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With animal adoptions at an all-time high and workflows rendered inefficient by COVID mandates, veterinary practices have been pummeled this last year. Is your staff feeling the pressure? Phones are ringing off the hook, schedules are overbooked, and owners are demanding.
Some staff can't handle the pressure and quit; others may stick around but are so exhausted that they stop caring and no longer provide the excellence of care that your practice is known for.
To keep the clinic at full force with engaged workers, here are five ways to prevent veterinary staff burnout.
An office in chaos is not productive. Only when people have clear expectations for their jobs can they work at maximum capacity. When staff feel like they are part of a team, they are more likely to ask for help and aid team members who might be struggling. Think of a successful sports team. If they are winning, you know players are working together, excelling in their individual parts for the team's success.
Veterinary work is stressful. Pet emergencies can be harrowing. Demanding owners can be hostile. To help staff deal with the pressure, promote stress management techniques. Make your office a place where staff feel like they can openly share their problems with others. Allow for short breaks during the day. Champion mental health intervention for those who are those struggling.
All work and no play… Well, you know the saying. Create a culture that values your staff’s outside interests. Hobbies should be pursued and enjoyed. Time spent with family should be cherished. Time away from work not only facilitates relaxation, but allows team members to come back rejuvenated.
If there is an issue with a staff member, clarify their duties and where they can do better. Does your practice have a clear protocol for specific problems? A handbook or job description can help staff know expectations.
Constantly telling staff members what they are doing wrong will diminish productivity and morale. When staff feel appreciated, they tend to put more effort into their jobs. Let your staff know how much you appreciate them by offering bonuses for a job well done, buying lunch for your team once a month (if you have a smaller practice), supplying coffee or snacks in the breakroom, and offering praise and compliments regularly.
For more help
If you find your office staff is still struggling and feeling overworked, consider adding call overflow support to manage daytime phone coverage, video chat to streamline curbside exams, or triage service to assess after-hours emergencies while you sleep. GuardianVets can help! We provide solutions to help your practice. Contact us today for more information.
Paula Bostrom is a client service representative team leader at GuardianVets. She has experience working as a veterinary assistant and is passionate about animals and veterinary care.