Why Your Self-Employed Hourly Rate Must Be Higher Than the Average Employee

Self-Employed Status Comes with Perks and Financial Duties!

When it is time to put a value on your work and what to ask for in terms of compensation, we often rely on peers and colleagues for suggestions. As a locum, don’t make the mistake of comparing your hourly rate to a friend or classmate’s rate of pay, especially when they are employed.  When setting your hourly rate, it’s important to understand the key differences between hourly compensation of a self-employed locum and a regular employee.

What are the Differences?

As a locum, you are your own boss, accountant, and financial advisor, and as such, you determine when, where and how much you work; and as a result of this you directly influence the amount of money that you earn. You also have the freedom to decide how much you need to earn based on your personal lifestyle and financial obligations.


As a locum, and since you earn your income by contracting with veterinary clinics, you have far more uncertainties and insecurities than someone who has a stable job. These assignments tend to be short-term, not guaranteed, and in some cases, can be terminated before the end of the contract.  As you know, working as a self-employed contractor doesn’t come with a guaranteed paycheck and secure benefits each week, meaning that you have to carefully plan your income flow.

Income Protection

If you are self-employed as a locum in Canada, you are also not entitled to the same benefits provided to regular full-time employees, should you lose your job (and it is not your fault). In Canada, self-employed individuals area able to access Employment Insurancethrough the government for special circumstances such as maternity leave and compassionate care (caregiver)[1].

Expenses and Fees

When you work as a locum you do not have a benefits package or “perks” like those individuals that are employed by a company or corporation. As a result, you are responsible for paying for your own:

  • Insurance (life, disability, etc.)
  • Continuing education
  • Vacation and sick time
  • Retirement and Pension[2]*
  • Professional fees
  • Taxes


*When you are employed in Canada, you and your employer pay a determined amount of money (based on your income) into the Canadian Pension Plan. However, if you are self-employed, you must pay both yours and the amount the employers would pay into this fund each year; so essentially, your contribution is double that of individuals that work as an employee.

Not only do you have the required expenses that most people think of as obligations associated with self-employment, but you have all of the little things that can add up quickly. These can be things as simple as:


  • Travel expenses
  • Licensing fees and Veterinary Professional Liability Insurance
  • Office equipment (computer, copier, fax, etc.)
  • Internet
  • Telephone
  • Office supplies (paper, pens, printer ink, etc.)
  • Rent and utilities
  • Legal or accounting fees
  • House and pet sitting while you are away
  • Marketing (websites, business cards, etc.)
  • Postage



Determining Your Hourly Rate


At Oxilia, the question of determining the hourly rate is one of the most frequently asked questions by animal health professionals. Here are some statistics generated by our system by region and type of professionals, as of January 31, 2019. We divided the information by the highest, the lowest, and the group average. The province of Quebec has the largest difference between the highest and lowest hourly rates, probably because Oxilia has the largest community of users.


Veterinarian Locums RVT Locums
Hourly Rate ($) CAD by Canadian province Low Average High Low Average High
Quebec 45.00 74.00 120.00 18.00 22.40 30.00
Alberta 65.00 65.50 70.00 22.00 27.60 35.00
Ontario 55.00 68.28 100.00 18.00 23.50 28.00
British-Columbia 65.00 67.00 75.00 21.00 22.00 25.00
Maritimes 55.00 67.50 80.00 21.00 22.00 25.00


Obviously, there are other variables that will have an impact on the hourly rate : years of experience, if an internship have been completed, the individual type of personality, capable of doing dental and orthopedic surgical cases, etc. You will find our tips in this popular article on “Tips to become the perfect locum and increase your value!



[1]“Government of Canada- EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People – Overview.” 18 Jan 2019, https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-self-employed-workers.html


[2]“Quick Books- Canada Pension Plan Contributions for Self-Employed Entrepreneurs.” https://quickbooks.intuit.com/ca/resources/future-planning/cpp-contributions-self-employed-entrepreneurs/

10 Financial-Free Ways to Reward Your Employees

Studies show that it isn’t just salary that keeps employees showing up for work every day.


When scouting veterinary and RVT job openings, we see the same perks being offered over and over again – a signing bonus, competitive health insurance and retirement plans, annual salary increases, etc.


Monetary incentives are a great way to get employees in the door, but it won’t necessarily keep them there. When employees are engaged and feel valued on a regular basis for the work they do, they are much more likely to stay on your team than to walk out the door in search of “better” opportunity. Here are ten ways to keep your team happy and engaged without putting a dent in your bottom line.


Flexible Hours

Time is a precious commodity that is in short supply these days. Offering your employees flexible work hours allows them to stress less about picking up their kids from day care or studying for those classes they’re taking during their off-hours. Permitting employees to make their own hours while still working their requisite shift can also help employees avoid rush hour traffic, especially if they have a long commute.  A more flexible work schedule shows your employees that you trust them and that you realize their time is valuable.  The concept of flexible work hours is not only ideal for promoting a healthy work-life balance but for increasing efficiency, as well. Once an employee’s work is done for the day, allow them to go home rather than have them stand around watching the clock tick toward quitting time.


Recognition Programs

While monetized incentive programs are great for employee retention, they can cost companies significant amounts of money every year. Sometimes, a simple “thank you” is very effective, and better yet, costs absolutely nothing for your business. In fact, one studyfound almost 60% of employees said being recognized for their work was the best way for bosses to keep employees and promote more productivity. In addition to offering employees a verbal “thank you” for a job well done, sites like Bonuslyand KudosNowempower everyone in the workplace to offer recognition to their peers, their direct reports, and their managers on a social media-like digital platform. An additional studyshowed over 40% of companies that used peer-to-peer recognition saw an improvement in the satisfaction of their customer base.


Gifts that Keep on Giving

Bagels on Monday mornings or buying lunch for your staff every Friday is a wonderful treat, but why not show your appreciation with a gift that lasts? Consider giving an employee to whom you’re thankful for a magazine subscription on a topic they love or a recurring gift like record-of-the-month for music lovers, Sketchboxfor those wanting to unleash their inner artist, or Cairnfor the outdoor enthusiast. These types of gifts not only serve as a continual reminder of how appreciative you are, but they’re also highly personalized, which shows you make the effort to really get to know your staff.


Let Your Employees Lead the Way

Have a vet tech who is an expert on essential oils or a veterinary assistant who moonlights as a yoga instructor? Let them take the lead at the next staff meeting and share what they know. Not only will they likely receive positive recognition for sharing what they know with their peers, but they’ll relieve the burden of planning and running every training session while building a strong positive work culture at the same time.


Team Building

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to team building activities, making it easy to find something that will appeal to all your employees. Choose from an out-of-office excursion like an escape room, bowling, white water rafting, karaoke, or a scavenger hunt around town. Or organize an activity that doesn’t require anyone to leave the clinic like hosting a craft or game night.


