Has your dental staff day become extinct? Or, is it time to start such a day?

Dental staff bonding can serve many purposes, such as keeping them happy in their jobs, which leads to better job performance. One way to boost morale is to have a day set aside to pamper the team. Or did you try and it gradually disappeared?

Sep 6th, 2017
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This article originally appeared in Dental Assisting & Office Manager Digest. Subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter here.

Dental staff bonding can serve many purposes, such as keeping them happy in their jobs, which leads to better job performance. One way to boost morale is to have a day set aside to pamper the team. Or did you try and it gradually disappeared?

I ALWAYS LOOKED FORWARD TO "STAFF DAY." Staff day was a day our office would reserve for the staff to get their much-needed dental treatment done, while also getting pampered. The doctor would usually have a massage therapist and a pedicurist come spoil us at our dental office while we took turns getting our dental treatment done. Sometimes, we all just needed updated exams, x-rays, and cleanings, but we loved being pampered. It usually happened once a year on a Friday, our day off.

Fast forward to today, and I can’t even remember the last time we had a staff day. We all became busy, so we planned our staff day for a Friday, our only weekday off. Then it would get changed several times to accommodate other coworker’s schedules and all of their commitments. We thought, “Who wants to give up their Friday to come into work, especially if you only need a cleaning?” But, it’s kind of ironic how we preach to our patients that they must have that six-month cleaning, no matter what, yet many of us are guilty of not getting our teeth cleaned even once a year. This is embarrassing!

Since our staff day became extinct, I found myself buying Groupon dental cleanings and getting my teeth cleaned by other dental offices. This was easier than waiting for our staff day to become a reality again. After so many times of seeing it get scheduled and rescheduled and then vanish, I gave up. It seemed that no one was eager to have a staff day. Yes, I can clean my own teeth, but really? I know someone else can do a better job.

So, my question is, why are we too busy for each other? Staff day really helps to build positive workplace relationships. Don’t we want to take care of each other, and more importantly, don’t you want to be taken care of? When getting dental treatment done, it reminds us how our patients feel during different types of procedures. I forget how awful it feels to become numb, or how I feel like I’m choking on the small amount of saliva near the back of my throat when I get a cleaning, or why there is so much gritty prophy paste in my mouth. After I get any kind of dental procedure, I’m keener on my patient’s sensitivities to paste, saliva, and numbness. I am certainly a better clinician after my appointment.

What steps can you take to bring back staff day if it’s become extinct at your office?

  1. Plan the date three months in advance to give everyone plenty of time to reserve the day on their busy calendars. Make this a commitment as important as attending a wedding.
  2. Make staff day more than about dental treatment. It should be fun, relaxing, and eventful. Bring in a massage therapist, esthetician, manicurist, and others, and pamper the staff. It’s even better if you have a patient who provides some of these services and you can offer to barter.
  3. Bring treats and plenty of food. We are all happy when we are fed.
  4. Create a relaxing mood. This isn’t the time to stock supplies, clean instruments, or paint the blemishes on the office walls. Play some music and enjoy!
  5. Depending on your office staff size, try to limit the day to a half day, like a Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is more appealing to everyone.
  6. Remember that staff day is essentially a staff appreciation day. Keeping the staff happy will keep the boss happy!

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Kimberly Morgan, RDH, has over 24 years of experience in the dental field. She is the founder of YourDentalConnect.comto help connect dental professionals with jobs and employees. She is the immediate past vice president for the Austin Dental Hygiene Society. She can be reached at KimMorgan@aol.comor find her on LinkedIn.

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