Our profession is placing increasing importance on a good work-life balance. There are ongoing efforts to transform the traditional model of long hours, unpaid overtime, and frequent on-call, into a system that values employees’ work and protects their time off.
This might sound difficult and costly for employers, but in fact, the reverse may be true. Protecting the work-life balance can come with benefits for staff, employers, and patients alike.
🗹 Work Reasonable Hours
Staff who work reasonable hours and have protected time off are more likely to enjoy good physical and mental health. This should reduce absences, and make for a more pleasant work environment.
Staff who work reasonable hours and have protected time off are more likely to enjoy good physical and mental health
🗹 Higher productivity
Employers will benefit from higher productivity and better retention rates. Well-rested employees are also more likely to give their clients a better experience in the clinic.
🗹 Higher overall standard of care
Patients will benefit from treatment from vets and nurses who are well-rested and can make sound clinical judgments. This should allow you to offer your clients a higher overall standard of care.
The exact working patterns needed to achieve a good work-life balance will look different for each employee. Some might want to work shorter hours every day to spend more time with family or help manage a health condition. Others might prefer fewer long days with an extra day off each week for childcare or to pursue hobbies. Some may even find that working evenings, weekends, or night shifts allow them to do more with the rest of their time. Flexible working or job-shares can also be useful.
When considering what changes you might make in your practice, be sure to include your staff in the discussions. With a little flexibility, you can often find surprising solutions that can work for everyone involved.
Dr Ruth Cawston
Ruth graduated from Cambridge in 2014 and has worked as a small animal GP vet ever since. She is particularly interested in internal medicine, as it combines her love of problem-solving and her somewhat geeky love of knowledge, and has completed her certificate in Small Animal Medicine. She loves animals of all species but is particularly fond of cats.