Providing a Firm Foundation Through Written Office Policy


A Way to Avoid Common Confusions in the Workplace


In order to function most effectively as a team, agreements must be known and adhered to for smooth, efficient coordination and cooperation. This is also known as “policy.” As long as people know what the rules of the activity are, and those guidelines are clearly presented as being in the best interest of the activity, the policies will be followed, and a smoother operating environment will result.

Policy that is understood, agreed upon and adhered to will strengthen the practice in the achievement of its goals.

Even the “policies” that are in your head and that you figure “everyone knows” should be put in writing. Because that may not always be the case, by putting all policies in writing, problems and confusions that could otherwise surface will be curtailed and even eliminated.

It is advisable to create your “General Office Policy” to address fundamental issues that affect every practice. In addition, policies relating to specific areas of the practice should be properly documented. The practice should maintain a Master Policy Manual, and each employee should have his or her own copy of the policies of the practice.

Once a General Office Policy Manual is developed, the practice will continue to generate new policies as time goes on and as new issues and situations present themselves. When creating a new policy, place a copy in the Master Policy Manual and distribute a copy to each relevant staff member. Request that the staff then send written compliance to the office manager that they have read and understand the policy and that they have placed their copy in their respective manuals.

Recommended Topics To Address in Written Office Policy:

  • Patient/Client Relations
  • Equal Opportunity Statement
  • Harassment
  • Bonding of Employees
  • Terms of At-Will Employment
  • Orientation and Training
  • Definition of Full and Part Time
  • Work Hours
  • Pay Periods
  • Payroll Deductions
  • Wage and Salary Guidelines
  • Salary Adjustments
  • Fringe Benefits
  • Retirement Plan
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Funeral Leave
  • Jury Duty
  • Absenteeism
  • Tardiness
  • Personal Time Off
  • Leave of Absence
  • Voting
  • Reimbursement of Expenses
  • Disciplinary Measures
  • Staff Meetings
  • Continuing Education
  • Problem Resolution
  • Smoking
  • Breaks and Lunchtimes
  • Job Performance Reviews
  • Internet
  • Termination
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Health and Safety Rules
  • Cleanliness/Maintenance
  • Appearance
  • Uniforms
  • Personal Data Changes
  • Solicitation
  • Office Security
  • Where to Park
  • Telephone Use
  • Outside Employment
  • Confidentiality
  • Dating of Patients

The material presented is not intended as a substitute for appropriate legal, accounting and governing board advice. The information and suggestions may or may not conform with all Federal, State (or Province), and Local rules, laws and regulations. Each state, county or city may have very different statutes or ordinances influencing legal employee policies. It is imperative that you have your policy manual and employment practices reviewed by legal counsel with particular expertise in the employment laws of your city, county, state or province.

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