10 behaviors that need to change in your dental office


Do your employees dread coming to work every day? If so, it may be time to make some changes.

Waking up and being excited to go to work every day is the goal, but for some people, this isn’t always the reality. There seems to be an increase in challenges in the workplace. We hear about workplace violence and know how quickly things can escalate. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to make your practice a friendlier workplace, but it means taking an honest look at what’s going on already. Some of you may be surprised as to how well your practice is operating, while others may be shocked to learn how intense the drama is at work.

What kinds of behaviors can improve the well-being of your staff?

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  • Eliminate smartphone use. Some of us are addicted to our phones. It’s a real problem in the workplace for both staff and the patients. No one in the waiting room wants to hear a personal phone conversation. But it goes beyond that too. Staff members who are on their phones aren’t getting work done. (And don’t people realize that when they post on Facebook there’s a time stamp?)

  • Banish tardiness. Patients being tardy drives me nuts. It makes everyone late and is just obnoxious. Why should one person use PTO to get to the dentist and then sit there in the waiting room because the patient before him or her was delayed. What about co-workers being late to work or getting back late from the lunch? That’s a big problem in some practices. How do you handle that?

  • Stop the rudeness. Why do colleagues have to be so rude to each other? It isn’t professional. You don’t have to like me, but we’re a team. That’s my motto. Being professional doesn’t include being rude.

  • End the gossip. The dysfunction in a practice can usually be tied to the amount of gossip. I know that gossiping is human nature, but it isn’t how healthy workplaces function. Being respectful of people’s privacy counts not just for HIPAA but for colleagues as well.

  • Eliminate the self-absorption. There’s no place for me, me or me in a dental practice. Instead, it’s about we and us. When you listen to someone go on and on about such nonsense, it’s annoying and a waste of time. Being in healthcare means caring about the patients and not so much about yourself.

  • Change the negative attitude. Change your attitude. Be positive. If you roll into work in a negative mood, get over it. No one really cares. They don’t want you to bring your negative energy into the office. They may listen just to hear good, juicy gossip, but how many of your colleagues really care?

  • Speak up and volunteer. Take advantage of getting further education. Get trained on new tasks. Being knowledgeable will benefit patients as well as yourself.

  • Master teamwork. You need to view the practice as a team. The people who are most successful work as a team. After all, doesn’t everyone have a stake in how successful the practice is? Your sales department includes everyone.

  • Find a work/life balance. There MUST be a balance. No one said it’s easy, but it’s critical to preventing burnout. The problem is when your personal business bleeds into your work life. I had a colleague who walked around the office on her pone dealing with every crazy situation you could imagine for her children, her spouse, her mother, her friends, etc. I’m not quite sure how she remained working there as she spent more time on the phone than doing her actual job.

  • Identify good news and broadcast it. It’s so important to celebrate the good things that happen each day. Feeling good about your achievements is important to enjoying your job. However, it takes work to make sure that successes are shared. This is one way to develop a close-knit team.

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Change isn’t easy, and it isn’t something that everyone will run up to and embrace. Your employees may kick and scream at having to change attitudes, learn new things, or accept new rules, but it will ultimately make such an improvement to how your work family exists together under the same roof. Don’t be scared. Wake up and get excited to go to work.

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