Is Staff Redundancy Redundant?
BY JASON J. NICHOLS, OD, MPH, PHD, FAAO
The day that I began writing this editorial, I happened to read a news article that talked about redundancy in the United States government. The news story was based on a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a non-partisan government agency that evaluates, among other things, fragmentation, duplication, and overlap in government offices and programs. The current report identified 26 new areas in the federal government with substantial and unnecessary redundancy; this adds to the 162 areas of redundancy already identified in prior reports. The story said it was nearly impossible to calculate the costs associated with such redundancy, but those are likely substantial as well. We might walk away from this story feeling a bit frustrated and disappointed. After all, this redundancy is inefficient, bureaucratic, and costly.
And while that may be true for the U.S. federal government, you might consider redundancy in the workplace a good thing in your own particular practice setting. I am sure that redundancy (or help) is something that all eyecare practitioners wish for at times during their daily lives. How many times have you longed for another “you” to help alleviate the issues that you face each day? For example, in a single day your role may go from owner to practitioner to human resources manager to counselor to accountant—the list goes on and on. Likewise, how many times could you benefit from a consultation on a patient (perhaps on a challenging contact lens fit), but you’re the only one in the office?
Many of you have also probably faced the challenging situation in which a staff member decides to leave your office; it’s not a big deal until you have that “uh oh” moment when it dawns on you that that person is the only office staff member trained to perform a certain vital duty. Again, redundancy in this situation would be beneficial.
Hopefully this editorial is not redundant in the sense that you have considered and faced these issues yourself. Or, as baseball legend Yogi Berra said, perhaps “It’s déjà vu all over again.”