Give Employees a Sense of Purpose

It should go without saying, those working in the veterinary field are animal lovers. Why not choose a charitable organization – animal-related or otherwise – to donate to? Involve your entire staff or team in the selection process. Let them recommend which charity that should donate funds to, hold a vote, and then donate a portion of the company’s annual revenue to the winning charity.


Allow Time Off for Volunteering

Take giving back one step further and allow employees to go off-site and volunteer somewhere for a day without having to use their personal time off (PTO). Veterinary employees can feel especially empowered when putting their animal saving skills to use on a volunteer basis. When a company or business supports such volunteer efforts on the part of their employees, it gives employees something to be proud of and to boast about, which can only enhance the status of your company within your community.


One study found when companies either support employees’ pro bono volunteer efforts or match their employees’ individual charitable donations, those employees are more likely to stay with the company and to put forth the extra effort to complete a task at their job without complaint. Better yet, volunteer as a team. The result will be two-fold – giving back to the community while also engaging in a team-building activity.


Offer One-on-One Time

Roundtable discussions and team meetings are a great way to collaborate and share what is and is not working in the workplace, however, one-on-one time with the boss can prove even more valuable by letting your employees know how much you appreciate them. Take time to meet with your employees on an individual basis and discuss goals, objectives, and anything else that is on their mind. Feeling supported and taking an interest in helping employees’ reach their goals is the quickest way to build a loyal team.[1]


Birthdays = Holidays

Who wouldn’t love to have the day off on their birthday? Giving your employees the day off on their birthday so they can celebrate and relax is an excellent way to not only show your appreciation for all the hard work they do but to also promote a healthy work/life balance.


Giving employees that extra day off can also be a morale booster, which, in turn, can translate into better employee retention.[2]


Say It in Writing

Whether you send a birthday card with a handwritten note, a thank you card, a letter detailing a job well done, or write a more formal letter of appreciation for your employee to keep in their professional file, taking the time to pen a personal message does wonders for boosting employee morale. Employees will appreciate the time you took to write a personal message. Plus, they’ll have something they can display on their desk or have for years to come.


While a handwritten, personalized note is ideal, giving employees a shout-out via email or on social media will not only make an individual employee feel special but will incentivize their co-workers to work harder so they can receive some well-deserved recognition, too.[3]


While we all work as a way to earn money and make a living, research demonstrates that money is not the primary reason people stay with their current employer. While being fairly compensated is important, employees want and need to feel valued, respected and appreciated; as an employer, you know it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference!







[1]“Top 10 Non-Financial Rewards to Motivate Employees”

[2]“6 of the Best Non-Financial Incentives for Employees”

[3]“Top 10 Non-Financial Rewards to Motivate Employees”

Burnout and Veterinary Practice Owners: Do You Know the Short and Long Term Effects?

How a Bump in the Road Can Impact the Value of Your Practice.

Signs and Symptoms of Occupational Burnout

Veterinary clinic owners are the pillars of their practice. They are multi-tasking entrepreneurs that wear so many hats during a normal business day. Today, running a successful animal health practice requires the owner to have a full list of skills and knowledge. These go far beyond what is studied in school and include accounting, human resources, property management, equipment maintenance, and ordering and purchasing to name just a few. Vets tend to be over-achievers who believe that they are invincible. Despite the beliefs, you are human and are affected by stress just like anyone else.

The veterinary field is no different than other fields of medicine when it comes to stress, long hours, and a need for a healthy work-life balance. In fact, animal healthcare may be more stressful at times; you not only have a patient to evaluate and treat, but also have an owner(s) that is/are concerned about their pet’s ongoing needs and medical care. This, combined with professional and personal obligations associated with veterinary medicine, can lead to occupation burnout and potentially serious health issues.

The observation of compassion fatigue and occupational stress among professionals working in animal care occupations has gained interest over the past decade. Several studieswithin the last five years have evaluated this relationship and found that people caring for suffering animals and those involved in the process of euthanasia reported significantly greater levels of work stress and lower job satisfaction[1]. This may result in employee turnover at higher rates than normal, psychological stress, and other conditions directly related to stress.


What is Occupational Burnout?

Occupational burnout is your mind and body’s reaction to chronic stress related to your occupation. The psychological, behavioral and physiological effects of occupational stress can lead to the classic signs of burnout. These can include lower levels of self‐esteem, motivation and job satisfaction, exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability.


Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Burnout

The signs and symptoms can be divided into three main categories. They include physical and emotional exhaustion, feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment and cynicism and detachment. Each of these categories is characterized by certain signs and symptoms.


Signs of physical and emotional exhaustion:


  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Forgetfulness, impaired concentration, and attention
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Neuroticism
  • Increased incidence of illness
  • Physical symptoms including chest pain, headaches and gastrointestinal disorders

Signs of Ineffectiveness and Lack of Accomplishment


  • Increased irritability
  • Feelings of apathy and hopelessness
  • Lack of productivity
  • Poor work performance

Signs of Cynicism and Detachment


  • Pessimism
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Isolation
  • Detachment


A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education found that personality changes indicated above are an excellent predictor of occupational stress[2]. Previous research focused on environmental factors and overlooked the influence on personality.

If you, any associates, or staff members are experiencing these symptoms, there is a good chance that you need to identify and address the factors that are affecting you. If you aren’t experiencing these symptoms, you should still keep these warning signs in mind. Burnout does not happen overnight. It is something that can creep up on you as you’re living your busy life. There are many ways to decrease stress and prevent burnout.


Ways to Decrease Stress and Prevent Burnout

Taking time out of each day to relieve stress from your mind and body is absolutely vital. Stress reduction can include anything from deep breathing exercises to a vigorous cardio workout. These preventative measures can be done before, during or after work. Some suggestions include:

  • Take a walk (even during a lunch break)
  • Watch a movie that makes you laugh
  • Play a game with friends or family
  • Paint, draw or write
  • Try yoga, meditation or tai chi


You need to identify what makes you most stressful, the way you feel when this happens and what will work for youto decrease this stress. If you know that you are about to experience an event that is particularly stressful for you, take about 10 to 15 minutes for quiet time. During this time, you can practice deep breathing and gather your thoughts. The best thing you can do is to identify the situations or events that are triggers for stress and take immediate action. If you choose not to recognize them, you risk burnout.

Consequences of Burnout That Affect Veterinary Business Owners

The result of occupational stress can also impact the practice and may include lower levels of productivity and performance, loss of revenue and growth potential, poor relationships and teamwork, and increased absenteeism and turnover.

Loss of Revenue

The first place most clinic owners notice the impact of absenteeism is on their practice’s bottom line. If he or she needs to stop working, who will threat their patients or perform surgical procedures? Burnout can lead to lost wages, decreased productivity, poor quality of services and additional management time.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, on average, companies lose approximately 2.8 million workdays a year[3]. They report that almost 2/3 of unscheduled absences have to do with illness and family issues. The others are due to personal needs, stress and workplace injuries.  In Canada, companies lose an estimated $16.6 billion in productivity each year due to workers calling in sick, as a result of mental health issues related to stress, disability, and financial concerns[4].  As you are aware, it is far easier to hire an employee for a technical position than it is to replace a vet. There is greater impact if the vet clinic owner needs to be replaced (short of long-term) because of burn-out.

