Employee Wellbeing in schools
As any employer you will have a duty of care to your employees. Most schools will have physical health and safety policies, which mainly cover their employees physical wellbeing whilst they are in school, but what about their mental wellbeing?
Employee Wellbeing should be a priority in the workplace. It translates directly into financial losses for schools if it is not addressed – Absence from stress related illness in 2013 for non-manual workers amounted to 15.2 million days which relates to 4.5% of the GDP lost. (Annual absence management survey, People Management). Which has a huge impact on organisations both large and small. In individual terms, sickness absence costs an average of £554 per person per year (CIPD).
Bolting on mindfulness programmes is not enough. With the ever increasing demands being placed on teachers reducing the risk of stress related absence relies on effective day to day management and support.
The Health and Safety Executive have produced a number of Management Standards which cover the primary sources of stress at work that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health and wellbeing, lower productivity and increased sickness absence. These are:
- Demands – workload, work patterns and the work environment.
- Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work.
- Support – the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues.
- Relationships – promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
- Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles.
- Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated within the organisation.
The School’s performance on wellbeing and stress management should be assessed in the context of these HSE Management Standards.
Consider implementing a wellbeing policy, which expands upon the School’s Health and Safety policy, setting out how the School promotes the wellbeing of employees by:
- Creating a working environment where potential work-related stressors as far as practicable are avoided, minimised or mitigated through good management practices, effective Human Resources policies and staff development.
- Increasing managers’ and employees’ awareness of the causes and effects of stress.
- Developing a culture that is open and supportive of people experiencing stress or other forms of mental ill-health.
- Developing the competence of managers through the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours framework, so that they manage staff effectively and fairly.
- Engaging with staff to create constructive and effective working partnerships both within teams and across the School.
- Establishing working arrangements whereby employees feel they are able to maintain an appropriate work life balance.
- Encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing through effective health promotion programmes and initiatives.
- Encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own work and effectiveness as a means of reducing their own stress and that of their colleagues.
Wellness programs in the workforce have taken a leading role in helping people maintain healthy lifestyles. A well-developed employee wellness program provides individuals with an integrated approach to improving their health, creates an environment that reduces exposure to health threats, and incorporates health promotion into the culture of the school. We believe that by keeping school employees healthy, the school will benefit from higher quality teaching, better outcomes for your pupils and lower costs.
Make wellness part of the school’s culture. Creating a healthier workplace can be a challenge. These steps are keys to success:
- Top management should prominently proclaim that health is an important value and responsibility for the school and its employees.
- Hold managers at all levels accountable for modelling health work practices and facilitating a healthy work setting.
- Implement and enforce policies that support healthy practices and reduce stress.
- Provide opportunities for exercise during breaks, and before and after work, such as a walking or jogging path and lunchtime walking or running groups.
- Thoroughly orient new employees to all aspects of the wellness program.
If you would like to talk to us and learn more about Employee Wellbeing, please feel free to contact us on +44 (0) 1844 216290