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Veterinary Team Work-Life Blend

August 22, 2018

Having a healthy work/life blend model will increase team wellbeing!

Taking the time to promote wellbeing in the hospital can pay off in huge dividends. Maybe wellbeing can’t directly be measured (although some will argue this point), it will increase productivity, motivation, team corporation and morale, and decrease work-related stress. Indirectly, this will raise the financial welfare.

One aspect of promoting team wellbeing is a healthy balance between work and “everyday” life.

Work / Life Blend 

For me, I prefer to call it a work/life BLEND. Work/life balance conjures up priorities at odds with each other. It leans towards the idea of compartmentalizing what I do for work verses my life. In reality, each supports the other to ultimately bring me joy.

When I first heard the term “work/life blend,” it resonated well with me. While working on the floor at a veterinary hospital (many years ago), I blended my time to support my work’s passion and my life’s purpose. I was doing it (work/life blend) but didn’t realize it was blending in the moment.

“In a work-life blend model, life and work are seen as consistent and symbiotic, with work viewed as a genuine part of life,” states Rebecca Fraser-Thill, Psychology Instructor and Career Coach.

Blending scenarios can be created for everyone

The practice manager, desiring to enhance her public speaking skills attends ToastMasters classes. Not only does she lead by example in career development, but also uses the networking opportunities to enhance programs at the hospital.

The credentialed veterinary technician, with a passion for dog behavior, gathers with local, respected dog trainers and creates a weekly puppy socialization class at the hospital.

The veterinary assistant, who enjoys journaling, writes a monthly blog focusing on the ways children and pets grow together. Clients following the blog then comment on Twitter, thus increasing the outreach of this column. Potential new clients may find and read this blog and become interested in your hospital.

The client specialist, known for her garden vegetables, is encouraged to bring fresh dishes to the social functions. She also offers door prizes at the annual Open House.

The kennel assistant, demonstrating an artistic streak, leads a team to create Angel Decorations around Christmas time, in memory of all the pets that crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the past year. She posts photos on the Hospital’s website, Pinterest, and Facebook page, honoring the pets of team members and clients.

The veterinarian, with a desire to learn more about business, has been elected to sit on the local Bank’s Board of Directors. By stepping outside of  her comfort zone and taking on this role, she is seen as a leader in the community as well as learning hand-on skills that translates back to the practice.

You get the idea. Allowing for life interests to blend with work is a win-win scenario.  It supports the individual team members passions, increases their professional growth and ultimately helps strengthen the overall skills for the hospital.

4 Tips to manage work/life blend

Identify your passion(s) and allow your passion to be your guide in time management and focus. “Business should serve and protect what is most important in life — not balance with it,” states Ali Davies, of Design your Life, Redesign your Work.

Be flexible to allow for creative and innovative ways to integrate your work with your life. Consider some of the examples listed above, tweak them to fit your circumstances, and integrate passion with daily duties. Seek help from co-workers and management to set a schedule that blends nicely with demands at work and creative opportunities that support you and your family.

Establish personal boundaries in a conscious way, with respect for those around you. “Personal boundaries are those invisible limits that you set around your life to allow good things in and keep you out of harmful situations,” writes Gwen Pettit, Certified Life Coach and CATALYST VetPC colleague.

Disconnect from electronics and work to allow yourself true downtime. Use this to reconnect, rejuvenate, re-evaluate, and refocus in creating the life you want. Self-reflection is a powerful and moving thing. Allow yourself time to just sit and listen to your inner heart and yearnings. Ponder your life’s purpose, write down your random thoughts, identify what resonates with you, design a plan to support your blended  life and work. Then come full circle to identify your passion(s).

In short, consider how well you are balancing your life. If balance doesn’t seem to be working, consider a blend.  How do you elegantly blend your life and work?  By taking advantage of life’s passions, it will lead to increased productivity, motivation, team corporation and morale, and decreased work-related stress. All of this leads to a financially stable and rewarding work environment.

Yours in Work/Life Blend,

Rebecca Rose, CVT