Leadership Abilities

The more time a person in a leadership role is on leave of absence, more difficult is becomes to keep the business on track.  In addition, absenteeism affects the other members of the team. The employees who continue to work are often burdened with extra duties, responsibilities, and overtime to fill in for missing coworkers. This can lead to feelings of frustration and a decline in morale.

Some businesses see a change in their team dynamic after the owner is out for just a 2-week vacation. Imagine what would happen with a 2-month leave. Some individuals might challenge the status quo and push to make changes; these could include changing effective schedules and protocols currently in place. These challenges can be difficult to overcome, especially for a returning vet owner who is not completely well or healed. The vet owner might decide to lower his or her expectations regarding  customer service standard.

Progressive Return

After an extended leave of absence, there may be a fear associated with working at full capacity. An individual returning after experience the consequences of burnout might need a progressive return and be concerned about the amount of time he or she is now investing. When you are a business owner, this reduction in the workload will ultimately negatively impact your income. It will also limit your availability for the pet owners who love you the most.

Growth Opportunities

If you are experiencing the symptoms of burnout as were discussed above (lower levels of self‐esteem, motivation and job satisfaction, exhaustion, cynicism, and feelings of reduced professional ability), you might pass on an opportunity that could be beneficial.  This change in your energy level will have an impact on your clinic, and you as the driving force. These opportunities could include the expansion of the clinic, being involved in a local shelter or even starting a new project. It is like being forced to “take a back seat” while your competitors are excelling. If you see this in yourself, it’s time to make a change for the better.

Oxilia Can Help

For practice owners, temporary (or relief) veterinary staff can offer more than just relief from what seems to be endlessly stressful workdays. These qualified individuals can provide support during periods of temporary staffing shortages (vacations, medical and maternity leaves, etc.), and can make it possible for a practice to get qualified help without the financial commitment of adding a 40-hour-per-week staff member.

Staffing for Planned and Unexpected Absences

Everyone needs a break for one reason or another! As a successful business owner, you know that the doors to your clinic cannot close because of an illness, vacation or extended leave.  Oxilia has the resources and experience to match your needs with skilled veterinarians, animal health technicians or veterinary students.  Through our online recruitment platform, we have access to animal health professionals across Canada and are able to place these individuals in any setting throughout all ten provinces.

Expand Your Business and Generate More Revenue

Have you ever wanted to find more hours in the day? Our temporary placement service is here for you! Using a relief veterinarian, animal health technicians or veterinary student to grow your business can allow you the flexibility to add more hours of service, provide breaks for staff and reduce the burden of overtime. This can also help minimize staff leave of absences and possible turnover due to burnout. All while providing for your clients and patients with quality professional services, without the expenses associated with hiring a part-time or full-time associate. With Oxilia, you can utilize our available professionals on an as-needed basis. Use our staff to cover all of the demands of running a successful practice. We can you find the perfect relief professionals to suit your needs. Hire a relief veterinarian today!


[1]“Interventions for occupational stress and compassion … – APA PsycNET.” 11 Sep. 2018, http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-09296-001.

[2]“The Effect of Personality on Occupational Stress … – jvme – UTP Journals.” https://jvme.utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/jvme.0116-020R.

[3]“4.2 million workers have illness-related work absences in January 2018.” 29 Mar. 2018, https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/4-point-2-million-workers-have-illness-related-work-absences-in-january-2018.htm?view_full.

[4]“How Much Are You Losing to Absenteeism? | Mercer Canada.” 26 Apr. 2018, https://www.mercer.ca/en/our-thinking/how-much-are-you-losing-to-absenteeism.html.

Clinic Owner: Leave Your Practice Behind While You Travel Worry-Free

Planning is key in order to enjoy your time off

There’s an old quotethatsays, “Plan for the worstandhope for the best”. This quote is basically telling us to do as much planning and preparation prior to leaving things in someone else’s hands. Just the thought of leaving your business in someone else’s hands can lead to many sleepless nights, and rightfully so! You’ve given your all into building a successful business, and know that any problems could affect your income, the bottom-line of the business, and your reputation for providing excellent customer service.


So, what could these problems include and what will you need to do to ensure success?  Planning ahead might include troubleshooting, delegating duties in your absence, or giving authority to a trusted employee. Any of these can cause stress and possibly prevent you from taking a well-deserved break from your work. Don’t let the fear of leaving your practice for a well-deserved vacation prevent you from enjoying life!  Start the planning process by identifying the specific source(s) of your stress.

Identify Your Source of Stress

According to a recent survey, only 57% of small business owners plan to take a vacation in the next twelve months and only 9% plan to travel for two full weeks[1]. What is it that causes you stress when you think about taking a vacation? In order to alleviate this stress, you must first identify it. Common causes of stress include:

– Human Resources Management

– Unforeseen Emergencies (fire, water damage, electrical outage)

– Client Complaints

– Your Replacement

Are you the business owner that is constantly checking emails or “just touching base” with your employees and clients while you are supposed to be relaxing awayfrom work? Individuals that are not clinic owners, may think that this is crazy. All they want to do is leave everything about work behind and forget about it until they have to return.

Are you and your business ready to take a break? There are key things that need to be in place in order for you to have peace of mind and know that things will be just fine while you are not in the office. Let’s take a look at a few key categories that with proper planning can make a difference.


Human Resources Management

HR issues are often some of the most difficult and time-consuming things to address in a practice; they can be even more difficult to resolve from a distance. This is why you will need to have several things complete and in place before you travel.


Job Descriptions

Job descriptions for each position (including the clinic owner/vet) within your clinic need to be complete and on file. All employees need to be provided a copy of their own job description.[2]This will insure that they are aware of their expected duties and responsibilities. In addition, there should be general HR policies and proceduresin writing that include sick time, vacation requests, no show, annual reviews, salary increases, etc. It is also common practice to provide a copy of this to each employee and have them sign a copy of this document for their personnel file[3]. With these in place, there should be no questions about clinic policies and what is expected when you are on vacation or out of the office.



If you do not use an outside company to handle you payroll, you will need to designate someone within your business to oversee payroll while you travel. If your employees are salaried, this is very simple. However, if you have employees that are hourly or part-time, their pay will need to be calculated prior to disbursement of a check or direct deposit.

If payroll will need to be calculated, it is best that the person you are designating for this roll, has an opportunity to learn and practice this task prior to your vacation. This will alleviate any stress that you and this designee may have about this being done correctly.



It can be a difficult for the clinic owner to delegateduties and responsibilities[4]. You need to be comfortable with the employee you choose and that you are assured of they capabilities. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to ease your mind, including:

– Assigning one person as your point-of-contact while you are traveling.

