There’s Always Time for Fun

  |   Practice Management

“We don’t have time for fun around here.” Those were the sentiments shared by one practice manager at a recent clinic visit. There should always be time for fun in the workplace and if there isn’t, it probably isn’t a place many people would like to work.  ‘Fun’ isn’t just a great day riding roller coasters at a theme park – it can be as simple as working in a team environment with an upbeat attitude and positive energy.

Creating an enjoyable work environment is not only beneficial for employees, but for clients as well.   Consider the following:

  • It helps build camaraderie
  • It keeps the team happy
  • It surrounds pets (and clients) with positive energy
  • It increases productivity
  • It enhances employee satisfaction and loyalty
  • It encourages creativity and innovation and helps to increase the bottom line
  • It helps to provide clients with a more positive image of the clinic and its employees

Bob Pike, author of The Fun Minute Manager, believes that a fun work environment is one in which formal and informal activities that are designed to uplift people’s spirits and remind people of their value to their managers, their organization, and to each other occur regularly. These activities can include the use of humor, games, celebrations, opportunities for self-development, or recognition of achievements and milestones.

There are some simple ways to inject fun and enthusiasm into everyday interactions in the workplace.  Some clinics play music in the back treatment area to keep employees moving (and grooving) while they attend to their responsibilities.  Others use their team huddles (two-three minute meetings held with the team throughout the day – usually at the start of the day and then the shift change) to update everyone on necessary information while ending with some positive news or enthusiasm so that the team begins their shift with an upbeat attitude.  Allowing staff to joke around during their interactions with each other, while keeping it professional in front of clients, can also contribute to the overall mood within the clinic.  The most obvious way for staff to have fun is by interacting with pets and clients when appropriate, such as playing with the pet when they come in or sharing a funny story with the client.

Quick activities at the end of a staff meeting are another great way to increase the enthusiasm among staff. Using games or riddles can lighten the mood and get the team interacting in a positive way.  Lighthearted staff contests such as “best rap contest” or “best drawing (while blindfolded) of a dog/cat” are just a few ways to spark some laughter during a staff meeting.

The reality is that many employees spend more time at the clinic than they do at home. Taking a few simple steps to create a more positive and fun work environment can have many benefits for staff, clients and patients alike.

By Terra Shastri, Manager of Business Development – Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

Posted March 15, 2019