“It’s better to empower the staff to solve their own problems”
Partner at Lunettes Opticians and the AOP’s East Midlands Councillor, Tushar Majithia, walks OT through a working day that’s punctuated by sports, both played and listened to
07 November 2023
Occupation:Owner of Lunettes Opticians
Business owner since:1992
6.30amI have breakfast around 6.30am, after I’ve had a shower and got changed. I’ll have granola or a smoothie, or porridge with fruit. During breakfast, I catch up on the sports news: football transfer gossip, and daily news and current affairs as well. We’re obsessed with sport in my family, so I love to have a little catch up on what’s been going on.
7.15amI leave to go to work around 7.15am. I love listening to podcasts in the car. They tend to vary quite a lot between optometry, business, and sport. Sport-related podcasts might be about football or the test match specials. During the summer, the Ashes series was captivating, so I really enjoyed listening to the Test Match Special podcasts.
7.45amWe’re relocating our Grantham practice, which is halfway to where I work in Sleaford, so there’s building work going on at the new site. I stop at the Grantham practice and check in with the contractors to see how things are progressing, or if there are any issues that need addressing. That takes 15 or 20 minutes, and then I get to work for about 8.30am.
8.30amWhen I get into the practice I have a cup of tea and a quick catch-up with the staff, reply to messages and emails, and look at what’s ahead in the diary: what appointments I’ve got, which patients, and if there are any problems a patient might have that might need to be considered.
10amI try to do most business development work on a Friday. I have started to work from home to do that, rather than going into the practice. When I go into the practice, there are quite a lot of distractions, but working from home helps me focus on things that I need to get done.
Day-to-day, when I’m in practice, I do mainly clinical work. We have quite a varied mix of appointments. We do eye tests and a fair amount of contact lens work. We have low vision and enhanced services contracts as well. There is a real mix of appointments. No day is the same, which makes the job really interesting.
12.30pmLunch is usually from 12.30 to 1pm. I tend to grab a bite to eat – it’s usually a jacket potato, a salad, or a sandwich. It’s nice to have that bit of fresh air, so I do go out for a quick walk. I will then answer a few emails and phone calls, and catch up on the news and sport at the same time.
1pmWe try and build in a few short breaks through the day, so we can catch up on reports and admin tasks. We don’t define that the morning and afternoon have to have a certain type of appointment – it just depends on the patients who come in. The afternoon is similar to the morning in terms of appointments and having a quick briefing with the team if there are any patient problems, or anything else that needs addressing.
3pmIn terms of keeping energised, I think the staff are all quite motivated. We’re lucky, having a good team. I don’t tend to get involved a lot with the day-to-day running of the business. The staff are very good, and they all know their roles.
When I first took over the practice, I was quite hands-on – I was a bit of a control freak in many ways, and I wanted to get involved with everything. I found, over the years, that it’s better to empower the staff to solve their own problems. They’re all quite into developing themselves. When they do have a break, they often do continuing professional development or product training modules to keep their knowledge up. They tend to do their own problem solving and get on with things. They’re very good at that. So, I’ve taken a step back in that respect.
If there is a quiet patch in the diary, it’s also nice for the staff to have a bit of a chat and a gossip. That’s good for team building, and makes for a more enjoyable working environment.
5pmWe usually work until 5pm, and we will leave around then.
To unwind I watch...
Ted Lasso on Apple TV
7pmIf we’re doing something in the week, we tend to knock up something quick for dinner. We would either do some pasta or a stir fry, or maybe a chili or fajitas. At the weekend we tend to cook a bit more than we need to, so we’ve got a meal for the week. If I do go to the gym or we go for a swim, we can come straight home and have that.
On a rare occasion, if we’ve got nothing inspiring in the fridge, we’ll do a quick takeaway instead, but it’s not very often that we do that during the week.
In the evenings, once we’ve had something to eat, I like to relax with the family. We quite often watch a series on Netflix, or food or travel programmes, like MasterChef. We’ve recently started watching Break Point, which is a Netflix series about tennis. We’ve also been watching Hijack on Apple TV, with Idris Elba, which has been quite good. Also, things like Ted Lasso – those light-hearted, heartwarming programmes, that are quite enjoyable to watch as a family.
My fantasy practice...
If I had an unlimited practice budget, I would...
There is quite a lot of diagnostic equipment that we would love to have. When we invest in technology and new equipment, we want it to be sustainable. It has to be viable to bring into the business. We’d like to get widefield imaging, something like a Daytona, which we’re looking at at the moment. Also, myopia control devices, which we’re looking at introducing. We’re trying to work out a way to ensure that they’re going to a viable investment.
If money is no object, we would like to get a Myopia Master. On luxury items, it would be nice to have amazing pieces of art within the practice, so patients can have a look around while they’re waiting for their appointments.
If I could invent a piece of technology to help solve one issue in the practice, it would be...
One of the issues we have is that the equipment we do have is not integrated. It would be nice to have technology that integrates all the bits of equipment, such as the topographer, the optical coherence tomography (OCT) and the visual fields, and brings all the data seamlessly into the patient record.
We use Optix software, which is great and does integrate, and we can import the data directly from that. But there’s lots of manual input: putting the visual fields onto the patient record and then the OCT imaging, for example. We’d love one piece of technology that could integrate everything and make it more seamless.
If I could change one thing about optometry as a profession, I would...
Completely redesign GOS, to make it fit for the 21st century and make it something that is not so limited in scope – redesigning the eye care service, nationally.
At the moment, it’s quite fragmented. GOS is limited as to what we can do for patients. It would be nice to have a seamless way of being able to offer additional/enhanced service for patients who need them.
If I could be visited in practice by one influential person from history, it would be...
Muhammad Ali. He is one of the greatest sporting icons of my lifetime. He’s got so much charm and charisma, and is somebody whose influence has transcended sport. He is one of the most recognisable people on the planet, he has got an amazing sense of humour. It would be amazing to have somebody like that coming into the practice to have a laugh and a joke with.
If I could close the practices for a week without having any impact at all, I would...
It would be great to have a staff trip to a music festival, somewhere like Glastonbury. The staff are all into music. It would be such a great team building thing, to be able to just take off and go to Glastonbury and have a great time.
My wildest ambition for my practices is...
I’ve been within the practices for quite a long time. I’d like to hope that the practices can continue, and maybe have the staff take over the running of the business. They would maybe take on some level of ownership, and be able to continue and develop the business into the best it possibly can be, as one of the leading optical businesses in the country.