– Giving authority to a trustworthy member of you staff to make decision in case an exceptional event or emergency occurs.

– Authorizing a trusted person to handle payroll (this may require authorization to sign checks or a stamp with your signature).

– Providing authorization and access to accounts payable, checkbook, and petty cash.

– Hiring a competent locum veterinarian to take over your caseload while you are gone.


Team Meetings

Weekly meetingswith all of your staff will allow you to clearly explain your intention to take a vacation, how long you will be gone and what you expect of them while you are gone[5]. This is also a good time to let everyone know that you will be hiring a locum in your absence and provide key information about this person. Meeting as a group allow staff to ask any questions they may have and assures you that everyonehas heard to same information at the same time; eliminating uncertainty, stress, and confusion in the process.


Unforeseen Emergencies

Sometimes, no matter how much you plan and prepare something can go wrong (Murphy’s Law). In the event that something does happen, make sure the following items are in place and accessible to your staff in the event of an emergency (be it big or small):


Contact List

Make sure that your staff has a list of all necessary contacts. This list should include names and telephone numbers for:

– Your contact information including cell phone and at least one other number (Hotel, resort, etc.)

– Building owner if property is leased

– Repair experts (electrician, plumber, HVAC, etc.)

– Emergency contacts for all staff



Make sure that your designated staff have access to all necessary paperwork; this includes:

– Contracts for service or rented equipment (online or paper)

– Warrantees

– Personnel files

– Checkbook or other forms of payment

– Access to online accounts (User name and password)

– Client files (Login assignment for locum

Client Complaints

It is extremely important to address client complaints as soon as possible; they cannot wait until you return from vacation. You will need to assign at least one other staff member to manage any complaints, whether they are in person or online. Complaints submitted onlinecan be devastating to your personal and business reputation[6]. Because of this, you will need to allow access to your platforms (business website, Facebook, etc.) to address any concerns.

If you have associate veterinarians, make sure that they are involved in any complaint management. It’s always best that clients hear from the person(s) “in charge” or someone that they feel is in a position of authority. Being proactive is even better. If you have a complex or ongoing case make all attempts to chart the necessary information about prior medical history and leave detailed notes in the medical file; this can prevent the client from having to repeat past information, thus reducing their stress and concern in your absence.

Hiring Your Locum

A locum veterinarian can alleviate several issues that cause you stress about taking a vacation, including:-

– Covering your caseload so that clients can continue to be seen.

– Assuring clients that urgent care, should it be required, will be provided by a qualified, competent professional.

– Ensuring your clinic remains open and continues to generate income while you travel.

For this process to go as smoothly as possible, plan your vacationsas far in advance as possible – giving you the time to find a qualified replacement. If you can, try to take your vacationsat the same time each year.This can helpyou toestablish a replacement pattern with a suitable candidate.

Oxilia can help you with your locum selection. We have the resources and experience to match your needs with skilled veterinarians and through our online recruitment platform.  Oxilia provides you with access to animal health professionals across Canada and are able to place these individuals in any setting throughout all ten provinces.

When the time comes for your to travel, be sure to brief your locum withof the major aspects of your practice. This can reduce the learning curveand familiarize this person with you clinicas quickly as possible (vaccination protocol, heartworm &lyme disease testing, etc.)and reduce you stress about their transition.

Upon return from your vacation, take time to meet and debrief with your staff. Find out how things went in your absence and discuss changes that should take place before you travel again. It is also a good idea to speak with the locum to see how the process went for them. Feedback at this point can help you plan and prepare for you next holiday. You may even find that continued delegation of certain tasks will free up time for you to grow your business, balance your home and work schedule, or even pursue other interests.


Let Oxilia help you get started today.



[1]“On Deck- Vacation Survey.” 2018, https://www.ondeck.com/vacation-study


[2]“Better Team- Job Description Template.” 18 Nov 2018, https://www.betterteam.com/job-description-template


[3]“The Balance Careers- Sample Human Resources Policies and Procedures.” 24 Jan 2019, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/sample-human-resources-policies-and-procedures-1918876


[4]“Huffington Post- Delegating Responsibilities As A Small Business Owner: 5 Tasks To Take Off Your Plate Right Now. “ 25 June 2013, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/delegating-responsibility-small-business-owners_n_3472115.html


[5]“Tracy Dowdy- The Why (and How!) Behind Weekly Veterinary Team Meetings.” https://tracydowdy.com/the-why-and-how-behind-weekly-veterinary-team-meetings/

[6]“Forbes- 4 Embarrassing Online Reputation Mistakes Businesses Are Still Making.” 18 Dec 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanerskine/2018/12/18/4-embarrassing-online-reputation-mistakes-businesses-are-still-making/#5b354728fc10


Tips to Become the Perfect Locum and Increase Your Value!

How to Become the Most Sought After Locum In The Area

Being a popular locum is both fun and rewarding!  More importantly, having a reputation as a high-quality locum opens the door to the best offers and increasingly, higher hourly rates. Here are a few tips that will help you in your locum journey:

Organize Your Schedule

The secret to being a successful locum is preparation and organization. Make sure that you plan your schedule well in advance and think about offering potential employers “blocks of hours” that fit their needs. If you already have a full-time position and are interested in supplementing your income, try to organize your work schedule so you have 1-2 full days to offer per week.

Making money while you vacation is an option as well. When planning your annual leave with your full-time employer, consider using this time as a “paid vacation”. This is great option for those who are interested in visiting other areas but might be on a tight budget, or for those that are trying to maximize their earning potential.

Create an Information-Rich Profile

Employers that are looking for temporary help want to hire the most qualified candidates with varied experience and diverse skill-sets. Always include your education, work experience, and specific skills that set you apart from other locums. Certain skills are highly sought after – and if you specialize in tooth-extraction or orthopedic surgery, make sure they are listed in detail. If you are willing to travel, remote veterinary clinics will be more than happy to help you with the travel arrangement. Remember, this profile is your resume; it’s your way of letting potential employers know why you are different from the other candidates and why they should contract with you![1]

Respond Quickly

Whenever you receive an offer from an employer, timeliness is essential. If you are actively looking for assignments, be sure to review new job postings and offers daily.  Veterinary clinic owners appreciate it when you respond rapidly to their inquiries; this also shows that you are attentive and serious about helping them fill their needs.

Prepare a List of Questions

Make sure to prepare a list of questions about the vet practices standard et protocoles. These should be organized and ready before your first day. It will speed up your productivity. Some examples of effective questions might include:

– The fee for a medical exam (and the common procedures provided by the practice)

– The clinic’s vaccine protocols that are in place

– Clinic policies regarding heartworm or Lyme testing schedule

– Which patient management software do they use?

Showing your interest in their practice leaves the clinic with a good impression of you, giving them the impression you will be productive in a short while.

