North Royalton takes a monstrous approach to COVID-19

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What do you do when COVID-19 divides your tightly knit team?

The team at AAHA-accredited North Royalton Animal Hospital is taking monstrous measures to defend against the coronavirus while ensuring continuity for staff, clients, patients, and the practice itself.

Practice owner Adam Hechko, vice president on the AAHA board of directors, started by splitting his staff into two mini-teams to work on alternate days of alternate weeks. To build on the existing esprit de corps, each team has a team color and mascot—Wazowski or Sully—from the movie Monsters, Inc. Hechko ordered t-shirts sporting the mascots, and the staff schedule is easy to read in team colors.

“We're trying to inject some humor and fun into it,” Hechko said. But the split-team approach is also serious business.

Mini-teams help to protect staff by limiting their exposure to one another, as the two groups never cross paths. And, if one team must go into quarantine because someone on the team contracts the illness, the other group can still work. “That means the practice won’t need to be closed too many days in a row,” Hechko explained.

The schedule calls for Wazowski to work M-W-F one week and T-Th-S the following week, with Sully on the alternating days. The practice is closed on Sunday. That means that each team gets one three-day weekend every other week.

“It gives the team a break during a stressful time,” Hechko said.

Though the team schedule is working well, it leaves a hole in Hechko’s day.

As a relationship-centered leader, it’s been difficult for him to be isolated from half his team. Even the leadership is split. Hechko is Wazowski while his medical director and practice manager are Sully. They stay in touch by Zoom.

It’s not the same, though. When Hechko says, “I'm not seeing half my team,” he sounds wistful.

Although the monstrous measures are well worth taking to promote his team’s physical health and wellbeing, Hechko will be glad when he can kiss Wazowski goodbye.

Photo courtesy of North Royalton Animal Hospital

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