Q&A: Promoting a healthy lifestyle among team members


My team members get sick a lot. How can I promote a healthier lifestyle among our staff?

When a team member misses work due to illness, it creates tremendous stress on a veterinary practice, says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Ernest Ward, owner of Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C. If you're seeing chronic sickness in your clinic team, the first step is to review your hygiene protocol. Make sure all employees routinely wash their hands and clean telephone handsets, keyboards, and other shared surfaces. Provide plenty of sanitizer in easily accessible areas. You may also want to have your HVAC system cleaned and disinfected, Dr. Ward says. “We have this performed every two to three years at our clinic, and I feel it helps maintain a healthier work environment,” he says.

Next, discuss the issue with team members. Maybe they need to improve their diet and exercise routines or learn to manage stress. You'd be surprised at how many people don't realize how easy and quick it is to make nutritious meals. Have a recipe-sharing lunch to show off your best 15-minute dishes. Take your staff on a jog during lunch or simply spend 10 minutes stretching.

Finally, lead by example. When you live a healthier lifestyle, it influences those around you. Replace break room junk food with fruit. Substitute water for soda. Remember that the healthier our bodies are, the better our attitudes, problem-solving skills, and stamina. “Work doesn't feel like a marathon when you're strong and fit,” Dr. Ward says.

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