Flexibility and resilience are two qualities that are worth cultivating when you work in the dental field. Recently, your team might have had to rely upon these qualities even more in light of the changes that have been brought to many practices. Whether your dental team is reeling from changing office hours or struggling to learn more stringent methods for infection control, you might be concerned that they are smiling less than they used to. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to bring your crew back to life. These essential dental management strategies make life at work more enjoyable during times of increased stress. We offer 9 strategies for team pick-me-ups when under stress.
Create or Revise a Mission Statement
Every dental practice should have a mission statement that keeps everyone working towards the same goals. This statement only needs to be a sentence or two, but it should resonate with the entire staff. Ask your dental team to share a few words that describe how they provide quality care, and pick a few to include in the statement. Then, make sure to make the mission statement highly visible. Post it on a board in the employee break room, add it to your practice’s interoffice emails and share it during meetings to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind.
Strive for Consistent Schedules
More people are working from home, which means that your dental practice might be facing a flood of patients that request hours during the middle of the day. On the other side of the coin, your practice might have had to furlough staff members to make up for less business. Now that you are open again, your staff might be struggling to keep up with the changes. While you’ll always need to adjust to increases in the workload, it is best if you keep everyone’s schedules as consistent as possible. This helps them carve out time for self-care and maintain a better sleep schedule at home.
Office managers often plan to celebrate big achievements, but it is often the little things that matter to employees the most. Is your receptionist amazing at customer service? Then, leave a little post-it note on their desk letting them know that you noticed. Giving verbal compliments during the week also goes a long way toward keeping morale up. To make these more effective, be specific with your praise. You’ll start to notice that your employees begin to emphasize these traits in their daily work.
Plan a Weekly Welcoming Breakfast
Food is always an easy mood-booster. Plan to bring in a simple crowd-pleasing breakfast at least once a week. This could be something that you offer during a morning meeting, or it could be a grab-and-go bag somewhere where everyone gathers. Feeding your team shows that you value their efforts, and a good breakfast puts everyone in the mood for success.
Encourage Your Team to Smile
In the height of a busy season, dental professionals are so busy giving their all to their patients that they sometimes overlook their care. Remember that your team’s smiles improve the climate at the office, and they serve as a quiet advertisement for the services that your practice has to offer. Try to use downtime as an opportunity to let your team enjoy a needed service. Teeth whitening procedures and cleanings are great times to let everyone get some practice in while also feeling like their smiles have value.
Offer Volunteer Opportunities
It might seem counterproductive to your mission to encourage your team to do more work, but volunteering is different. Working together within the community boosts positive feelings among your team that make it easier to manage daily challenges. A volunteer opportunity could be dental-related, such as sharing oral hygiene tips at a local daycare. Or, your team could serve in a different capacity. Local food banks, shelters and pet rescue organizations are always looking for teams to help out.
Turn Trainings into Lunch and Learn Sessions
Trainings and meetings about updates to your dental practice’s procedures and policies are sometimes met with a sense of gloom for teams that already feel overworked. Lunch and learn sessions inspire a sense of excitement about whatever topics you are covering. Arrange to have lunch catered to the office for your team. They’ll appreciate not having to run out to find something or be tempted to skip this important meal. Sharing the meal together also fosters a sense of camaraderie to the team that shows in their daily interactions.
Establish a Collaborative Celebration Station
Stressful times sometimes lead to increased tension between team members. If you’ve noticed that everyone seems to feel like they are doing more than their fair share, then this strategy can help them to shift their attention away from themselves. Giving a compliment feels just as good as it does to receive one. Set up a space where everyone can leave a note about positive things that they notice during the day. This could be a whiteboard or a desk with notecards. Reading that their coworkers appreciate the things that they do gives your employees an instant smile. They can also reread these notes anytime they need a pick-me-up.
Post Regular Self-Care Challenges
Health and wellness activities outside of the office have an impact upon your employees’ attitudes when they are at work. Create a monthly or weekly wellness challenge that encourages everyone to take care of their minds and bodies. You could challenge your team to see who can walk an hour each day of the week, or you could have everyone contribute a healthy recipe to an office cookbook. Getting everyone working together on their personal fitness improves their mental health and shows that your practice cares about their wellbeing. Check these ideas for self-care for staff pick-me-ups.
Stressful times don’t last forever in your dental office but emphasizing care for your employees makes a big difference in everyone’s attitude and productivity. Pick a few of these ideas out to use on a regular basis, and then choose a few more to use as a surprise when your dental team needs more support. You’ll soon find a rhythm with your dental management strategies that keeps everyone’s spirits high.
Do you have a suggestion for team pick-me-ups when under stress? Please share in the comments.