playing games and having fun in the break room

How to Make Coming to Work FUN!

12/31/19 5:30 PM
Angel Carothers
Dental Front Office Team, Dental Team, Team Building

Is your team losing their energy? Showing signs of wear and tear? Showing up late or leaving early? It could be a lack of fun!

There is a growing epidemic of burnout across all industries and the dental industry is no exception. According to experts, organizational signs of burnout include:

  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Cynicism about work role
  • Loss of work motivation
  • Low morale
  • Resistance to go to work

These are just a few organizational signs that could be decreasing the performance of your employees and thus, your dental practice. However, nobody wakes up in the morning and chooses to be unhappy. In fact, one study revealed that over one-third (36 percent) of employees would give up $5000 just to be happier at work and another study found that workplace fun improves employees’ attitudes towards work, job satisfaction, and task performance, among other things.

Plus, experts have found that happiness is contagious, so if your employees are individually happy, this is likely to spread to your whole team.

So if you’re looking forward to lifting morale and increasing the productivity and livelihood of your dental staff, here are some great ideas to get started.

Keep Everyone on the Same Page

It can be difficult for staff members in the front to understand what’s going on in the back, and visa versa. While you can super-charge your front office staff, it is critical that everyone – from the receptionist to the janitor – understands the mission and vision of your practice. Having a shared mission and vision encourages camaraderie and inspires cooperation, no matter where they are.

Provide Flexible Hours

Research has found that flexible working hours allow employees to perform personal tasks they may be unable to perform if they’re in the office all day. This provides them with a better work-life balance which is increasingly important to today’s employees. Naturally, most dental employees aren’t able to work from home but staggering working hours or different days off gives them some flexibility.

Show Appreciation

It can be quite disheartening to work for a boss who doesn’t appreciate the things you do. However, experts have found that showing gratitude to those around you inspires connection and authenticity. From celebrating even the smallest things to a simple pat on the back, there are a number of ways you can show appreciation to your team.

Ask Them What Needs Fixing…And Fix It!

If employees are experiencing tedious systems that take too long or have outdated equipment, it can be frustrating. Be sure your staff has everything they need to complete their jobs well.

Play Games

playing games and having fun in the break room

The dental team in the break room attempting to complete a puzzle.

It doesn’t have to be basketball (although it could be), but games have team-building effects. Thus, incorporating fun games is a great way to pull people together and break up the hum-drum of the day’s work. Whether it be a softball team, bowling, or a puzzle set up in the break room, games are a great way to create connections and have fun.


Your office decor is likely intended to ease anxiety in patients but what about your employees? The research found, for example, that a handful of houseplants reduced stress among office workers and different colors have different psychological effects. A few accents or extra shelves can make a big impact on your staff’s work environment.


Aside from a potential 150 percent return on investment, providing food for employees increases their energy level while also making them feel appreciated. Having a well-stocked snack stash is an inexpensive yet effective way to ensure your staff feels valued. You can consider such ideas as “Pizza Fridays” or doing a potluck where you provide the cake for an employee’s birthday.

Listen…Really Listen

Everyone is unique with different challenges and milestones. When you get to know your staff on a personal level, you can ask them relevant questions about what’s going on in their lives and then actively listen to how they’re doing. This not only makes them feel appreciated, but also helps you to understand what – if anything – they may need.

Team Meetings

A morning huddle can be a powerful way to start the day on the right foot. Create a sense of cohesion by reiterating the vision and mission of your practice. Then, check in to see if any of your staff have concerns or needs that need to be met. These meetings can be as short as five minutes or as long as 30 but ensure smartphones are turned off and everyone is involved for the best results.

Team Activities

dental team volunteering together for fun

The dental team is volunteering for their community.

Team-building is a critical aspect of having a successful staff. There are certainly plenty of options available for weekend team-building getaways, but it doesn’t have to be that complex. A happy-hour dinner or simple fun activities can inspire fun, provide exercise, and create a sense of connection among everyone. Even volunteering together at a local event can increase your exposure in the community, while also providing the opportunity for your staff to work together.

Offer Continued Education

While you may be perfectly happy with the staff you have, your staff members may be seeking to evolve in their dental careers. Perhaps a receptionist wants to become a hygienist or your hygienist wants to become a pediatric dentist. There are also frequent technology upgrades available to streamline the way things work. However, they require additional training for the front office staff. Find out what their ambitions are and provide opportunities for them to reach their goals.

Celebrate Milestones

Whether it’s a graduation, wedding, childbirth, or new home, when you share in a celebration of a staff member’s milestone, it shows them that you and their colleagues truly care. Further, it encourages them to share the things that matter most to them personally.

Learn More About Making Work Fun

Not everyone gets along all of the time. Thus, incorporating some of these practices will improve the morale, productivity, and cohesion of your dental staff. Next Level Practice has many additional tools that can be used to strengthen your staff by providing training and tools that help create a more cohesive team. Contact us today to find out about the many ways we can help you and your staff connect and grow together.