• Steps To Taking The Pressure Off You And Your Staff

    Help Take Off The Pressure

    We know that as practice managers, our career choice can be hugely rewarding and fulfilling, but along with that comes high stakes and big expectations on yourself and on your team. As leaders in a high pressure environment, we really do need to understand how to deal with, dare I say it, everything.

    As much as I don’t want to play the COVID card, there’s no denying the downfall has caused people within a vast range of industries to experience a completely new and unexpected working environment – I’m talking job uncertainties along with making targets harder to hit and often increasing the workloads.

    There are definitely ways you can help take the pressure off yourself, and that of your staff, though. In this article, I cover how you can better manage stress levels and maintain healthy pressure within your staff.

    Do Something Other Than Work

    Practice managers don’t just lead their practices – they lead their teams. It’s your job to help your staffers find balance because the last thing you need is a group of individuals burnt out from the workload. Now, it might sound cliché, but arranging a group activity once a month really does build team confidence and positivity; it also lightens the mood a little bit.

    These don’t necessarily have to be ‘team building’ activities at all. Something as simple as celebrating special occasions like birthdays, work anniversaries, milestones and hitting team goals with an informal luncheon or picnic could be all it takes to make one of your employees feel special.

    Other more external group activities might include a wine tasting (you can recruit a sommelier to host at your chosen location instead of hiring a bus and going from winery to winery) or cooking class (same concept as the wine tasting, but getting a chef to come to your home).

    This is your opportunity to help create social interaction, which can do wonders for people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

    Keep Those Communication Doors Wide Open

    If I’ve said it once before, I’ll say it again – communication is key. Goals and priorities in medical practices can change quickly, especially given our current predicament across the country. So for that reason, you need an ongoing process, or plan, to keep everyone you work with on the same page – including your doctors.

    It may seem a very Mad Men-style of doing things, but gathering everyone in one place to discuss current situations is a time-tested way of sharing information. With certain states going through lockdowns and restrictions, digital meetings via services like Zoom are still effective and work just the same.

    Group emails are the most time-efficient solution, and can eliminate the problem of disruptions and elongated discussions. In general, it doesn’t matter if you decide to do meetings, or write a group text/email, or have a conference call – the most important thing is that you keep everyone involved in your practice up-to-date on what’s happening. Looking at current situations, I’m talking about updates on keeping the clinic open or shut, who is working from home and who isn’t, procedures, policies, and regulations.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than being an employee who doesn’t know what’s going on within their own workplace, so let’s do our very best to avoid that.

    One Meeting A Month is Diabolically Not Enough

    In corporate city environments, daily conclaves might make sense, but typically in a medical clinic, weekly or biweekly meetings suffice for us. Not only is this the place to – as mentioned above – keep everyone up-to-date, but where staff can reveal if they have too much of a workload or if they are really feeling the stress.

    You’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised, because chances are someone else will put their hand up and relieve that person of the pressure. That’s the signature of a well-run team, so be proud and stand tall when that happens.

    Just remember the three goals of your meeting:

    • To review how things have gone the previous week
    • To allow people to share important updates
    • To empower the team to clarify the most important decisions and debates for the coming week

    Mental Health Issues Are More Important Than You Think

    We all have times when life gets on top of us – sometimes it’s work-related, sometimes it’s personal, but it happens. And that’s okay. We wouldn’t be human if we weren’t affected at some point in our lives by stress and pressure.

    I believe in a workplace, a clinic, where everyone can thrive, and I’m always reminding myself that good mental health at work and good management go hand-in-hand. Mental health can have a lot of different symptoms and signs, so if you see one of your people struggling, their behaviour has taken a slight turn, or their mood has been affected over several weeks, it’s okay to intervene, set them aside privately and ask if they’re okay.

    It can be hard to talk to someone at work, so you want to make sure you’re seen as someone who can be identified as a person of comfort and support. Always offer a listening ear, and stay in touch. None of us are superhuman. And remember – take care of your own mental health too by staying active, eating well, keeping hydrated, taking breaks, and asking for help when you need it (you have GPs right at your fingertips, the perfect go-to people for health care advice).

    When everyone in your clinic is informed, they’re more likely to stay engaged and motivated in their work, as well as help one another out when it comes to workloads and deadlines or targets. Everyone at one point or another will feel stressed out and pressured.

    And remember – as a practice manager, you’ve got an amazing support network here at The Life of a Practice Manager to help you when it comes to helping your team members, or even helping yourself.

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