3 Ways to Reduce Stress in the Workplace
COVID STRESS. Enough said!
The light at the end of the tunnel is finally coming into focus. If you’ve waded through this nightmare and have hung in there to get this far through a pandemic, let me tell you personally that you are amazing.
As practice administrators, we’ve helped to lead our practices, teams, and doctors through one of the most difficult times in our industry. Some of us did not or will not make it through to see the end of this nightmare.
Who knows where we’ll be six months from now. A year from now. Two years from now. But what we can do right now is focus on reducing the daily stress that we can manage.
3 key ways to reduce stress
1. Your team
The first key to reducing stress at work is to surround yourself with a team of individuals who are both professionals and eager participants in the ownership and health of the practice.
They take pride in each other, the standard of care provided, and the overall community image of the practice.
This mindset begins with a great leadership team: the doctor and the practice manager.
Continuous training, providing the tools to do an exceptional job, encouragement, and empowerment are the key ingredients to developing and retaining a platinum-level dental team.
This highly functioning, highly skilled team will be the catalyst that helps create the highly productive practice you want.
No day should ever start without an effective and energy-charged morning huddle, or as I like to call them, “patient care meetings!”
Throughout the week, the team is reviewing the daily schedule for any appointment irregularities. The time to correct any scheduling concerns is well in advance and not the morning of an appointment.
The most effective patient care meetings include the following:
- What were our wins yesterday? What were our areas to improve?
- Yesterday Production $_____ MTD $_____ + / – goal $_____
- Collections MTD $_____ + / – goal $_____
- Today’s goal $_____ Today Scheduled Production $_____ + / – goal_____
- Opportunity for same-day TX_____
- Who has outstanding treatment? Unscheduled recare?
- Patient with $$ concerns_____
- Available emergency time today_____
- Doctor next priority open is_____ (what TX is your big $ maker?)
- Hygiene next priority open is_____ (next available SRP opening)
- NPTs today and their story
Get all hands on deck and prepare to have a fantastic day.
The tone set in the patient care meeting will set for the rest of the workday. Keep it positive.
I personally like to end the meeting with an inspirational quote, some stretches, and an all-hands-in daily cheer! What would get your personal team motivated for the day?
3. Be present
Staying on schedule is not only respectful of your patient’s time, but it also reduces the stress level in the practice. The lack of being “present” is a characteristic and byproduct of today’s busy society.
Being present, focusing on the day and what the patient is saying or wants is the key to growing your practice.
When patients are kept waiting due to complications with treatment, that’s one thing. The clinical and admin team can communicate this with each other and inform any waiting patients of the delay. This shows respect for the paying patient’s time.
When they are kept waiting because you are tending to personal business, it’s unacceptable and will lead your patients to not respect your time in the future.
The saying “lead by example” never held more truth than it does right now. Being present each day during business hours sets the example of what you expect from your team and your patients.
Leaders, you expect your team to refrain from personal calls and non-work-related computer use during business hours, so set the example.
You want your patients to arrive on time for appointments, ready to go, not taking phone calls during the appointment. So, unless it’s an emergency, have your front desk take messages and make your calls later.
Providers need to stay on schedule. If they are regularly running behind, start timing the procedures.
They may imagine that it only takes you 30 minutes to do 3 fillings, when in fact, they are consistently taking an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. The assistants know this. The scheduling team knows this. One appointment like this will throw off the rest of the schedule for the day.
You’re the leader. It’s time to take charge
Don’t be the fly on the wall trying to figure out what’s going on in your practice.
Call a meeting, make some decisions, and start the process to reduce the stress in your practice.
What’s working well? What’s not working as well as you like?
Begin your process by developing reasonable systems and guidelines to creating a better practice, better patient care standards, and an overall better work environment.
Brainstorm and bring the collective ideas of the entire team onto the table for discussion.
You hold the KEYS to reducing your daily stress! It’s time to use them.
Meet the Author
Kelly Lynch, FAADOM is an office manager, published author, practice growth specialist, and team cross-training guru!
She has supervised dental offices for over 25 years and spent over a decade in retail and hospital management.
Kelly earned her AADOM Fellowship in 2016 and is pursuing her Mastership.
She is a lifetime AADOM Member and is a past a winner of the Practice Administrator of Distinction award.
Kelly is also a member of the Speaking Consulting Network and the Golden Girls of Dentistry.