How is the mood of your practice? Have you ever stopped to consider this question? Take a moment to look around. Is the mood happy and relaxed, only so/so, or tense and cold? Now think about this: how does that mood affect your patients?
Mood is an influential aspect of your practice. Everyone is affected by it and everyone is able to in some way or another have an effect on it. A negative mood can have a devastating impact on your practice, but a positive mood is like a superpower you don’t know you and your team possess until you actually use it and see it in action. A positive mood changes everything! It changes how you think, how you feel, how you work, and how patients view your practice. We are all affected by mood, some even more profoundly than others. A good mood breeds a positive attitude not just in the people you work with but your patients too. With a good mood created by a positive atmosphere, you will see less and less difficult patients. Some satisfied patients have even described practices with a positive atmosphere as “welcoming”, “friendly”, “safe”, “comfortable” and “relaxed.” Isn’t that how you want your own patients to see your practice? If you aren’t seeing it as much as you could be, it might be time to make a change. Start unleashing the super power of positivity on your practice, starting with 8 suggestions I’ve provided below:
It’s such a simple action, but it makes a huge difference to the mood, the morale, and the atmosphere of your practice. But how is it that a gesture as small as a smile can affect the mood of the office? A smile is contagious whether you feel it or not. In fact, according to an article on the sciencedaily.com website, “It makes everyone in the room feel better because they consciously or unconsciously, are smiling with you.” It just makes sense that when we see someone smile, we are encouraged to smile too even if it’s just internally. So to lighten the mood in the office, don’t hesitate to show everyone those pearly whites.
- Show appreciation
Out of the many challenges put forth by Dental Professionals, especially Dental Office Managers, the one that comes up most often is a lack of appreciation by their co-workers and their boss. A lack of appreciation usually leads to a major dip in morale and a negative change in the mood that is sure to be felt by everyone in the office. Everyone wants and deserves to feel appreciated, whether it’s by being told “good job!” or “thank you for all your hard work” or “we couldn’t do this without you.” Thank each other as often as possible for a job that could not have been effectively performed otherwise and you are bound to create a much more positive atmosphere as well as a more enjoyable work environment.
- Take time to motivate others
Linked to showing appreciation, motivating others is a surefire way to improve morale in the office. If a co-worker feels like he or she is being ignored, they will give off a negative vibe that will travel quickly through the office, affecting everyone, including the patients.
In order to avoid this negativity, listen to your co-workers. Listen to their ideas. If you are the leader of this team, consider the ideas and suggestions brought forth by your team members and be sure to let them know that those ideas and suggestions are appreciated and valuable.
- Find a common goal with co-workers
Even if you don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on everything, take a moment to find and establish a common goal. This common goal will unite everyone you work with regardless of stature. The difference in opinion will still be there, but at least you have one thing you can all agree on.
- Tell a joke (even if it’s bad)
I had a boss once who used to carry with him a book of knock-knock jokes. They were terrible, I’m not going to lie, but when he told one, everybody laughed. That bad joke was the icebreaker in a stressful work environment. He’d even sing Christmas carols in July. By doing these things, he would keep the mood light and carefree, therefore causing a significant increase in production and creating a more positive atmosphere for us all to work.
So, if you notice the mood darkening and stress levels are rising, try telling a joke even if it’s a bad one. You’ll be surprised by the positive result.
- Try a stretching or Yoga exercise
Stress is the biggest contributor to a negative atmosphere in the office. Why? Stress tends to carry with it frustration, anxiety, and anger. The patients in the office can feel it when you or your co-workers are stressed.
Take a break. Stretch your muscles by getting up from your desk and taking a walk around the block. Introduce Yoga exercises into your daily routine. There are a countless number of videos of Yoga exercises you can do right at your desk:
Chair Yoga: 5 min Yoga exercises at your desk
- Engage in light conversation with patients
Whether in the waiting room or sitting in the dentist’s chair, silence can sometimes kill a good mood.
Take advantage of the silence by having a conversation with your patients. This will not only benefit you as the more information you can gather the easier it will be for the patient to trust you, but it will help the patient to feel more calm and relaxed. Instead of remembering the tension and fear, they will instead remember a much more positive patient experience, prompting them to return.
- Have some fun!
This is so important because providing a sense of real enjoyment in the office has the power to change negative emotions into positive ones. Put together a game day or have a BBQ or just have a light-hearted conversation.
If you, like me, are less into participating in games or activities, or if you are too busy, just hearing others having a good time can completely change and improve your mood and the mood of the practice.
This list by far is not exclusive, so join in. Do you have some ideas about how to create a more positive atmosphere in the office? Let us know by leaving your ideas in the comments section below.
- 5 Ways to Create a Positive Work Environment
- Why smiles (and frowns) are contagious
- Fashioning the Face: Sensorimotor Simulation Contributes to Facial Expression Recognition