Treat your employees as well as your patients

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Show employees you’re watching out for their health, too

In brief:

  • Working in a pharmacy can present additional health challenges for employees.
  • All retail workers experience stress during the holidays.
  • Create a healthier workplace to keep workers productive and happy.

Occupational issues


A pharmacy isn’t always a healthy place to work.

A CDC report about ergonomics in pharmacies highlighted issues that can lead to musculoskeletal disorders among employees.1

And we’re now heading into the holiday season, when stress rises for 70% of retail workers.2

To keep your staff performing productively, make their health one of your priorities.

Assess risks and devise solutions

Take a fresh look at your workplace to identify potential problems — and devise solutions.

For example, NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) noted that simply returning medications to stock can cause physical problems because of the forceful, repetitive pressure from opening prescription bottles.

Adjust workloads to give employees breaks from repetitive tasks, and look for better ways to complete them. (Note: Med sync helps since fewer patients fail to pick up their prescriptions.)

Look around the pharmacy and you may find simple solutions. For example, cleaning light fixtures can improve brightness and a padded mat can help workers who stand feel more comfortable.

If employees spend hours at a computer, ensure it is properly set up and that they take adequate breaks. The American Optometric Association recommends “20/20/20”3 (see graphic below). Also, provide large screens without glare, comfortably positioned for workers.


Source: American Optometric Association. Link

Treat employees like customers

Ask whether employees could benefit from products and services you offer patients. At this time of year, they should be protected with flu shots, and a bottle of sanitizer should always be nearby.

When was the last time employees measured their blood pressure or cholesterol, or took a glucose test? Could a shoe insert that you stock help employees who are on their feet all day?

Or, encourage your employees to take vitamins, supplements and/or probiotics. It may help them feel better. Also, if they have had a firsthand experience they can offer stronger recommendations to patients.

Promote good habits

Make wellness part of your workplace culture. For example, walking and stretching breaks during the workday can be a habit that everyone practices.


Keep healthy food handy as an option for staff members, especially as during the holiday season sweet treats full of sugar and fat are always around.

Finally, respect employees’ time and the pressures they may feel. Provide schedules that allow plenty of rest and work/life balance.

Although you may want to show your appreciation with a special lunch or dinner during the holiday season, think about shifting the timing by a month or two. In December employees may be swamped with family obligations. Show how thankful you are that they are on your team with an event in November or demonstrate your appreciation with lunch in January.

When your employees are healthy and happy, they’ll keep your business healthy, too.

1 “NIOSH Issues First Report on Ergonomics in Pharmacies,” American Pharmacists Association, June 5, 2018. LINK
2 “Seventy Percent of Employees Are Significantly More Stressed During the Holidays, Virgin Pulse Survey Finds,” Virgin Pulse, Dec. 17, 2014. LINK
3 “Computer-Related Eye Strain: How Pharmacists Can Protect Their Vision,” Jeannette Y. Wick, Pharmacy Times, April 11, 2014. LINK