Best Practices

5 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health in Your Pharmacy

The overall health of your business relies on the mental wellbeing of you & your team. Prioritize mental health in your pharmacy with these 5 tips.

Today is National Depression Screening Day, which has us reflecting on the importance of mental health in the workplace. We're all guilty of stretching ourselves a bit too thin at times, especially when the workload feels impossible to keep up with. But if left unchecked, this can lead to burnout - and the impact of this can exceed far beyond the workplace. 

The overall health of your pharmacy business is intrinsically linked to the mental wellbeing of you and your team. To ensure you're prioritizing mental health in your pharmacy, be mindful of these 5 tips: 

1. Prioritize time off. 

With everything so crazy busy right now, taking time off might seem like an impossible dream. But the toll overworking can take on one's mental health is innumerable. Studies have shown that over 90% of Americans feel overworked, and over 70% feel that workplace pressures are affecting their personal lives. Overworking can lead to depression, exhaustion, decreased job performance, and worse. So, while it may seem like taking time off isn't an option for you and your team right now, NOT taking time off can send you down a detrimental path and undermine your pharmacy's long-term success.

While you still have to be mindful of store coverage, it's important to prioritize taking time off (both for you and your team) to avoid burnout. 

2. Make the workplace a safe space for your team.

Oftentimes, the pressure to meet workplace demands can push struggling team members to keep their troubles to themselves. While you can't force someone to share what they're going through, you can foster a sense of understanding and acceptance so they feel comfortable coming to you in times of need.

Make sure your team knows that the workplace is a safe space where they can open up to you without fear of judgment, and that you will do your best to support their needs. You can always gently recommend they speak to a professional if you feel that the level of support they're needing exceeds your capabilities.

3. Reinforce taking breaks.

Yes - everyone should be taking at least one break during their workday. But when your pharmacy is slammed and you're struggling to keep up with the workload, sometimes those breaks aren't taken. While it's understandable for there to be rare occasions where this is unavoidable, your goal should be to keep these occurrences to a bare minimum. Everyone needs a bit of downtime to decompress throughout the day, especially in a high-stress, customer-facing field like pharmacy.

Reinforcing taking breaks sends a positive message that the well-being of your staff is just as important as the well-being of your customers. (Of course, you should always be mindful of federal and state laws governing mandatory break periods.)

4. Show your appreciation.

As the saying goes, "Money talks." Giving raises to well-deserving team members is by far the best way to show your appreciation. But, we understand that it's not always financially feasible - especially when cash flow is tight. If you can't make it rain on your staff right now, there are other ways you can make them feel appreciated. 

We know "pizza parties" have become somewhat of a cliché (we've seen the memes), but providing lunch for your team on a regular basis can really boost morale and be a blessing to those who might be struggling. 

You can also reward hardworking or struggling team members with gift cards to their favorite coffee shops, restaurants, or services. Check out your credit card rewards to see if you can score some good deals on these!

5. Be realistic about expectations and goals.

Putting undue pressure on your staff can make them feel like they are facing an impossible hurdle. Be mindful about the expectations and goals you're setting for your team. Is the outcome you're wanting realistic in the timeframe you're giving them to accomplish it? If you're not sure, have a discussion with the team members it impacts and let them weigh in. Getting your team's perspective will give you a better idea of what their current workloads look like and what you can comfortably add to their plates without overwhelming them.

For more insight into employee wellness, check out Business Coach & Consultant, Emily Cannata's CLIMB segment here!

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