Be Proactive

Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! When you are selected for an assignment, be prepared for your first day by being proactive. The day prior to your shift, call and confirm that you will be there and the time that you are supposed to arrive. This is a professional courtesy and it will be noticed by the clinic owner and staff. Always check your itinerary well before your first day. You will need to know the time that is required for travel. The day before arriving, be sure to check the weather forecast and travel conditions to anticipate any travel delays or if it will be necessary to take an alternate route. Ask where you can park your car, don’t tke the best spots: they should be left for the clients.

The Perfect Kit for a Perfect Locum

Gather all of the equipment and materials that you will need prior to your first day of work. By preparing a “locum kit” you will always be prepared for any assignment that comes your way. This is especially important if you already hold a full-time position and are supplementing your income through locum assignments. Not everyone brings all of their personal items home every day from their permanent clinic. By having a separate kit, you will not risk forgetting something at a different location. This kit should include items such as:

– Scrubs and uniform

– Proper footwear

– A stethoscope

– A drug dose handbook

– A name tag

– Gloves (If you are allergic to latex)

– A notebook and pen

– Dosimeter

Plan to pack a lunch and snacks (especially on your first day) because there may not be a place or enough time for you to buy food.

Be Professional

Always dress, look, and act professionally. The first impressionthat you make on the clinic owner, the team and the pet owners will be long-lasting[2]. You never want to risk your chances of a continuation of your contact, rehire, and your reputation by being or look unprofessional.

Always make a point of arriving a little early (prior to normal business hours) so that you can familiarize yourself with the layout of the clinic. Find the exam rooms, the treatment and possible boarding areas, and laboratory area . This shows everyone that you are ready to “hit the ground running”.

Bonus Items

If you want to know more about a practice, review their website. Review the information about the veterinarian(s) and the staff (including names if possible), services that they offer, hours of operation, and any affiliations. Chances are that you will fall in love with them. The time that you invest in preparation will go a long way.

Remember the veterinary world is small, and you always want to be known as the best!

[1]“Reachout Yourself: Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviewing.”| Epstein, H.A.B. 28 Feb 2018, https://doi.org/10.1080/15323269.2018.1400835


[2]”Clothing and People-A Social Signal Processing Perspective.”| Aghaei, M. et al, May 2017. 12th IEEE International Conference (pp. 532-537), https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7961787


Three Locum Success Stories

Which profile could be yours?

Oxilia is an animal health professionals’ community where the human resource needs of businesses are met by linking to qualified individuals willing to discover new opportunities.

The beauty of Oxilia is that it caters to all types of locums; in fact, our locums rarely have the same profile with each bringing his or her own diverse goals, professional training, experiences, interests, and backgrounds with them.

Three different Oxilia success stories:

Louise, a full-time veterinary locum.  Louise is a 52-year-old veterinarian with years of professional experience. Her kids are grown and she now has plenty of free time. Louise appreciates the process of booking her schedule on Oxilia, and finds that this communication tool saves her time and the hassle of emailing back and forth to make arranges for scheduling.

Spending her time between 2-3 veterinary clinics in her region allows Louise to fill her free time. She feels appreciated at these clinics and brings with her a wealth of valuable experience. Louise has also realized that her locum experience provides her with the opportunity to mentor young veterinarians, helping them develop their skills along the way. The ability to have a flexible schedule and earn a high income also allowed her to work on her pet project: improving access for low-income families to her community garden.


Jessica, a part-time animal health technician locum. Jessica is a 32-years-old registered animal health technician (AHT) who enjoys new challenges. However, she also needs some stability in order to maintain a consistent routine for her 6-year-old daughter.

Currently, Jessica works a full-time position at a nearby vet clinic and is able to organize her shifts into two 12-hour-days. The flexibility in her schedule allows her to dedicate one day each week and a weekend here and there for locum work.  Through this process, Jessica has learned tremendously from the professionals at each location and has been able to bring her new skills and knowledge back to her full-time job at the vet clinic.

The extra income earned as a locum has also provided Jessica with the opportunity to realize her dream of taking her daughter to Disney! Jessica admits she doesn’t like discussing salary, but Oxilia allows her to set her fees and find contracts without the painful steps involved with finding part-time work. Moreover, she finds Oxilia super easy to navigate!


Stephen, an occasional veterinary locum. Stephen is 28 years old and an avid mountain biker. For as long as he can remember, Stephen’s dream has been to live away from the city and near a national park. However, like many of us, love keeps him in an urban area!

Fortunately, Stephen has found a compromise that works for him!  Using Oxilia, he has found consistent and rewarding locum contracts, usually lasting 2 to 3 weeks at a time, and always in a region where he can work hard and play even harder!

Stephen’s stay is organized around the veterinary business owner, who is planning to take vacations.  With this arrangement, Stephen enjoys all the perks of being paid for a job he loves, relishes the opportunity of mountain biking in the most beautiful settings in the country, and most importantly, is able to balance his professional and personal lives.

Which Scenario Best Describes You?

Just like the locum success stories above, each locum that has a profile on Oxilia, has a different need, a different dream, their own skill set, and a unique approach to earning a living.

With Oxilia, you don’t have to work full-time or even every week – or month, for that matter. You are not limited to working with just one clinic or even the same clinics in one area. Oxilia matches you with quality, professional opportunities in work locations across Canada and in the U.S.

Oxilia provides you with an easy to use platform with support at every step in the process. We also provide additional resources to help you write the perfect resume, craft sample job ads, learn tips for managing your finances, and strategies for breathing new life into your career.

Once you post your information on the site, you are one step closer to finding the perfect match with help from Oxilia.

Why Oxilia?

There are many reasons so many veterinary professionals are looking to Oxilia as their source of locum employment.

– All job seekers create profiles that are unique to each professional

– Flexibility to choose your work schedule

– You set your own fees and negotiate contracts directly with the clinic owners

– Receive daily updates of new job postings, sent directly to your email

– Employers are looking for all levels of help in clinics, retail stores, outside sales, and more

– Opportunity to travel to areas that you love or would like to discover

You have the freedom to earn an extra income, find your dream job, create a schedule that works for you, or advance your career. This, combined with the ability to travel around the country, provides you with the solution you’ve been looking for.

What are you waiting for? You are just one click away from finding your ideal position with Oxilia.

You do not know how to determine your hourly rate? Look at our statistical analysis of hourly rates of our members, by province and by profile (veterinarian versus TSA).


Missing veterinarian – Missed opportunities

It’s on everyone’s lips right now in North America: there is a serious staff shortage problem in the animal health industry in terms of veterinarians and animal health technicians. Consequences for veterinary practices of such a problem can be far worse than what we might think at first. There multiple impacts, calculated in costs of opportunity, costs of replacement and psychological costs.

