The Business Case for Workplace Wellbeing at PD Ceramics Ltd – Why it Matters. 

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‘National Workplace Wellbeing Day’ is taking place on Friday, April 26th, 2024, and this is our third year of embracing this extremely important day for the team within the business. We are registered, have you? This year it is all about embracing the spirit of kindness with “Acts of Kindness” and we do that in simple ways ourselves on a day in the lab. Small, thoughtful gestures that include an apple tart or a bun, to a cup of tea being made for you during the workday can make all the difference to a team member. 

When you see the word ‘business’ must people’s minds jump to thinking about the bottom line, productivity, deadlines, issues etc and these often shout louder than wellbeing in the workplace. Post-Covid globally, things have changed dramatically for how people are working, and especially as the landscape varies from onsite, to fully remote or hybrid working. However, in a busy dental laboratory setting, being onsite as a manufacturing company is key to the daily outcomes for the business for our team. It is difficult to work offsite and maybe that is a blessing for teams in the dental sector as we remain more physically connected as teams to make small daily changes. Dentistry as an industry sector where precision and attention to detail are crucial has an overall onsite presence when it comes to it teams’ dynamic be it in a dental practice or dental laboratory, so it should be easier to create a healthy workplace. Whether you are an individual employee, manager or business owner, being connected is the starting point to bringing wellbeing to the team. Often the bottom line is the means for finding the time and resources for wellbeing initiatives, so we decided to include it as a key part of the business case and it unlocked value for us all along the way. 

In this diary entry, we delve into the business case for prioritising workplace wellbeing at PD Ceramics Ltd dental laboratory, whilst aligning its value for the future in terms of sustainability for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. This can help create a better experience for all the stakeholders involved and the business success.

Workplace Wellbeing Post-Covid 

Pre-covid and speaking with many dental laboratory owners and managers at various conferences and events, wellbeing was the last thing on their list due to the way dental technicians have traditionally worked. Long hours spent on the bench, missing even key family and friends’ events just to make sure that they did not let their customers down was the norm. Therefore, how could they even imagine recognising and implementing changes around wellbeing for their teams. However, as the sector has digitised and in more progressive dental practices and dental laboratories, digitally transformed, these strategic improvements to support their customers have also given way to removing or lowering the barriers for time and focus to be given to wellbeing. We experienced this. As a business owner, Paul removed one of the barriers in 2022 that led to significant changes in the lab, which was the rigid 5-day work week that often led to overtime on days and weekends.

The tools and technology have allowed for better productivity hacks, but I am sure that I am not alone in saying that the biggest challenge for most of us in the sector is securing stability and consistency with the people in our organisations. As a leading Guaranteed Irish dental laboratory committed to improving excellence in both our craftsmanship and overall care for our employees, we recognised the profound impact that workplace wellbeing has on our team’s performance. Since moving our production team to a 4-Day manufacturing week in May 2022 we have more time to plan change together. It was our first attempt at bringing a form of workplace wellbeing to the company and this was done in line with the refurbishment of the lab for a better workplace environment. We can safely look back and see that improvements in both areas have changed a lot in terms of the way we service our customers. 

Workplace Wellbeing 2022 – Lab Renovation & 4-Day Working Week

Enhancing Employee Engagement and Productivity 

At the heart of the dental laboratory are our employees. A workforce that feels valued, supported, and motivated is essential for driving positive outcomes for our customers, efficiency, and business success. By taking the “we’ll talk about that later” attitude to wellbeing out of the equation and making it key priority for the business we could act. We have been investing in workplace wellbeing initiatives since 2022, such as the 4-Day working week and the laboratory renovations where ergonomic workstations and regular movement were facilitated with the new layout of the workspace onsite. In 2023 we had our first offsite fully dedicated ‘National Workplace Wellbeing Day’ event at SCCUL Sancturary where we are returning to again this year. This was a fantastic event, and we cannot recommend the team there enough for wellbeing events in general.

National Workplace Wellbeing Day 2023 – SCCUL Sanctuary

Like any other dental laboratory, PD Ceramics Ltd is busy and our dental technicians need to focus on one intricate procedure at a time, and this requires meticulous attention to detail and maintaining important levels of concentration and cognitive function are imperative. Being seated for long periods is something we have addressed in our wellbeing days with the support of a registered physiotherapist, Thai Chi movement, yoga and education in a serene setting like SCCUL Sanctuary. The goal of empowering our team to perform at their best to deliver exceptional results consistently does not happen instantly. Education around wellbeing elevates understanding also. It takes time and effort, but more importantly consistency in the team too. We have found that to be the most challenging part of bringing a balance to wellbeing to the business.

