This week I am veering from my usual path with my blog and talking about an upsetting “trend” that I am seeing in dental offices everywhere right now. The mental state of dental team members everywhere is unfortunately one of stress and anxiety. Every office is trying to find team members from a currently non-existent pool of dentally trained people to ensure that they can continue to run efficiently and grow.
By chance, I read about a program that the Canadian Mental Health Association provides for employers and when I spoke with them, they let me know that they are actually developing a program for the current levels of stress and anxiety specifically in dental offices after COVID. As soon as I have a date, I will be hosting a webinar delivered by them to share with you. In the meantime, they shared their employer toolkit with me and in this post, I am going to paraphrase some of their tips for employers to keep in mind during this particular time in history:
- Always maintain integrity and confidentiality to build the trust of your team members. At every opportunity, share information about any plans in progress with your team and request that they share any feedback or concerns with you. If you are having trouble coping as well, then share these concerns with your team, it’s okay if you aren’t invincible either.
- Make time to talk with your team members individually to ask how they personally are coping with working right now.
- Encourage participation in a group discussion about any changes you may be planning for the practice if you are able to, everyone should feel “in the know” as changes will make those feeling vulnerable feel even more vulnerable.
- Respect privacy, if individuals have shared with you that they are struggling be sure not to disclose this in larger group settings, not everyone wants their mental health status or personal accommodations disclosed. This includes not specifically asking an employee if they are struggling with their mental health but if you suspect they are struggling then asking if there is anything interfering with their work currently.
- Educate the rest of team around mental health, just because you “get it” does not mean that everyone on your team will. Provide the team with a list of resources and professional support that they can reach out to if needed.
- Provide your team with a positive atmosphere as much as you possibly can.
- Be proactive and talk to the team about the trend in the current dental world to let them know that they and your office are not alone if they are struggling.
- As we all know in most dental practice’s accommodations in schedule for team members is very difficult, at this unprecedented time though we will need to make those accommodations available if requested. We have all grown our teams to help with the extra duties of COVID, this is accommodation is beneficial to the mental health of all.
I will let you know once I have set up this webinar and will make it available to all who would like to attend. If you have any specific questions about what I have written in this newsletter today and I will be happy to share my resources with you.