Costs of opportunity are the simplest to calculate. A full-time hired veterinarian can bring a business from 320 000$ to 400 000$ in annual earnings, depending on Canadian regions. Based on Benchmarks 2016: A Study of Well-Managed Practices published in August 2016, it’s more around 582 000$ to 614 700$ that a veterinarian can generate in annual earnings for well managed practices. If one of your veterinarians is missing, that’s how much you lose. Your payroll decreases while operation costs (building, mortgage, equipment, hardware, etc.) stay the same. Every month, you pass by between 26 600$ and 33 300$ in earnings for being short of one veterinarian.

Apparently, the tech-vet ratio (4:1) is one of the key factors of success for performing practices. A smaller team has to force its resources to see less patients and to cut corners. Staff shortage can be countered by extending appointment duration, but is it most efficient use of a veterinarian’s time if he or she must execute diagnostics while preparing prescriptions instead of delegating?

Clients from urban areas who couldn’t get any short notice appointment have now access to a large array of veterinary services. If they can’t have an appointment in your practice, they can go elsewhere.  Opportunity costs can also reveal themselves on the long term, since those clients who opened files in other practices will now receive annual calls from them about vaccines and follow-ups.

Vermifuge treatment, sterilization, vaccines and microchip for a puppy can earn a veterinary practice between 800$ and 1200$. To not be able to offer multiple schedule options for those kinds of appointments represents a big financial risk.

Replacement costs are harder to calculate. These are all the costs and time associated with the hiring and training process, including costs of publishing an ad, time for interviews and onboarding. Human resources specialists have evaluated that it costs 6 to 9 months of salary to replace one employee. And while you’re looking for a candidate, you don’t see any clients!

You think you can find someone quickly? Based on an article from DVM360 magazine “The Year Ahead: Things Are Looking Bright for The Veterinary Profession”, only 0,5% of veterinarians were unemployed in 2017. If you’re looking to hire a head hunter, know that you can expect costs of 15% to 25% of your employee’s annual salary.

Psychological costs are almost incalculable but will leave you with a long-term scar. A withdrawn, disheartened team with the ultimate consequence of having a veterinary owner in psychological distress that could lead to professional exhaustion. Health and family are also on the line. Animal health is a field where a lot of professionals tend to throw themselves body and soul into, without listening to signs of stress.

Maybe you find this article is a bit of a downer. The animal health field is far from being the only one affected by staff shortage. Just think about the restaurant industry. Experts wonder, is this crisis caused by a real lack of candidates or are we in fact looking at a re-assessment of the employee-employer relationship.

Some websites are already revolutionizing how an employee works with its employer. Upwork, the platform who reached 10 billion dollars worth of contracts over the last year only, connects freelancers with businesses with specific human resources needs. The hype around Airbnb and Uber shows it as well: people want flexibility. In veterinary medicine, more and more professionals find themselves at ease and interested in short term contracts. In fact, this change can increase job fulfillment and self-development.

This tendency to espace from tradition is what drives Oxilia to create a flexible community that responds to veterinary practice owners’ needs. This is a direct solution to the increase of turnover rate in the last decade, while being a truly less expensive option instead of the traditional hiring process.

Job ads website Workopolis tells us that 51% of employees keep a position for less than two years. And we’re not counting here the frequent maternity leaves.

Oxilia opens the door to a network of excited professionals ready for new challenges in their field without having to manage human resources on a daily basis. An increasing flexibility in animal health professionals to better answer the changing needs of practices, that’s our philosophy!






Taking care of yourself: Interview with yogi Josée Bouchard

For this month’s article, the Oxilia team spoke with Josée Bouchard, certified yoga teacher and wellness enthusiast, to offer readers an introspective on the yoga lifestyle. Why are we talking about yoga on the Oxilia Blog? Because working in the animal health field can be quite nerve-wracking, and everybody knows that yoga is THE main thing to start doing if you want to relieve that everyday-pressure. And because yoga is for everyone, not just veterinarians. Here’s our article, that we decided to display interview-style.

Oxilia: First thing’s first; how would you define yoga?

J.B.: Yoga is a simple practice that’s been around for 6000 years. Yoga means union. The goal is to unite body and soul in a wellness state. It’s not just sitting down and breathing, it’s more a life philosophy than anything else.

Oxilia: Yoga touches on all aspects of life, basically?

J.B.: Absolutely. We take time to go to the hair salon, to buy clothes, to buy shoes, to go to the theatre, things like that – but we always forget to take care of our mind first. So, it’s really important because it allows you to create space in your own body and mind. And once that is done, you’re more open to welcome tons of other things. The more free you are, the more you can actually receive.

Oxilia: Let’s talk about people with busy professional and personal lives that “don’t have time to take time”. It’s even more important for them to take time to do it, isn’t it?

J.B.: Yes, it is! But, you can’t tell yourself “I have to do yoga today”. It’s not complicated, so don’t make it a chore. You don’t have to do five yoga classes per week. For people that really don’t have time, what they can do—and I do this in businesses often—is to sit down two minutes or less, stretch the spine and slowly do four to five inhale and exhale. Just doing that can appease your mind and body. People often think that—and for lots of things in life too—if they don’t practice something for long periods of time, multiple times per week, they’re not really doing it.

Oxilia: There’s this misconception that leads people into making things more complicated than they need to be. People take the body and mind wellness for granted, maybe?

J.B.: Oh yeah. It’s the last thing that most people think they have to appease. Right now, with the yoga that’s really become a trend more than anything else, there’s a risk of confusion. With the commercial buzz going on with yoga these days, people get confused in all kinds of yoga. What I like to do, is to demystify it. Yoga is simple. Sitting down on a yoga mat is fairly simple. No need to buy tons of equipment. High-end mats, expansive shoes and leggings do not represent what yoga is.

Oxilia: We’d like to know; do you see a certain kind of audience going to your classes? Can you notice certain characteristics?

J.B.: Currently, with the groups I teach today and the people I meet, it’s everyone. From students, businesspersons, veterinarians (yes!), emergency doctors, etc. It’s really interesting because I have people in my classes in their 60s doing triathlons and also students in Cegep that just want to learn how to breathe well and appease their mind. For genders, there’s an equivalent mix of women and men in my Montreal classes. In rural areas, there is a bit more women than men. But the fact that I have such a broad range of clients proves that in general, people take more time for the well-being than they once did.

Oxilia: But again, even if someone goes to the gym and play sports intensively, has great cardio, they can still forget about the wellness of their mind and body, right?

J.B.: Exactly, and it reminds me of a workshop I did once with people doing triathlons. They were all athletes and they all told me the same thing: “We don’t know how to breathe. When we’re jogging or swimming, there comes a moment when we lose our breath. We’re in this place where the adrenaline is so high and our breathing is just blocked”. There’s a lot of oxygen that goes through your body when you exercise. It can happen with yoga as well, when things get intense. It’s a great substitute, in fact, for people who don’t want to do any “mainstream” sporting activity. But the thing with yoga is that it centers on getting to a state of wellness inside and out, and not around performance. What matters is that you take time for yourself.

