At the end of 2020, Education Support published its Teacher Wellbeing Index, providing an important view of how teachers have coped during a year defined by crisis. Unsurprisingly, the results showed that stress levels rocketed, with a clear spike as teachers and pupils returned to the classroom.
The report revealed that 63% of education staff have considered leaving the profession, and while workload was given as the primary reason, 52% also reported personal mental health and wellbeing as a factor.
Education professionals also displayed much higher levels of depression than the general population, reporting large increases in symptoms of poor wellbeing, such as difficulty concentrating, insomnia and tearfulness.
Without the right support structures in place, and making them easily accessible, many staff may choose not to seek support, or with so many others around them experiencing similar symptoms, not even realise they need it.
Recommendations from the report highlight the need to acknowledge the links between policy decision, workplace culture and individual staff wellbeing, as well as developing a strategy to improve employee wellbeing that is targeted at each of these three levels.
Indeed, more organisations are recognising that looking after your employees’ health and wellbeing is a core enabler of employee engagement and, in turn, organisational performance. By investing in the wellbeing of your staff, you can recruit and retain the best talent, lower your absence costs, improve service quality, and provide a return on your investment.
In the aftermath of any traumatic event, the path to recovery is not linear and people experience a range of emotional responses at different stages. Something which is particularly true of those who have experienced trauma, of which 14% of those surveyed said they had.
For most people, the consequences of a disaster involve living with greater risk and uncertainty, but it can be ‘secondary stressors’ such as housing insecurity, financial difficulties, or loneliness, that push people over the coping threshold.
For recovery to be successful, employers need to take a ‘whole person’ view to wellbeing, that considers the impact of such personal concerns on employees. For this reason, many are turning to a holistic wellbeing approach to provide tailored support across all four key pillars of wellbeing; mental, physical, financial and social.
To support schools with delivering this support to their employees, Cantium has designed a new, holistic approach to employee wellbeing that provides you with insight into:
• Your current wellbeing strategy
• What your staff value
• What your organisation values
Taking this information to develop a comprehensive and holistic employee wellbeing programme will ensure your staff are supported in the best possible way. It is important for your new wellbeing strategy to be rolled out in a way that maximises uptake and has the biggest impact, meaning a tailored communication plan and engagement sessions are key.
Initiatives are tailored to your team’s specific needs across all four pillars of wellbeing. These could include Mental Health First Aid Training to provide staff with a deeper understanding of Mental Health and encourage open dialogue, to the introduction of a staff wellbeing group, and access to counselling sessions. Designated wellbeing weeks are also an excellent opportunity to encourage staff to participate in wellness events and benefit from incentives.
The options are endless, but the only way to know if your new employee wellbeing programme has worked is to review the outcomes. Feedback on your staff’s experience can drive a continual cycle of improvement and development that ensures your holistic employee wellbeing programme meets your staff’s ever- changing needs.
By investing in the wellbeing of our employees, a successful and sustainable recovery is within our grasp, with our teachers and support staff in the best possible health to enjoy the future, post- pandemic.
Get in touch with a member of Cantium’s Workplace Wellbeing Services Team for a no obligation consultation about your school’s wellbeing strategy.