5 strategies for fighting burnout in your healthcare organization during the holiday season

Healthcare burnout is an ongoing challenge, and now the holidays are adding to the stress. Consider these tips to help your staff recharge.
Operations Staffing

The holiday season is upon us, and that means healthcare organizations are running at full tilt. December and January are among the busiest months for medical practices and health systems alike—and with the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is ready for a break.  

Put simply, your staff need to recharge now more than ever. 

Fortunately, there are ways to fend off year-end burnout—and to keep it at bay in the months ahead. Here are five stress-busting strategies to keep your organization running smoothly during the holidays. 

1.  Host a group activity 

What better way to boost morale than through camaraderie? If your team feels safe meeting in person, group outings like karaoke nights, scavenger hunts and volunteer events are great ways to help staff feel valued during a high-stress season. Better yet, escape winter’s chill with indoor teambuilding activities like crafting cards, making gingerbread houses or decking the office with holiday décor.

If COVID-19 is still putting your in-person activities on hold, consider organizing a virtual “happy hour” for your staff this season—and spice it up with some holiday trivia or an ugly sweater contest. 

2.  Send personalized notes 

Ditch stale, generic holiday cards. This year, show your appreciation by giving each employee a handwritten thank-you note that recognizes his or her value to the team.  

Remember, the most meaningful feedback is authentic and individualized, so don’t shy away from specific examples of how each employee went above and beyond, whether it was through taking on more responsibilities, covering extra shifts or providing outstanding patient care. All it takes is a little time and thoughtfulness to tell your staff how much you value their contributions—and it’s one of the most valuable gifts you can give.

3.  Offer training opportunities 

Here’s a fun fact: Nearly 3 in 10 healthcare leaders view staff morale as the biggest ROI from professional development—and even more say it’s a valuable retention tool. When you think about it that way, professional development is the gift that keeps on giving!

This holiday season, ask your staff about their long-term goals, and find out what aspects of their work they find most meaningful. Then help them map a career path and support their journey—whether through on-site training, online classes or job-shadowing opportunities. 

4.  Give time off

Everyone likes a day off. Giving the gift of seasonal PTO is a fantastic way to reduce stress and let employees know how much you appreciate their hard work. 

If you can’t give time off during the busy season, consider shifting job functions to give employees more flexible work hours. Better yet, offer extra vacation days that can be used when patient traffic slows down, or offer bonus pay to employees who volunteer to work over the holidays. 

5.  Reduce manual workloads 

This year, forget one-off gifts like holiday sweaters, and grant your employees their ultimate wish: Make their jobs easier. Consider automating manual processes like scheduling, registration, insurance verification, payments and referrals-management to remove some of the burden on staff and give them room to focus on higher-value tasks.

Administrative functions are costly, and they can be frustratingly time-consuming—especially during the fast-paced holiday season. By streamlining your operations, you can give your staff more time to focus on providing the best patient experience possible. 

Learn how Phreesia can help you streamline operations and alleviate administrative burden—without adding more staff.