Oxilia: Is there a time during the day that is better to do yoga?

J.B.: The morning, when you wake up, or at the end of the day before getting to bed. But if you’re having a busy day and at whatever time you take two minutes to inhale and exhale on your own, reaching a place of calm, you’ll still have done something good for yourself.

Oxilia: Is it better to be alone or in groups?

J.B.: It’s more a question of preference. Honestly, the goal is always to take a moment for yourself. Do it with your friends, colleagues, as long as you appease yourself and that you do what’s best for your own well-being.


Working in Beauce and its surroundings, Josée Bouchard is a certified yoga and pilates teacher and decorator. She also studied ballet and dance. On top of the training she underwent in yoga, she completed her teacher training with yoga master Nicole Bordeleau. Josée offers meditation workshops and public and private yoga classes in universities, companies and in a number of other places.

The Oxilia Team had so much fun talking about yoga and wellness with Josée Bouchard that we decided to conclude this article with two yoga exercises for beginners that can be done at home or at work. Even if it’s only those movements that you’ll do in your day, you will have appeased your mind and body a little bit more. Namaste!

The Child’s Pose

The Child’s Pose aims for a “return to oneself” and invites you to introspect. This position is meant to bring comfort and relief because it calms the brain and helps to let go of pain, stress and fatigue.

Steps :

#1. Get on your hands and knees, with your knees together or split along the width of your mat. Bring your big toes together.

#2. At exhale, lower the hips towards the heels.

#3. Bend your upper body in order to bring your forehead to the ground or on a support (mat or block).

#4. Place the arms on each side of the body and take time to recenter for a couple of breaths.

#5. At inhale, let your rib cage open itself and at exhale open your heart and anchor your hips on the ground.

#6. After 1 minute, you can come back to a regular sitting position, as long as it’s comfortable.

Meditation on a chair

Take a moment to regain your concentration at work through breath meditation.


#1. Simply sit comfortably on your chair, with your spine extended and slightly away from the chair. Feet flat on the ground with the natural opening of your hips.

#2. Place your hands on your thighs.

#3. Be mindful of your breath. Inhale and exhale with your nose.

#4. Slightly lower your chin towards the chest.

#5. Notice the warmth and the freshness inside all parts of your body. Then, feel your breath settling down softly into your body.

#6. In silence, you can tell yourself: at inhale, I meet find myself again and at exhale I let go of my stress.

#7. And there you go, you just meditated with these simple steps. You can repeat the exercise for 5 or 6 breaths.


Finding Freedom in Veterinary Medicine, by Caroline Brookfield

Oxilia is proud to partner with Dr. Caroline Brookfield, a locum veterinarian for 21 years, for a series of blog articles that will center on giving veterinary professionals some insights on the locum life and offer them a new perspective on their career in animal health.

A seeker of the unconventional, Dr. Brookfield is passionate about communication, and has been developing diverse skills over the years through veterinary medicine, entrepreneurship and artistic endeavor. In this article, find out her view on how one can start as a locum, where one should start, and what the locum lifestyle is all about. To all veterinarians and technicians out there wondering if the locum life is a viable option or not, this is for you!


I have always been a bit restless.  In fact, one of the main reasons that I chose Veterinary Medicine was the ample opportunity for new challenges.  I started off with some full-time clinic jobs early in my career. I always yearned for more control, less drama, vacations without permission, and a flexible schedule.  I had a hard time being an employee, but I had no desire to become a practice owner.

After leaving Guelph upon graduation in 1997, I moved to Florida for a few years before a big backpacking trip to South-East Asia.  On my return, I decided to return to the Canadian lifestyle, and planned to settle in Calgary.  I had spent a summer externship position at the Calgary Zoo and loved the city, mountains and dry climate.  First, I needed some cash, fast.  After an intense 6-week stint at a Florida ER, working almost every day straight and entire weekends at a time (ER shifts in those days!) I drove up to Calgary, with a sense of naïve optimism.  Jobless, clueless and cashless, I arrived with my belongings packed into my pick-up truck, and my dog in the cab, like a cliché country song.

Stop the highlight reel.  Small Problem. I couldn’t find a job.  I was a few years out of school, confident in my clinical and communication skills.  There were a few postings, but after a few quick phone calls, realized that none were a great fit.   I started looking for work as a locum tenens, which is a self-employed position where you act as a “substitute” veterinarian (or technician), usually for a short or intermittent time.  I had some experience with working as a locum in Florida, but I had no idea how to start offering locum services, and being new to Calgary I did not have many connections.  Back then, there were no online services or networks to make easy connections like there are now. I began networking at the local vet association, reaching out to other locums and clinics to let them know I was available, and over the next few months, built a client list that within a year kept me busy.  Soon, I was booking in Calgary for a year in advance!  I even managed to score a 2-month locum term in Saipan, Mariana Islands.  Truth be told – I didn’t even know where Saipan was when I applied.

I was a bit nervous about being self-employed. I am not the most organized person, and I was worried about the business side, especially taxes and insurance.  Seeing business owners everywhere gave me confidence.  If they could do it, so could I!  I remember sitting down and comparing locum work with the associated costs involved (license, insurance, health care) to a full-time job at the time.  It actually came out fairly even.  But, I loved being a locum.  One of my core life values is freedom, so being a locum allowed me to be in charge of my own schedule, without having to ask a boss for time off.  A surprising benefit for me was removing myself from gossip and clinic drama.  I had not realized how much ongoing staff conflict and passive aggressive battles had worn down my motivation over time.  I learned so much, by working at many different clinics, I picked up really cool tricks and tips to improve my quality of care.

I started with a part time job as a stable base salary, and used locum work to supplement my income.  Many locums start out this way, as a low-risk option to trying the locum lifestyle.

Be conscientious in meeting Canada Revenue independent contractor requirements.  If you get a long-term job at one clinic, you should check with your accountant to find out if you should be an employee or a locum.

Imagine the flexibility.  Book yourself off for a month – travel to Fiji to volunteer at a spay/neuter clinic, followed by a long vacation at the beach.  Take summers off to be with your kids, or winters off to go somewhere warmer.  Take some days off midweek to get cheaper tickets and shorter lift lines at the slopes, or to avoid crowds at the beach.  With the rise in part time employment and flexible work hours, more clinics are looking to locums to fill their temporary needs.

There are some challenges to being a locum. Flexibility is required, as well as an easygoing attitude.  You will be most successful in a clinic if you see yourself as a service provider to the clinic team, the owner and the clients. It can be a balancing act, but if you ask a lot of questions, check your ego at the door, and come from a place of service, the rest will come easily. Most potential conflicts arise around a lack of communication.  Drafting a checklist of requirements to review with your clinic is essential.  For instance, if you refuse to perform certain surgeries like declawing a cat – make sure this is in an introductory document or checklist to discuss.  Do they work with exotics?  What if you stay late or miss a lunch break?  Clear communication is crucial.  Some locums offer a clinic visit before they agree to an extended term.

