exchange.
The HealthLeaders Exchange is an executive community for sharing ideas, solutions, and insights. Please join the community at our LinkedIn page.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.