Putting fun back into the dental practice

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  Posted by: Dental Design      6th February 2021

It’s been a tough 12 months – no one will deny that. As things hopefully begin to settle down again, there is an opportunity to step back and celebrate everything achieved in the dental practice in the face of such adversity. It is important to give back to the team and to remind them why they fell in love with dentistry in the first place. Practice owners and managers can do this by bringing some fun back into daily life.

Why should it be fun?

There are many advantages to making life in the practice fun again for the team. Firstly, happy team members are likely to be more productive – up to 13% more productive[i] – making daily workflows more efficient and helping to optimise profitability for the business. Secondly, there is evidence suggesting that healthcare staff who are satisfied with various elements of their work – like resourcing, support, quality of care they can deliver and teamwork – also contribute to an enhanced patient experience.[ii] Another advantage is that job satisfaction can improve staff retention.[iii] This supports the long-term stability of the practice and helps to ensure continuity of patient care.

These are just a few examples of the benefits available when dental team members are content in their work. On a day-to-day basis, happy colleagues simply create a more pleasant and positive environment for everyone that works there. Patients will also pick up on a friendly and cheery atmosphere, further improving their experience and encouraging them to return.

Team building and socialising

While not a priority of late, socialising has become incredibly difficult for many people around the UK. Between national lockdowns and regional restrictions, physical gatherings have been limited or prohibited. However, social interactions can strengthen teams by enabling people to get to know each other and form lasting relationships, which are important for both people’s happiness and success. On-going research for the Harvard Study of Adult Development[iv] has found close ties with friends, family and community to be stronger among flourishing individuals than features like fame, wealth or social class. In the dental practice, such connections can enhance teamwork and collaboration, in turn increasing staff happiness and job satisfaction.

So, why not arrange some social events – adhering to the necessary social distancing and/or group size restrictions in your area – to give your team a break and help them enjoy some time together? Depending on your local guidelines, you could consider going out for dinner, outdoor adventure activities, a murder mystery night, an escape room experience, or a quiz. A surprising number of these can be done remotely where more appropriate as well, so you can cater to the preferences of any team member or local recommendations. The point is simply to encourage the team to engage and have fun outside the remit of work.

Make every day a little more fun

Aside from social events, there are various ways of making the normal working day a little more fun for staff too. Some sort of competition could help to motivate individuals and give them something to work towards. This might be something as simple as giving a box of chocolates for the best joke told that week. Alternatively, you could challenge individuals to suggest ways to improve the appearance or other aspects of the practice for a set budget and the best idea is implemented.

Another option is to ask the team to vote for colleagues who they think have gone above and beyond, or who deserve recognition for a particular accomplishment. Not only does this encourage the team to praise each other, but it also gives them an opportunity to share their views and ensure they feel valued as individuals. You may even decide to get patients involved. All of this will go a long way for boosting team morale.

Support individual career development

A major enabler for job satisfaction among staff is career development,[v] so supporting colleagues as they advance skills and fulfil their professional aspirations can help to bring further joy to their work. The size and structure of your practice will influence how you offer this support, but you may provide CPD days, allow flexible working to accommodate academic courses or introduce colleagues to individuals or providers within your network that could benefit them.

Another great way to show your support is to enable the entire team to attend an educational event when it’s safe to do so, like the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show. With two days of lecture programmes tailored to each role, hours of enhanced CPD, world-class speakers and an extensive trade exhibition, it caters to the needs and ambitions of all dental professionals.

The joy of dentistry

Dentistry can be a really rewarding profession and after the challenges of the past year, it’s important to bring the joy back to your practice. Even the simplest attempts to make someone happier could make a huge difference to team morale, to patients and to your business. Let’s celebrate the hard work and amazing dedication of our dental teams with a little fun!


For more information, visit www.thedentistryshow.co.uk, call 020 7348 5270 or email dentistry@closerstillmedia.com

The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2021 will be held on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th June, Birmingham NEC, co-located with DTS.



[i] Bellet, Clement and De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel and Ward, George, Does Employee Happiness have an Impact on Productivity? (October 14, 2019). Saïd Business School WP 2019-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3470734 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3470734

[ii] Links between NHS staff experience and patient satisfaction: Analysis of surveys from 2014 and 2015. Feb 2018. NHS England. https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/links-between-nhs-staff-experience-and-patient-satisfaction-1.pdf [Accessed December 2020]

[iii] Bimpong KAA, Khan A, Slight R, et al. Relationship between labour force satisfaction, wages and retention within the UK National Health Service: a systematic review of the literature BMJ Open 2020;10:e034919. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034919

[iv] The Harvard Stud of Adult Development. Harvard Second Generation Study. https://www.adultdevelopmentstudy.org/ [Accessed December 2020]

[v] Sinha R. Career development: an enabler for job satisfaction. IntechOpen. June 2020. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.91683

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