When Things Change
Change is inevitable…and uncomfortable. I had never been a great fan of change and still have a hard time with him at times. You see, I like structure. I like plans to stay the way they were originally planned.
I don’t know if it is the hygienist in me or the fact that I had 4 kids and there tended to be chaos when structure wasn’t in place. My husband knows that changing a plan is difficult
for me and he has to give me a bit to wrap my
head around the new plan.
That being said, you can understand that it is difficult for me when there are changes.
Case in point...I just found out that you do not need 2 spaces behind a period anymore. Apparently, this was just for typewriters because a typewriter had the same amount of space for each letter and the double space was to help show where a new sentence began. Well, I cannot tell you how many times I have backspaced already in this article to provide just one space behind the period. Count the periods above - that’s how many times!
We have established that change can be uncomfortable and yet we had a lot of changes in our world this past year and a half. It has been tough to navigate and unfortunately, we are still navigating it. How are you handling it? How is your team handling it?
The pandemic has caused the world to go through many changes, almost on a daily basis. Which in turn, adds to the amount of stress in our offices. Remember back to the very beginning of the pandemic? Everyone pulled together to implement all the requirements from the ADA, CDC, OSHAA and WHO. That was amazing. It was like an adrenaline rush that everyone was running on, and we got through the craziness. We even amazed ourselves. Now, however, it seems that a lot of people are hitting the crash after said adrenaline rush. The problem is we still have to push forward.
Initially, we were all anxious for things to ‘get back to normal’. Some elements have subsided - are you still wearing the same amount of PPE, taking temperatures, even wearing masks and requiring your patients to as well? What we never banked on is offices working short-staffed (where did all the people go?); schools still have to quarantine kids which makes it difficult if parents have to stay home with their kids. And did I mention, the rules are constantly changing? It’s no wonder we are all feeling the effects of COVID fatigue.
(In case any of you want to know...I am still having to backspace continually to take out the 2 spaces behind a period to have just one instead. It is a hard habit to break! :P)
We can’t stay grumpy and muddle through our day frustrated, annoyed and even angry. That only makes for a distressing environment. We have to find a way to break through this fatigue.
We thought we would share some ideas to help get your teams moving forward and in a positive manner.
Have a meeting and talk about how everyone feels. Verbalize and recognize that the fatigue is real, and it is okay to talk about it. Sometimes all the team needs is to be acknowledged and know that they are not alone. This will give them the freedom to talk to each other about it without feeling like they will be judged.
Create an office challenge to get the juices flowing.
A fitness challenge where everyone tracks their steps for a month
Keeping count of how many times a team member says thank you to another team member
Have a daily/weekly motto - No excuses; Everything Matters; Make Someone Smile - and keep track of how many times that motto is followed
We just had Halloween so the pumpkin decorating challenge is over, but what about a Christmas decoration challenge. Each person in the challenge can only have $10 to spend at the dollar store and everyone votes on the best decoration. You could even get your patients involved in the voting process
Put it out to the team to find a challenge that they could ‘sink their teeth into’; whatever you do, bring the fun back into the office.
Get a dry erase board and let everyone participate in logging their accomplishments.
Have a simple reward for the high achievers - a $5 gift card to Starbucks or gift certificate for a manicure. Or maybe a reward for everyone that participates.
Schedule a team outing or birthday lunch where everyone can bond and get back to laughing with one another. This reminder that they can still be together and enjoy each other’s company is key to restoring cohesiveness in the office.
If we can simply recognize that there is fatigue in the workplace right now due to all the changes and challenges, we have had to face in the past year and a half, it will go a long way. Let’s stop pretending this huge change in our world is not affecting every one of us. Let’s embrace it and take it head on instead.
Janice Janssen, RDH, CFE, Consultant
At age 14, Janice Janssen got an after-school job working for her dentist. Twenty-something years later, she is the co-founder of Global Team Solutions and an expert in practice consulting. Besides hands-on experience, Janice has gained professional recognition for her hard work and commitment to excellence. She is co-author of OMG! Office Management Guide, the “bible” used in GTS training workshops. She is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), which positions her as an expert in educating dentists to deter fraud and embezzlement in their practice.
Janice can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org