Carers and front-line workers always have a lot on their plates. From ensuring the correct medication is administered to keeping patients healthy, there’s a lot to manage.
In a recent survey carried out by the International Council of Nurses, almost all nursing staff in the United States reported feeling more stressed or anxious than usual, with a third describing their mental health as “bad.”
And it’s not just nurses. Nursing home attendants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, even front desk staff — all of these workers experience exhaustion, frustration, and burnout. Luckily, care managers can mitigate stress by making the following small changes to their work environments.
Read on for four ways to fight team burnout in the care sector.
1. Adhere to break compliance
Whether you’re running around the tiled floors of a hospital, opening the doors of your clinic, or supporting the newest member of your aged-care facility, you and your team deserve a break. In fact, those breaks are required.
But patient demands, staffing shortages, and resident requests mean employees often work through breaks. And that’s a quick way to employee burnout.
A sandwich in the cafeteria, reading a good book, a quick phone call home — regular breaks can lower stress considerably.
Here are a few tips to make taking breaks part of your team’s route.
- Keep breaks top of mind by working them into the schedule. Actually put meal and rest breaks into your staff’s schedules so they never forget to take some time for themselves.
- Reminders never hurt. Send weekly pings to your team reminding them to take their scheduled breaks.
- Automatically flag missed breaks using your workforce management tool so you can follow up with the staff who missed their breaks.
2. Give care workers more control
Nurses say that a lack of control at work is a major cause of burnout. Excessive workloads, in particular, make employees feel overwhelmed, and this loss of control could impact mental health.
While there are a lot of things happening in the world that are out of your control, you can empower your team with tools to make them feel more in control. With more power over their work environments, workers will feel less burnout and have more motivation to focus on quality care.
Try out these suggestions to give your team the control they deserve.
- Enable “shift swaps,” where workers exchange shifts and manage last-minute changes to schedules.
- Offer touchless clock-in to minimize unnecessary contact before and after shifts and keep your team in control of their health.
- Provide opportunities for staff to give opinions on workplace policies and procedures. This kind of feedback also benefits patient care.
3. Promote ongoing communication
During the pandemic, communication is more important than ever before. Care managers need to communicate important health and safety information to workers, such as self-isolation, testing, and symptom reporting procedures. That’s been critical in minimizing outbreaks of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Without that communication, your team will be left running around trying to find information. And you know what they say about running — it’s exhausting. To avoid unnecessary burnout, ramp up your communication with these tips.
- Share articles or videos with tips and tricks for managing stress and anxiety.
- Recognize (and reward) outstanding performance.
- Provide socialization opportunities, even if it’s at a distance or virtually.
4. Streamline payments
With an abundance of overtime and extra shifts, and former care workers rejoining the sector because of COVID-19, managers need fast, reliable methods to facilitate payments.
On top of that, families with someone out of work means that correct, reliable payment is critical. If your team is always second-guessing their paycheck, they’re going to be too frustrated to provide the quality care you need.
Keep your team happy and worry-free with simple and accurate payment.
- Integrate your payroll solution into your workforce management tool to avoid scheduling and payment discrepancies.
- Create different pay rates for employees who take on multiple roles during (and after) the current crisis.
- Set up guardrails to ensure overtime payment is automatically applied for any staff who take on extra hours.
Increase employee morale
It’s unprecedented times for everyone working in the care sector. However, managers will reduce burnout by encouraging breaks, handing over control to workers, improving communication, streamlining payments, and managing attendance.
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