Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canadian morale has been declining. More than twice as many Canadians have reported being more stressed than before. The Nanos Research survey revealed that 33% of Canadians felt stress regularly and 13% felt stress all the time during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In May, a survey by Sun Life Canada found that 56% of respondents said COVID-19 was negatively impacting their mental health. The top contributing factor being social isolation, followed by concern for loved ones, fear of contracting COVID-19 and financial concerns.
Now, as COVID-19 restrictions loosen and more businesses are reopening, some employees may be concerned about returning to work. Your staff could feel even more anxious as they are working in a high-risk environment. Morale at the office is likely to be lower as you reopen and it is up to you to take care of your staff where you can.
Here are 3 ways you can help boost staff morale during COVID-19:
Coming back to the dental office is stressful because of the high risk of transmission with aerosol-generating procedures – even when certain services are limited depending on the re-opening phase. Implementing the right equipment (PPEs, hand sanitation, physical barriers, HEPA air filtration units, etc.) can help reduce the risk greatly and let your staff feel safe.
A backlog of patients and appointments has probably accumulated and will take your staff a lot of time to get through. Providing tools to increase efficiency and improve workflow would greatly reduce the staff’s stress and can include:
- Automating appointment confirmations: being able to send batch confirmation texts takes a load off your staff and saves a lot of time from manually confirming appointments with all the patients
- Automating patient communication: this will greatly relieve the stress that staff feel when they need to contact all patients immediately, as a mass email can be sent out without missing anyone.
- Implementing more paperless processes: reducing the use of paper forms and charts reduces redundant paperwork (e.g. entering patient forms into the system). This will give your staff more time to handle more meaningful tasks.
- Training to use dental management software more effectively: dental management software is complex and requires training to fully utilize all the functions. Organizing regular training for your staff will give them the confidence to use the software including more advanced functions to improve productivity.
Your staff are (literally) risking their lives to come to work and handle patients in a high-risk environment. While they are doing their best, it can be stressful to work under such circumstances. Any amount of encouragement can go a long way to boost their morale.
Don’t let any good work go unnoticed – praise and thank your staff often to show your appreciation for them. Recognizing your staffs’ efforts will increase employee satisfaction and motivate them to keep up their performance.
Positive communication and encouragement will foster a more pleasant work environment, which is even more important during this pandemic.
Small talk can give you a sense of how your staff are coping. You can subtly dedicate time each week to chat with your staff. Ask them how they’re doing, let them tell you their concerns and encourage them to make suggestions to improve the office.
Don’t just stop there though. Take action to address concerns where appropriate to show that you value your staff’s opinion and input. This will also help build your relationship with them and encourage higher commitment and productivity.
When your staff feel heard, they will also have higher morale and the overall atmosphere would be much lighter amid this pandemic.
While the COVID-19 active cases are slowly decreasing, many people are still experiencing stress and unease. Make sure to empower, encourage and listen to your staff helps boost their morale. While doing so isn’t an obligation, taking care of the staff can ensure that they can work in a safe and happy environment.