National Workplace Wellbeing Day 2024 – SCCUL Sanctuary

Along with this, since January 2024, we have brought self-leadership LIFT Ireland Roundtables to the team, not only to foster a positive work culture in the dental laboratory. This has also enhanced employee engagement and productivity with LIFT values. We also launched this in Trinity College Dublin with one of LIFT Ireland’s founders, Joanne Hession and Bernadette Ffrench who volunteers as a LIFT Ireland Facilitator for the dental sector, alongside Bevin Mahon, CEO Dentaltech to embrace this wonderful resource for our dedicated dental workforce nationwide. 

LIFT Ireland – PD Ceramics Ltd 2024

You cannot prioritise workplace wellbeing if you are constantly firefighting and there is no time for it due to stress of staff changes. However, minor interventions and openly focusing on the language around wellbeing for an onsite team has been fundamental for us in the lab. Change however, no matter how simple brings uncertainty and leaders need to bridge the gap with clear communication about it so the team can find the “how does this affect me” very quickly and not be left wondering. Aligning this to support the business for the future, for all the stakeholders involved is what we see is having a positive impact for the lab. Systems and process changes are easier to visualise and measure to bring about changes but when we implemented workplace wellbeing in the lab it needed clear objectives and planning as a team. Measuring its impact is an evolving process and a broad topic that touches on productivity, recruitment and retention in our business based on experience to date. 

Driving Sustainable Growth and Reputation 

We have been extremely fortunate as a dental laboratory to have gained amazing resources from doing the Mentors Work programme last year and one area that we have yet to formalise a plan on is ‘Green for Business’. This programme with the support of our Local Enterprise Office, Galway was essential to meet today’s socially conscious landscape for businesses wishing to operate with a sense of responsibility towards the environment and their communities. By incorporating sustainability, we look to the economic, social and governance (ESG) principles in our business model to bring sustainable development that can pave the way for us to become socially responsible as leader within the dental sector in Ireland. As a business leader, we must find a way to connect daily activities around the long-term goals not just of the business, but for our environment. Focusing inside the organisation by prioritising workplace wellbeing aligns seamlessly with ESG objectives for our team. From promoting diversity and inclusion within our team to communicating the vision and responsibility to address how we can benefit from being sustainable in our work practices and core functions for a more sustainable and equitable future is key for all connected to our business. By completing ‘Green for Business’ we now have metrics from the business in terms of our environmental footprint to look at energy-efficient practices for driving sustainable growth. 

Green for Business – PD Ceramics Ltd 2024

Empowering Customers Through Better Experiences 

A commitment and dedication to exceeding customer expectations and delivering unparalleled service is one the main focus of the dental laboratory in 2024. By prioritising workplace wellbeing since 2022, we can see through certain metrics that we have enhanced the quality of work produced but are now able to elevate the overall customer experience. The return on investment brought out interesting facts on the growth that has since happened in the lab. This project will continue help us determine how and where we need to make improvements also. We can focus our lens on certain areas of the lab and support the wellbeing of individuals in those roles through technology, education, and training. Whilst we are a B2B products and service provider, we are hugely aware of how we can improve how our customers patients receive dental restorations crafted with precision and care. Building consistency through communication is essential between the dentists and dental technicians to achieve this and avoiding stressful situations for both ensures that the right results are achieved for patients. Early involvement in a case development where small tweaks can make all the difference involves employees also understanding the impact of us getting a case wrong. Feedback from our customers and within the team is a proactive way to support each other. We also want dental patients to know that their oral health is in capable hands when it comes to the manufacturing of their dental restorations at PD Ceramics Ltd.  

Guaranteed Irish Dental Laboratory 2023

Continued Investment 

As we continue to invest in our team’s wellbeing, we constantly invite our customers to join us on this journey towards excellence by working on feedback and showing them that we are making changes that should show better results. By choosing our services, you are giving us the opportunity to improve, and this allow us to master producing top-tier dental restorative solutions. Together, we can shape a brighter future for the dental sector, one that prioritises both professional excellence and the most important factor, human wellbeing that benefits us all. 

Conclusion: Join Us in Prioritising Workplace Wellbeing 

Workplace wellbeing is not just a moral imperative; it is a strategic business decision that drives supports the individual team members, the owners and business leaders. Improving performance, mitigating risks, and enhancing our reputation as a socially responsible leader in the dental sector are other great benefits for us all. Does wellbeing matter for the business case? Absolutely! We have been testing it and 3 years on we know that by investing in our team’s wellbeing and incorporating ESG principles into our operations, we have not only created a positive work culture but also have improved our offerings to our customers through better experiences and outcomes. We still have a lot to do and keeping that in focus is something every business needs to prioritise. As we continue to prioritise workplace wellbeing, we invite our customers to join us in our commitment to excellence and social responsibility. Together, we can redefine industry standards and create a more inclusive, sustainable, and ethical future for the dental sector. 

Ready to experience the difference that workplace wellbeing makes? Join us in prioritising workplace wellbeing and shaping a brighter future for the dental sector by:  

Registering for ‘National Workplace Wellbeing Day 2024’ – Here 

Registering for a LIFT Ireland Roundtable: – Here 

Jacqueline Ffrench

Business Development Leader

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