Getting the work life balance right-Working as Veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Nurse post Covid.
In this article we will be discussing how attitudes have changed in the Veterinary profession to flexible working hours since lockdown and Covid, and the ideological pursuit of a happy and productive work life balance.
The Veterinary profession has always been a demanding one in terms of working hours and on call compared to other jobs such as office based roles. Of course the expansion of out of hours service providers such as Vets Now and MiNight have given Vet Surgeons and RVN’s their nights and weekends back in the main, and everyone has their own definition of a work life balance is and how they can achieve it-
Reports in the press estimate that the pandemic has accelerated trends in remote working by up to 25-30%. Covid and lockdowns have forced everyone to take time out of work and made a lot of the veterinary profession rethink how they want to work moving forward. With burnout at an all-time high with permanent staff members having to pick up the flack of recruitment shortages. Exacerbated further by the loss of migratory workers coming to the UK as a result of Brexit there has never been a better time to ensure you are giving yourself time to switch off from work.
As a specialist Veterinary Recruitment agency we are speaking to all the various staff of the profession every day- whether we are speaking to a Head Nurse or practice manager looking for a locum vet or permanent RVN. Or speaking to a vet or vet nurse looking for a new job we can often see subtle trends forming in what reasons people are giving us for the requirement. In recent years the over-riding feedback that we get from people is a better work life balance. This can be vets and nurses wanting to work part time, leave the profession 🙁 which is of course very sad to hear, or moving to industry and animal health roles. This last option is one that we have been championing for several years as it allows you to utilise your veterinary experience and apply it to a different part of the sector. Check out our Industry and animal health section of the jobs page for current listings.
As the sector is such a hands on one – home working is never going to catch on, but discussing and negotiating flexible and workable hours will only benefit everyone. This applies to employers and workers. We can often speak to vets who are just working too many hours every week and have been for several years. As much as busy practices need staff to cope with their clients, this is only going to go one way- burn out. We also appreciate that practices are often struggling to find replacement staff for when existing staff have left. And the lack of global vets coming from Europe and Australasia has further depleted the availability of locums- looking after your existing team has never been more important. Mentoring new staff – particularly junior team members although an essential part of the cycle of maintaining new blood in the industry, is time consuming and the loss of an experienced vet or nurse is twice as hard to replace.
Having monthly staff meetings and monthly or quarterly reviews with an emphasis on honest, positive (and negative) feedback from both sides can alleviate frustration and criticisms in their early stages. So often the first you hear is when they hand their notice in – we’ve all been there on one side or the other. With the unstoppable rise of globalisation and interconnectivity of the world employers need to be more aware and prepared than ever. There will be further discussions on this in coming blog posts.
We have listed the Vetlife helpline below who are there to provide support: