Workplace Well Being in Healthcare

There is no need to dwell on the fact that health care professionals have some of the most critical and demanding jobs in the public sector. Despite the ever-growing investments into advancing healthcare the frontline often bares a different story. Health care professionals are expected to deliver healthcare to higher than ever standards with dwindling resources and what often feels like minimal support. It is not a rare occurrence for health care settings to be understaffed; leaving employees feeling overworked and perhaps most importantly underappreciated. In fact, poor mental health (i.e. stress) is one of the leading causes of sickness absence amongst NHS staff. Having worked in various health care settings I’ve experienced first hand the high-pressure time that we are facing. I believe it’s essential each of us takes responsibility to create a positive environment that is conducive to workplace wellbeing and thereby productivity. Below I have outlined the essentials to get started...

1. Open communication

We know from practice nurturing open lines of communication with patients can make all the difference to their health outcomes. What if we applied similar principles with our colleagues? Stray away from communication that is solely based on day-to-day communication of to-do lists, tasks and targets. Instead, appreciate individual differences and create an open sharing environment where concerns and ideas can be shared openly and fairly without fear of judgment. Don’t forget the key to this is listening! At the end of the day often we don’t know what goes on in the lives of our colleagues outside the bounds of a typical working day. Which brings me to my next point...


2. Acknowledgement

It’s easy to get bogged down by end goals and long-term targets but remember no effort is ever wasted and every step taken is a step in the right direction. Creating a sense of appreciation amongst colleagues is vital. Not only will it improve team dynamics, it has been shown to kick start motivation and lead to increased productivity. Acknowledge hard work when you see it and understand that small wins can lead to a greater team victory.

3. Have fun
It’s important from time to time to come together and celebrate the team as a whole. This might mean an occasional evening out, taking part in a charity fundraising event or even encouraging colleagues to take their coffee or lunch breaks. Regardless, creating the space for the team to come together to bond will help cement the bonds among the team.

For some a job is a means to earning in order to survive and for others it is a huge drive for their existence, usually the latter in a healthcare job. At the end of the day no matter where we sit along that spectrum it is estimated that each of us will spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work. We can’t increase the resources we have access to overnight but I assure you that adapting these simple techniques will be a step in the right direction to creating a positive work environment. By engaging with our colleagues and instilling a sense of appreciation, half the battle might be won.

 

Simran Janjua

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