When people say emotional health and wellbeing are just as important as their physical counterparts, they're right. Unfortunately, they often go overlooked and this may feel particularly true for you over the last year, especially if your main focus throughout the pandemic has just been getting through it.
Emotional wellbeing, or a lack thereof, can significantly impact a person’s physical health, mental health, productivity, attitude, perspective, and ability to be successful. If you don't nurture your emotional wellbeing, you could develop chronic health issues and/or exacerbate existing ones. Alternately, fostering emotional wellbeing can boost your quality of life and keep health issues at bay.
At VetCor, we actively try to improve various aspects of employee wellbeing, so we asked some of our hospital managers how they cultivate emotional wellbeing at each of their practices.
This is what they had to say:
Praise can make a big different in a staff member’s productivity and morale. Sarah Morrissey of Northwood Oaks lets her team know what they’re doing well on a daily basis and she encourages employees to give shout outs to their coworkers. Dr. Michele Consiglio of West Shore also utilizes a box of appreciation notes which she calls the “happy box” and Dr. Janice Wilson of Indian Valley emphasizes the importance of recognizing hard work.
It can be difficult to schedule shifts around everyone’s personal life but trying your best lets your staff know you care. Sarah says she tries to “be mindful of fair scheduling” and has her team come together to allow other employees to take a day off if they’re exhausted, sick, or need to take a mental health day.
Many hospital managers listed different variations of mindfulness as ways they promote emotional wellbeing. Pet Street Station's hospital manager says she practices being grateful for 10 things each day while Tanya Stiles of Lucerne Veterinary Hospital says she meditates to clear her head. The best part about mindfulness is that it can take on many forms, such as participating in arts and crafts or doing any of these 15 activities.
Rewards are also great motivators and, really, they just make people feel appreciated. Every few weeks, the hospital manager of Healthpointe Veterinary Clinic buys her team snacks or a fruit/vegetable tray for working so hard and many of our doctors occasionally buy their staff members ice cream, bagels, and/or lottery tickets. Dr. Wilson, Maggie Kuhn of Ridgeville Animal Hospital, and Alannah Labesky of Twinbrook Veterinary Hospital are also fans of providing their staff with occasional treats and gift cards.
Planning fun team building events was another favorite. Pet Street Station puts on an annual Easter egg hunt, Halloween party, and Secret Santa event for their team. Maggie throws a Christmas in July party every year and Alannah plays a vet tech version of Jeopardy with her staff.
Other suggestions included setting both weekly and monthly goals and having recovering dogs sit up at the front desk with the reception staff so they can receive all the TLC in the world and the staff can reap the therapeutic benefits, as suggested by Carina Chalfant of Fisherville Animal Hospital.
Try implementing some of these practices at your practice to see firsthand how they positively impact your employees and overall team morale. Now, more than ever, it's important to make sure your teams have methods to cope if the pandemic is leaving them feeling burnt out at work.