As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, factors such as reimbursement changes, mergers and acquisitions, transition of care settings and cost containment are influencing the way decisions are made and care is delivered. As a result, many healthcare professionals are experiencing job related changes, such as role shifting and consolidation, which often lead to increased workload.
According to The Washington Post, half of all full-time employees report working more than 40 hours per week, many of which are working an equivalent to an additional eight-hour work day. It would seem that the additional hours worked would equate to more productivity, however, there is not always a positive correlation.
Many factors contribute to productivity. High stress levels, fatigue and lack of training can all lead to decreased productivity just as low stress, mental and physical alertness and proper training can be credited to an increase. While these factors are important to maximizing workplace efficiency, one leading element to high productivity is positivity. It’s key to performing at top levels. And it's contagious!
How can an individual spread workplace positivity? Here are six quick tips to get started:
- Bring your best attitude
- Practice gratitude
- Be prepared
- Offer solutions
- Learn and educate
Bring Your Best Attitude
Want to be a positivity promoter? Start with your attitude.
Having an “I can do that” attitude is essential to elevating you and those around you. Even if you aren’t sure, saying “I can do that” takes you a step closer to actually completing the task. As you embrace the challenge of figuring it out, your team members will take notice and may be more willing to try new tasks as well. By bringing your best attitude to the workplace each day, you can be a more productive contributor to your individual tasks and team projects.
Let’s face it – if you're reading this, you have likely experienced the pressures of being overloaded with tasks. As you are staring at the pile of work on your desk and thinking that there is no way to get through it all, someone walks in with another pile that needs completed by the end of the day.
In moments like this, it's easy to get overwhelmed, feeling as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done. This is when it is most important to be grateful. Focusing attention on being grateful for the opportunity to learn a new task, to share knowledge, to help a team member and to contribute to achieving the goals of your patients or customers can make the task more manageable. Practicing gratitude also shows your team members that you appreciate their contributions to the project – and everyone likes to be appreciated for the hard work that is being done.
Have you been to a meeting when people show up late then have to go through introductions and get all of their material ready? It's time consuming...and frustrating. Being prepared is one of the best gifts that you can give your team members.
As you prepare for a project or meeting, be sure to understand the agenda, review project expectations and gain clarification if needed. This will enable you to bring the right information. Next, make sure you are timely. This includes being on time for meetings, follow up and deadlines. Keep in mind that deadlines are typically set so that projects can stay on task – failure to meet deadlines can result in the project being delayed. It’s also important to plan ahead and set aside time to complete any follow up that may be needed.
Preparation takes time. However, spending time up front to be prepared can save time later and provide a more positive outcome.
When you are working on a project or challenge and are unsure of next steps, it’s great to seek advice. Individuals like to share their talents and expertise to help others and this promotes team collaboration. It is also important to bring solutions. Bringing solutions shows that you have put thoughtful consideration into the task at hand. Even if the solution doesn’t work, it may create brainstorming and lead to another solution. Dedicating yourself to sharing possible solutions also shows your team that you value their time – what a way to spread positivity!
Learn and Educate
The healthcare industry continues to evolve. To remain positive amidst changes, challenge yourself to learn new things. It’s crucial to stay up to date on your industry and keep your finger on the pulse of your customers.
With consolidation and role shifting, it’s also important to take an interest in the roles that your coworkers play. Understanding what they do will help you understand the bigger picture and what you can do to provide them value. This can also provide an avenue for you to educate others. Sharing expertise can make tasks easier and save time in the overall process.
One of the biggest ways to show respect to a team member is to listen. Listening has always been a key component to providing the best service to patients and customers.
But, in a world that has become dependent on electronics for instant communication, it’s becoming more common to see people using phones and laptops during conversations and meetings. Although it seems more efficient to check emails and texts as you get them, you may be missing out on opportunities to truly connect with your team members. When engaging in a conversation or meeting, make it a point to really assess the benefits gained by using electronics. During meetings, for instance, if electronics are going to be used, it’s important to set guidelines for use and discuss those at the start. If electronics are used for note taking or because of a critical call or email, make sure that is communicated.
Most conversations or meetings will require some form of follow up. It’s important to agree upon an acceptable response time, especially for emails. Once an acceptable timeframe is set, answer within this timeframe, even if the answer is simply acknowledging that you received the email and are working on a more formal response.
There are so many opportunities to listen throughout a workday. Staying engaged during conversations and meetings and providing prompt follow up will allow you to just that.
In a time of industry change, consolidation and role shifting, it is often necessary to take on additional tasks that require busier and longer workdays. This extra workload can lead to stress, fatigue and feelings of overwhelm. It’s more important than ever that team members support one another. There are many ways to do this. Spreading positivity is a great start!