Practice Plan’s Sarah Barnard shares her insights into why your team’s wellbeing is vital for the future and how to encourage it in your practice’s work environment…
Why wellbeing is key to a well-performing practice
Before we delve into the top wellbeing habits to develop, it’s important to understand why they are needed, not just for mental health and team morale, but also to successfully run your business.
You’ll be better set to achieve business goals when you have the backing of a happier, healthier and receptive team. A happier team is more productive and proactive, which impacts the efficiency of day-to-day work processes.
It’s also worth taking into consideration the link between wellbeing and the likelihood of sick leave. The level of work-related stress, depression and anxiety has increased in recent years, with the public health industry coming in as the third highest impacted area for this issue, according to a recent study by the Health and Safety Executive. Staff absence can cause a knock-on effect to stress levels for the remaining team members too, with increased workload and a resulting blow to morale, which inevitably affects the performance of the business.
Keep your team connected
Communication with the team needs to be open and forthcoming. Shying away from difficult topics only leads to speculation and uncertainty, so keeping your team in the loop with ongoing changes will help ease anxiety levels.
Touch base with individual team members regularly by setting a time every week or month for open discussion and feedback so that any concerns can be raised and resolved where possible.
Rewarding members who are performing well helps to keep them engaged with the tasks at hand and encourages a sense of accomplishment that boosts morale.
Respect work boundaries
While it’s important to keep the team connected, there is also a need to keep work-related communication, such as email queries, to within working hours (except for emergencies).
Allowing work to spill over into personal time and out of office hours tips the work and life balance in the wrong direction. It’s important for us to set aside time to do what we enjoy – over-burdening yourself and team members with out-of-hours work can lead to work-related burnout.
Never skip lunch
Make sure you and your team are taking time out of your working day, not only to get a much-needed mental break, but also to ensure you are properly fuelling yourselves.
The mental health organisation Mind recommends at least 30 minutes break for lunch during a working day. Physical and mental health are closely related, so consider nutritious foods that incorporate your five-a-day and stay hydrated with at least six to eight glasses of fluid throughout the day.
Embrace the outdoors
Physical activity levels are linked to the likelihood of depression and it’s easy in a busy practice to get tunnel vision when there is a never-ending list of tasks to complete. Encourage your team to go on walks for lunch – you can take this a step further by setting challenges with a reward at the end.
No man is an island
Finally, while the wellbeing of you team is important you need to remember that, as a leader for the business, your own wellbeing must be looked after too. It would be easy to fall into the trap of sacrificing your own wellbeing due to the fear of appearing selfish, but this is simply not the case.
As we look forward to a more hopeful future in the coming year, investing into good wellbeing habits at the practice will give you the achievement of being responsible for creating a working environment that allows mental health to flourish.
For more information and tips around well being, click here.