Americans are some of the most stressed-out people in the world, according to a 2019 study by Gallup. 55% of Americans deal with constant stress on a day-to-day basis.
Colonial Life’s survey of 1,505 full-time US workers found that over 70% spend several hours or more per week worrying at work. 41% of respondents said stress made them less productive at work and 33% admit they are less engaged at work when stressed. Nearly 30% report more frequent absences or looking for a new job due to stress.
According to the survey, common stressors for American workers include:
- Their job
- Their health
- Their family’s health
As our country works to contain the coronavirus pandemic, stress and anxiety are understandably at an all-time high. Many Americans are concerned about their jobs, finances, health, or all three.
For pandemic responders, healthcare professionals, and other essential workers, anxiety can be heightened by the daily stress of work. Many pharmacists continue to work on the front line of virus prevention, offering patient care, managing coronavirus screenings, and dealing with potential cases each day.
Pharmacists, who already deal with constant distractions and high burnout rates, need to be able to manage stress and maintain work performance.
Tools to Maximize Workflow Efficiency
Maximizing efficiency in your workflow can help streamline repetitive tasks, reduce distractions, and make managing stress and burnout easier.
Here are a few tools that you can implement to keep your pharmacy running efficiently and your staff stress-free:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR). This automated system can help minimize the amount of time your staff has to spend on the phone, enabling patients to refill and transfer prescriptions, and get essential pharmacy information.
- Secure 2-way messaging. Streamline patient communication on a secure platform that helps you send reminders, share images, and contact patients quickly and easily. With a HIPAA-compliant centralized platform, you can also view all patient conversations and send auto-populated messages.
- Automated digital marketing. A branded website and mobile app make keeping up a professional online presence simple. By automating or outsourcing marketing tasks like social media posts, ads, and newsletters, you have more time to focus on in-store patient needs.
Managing Time and Stress
Your staff needs more support than ever before. Help them find ways to manage their time and stress throughout the workday and at home.
Diane Malburg, COO of the Michigan Pharmacists Association, has created time management techniques for busy pharmacy professionals. Some of her tips include:
- Track the amount of time everyday tasks take so you have an accurate idea of how much you can accomplish with your workload
- Plan out each day by prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance
- Delegate less important and non-urgent tasks
Focusing on stress relief can also free up the energy your staff needs to care for patients and optimize their workflow. Here are a few ways you and your staff can manage stress at this time, based on recommendations by the CDC:
- Keep the amount of time you watch, read, or listen to news stories about the pandemic to a minimum, including social media
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and avoid drugs and alcohol
- Get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly
- Make time to relax, if you can, with self-care activities such as connecting with friends and family or reading a book
- Talk to people you trust if you feel overwhelmed and are concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your work and home life
For more recommendations, visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) comprehensive resource for anxiety and stress management.