Now, the boring stuff (luckily, it’s easy).  You need to be organized.  Contracts, taxes, bookkeeping and tracking mileage and expenses is mandatory.  I have a bookkeeper and an accountant to help me with those aspects.  Using a service like Oxilia will help you with some of the other daunting tasks like marketing, finding business, contracts, and income tracking.

If you are considering the locum lifestyle, here are a few suggestions:

#1. Keep your current job and start by picking up extra shifts here and there. You will slowly develop your confidence to take on longer jobs.  Create the life YOU want to live – being a locum can be whatever you want it to be – it does not have to be all-or-nothing.

#2. Call your local small business support, such as the one in Alberta, or start with the Canada Revenue Agency. You don’t have to do it alone – there are so many organizations and resources to help you set up a business. It is definitely much easier than trimming a puppy’s nails!  People do it every day, even the guy selling hot dogs at the park!

#3. Contact a locum agency. Agencies like Oxilia have excellent tips, resources and support to make your transition seamless.

#4. Strategically contact clinics if you have a set of criteria that you prefer (AAHA, Feline only, etc). Networking can be useful but also time consuming, so find the “low hanging fruit” first by checking listings and ads for locums wanted to avoid wasting your time.

#5. Get to know other locums – learn about what systems they use, give each other referrals, and have a network to bounce ideas off.

#6. Make sure that if you work as a locum, you have a contract. If you go through Oxilia, they will arrange this for you. It’s crucial!

#7. Use technology – apps like Mile IQ, Waveaccounting.com, and many others will help you to manage your business needs so that you can keep saving pets’ lives.

Now, after 21 years, I can say that I still love working as a locum tenens.  I feel so good about offering a service to my colleagues to allow them to take the time off they need to refresh, while supporting the lifestyle I want.  The richness of experience, relationships and networking as a locum is unmatched.  I have learned so many new skills, and many of my interesting contract positions have resulted from the diversity of people that I meet in my business.

Thanks to my locum lifestyle, I’m heading to New Zealand with my family for a wedding in December.  Who goes to New Zealand for a few weeks?  I’m clearly going for a month, with a stop in Tahiti for a week on the way home.  Try to ask your boss for that kind of vacation, I dare you!

Caroline Brookfield provokes professionals to thrive by showing them how to play in the margins of convention. Veterinarian, entrepreneur, aspiring stand-up comedian and mom, she lives in Calgary, Alberta.  Find her on Instagram (@artfulscience) or online at www.carolinebrookfield.com.



How being a casual athlete makes you a better worker

What’s a casual athlete? A casual athlete is a term used to identify individuals who aren’t real professional athletes, but who place sports and other physical activities in their daily routine. And they are serious about their sport and their physical condition, which justifies the term casual athlete as appropriate. Here’s why being one can actually help your work.


What you develop as a casual athlete is actually pretty close to the requirements and personality traits requested from most businesses. Making time in one’s schedule for physical activity demands time managing skills. You have to be able to evaluate the actual time it takes including travel, meal and shower time around that activity. Casual athletes also make for great team builders because they know how to work with other athletes to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s in a hockey match or in a circuit training at the gym, casual athletes surround themselves with other people and they have to find a way to make things work. They learn how to bring the teamwork to a whole other level. That’s exactly what you’re asked regularly at work.


It’s the casual athlete’s motto. It’s what they do on a daily basis. Pushing through hardship. And when they have reached a point where it gets easier, they ramp up the challenge. There’s never an ending goal of being a casual athlete. The finish line always hides another finish line a little farther. And those obstacles show in different shapes through the process; sickness, weather conditions, laziness and peer pressure are just a few of the things that get in the way of maintaining an active lifestyle. Casual athletes are used to fighting the desire to quit on a regular basis. So those traits of determination and obsessiveness will unavoidably show at the workplace, where obstacles always get in your way.


It has been proven that playing sports and exercising often improves self-confidence. At the end of the day, staying fit and active means striving to be the best version of ourselves. Developing the toughness and a discipline in order to get concrete results on one’s body takes a lot of effort and the reward is a better physical and mental health. Obviously, this reflects directly on someone’s work attitude and their ability to adapt to new conditions.


Someone who takes time to include sporting activities in their daily routine demonstrates a priority of keeping things balanced. Physical activity decreases stress and keeps your head in a good space. Whether you are a locum or an employee, engaging your whole body into something other than work not only changes your mind from the work itself and enhance creativity, but makes you a well-rounded professional.


Did you know that all of the Oxilia team members regularly include sports in their daily life? Here’s a rundown of what each one of the Oxilia peeps actually does in their spare time.


An outdoor beast. Long runs in the woods, kayaking and horseback riding are among his major hobbies. What gives an edge to Victor in terms of cardiovascular activity is that he a

ctually rides his bicycle to work every day. That efficient mix of incorporating sport as a part of the daily routine is something the rest of the team can all learn from, and we haven’t all caught up with that, just yet.


One hell of a gym lover. Pushing his limits is what he strives for, whether it’s in the fitness area of the community center where he trains, on the treadmill or the stationary bicycle several times a week. On top of being a boxing and basketball enthusiast, Charles did last April his first half-marathon.


The chameleon of sport. As long as the sweat’s not happening in the gym, François will be willing to do it. A fan of long walks and runs in the forest, he also enjoys biking, swimming, fitness (at home) and tennis. But the thing he loves the most and what makes him so intense about sports: triathlon.


is an outsider at heart. If it’s a sport that can get you in touch with the wildlife, J-S will go for it. Aside from random hikes and treks in the forest, what he gets the most thrill out of is scuba diving.


is a team player. He plays hockey several times a week and enjoys competition. But above all else, he is probably the biggest golf addict you’ll ever meet. When we don’t see him at the office, we know it’s because he’s probably on the green somewhere, going for his double eagle. At least he brings his Bluetooth device on the court.

Jokes aside, the point here is that we are all casual athletes at Oxilia. We embrace multiple sports and cardiovascular activities in our personal lives so we can bring our best at work. Sometimes in a fast-paced workplace, it’s easy to think that the work itself counts as physical activity. A lot of runs, getting files for this and that, getting clients every quarter of an hour, etc. But the most important thing is to do physical activity outside of working hours. To have a free mind to concentrate on yourself, in a space or room dedicated to just that.

At Oxilia, sport isn’t at the center of our daily conversations, but we include all kinds of sporting activities and events in our lives on a casual/part-time basis so our work can benefit from it. That’s the meaning of being a casual athlete.

And you? Do you try to maintain an active lifestyle and do you play competitive sports? Here’s a great article on the positive impact of encouraging team sports within a workplace: https://www.talk-business.co.uk/2017/02/28/workplace-sports-can-boost-business/

And here’s another link for healthy snacks ideas you can bring to work: https://www.snacknation.com/blog/healthy-office-snacks/