Signs your staff are not coping in your allied health practice

Stress in any private practice is not ideal, particularly if it is ongoing and goes unnoticed.  Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly times when days get busy and a little stressful, but this is not something that should be experienced each and every day for your staff or for yourself. It can lead to people feeling disengaged, tired, frustrated and that is when you start to see mistakes creep in, or forgetfulness start to appear.

If you have staff, read on, because I want you to learn about the key signs that might indicate your staff are possibly more stressed than they are letting on….. with these, you can be the sleuth and dig deeper to prevent future angst amongst your work tribe.

  • Not being prepared – this can manifest in a couple of ways. Staff might start to be late to work, late to attend meetings, or turning up unprepared. For example, coming to a mentoring or supervision session with you with no questions or not knowing their client case well

  • Rebooking rate – when people are stressed, whether they deliberately mean to or not, one of the first areas they can try to gain some control is through the busyness of their diary. You may start to see their rebooking rate drop because they are not booking client in regularly, or discharging people earlier than usual.

  • Telling you all about others – it can be very hard to staff to come to you and spell out that they are not coping. I have often seen this play out in the past, where staff will avoid telling me how they are feeling and try to let me know they are going well, but continually talk about the ‘stress’ others are under – I see it as a call for help where they are more comfortable raising the issue in the comfort of a team rather than singling themselves out. Of course, this does not mean every single person who expresses concern about the stress of another is not coping themselves, but it is certainly worth a bit more of a look.

  • Behind in clinical notes and correspondence – when people are stressed it is hard to focus, especially if the stress is caused from having too many items on the to-do list. Which one to do first? It is not uncommon to see some procrastinating. Two days ago one of my beautiful admin team was a little stuck on where to start tackling a long list of tasks that lay in front of her on her first day back from holidays. Together we made a list of the three most important.  10 minutes later when I walked back out, she was re-writing those three things in pretty colours on another piece of paper  - procrastinating from starting!!! Sometimes it can be subtle and people need a little prompting or assistance to just start.

  • Tired and lacklustre – this is another area that can manifest in various ways. A stressed staff member might not be interested in a new project you might be wanting to get off the ground…. Simply because they are already feeling overwhelmed by their current situation – how can they possibly fit into their brain your new project! Yawning a lot, less ‘morning hellos’ and general low mood can be a sign of stress and being awake at night over thinking things or worrying.

  • Not following instructions – have you ever been in a situation where you were anxious or stressed about what you actually had to do that you found it hard to listen and actually hear the instructions? This can certainly be a sign to look out for in your practice – people not following your instructions, forgetting the steps 5 minutes after you have talked to them about it, or doing the opposite of what you asked.  This might not be a situation of them just being defiant – but feeling lost in their workday.

Take some time this week to observe some of your staff behaviours and see if you notice any of the above signs. If they are ongoing for more than a week, then you likely need to have a chat with that staff member.



Staffing, Private Practice, Practice Management, Resilience

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