Morale among people left holding the fort is at breaking point in many sectors. Veterinary practices are no different. Much of the support staff have been furloughed, leaving vets to cope with more than their normal workload, without their usual protection from the added stress of call handling, appointment booking and dealing with client foibles among many other things…
Here are a few top tips for maintaining morale in the practice –
1. It’s good to talk. Keep in contact with furloughed colleagues by doing something sociable together – even though you will be dog tired in the evening, it is amazing how much a good laugh can improve your mood and energy levels. Someone on furlough may be able to organise a fun activity you can all do together, such as
· a regular online yoga session (such as 30 days with Adriene)
· A pub quiz. Have a look here for a few suggested free ones.
· An online game (such as Cashflow or Psych)
· A murder mystery game, (such as Red Herring games)
· A fun fitness class (Such as Dance fit with Roz)
· Or just a good old video chat
2. Start to bring back into service those people you miss the most
· Perhaps you have a part time vet who could handle remote consults as a triage system.
· Bring back into service the people who add energy and cheeriness first
3. Use available tools to enable you to take payments automatically online rather than having to do it over the phone (such as www.VetConsult.Online ) Not only does this save valuable time, but also helps protect a positive mindset in your staff. Whilst many clients are incredibly grateful for the care you’re providing their pet, payment is often a sticking point and can bring out negativity which is the last thing you need at the moment!
4. Clear information on your home page will help your clients to make best use of your services and can help to limit unnecessary hassle. Perhaps a friend would be happy to put a bit of time into keeping it up-to-date so you can focus on the job in hand.
5. Routines can become rather samey at the moment – Send round an inexpensive gift (such as Holdsworth Chocolates). Honestly it is the thought that counts! Sometimes a little quirky gift is all that’s needed to bring a smile or a laugh out of a tough time.
6. Order in the occasional healthy ready-made meals for when you get back exhausted – there are lots of local businesses now doing takeaways that aren’t your traditional ‘fast food’. Consider ordering in a round of something tasty for the whole team to boost their morale and keep them well nourished, whilst helping someone else who’s trying to keep their business afloat.
7. Everybody will be feeling at different times strange, disorientated, stressed, sad, thoughtful…… try to be kind to each other. I often find that when I am able to be kind to someone, and feel like I’ve genuinely helped them, I end up feeling so much better myself! It can be an instant pick-me-up. In veterinary practice, we are helping people everyday – sometimes it just helps to remember that so we can start feeling good about the job again.
8. Above all – your own sanity is the most important thing. Don’t wait too long before you ask for help and take a break.