Employee Wellbeing During COVID-19

With lockdown restrictions easing, dentists and dental practitioners are returning to work amidst a global pandemic. During such times, employee wellbeing is of paramount importance. It cannot be easy managing a dental practice in the middle of a major health crisis without the cooperation of your employees. Therefore, keeping our employees safe and happy has to be one of our top priorities. In keeping with this, Complete Dental Consulting has put together a list of four ways you can ensure your employees’ wellbeing while settling into work, as part of dental practice management coaching.


Protocol Training


Firstly, employees should be educated on the kind of protocol to be followed while resuming work. Ensure that your employees are briefed on all the latest procedures to be followed with respect to COVID-19, as per CDC guidelines such as the Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic and the Framework for Healthcare Systems Providing Non-COVID-19 Clinical Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic. The CDC has also released a separate set of guidelines particularly for dental practices that can be modified (if required) to suit each individual dental practice. Furthermore, the American Dental Association has released certain directives that could be followed.


These guidelines are important as they provide much-needed direction for practices on how they should operate under such unprecedented circumstances, including how you can establish and develop initiatives for infection control, and manage patient-client interactions to limit viral transmission. They provide instructions as to mask-wearing, appointment protocol, preliminary patient assessments, proper PPE equipment, etc. All of these are worth taking into account as they contribute to a safer work environment, benefiting both employees and patients.


Notifying Employees as to the Latest COVID-19 News


It would be extremely useful to ensure your employees are all up-to-date with all the latest developments concerning COVID-19, both on a health-based clinical level, and at other ancillary levels such as employment situations. Keeping your employees conscious about all the latest developments will ensure that they are aware of the situation, as well as incentivize them to take all prescribed precautions seriously and act accordingly. This also serves to strengthen employer-employee relations, as it implies that the employer is invested in his/her employees’ health, and is taking the initiative to minimize the risk for employees. To obtain such information, Complete Dental Consulting recommends you use reliable official sources such as data released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and your state’s Public Health Department.


Being Sensitive Towards Your Employees


The current coronavirus crisis has put all of us in difficult waters. Stress levels are at an all-time high, and at this time, it becomes imperative to check-in and ensures that your employees’ mental health is fine. Let your employees know that as an employer, you are ready to offer whatever support you are able to provide, in order to get through these tough times together. If any employees have workplace concerns, they should be able to communicate the same to you, so that you can come up with solutions for it. Otherwise, this may impact employee productivity, as well as being detrimental to employees on a more personal level.


Maintaining communication channels to ensure quick solving of concerns that may crop up is key to maintaining a peaceful and smooth work environment. Such channels may even be anonymous, according to the needs of the employees. Extending empathy to your employees, talking to them, and offering assistance as to office concerns can go a long way to ensuring your employee’s wellbeing.


Relaxing Stricter Office Rules


This one is optional but could go a long way in easing your employees’ work schedule. Implementing temporary policies such as compressed workweeks and staggered shift times. Other initiatives such as flextime may also be introduced as per the requirements of the practice, in order to accommodate the needs of all employees. Due to the pandemic, dental practices may not be receiving its regular inflow of patients. The flipside to this is, it allows you to implement the aforementioned policies with relative ease. This in turn contributes greatly to your employees’ long-term wellbeing and allows them to tide over the crisis more comfortably.


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