GEORGIA EDITION  •  Newsletter  •  Issue 2, 2023

Dear Subscriber:

Here is the latest update from the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, with curated content to help veterinary professionals focus on their wellbeing. Subscribers receive this resource in addition to complimentary access to Listeners On Call.

If you have questions or comments on the newsletter, the service from Listeners On Call, or the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, you may contact Dr. Keri Riddick, CEO of Georgia VMA, at, or Adrian Hochstadt, VMAE CEO, at

To view a video on the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, click here.

Navigating a flood of thoughts

A rush of clients in the new year and the cold winter weather can be challenging for veterinarians, making it difficult to remember the good times that make the job worth doing.

In their article this month, the Listeners On Call team offers advice to help veterinary professionals deal with the challenges of the new year. Setting clear boundaries with patience for areas where we need growth and reframing our thought processes to focus on successes can help us make it through during overwhelming periods.

“Our expectations for where our practice can and should be are allowed to shift,” the Listeners On Call team writes. “Our personal goals are allowed to be in flux, and success is not always a straight line.”

Read the full article from Listeners On Call here.

For real workplace improvements, focus on systems rather than individuals

Workplaces tend to address problems on the individual level—through measures like mental health apps or breaktime yoga sessions—even though these problems are more often systemic, researcher Ludmila N. Praslova writes in Harvard Business Review.

Praslova suggests five ways for workplaces to challenge the natural tendency to focus on individual-level solutions rather than systemic ones:

Diversify leadership with people who grew up without socioeconomic privilege, in non-Western cultural environments or who are neurodivergent.

Integrate contextual thinking into forms and procedures. This will help focus on what can be changed about situations—for example, eliminating workplace stressors—rather than what can be changed about individuals—for example, by only giving them mental health apps.

Address stress by alleviating unnecessary time pressure, multitasking and other factors that could cause leaders to take mental shortcuts and revert to biases while ignoring contextual issues.

Invite broad input from customer service and frontline supervisors, as well as other team members who see organizational life from different perspectives.

Appoint a systems champion who can remind leadership to take a systems-focused approach, rather than an individual-focused approach, to workplace improvements.

Read the full article in Harvard Business Review.

Structural support is vital for employee wellbeing, experts say

While workplace leaders have taken greater interest in their employees’ wellbeing since the pandemic, experts say there’s limited rigorous research on which of the interventions they’re trying actually work.

“There is little ‘gold standard’ evidence with randomized control trials,” said Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an economist at Oxford University. “There is one piece of really good evidence: You can’t yoga your way out of these more structural issues underpinning mental and physical health.

“That’s not to say mindfulness is a bad thing, but it’s not addressing the main structural causes,” De Neve added.

He pointed to research showing the importance for wellbeing of strong workplace social networks, supportive teams, mentoring, individual autonomy, flexibility and a sense of purpose.

A recent survey by the Britain’s Healthiest Workplace initiative suggests employees who are able to adopt hybrid working patterns—balancing their time between office and home—have the highest levels of job satisfaction and the lowest levels of presenteeism and absenteeism, The Financial Times reports. The least productive were those required to be away from home in workplaces other than an office, such as a factory or retail outlet.

According to Cary Cooper, professor of organizational psychology at Alliance Manchester Business School and co-founder of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing at Work, companies should give equal weight to “people skills” and emotional intelligence alongside technical skills when recruiting or promoting line managers.

Cooper also said employers should appoint a non-executive director and a senior executive responsible for health and wellbeing, and they should introduce regular surveys and reporting to measure effects on the workforce.

Read the full article from The Financial Times.

What can organizations do right now to start improving worker wellbeing?

Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, chief medical officer at the International WELL Building Institute, offers advice in Quartz for employers to begin supporting their workers’ wellbeing.

Provide health services and support programs to address everyone’s needs. Trowbridge suggests implementing communication and education strategies to promote available wellbeing policies and programs. Those programs could be things like paid sick leave, family care, stress management tools, fitness classes and other health care benefits.

Take steps to achieve company goals for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility for all employees. “Taking actions can start from conducting DEI assessments, taking inventory of your underrepresented groups and implementing inclusive workplace programs that engage all employees including people of color, individuals who are LGBTQIA+ and/or neurodivergent,” Trowbridge writes.

Use employee feedback to improve the workplace. “Employee surveys on their perceived health, wellbeing and satisfaction with their environment, stakeholder interviews and observations help organizations understand the needs of their stakeholders and create plans to support action and accountability,” according to Trowbridge.

Allocate executive-level resources to employee wellbeing. Whether it’s a chief medical officer, chief wellbeing officer or chief DEI officer, these roles are becoming more common and necessary, Trowbridge says—and it’s important they have tools and resources to effect change.

Read the full article in Quartz.

How to create an ‘antitoxic’ workplace

Leaders who want to eliminate toxic elements of their workplace culture should strive to create an “antitoxic” environment, says positive psychologist instructor and researcher Tamara Myles.

“’Antitoxic’ describes workplaces that actively fight toxicity while creating cultures of radical inclusivity, respect, integrity, collaboration and fulfillment,” Myles writes in Fast Company.

 She offers three steps to help leaders create an antitoxic workplace:

Weed out toxic behavior. Consider your workplace culture: Are results prioritized over relationships? Myles suggests coaching employees who need to “detox” their behaviors and clarifying the organization’s values and associated behaviors.

Build a culture of thriving. Help employees understand the value of their work to the organization, create a sense of community, and provide challenges to encourage employee growth.

Track and report progress. Employees must have an open line of communication to share anonymous feedback, Myles says. Leaders should also watch external review sites like Glassdoor and Fishbowl to get an idea of how employees view the workplace culture.

Read the full article in Fast Company.

Half of Gen Z workers feel burnout at least once a week, survey finds

Half of Generation Z professionals feel burnout at least weekly, according to a new survey by the Mary Christie Institute. The survey asked just over 1,000 recent college graduates between 22 and 28 years old about their mental health and working life.

Fifty-three percent of respondents said they experienced burnout at their jobs at least once a week. (The survey defined burnout as “a state of prolonged physical and psychological exhaustion, which is perceived as related to the person’s work.”)

This group was more likely to say they wanted to leave their job within the next year compared to participants overall (42% versus 32%).

About 43% of respondents said they had anxiety and 31% said they had depression.

According to the survey, mental health challenges may be linked in part to financial stress. Participants may also face barriers to accessing or paying for mental health services.

Most respondents felt mental health was a priority at their workplace, and 46% agreed that open discussion about mental wellbeing is encouraged at their jobs. But nearly 25% disagreed.

“These findings should encourage leaders in higher education and the workforce to see each other as partners in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young professionals,” said Lynn Pasquerella, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and a partner on the survey.

On a more positive note, three quarters of the survey respondents said they felt optimistic about their futures, and nearly as many said they “lead a purposeful and meaningful life.”

Read more in The Hill.

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