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by Isabel Shaw
15 November 2019

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Wellbeing in Practice: Three quick steps to a better workplace culture

GP, medical educationist and self-help author Dr Deen Mirza prescribes some tips for practice managers on how to get a better work-life balance.

Being a practice manager is a challenging job, and is often stressful due to factors including the ever-changing landscape of primary care and staff shortages, among other things. 

But there are things managers can do to help reduce stress.

‘It’s all about taking a step back, creating space and creating time,’ GP and self-help author Dr Dean Mirza says. However, he acknowledges balancing a busy career and looking after one’s wellbeing is a job in itself, for which many practice managers don’t have time. 

In response to this, Dr Mirza has shared with Management in Practice three tips practice managers can consider and implement into their daily lives to make work stress more manageable.

1. Manage your time

‘As the work piles up it can take all your energy just to get through it, meaning you never have time to analyse how things might be done differently so that your workload isn’t so consuming,’ says Dr Mirza.

‘You have to think about how you utilise your resources and if you are actually using them efficiently. That might mean paying for an external consultant to come in and give you advice.

‘Or instead, you could just organise an away day with all the key players from the practice, sit everyone down in a room with phones switched off, no internet access and only a whiteboard and pen. Just think about and discuss how things could be done to make things easier for everyone – start from scratch’, he continues.

‘To get some inspiration, practice managers could go to other GP surgeries to see how they tackle the same sorts of dilemmas and challenges.’  

2. Look after staff

‘The whole ship will only be as good as the weakest person,’ advises Dr Mirza. 

‘A practice manager has a position of seniority over all the staff in the practice and so it’s important for them to ensure that everyone in the team is okay and functioning. If everyone is okay, the practice will run better.

‘Taking care of people can simply mean being grateful and appreciative. Acknowledging when someone has done a good job and always puts in extra time or cutting people who need it some slack if they’ve got a track record of normally giving 110%’.  

3. Prioritise self-care 

‘One huge priority for practice managers should be to get enough sleep every night. In order to figure out how much sleep you’re getting, time from the moment you switch the lights off until you wake up- aim for at least seven to eight,’ advised Dr Mirza.

‘Make sure you are drinking at least 1.5 litres of water a day – that doesn’t include tea or coffee.’ 

And finally, Dr Mirza places a lot of importance on social activities: ‘Make sure you connect and see people, not necessarily people from within the practice but spend time with people who bring you joy,’ he says.