Working in a veterinary clinic can be challenging and stressful for both practitioners and support staff. Constant stress and the risk of burnout can negatively affect the productivity and well-being of the whole team. However, there are a number of innovative ideas, some of them low-budget, that can help improve stress, prevent burnout and foster a positive and happy working environment.
In this article, we will explore some of these ideas that management can implement to promote a good working environment in the veterinary center.
1. Organise wellness activities. Promoting the physical and mental well-being of employees is crucial to reducing stress and burnout. Equally as necessary as case meetings, consider scheduling a wellness activity (face-to-face or virtual), such as yoga, stretching or meditation classes, for staff – even if it’s just one day a week. This activity will help them relax their minds and bodies and provide a needed break during the workday.
2. Implement a recognition system. Acknowledgement and appreciation are powerful tools for increasing happiness at work. Create a system where team achievements and efforts are regularly celebrated. This could include an “employee of the month”, a mention in the company newsletter, or a board highlighting individual and collective achievements.
3. Encourage communication and teamwork. A good working environment is based on open communication and teamwork. Create spaces for employees to express their concerns, ideas and suggestions. Hold regular team meetings where active participation is encouraged and challenges (including emotional ones) and achievements of the group are addressed. Fostering a sense of belonging and collaboration will help reduce stress and create a more positive atmosphere.
4. Establish a company-sponsored breakfast day. A simple yet effective gesture is to set up a company breakfast day once a week or fortnight. All the better if each breakfast is personalised with the employee’s name on it. This will allow the team to get together in a more relaxed atmosphere, strengthen bonds and foster a sense of community and recognition within the company.
A weekly breakfast or acknowledging achievements can create positive encouragement
and foster team awareness
5. Create a relaxation space. If you have enough space, set aside an area of the clinic as a relaxation space for employees to unwind during breaks. You can furnish the area with comfortable chairs, music, softer lighting or even set up a stretching corner. This space will allow staff to take time to rest and recharge, which will help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
In the article “The challenge of large veterinary hospitals: avoiding the loss of female talent due to burnout “The large Veterinary Hospital challenge: preventing the loss of female talent due to Burnout” we put our finger on the problem and look for solutions to an issue that is beginning to be of concern.
Remember that every veterinary clinic is unique, so it is important to adapt these ideas to the specific needs and capabilities of your centre, clinic or veterinary hospital. We hope you find these suggestions useful!