Workplace Culture

Prescribing a work-life balance

Healthcare burnout among practice owners is a constant threat — these tips may help keep stress at bay.

Published: November 14, 2019

When it builds up, the pressure of juggling on-call duties, managing staff, and handling business operations can create a perfect storm for healthcare burnout, especially considering that many professionals — such as two-thirds of veterinarians — already acknowledge an advanced stage of stress.

Frequently, stress and burnout in healthcare workers stems from professional demands overwhelming personal needs. The efforts to balance them deteriorate and the imbalance may lead to treatment errors, poor relationships with staff, and dissatisfied patients.

To help achieve a measured sense of control, consider the following work-life balance tips:

Let go of some responsibilities

There are likely some items on your to-do list that can be accomplished by others. So, hand them over. For your practice, that could mean hiring a new associate or asking the office manager or marketing manager to handle an additional responsibility or two. On the home front, leaning on family members at times to help with chores such as laundry and cooking may ease the load immensely, allowing for relaxation time outside of the office.

Take back your calendar

A day with too many commitments can leave you feeling spread too thin. Develop a weekly schedule with the right balance of patient time, staff interaction, business responsibilities, family and friends, professional development, and your health. If you’re overcommitted in one aspect, consider paring it back for better equilibrium.

Allow for unknowns

As your practice likely handles a mix of scheduled appointments and emergency visits, handling both with ease may help ease anxiety for staff and patients. For example, dental practices that allot time for emergencies more successfully navigate the needs of those patients in the office for cleanings and acute pain relief alike.

Define your professional and personal spaces

A clear distinction between your workspace and your private space is integral in developing a healthy work-life balance. Once you distinguish between professional and personal space, examine ways to keep the lines in place. For example, don’t respond to practice-related emails or phone calls while at home or during dedicated family time.

Foster connections and communication

Even if you run a small practice, having open lines of communication with your staff may resolve challenges that might not be rooted in the day’s work. Reaching out to professional peers in formal or informal ways to discuss successes and challenges is also invaluable, as are meaningful connections with patients — think quality, not quantity.

Once you have a handle on your own approach to work-life balance, ensure that you’re creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture to improve your staff’s well-being.