Want to Motivate Staff and Enhance Productivity? Find Ways to Have Fun at Work

August 25, 2016

With all of the responsibilities and demands that office staff face on a daily basis (e.g., unhappy patients to cope with, incessant calls to answer, and insurers to battle), keeping staff motivated can often prove a daunting challenge.

Physicians, practice administrators, and office managers are working in some of the most intense environments that there are. Staff must deal with not only their own concerns, but also the individual concerns of their patients. The top three things that are most important to people in life today are their health, their finances, and their family. When patients come to see you, these three concerns come into play greatly. So it makes for a very stressful environment.

You also know that unmotivated staff can adversely affect the quality of patient care and patient satisfaction. Unmotivated staff can also hurt your bottom line, decrease productivity, and create high turnover. But there are many ways to create a work environment that is both positive and productive. Whether you praise your staff more often, institute casual Fridays, or raise funds for a good cause, sometimes all it takes to solve even the most serious problems is a little lighthearted fun.

Sing your staff’s praises

Many physicians and their managers might think that boosting office morale means having to boost staff salaries. In reality, money does not keep people happy for long, so trying to get their support and involvement with money just isn’t going to work for you in the long run. More times than not, when you give an employee a raise, that satisfaction will last only for two to three weeks. And then what do you do next?

The top reason people leave their workplace is that they don’t feel recognized, valued, and appreciated. I think it’s because our society is involved in what I call passive recognition, meaning that we know people do a good job, but we just don’t say something about it. Acknowledgement goes a long way; a simple “thank you,” “great job,” or “wow” can have a lasting effect on your employees.

Discover ways to be playful at work

Practicing humor at work puts you in control of your mood, your environment, and builds rapport. If you want to create connections in your workplace, find ways to be playful. I know of a one five person physician office that gives a standing ovation anytime someone has a tough phone call or a tough situation – all they have to do is say, ‘standing ovation and everybody stands and claps.

Laughter does a body good

Humor also boosts productivity. The moment that you make somebody laugh, you instantly change the way a person feels, thinks, and acts. Laughing changes the way people feel, because the moment they laugh, they feel good. You change a negative emotion into a positive one.

Raise money, awareness, and spirits

Having fun at work is also a great way to raise money for good causes and to keep your staff supportive of that endeavor. I know of one large practice that has as “fun committee”. The committee does everything from planning the holiday parties to the orchestration of all its steward-ship activities. Stewardship is a big part of this practice. The primary mission of the committee is to gain staff support for fundraising such as participating in the Race for a Cure for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Remember that stress is unavoidable in any work environment, but by practicing humor and discovering different and unique ways to have fun at work creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. There is an old saying – “It’s not the work; it’s how you treat it” – How very true. Purposeful work comes alive by daring to be caring moment by moment to create a life that is uniquely yours at work. So spend some time lifting people up and see the results of your efforts.

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