Wellbeing for Your Team

We face unprecedented times of uncertainty, with many staff being furloughed or isolated and with social distancing presenting a unique set of challenges to relationship and social health, as well as mental and physical wellbeing. The SPVS survey highlighted that managers have been increasingly time-pressured since the start of the pandemic. Many of the following suggestions can be delegated to members of staff who may be forced to stay inside. Giving them a task and sense of purpose can – in itself – improve wellbeing. As you read the following list, make a note of who in your team would be good to action each one, and try to avoid putting the names of busy managers next to any of the tasks. SPVS discussion list is a great way to ask how some of these examples have worked for members in practice settings. Please also use the list to discuss what has worked for you and your team (this is by no means an exhaustive list!).

Buddy-up system – Divide your team into groups of 2-3 and task them with checking in DAILY with each other. This can be a simple text or WhatsApp, or an email or phone-call. Leave it up to your team to decide. Advise each buddy group to contact you, or Vetlife if they would rather remain anonymous, if the daily check-in flags up any concerns. Set guidelines of time and frequency of contact, e.g. 9pm-7am, once-twice a day (for this express purpose).

CPD sessions – Develop a CPD calendar within the members of staff at home. Each member chooses a topic they’ve completed CPD on and creates a short presentation. This can then be presented at regular staff virtual meetings. The creation and delivery of a presentation counts and CPD, in addition to the CPD of the listeners. Include some social catch-up time before and after the presentation.

Newsletters – It’s important to keep in touch with your staff, even if it’s just a weekly brief e-news email. Include a wellbeing tips or suggestion on the newsletter. Ask staff to message in with their own wellbeing tips, which also helps to normalise the discussion.

Virtual classes – There are huge number of free online classes; everything from yoga to bootcamps and daily free PE for the family. Encourage your team to take part in these together, and share in a discussion afterwards. Having accountability and a community element helps to keep up with exercise. You could also try crafting and painting ‘classes’ and compare results. If one of your team has a talent, encourage them to share it if they would like to.

Virtual meetups – you can either organise team meet-ups on platforms such as Houseparty or Zoom rooms, or join veterinary meetups set up e.g. Vets:Stay, Go, Diversify – Vet Times host a 5pm tea club Mon, Wed and 8pm Friday.

Signposting – Many of your team will have concerns around job security, finances and loneliness during isolation. Creating a resource list to share in a weekly newsletter can help to signpost people to answer and support. Or you can signpost to the resources listed on the SPVS website.