‘Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work’
Central to the success of any business are its people. A motivated, valued team will work hard and espouse the values of your business. The desire to look after its people is what prompted Frank Taylor & Associates (FTA) to review their working week and offer individuals the option of switching to a nine-day fortnight. Lis Hughes, Managing Director of FTA, discusses the change and the benefits it brought.
The pandemic forced us to change our working practices, and having done so, many of our staff preferred the extra flexibility they had to juggle their work and personal lives. We realised it would be demotivating, restrictive and frankly naïve if we just expected everyone to return to the office to a the previously normal five-day week seamlessly. It was really born out of wanting to support our teams post covid.”
Lis continues, “We did a lot of research and spent a lot of time consulting with our teams. After all whatever change we made had to work for them. Naturally it was essential that service levels wouldn’t be adversely impacted, and we spent a lot of time planning for that so that, ensuring cover levels were always sufficient and that everyone was aware of theirs and their team’s responsibilities. We began with a three-month trial of a four-and-a-half-day week, with the promise of a ‘no-faults’ cessation if either side (management team or staff) it wasn’t working!”
“Within a month we realised that a nine-day fortnight was a better option than a four-and-a-half-day week. Schedules for cover and service were easier to manage, there was greater continuity throughout the day with staff and on a personal level our staff felt they could better enjoy the benefits of an extra day off every fortnight than a half day ever week.”
“Of course, we had to set out a few ‘rules of the road’, but these were well received and adopted. Firstly, we felt it essential that specific days were allocated and could not be changed, and without this rule managing and maintaining our cover schedule would have been almost impossible. Secondly, the days could not be accumulated and deferred to build up extra leave (annual leave entitlements remained the same anyway) and lastly that if there was a specific business need, for example to cover sickness or other absence, for an individual or a team to work, then the additional day would need to be forfeited”.
“Feedback has been very positive”, reflects Lis. “It was clear in our recent performance appraisals that staff appreciated the benefits of an extra day each fortnight and so positively was the change received that in many areas service levels improved. More generally it has encouraged better planning and collaboration across the organisation as we all recognise the benefits the extra day gives us all”.
Georgia, Client Manager at FTA, said “The nine-day fortnight has been such a benefit to the team! It is such a relief to have that extra time to be able to get things done that you cannot necessarily do on a weekend, and I certainly find I am more productive within the days in the office!”
Lis concludes, “Of course this isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and the demands of the business will set the parameters of what is and isn’t possible. I’d say the most important stage was the consultation, as it’s there you understand what is and isn’t possible across the teams and get a sense of everyone’s appetite for the change. We’re already thinking about whether we can take the next step to a four-day week”.
Practice - London
Practice location: This practice is located in South East London set on a busy residential road and minutes away from a popular high street. It was established over 25 years ago and is being sold as leasehold with a new 15 year lease in place.
Practice type: This is a two surgery mainly NHS practice and is being sold to release the practice owner who wants to explore other business opportunities.
Practice financials: The gross fee income from management information for the past 12 months is in the region of £400,000 per annum and the NHS-GDS contract has a UDA rate of just over £30.00 per UDA, 35% of the income is generated from private work. The income is generated by the principal working three days a week and an associate working 2 days a week. They are supported by a full-time receptionist and one full time and one part time nurse.
Price achieved: A price of £850,000 was achieved which was slightly in excess of the asking price.
Agent's comments: Agents comments The existing principal set the practice up as a squat and post covid has realised he would like to explore other business opportunities. He is happy to stay on for a handover period but believes his life in dentistry is now complete. The incoming principal is a first-time buyer who feels comfortable taking on the practice as he can see an opportunity to develop the private element which has not truly been developed over the years.
Number of people looking in the area: 3,056
Practice - Surrey
Practice location: This practice is situated in a popular Home Counties town, located on a main road close to local shops and a bustling town centre. It was established over 100 years ago and the current owner has been in situ for 25 years. It is being sold as freehold.
Practice type: This is a very well-established fully private one-surgery practice that is being sold to facilitate the retirement of the existing principal. The practice occupies a prominent terraced property which is very well appointed and has much scope to extend the practice into a three-surgery should it be required.
Practice financials: The gross fee income from management information for the past 12 months is in the region of £400,000 per annum The gross has been generated by the principal working 4.5 days a week, and he is supported by a full-time nurse and a full-time receptionist. The last set of accounts showed staff costs in the region of £50,000 per annum.
Price achieved: A price of £900,000 was achieved which included a freehold value of £225,000.
Agent's comments: There has never been any marketing of this practice. The principal has relied on his excellent dentistry and chairside manner to build such an established practice with a never ending waiting list. With this in mind, the incoming principal already has plans for a website and social media presence and is planning for a second surgery to be commissioned within the first year not to mention an investment in the Capex that would make the previous principal feel somewhat nervous!
Number of people looking in the area: 2,267
Practice - Greater London
Practice location: The practice has been established for over 60 years and is situated in a lively and vibrant part of Greater London. It is situated in a mainly residential area and only a short walk from a busy town centre. Local underground is also a few steps away and there are excellent road and rail links.
Practice type: This is a three surgery mainly private practice, being sold as a leasehold with 12 years remaining on a 15-year lease. It is located in a semi-detached property and is very well presented. The sale is to facilitate the retirement of the principal.
Practice financials: The gross fee income is in the region of £300,000 and 85% of the income is generated by a NHS-GDS with just over £33.00 per UDA. The income is generated by the principal working four days a week and an associate working one day a week. The team are supported by two full time nurses/receptionists.
Price achieved: A price of £650,000 was achieved which was in excess of the asking price.
Agent's comments: This practice has just over 50% chair occupancy leaving a huge potential for any new owner to up the game, bring in other associates and increase the private activity. The exiting principal is happy to stay on for a few years and enjoys undertaking the NHS work and this alone increased the attractiveness of the practice to our buyers as the majority are looking away from NHS work and want to focus on building private revenue.
Number of people looking in the area: 3,461
Practice - Wiltshire
Practice location: The practice is based in an affluent suburb in Wiltshire and has been established for over 70 years. It is being sold to release the current principal from the burden of practice ownership.
Practice type: This is a three surgery, mixed practice which occupies the ground floor of a semi-detached property in a town that is benefitting from massive growth as several large housing developments are currently under construction. The practice is very well presented and is being sold as a leasehold with a new 15-year lease being created.
Practice financials: The gross fee income from management information for the past 12 months is in the region of £600,000 of which 50 % is private and 50% is NHS with a UDA rate of just above £28 per UDA. The income has been generated by the principal working two days a week, two part time associates working a combined eight day week and a hygienist working 1 day a week. The team are supported by a part time receptionist, two full time nurse/receptionist, and a part time nurse.
Price achieved: A price of £1,000,000 was achieved and was slightly in excess of the asking price.
Agent's comments: This practice proved to be so popular, the handsome UDA rate and the even balance of private income made it even more desirable. This coupled with a great location and the evidence that post covid we have seen an increase in buyers in more regional areas left us with a very happy principal who was overwhelmed by the popularity of the practice and several offers he could choose from.
Number of people looking in the area: 754