COVID-19 has made us all hyper-aware of our physical health this year, however, it also has had a significant impact on our mental health as well.  The rapidly evolving and unpredictable nature of the pandemic has led to increased stress and anxiety for many of us, and if left unchecked, can lead to mental burn-out, especially at work. Throughout this turbulent time, several new stressors have emerged and can contribute to employee burn-out, such as:

Increased Workload: Like many industries, dental practices around the country have been forced to operate with reduced staff, whether it’s because of illness, childcare issues or layoffs, which means the remaining team is working harder than ever.

Safety Concerns: Social distancing while performing dental care often feels next to impossible. Your team members put themselves at risk every day as they perform their job duties, which can add stress to an already demanding job.

When these workplace stressors, combine with other personal concerns, overtime it can cause emotional fatigue and burn-out. To prevent an employee from burning out, it’s important to be able to identify the signs early on and take steps to prevent it from escalating. Signs your team may be burning out, including:

  • Decreased motivation or interest
  • Resentment toward patients
  • Becoming increasingly withdrawn/quiet
  • Being unusually emotional or moody
  • Lethargy

Keeping an eye out for these signs allows you to intercede before a team member reaches their breaking point.

If you notice signs of burnout in one of your team members, you can help by:

  • Approaching the team member (either yourself or a trusted colleague) and voice your concern, offering them an outlet to share their feelings and offer support. Sometimes, simply having someone they can confide in can help them to release stress.
  • Providing them with resources to help them better manage their personal and workplace stress. If you don’t have an employee assistance program currently in place, now is a great time to establish one.
  • Discuss and encourage stress management techniques at your next staff meeting. This can include reminders about the importance of a good night’s sleep and regular exercise as well as socially distant ways to relax, like reading, listening to music and spending time outdoors.
  • Regularly check in with your team, either individually, or through team meetings, and remind them that you are all in this together.

It is more important than ever, to be mindful of our physical and mental health. By watching for signs of burn-out and supporting one another, you can help your team stay healthy, happy and better able to cope with whatever changes may lie ahead.

For other ways to avoid employee burn-out, contact IDS partner, EmPower HR by emailing Colin Geaney at: [email protected]

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