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Thursday, 4 June 2020

My WFH Routine: Khalil Abdel Khalek, co-founder and CEO of Tabibi 24/7

Khalil Abdel Khalek, co-founder and CEO of Tabibi 24/7: My Morning / WFH Routine looks each week at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Khalil Abdel Khalik, co-founder and CEO of Tabibi 24/7, a homegrown primary healthcare practice that offers an integrated family healthcare system.

My name is Khalil Abdel Khalek and I’m what I call a “docpreneur” — a doctor-entrepreneur. I’m married to a beautiful psychologist, Mariam, and blessed with two great kids: Mohamed, 19, and Amina, 17. I run Tabibi, which provides help and healthcare to people and companies, whether at clinics, their workplace, or their homes. We have a team of around 75 full-time employees.

Since we’ve moved to working from home, I’ve tried to bring as much structure as possible to my daily routine. The first two weeks were quite different, but I’ve settled into a routine now. Once I wake up, I change my clothes and start my day with a bit of meditation, then read Enterprise with coffee and music — the earlier, the better. I used to get my day started with some physical activity at the club or in an outdoor space, but that’s no longer an option. I’ve set up designated areas within my home for the different parts of my routine — there’s a workspace, an area for my meditation and exercise, and a space for my breaks and time off. I stick to a specific schedule with my breaks as much as possible, but I have to allow a certain degree of flexibility to accommodate issues as they come up at work.

It’s tough to list what my job entails because there’s a lot that goes into it, and what it was pre-covid is very different from what it is now with the pandemic (also known as DC, or During Covid). The biggest challenge we’ve faced — which applies to the healthcare sector as a whole — is adapting to provide our services in a nonphysical way. We’ve shifted a lot of our services to the virtual space and it’s working for now, but I don’t see it as a viable long-term replacement for physically seeing patients.

The silver lining is that we’ve been able to lean more on having multidisciplinary teams managing our patient cases, because it’s easier to have a team of doctors with different specialties coordinating with each other online rather than having to meet in person to look over a case.

A major concern in the industry is that there’s currently a lot of unmanaged chronic cases because people are too afraid to visit clinics during the pandemic, and that we’re going to see a wave of these cases once we come out of lockdown. So we’re trying to accommodate these patients through Tabibi Telehealth services now to get ahead of the problem.

Running the business was a lot easier to move online; we don’t need to meet in person to manage the team and, if anything, we talk more as a staff and management team now than we did before. We have a daily virtual huddle for the whole team, and then we have what we’ve dubbed the Four at Four meeting every afternoon. That’s when the four managers all hop on a call to talk about whatever we need to.

At the beginning of the lockdown period, I began reading Man’s Search For Meaning, which in hindsight may not have been the best choice with everything happening, but it helped me think a lot about a long-term perspective for my business and industry. Now, I’m reading The Infinite Game. It’s a great book, especially because I’m in an infinite business: There will always be a need for healthcare.

Starting a business in Egypt and growing it requires you to wear different hats everyday, and the biggest challenge I’ve faced is finding a balance between the roles. What helps me is staying organized and relying heavily on a calendar. I log everything — even something as small as a quick call — on my calendar. And equally important is knowing when to take a step back and stop working; it’s critical to set time boundaries for your workday and I’ve learned that slowing down sometimes and really reflecting on everything is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business.

Once all of this ends, I’m looking forward to spending more time in nature. It’s already a little difficult to connect with nature when you live in a city like Cairo, and I think we all have a little bit of a Vitamin N deficiency — N being nature.

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