At this time of the year for most schools, there is a lot of focus on helping students prepare for their end of year exams. As the headteacher, you will also be aware of how the wellbeing of your staff plays a crucial part in a successful outcome for all concerned.
The challenges of the last two years will have taken their toll not only on the students but also on the teaching staff too. Energy levels may be a little lower than usual. In addition to their own challenges during the pandemic, school and teaching staff have had to deal with an ever-changing environment; home-schooling, online teaching, returning to school, navigating the ever-changing restrictions, continuing to teach and educate, and supporting students as they display uncertainty about their future.
If you’ve noticed changes in the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity of your staff it’s not too late to help pick up the pace by supporting the wellbeing of your school staff.
The wellbeing of your staff is always high on your agenda but now is a good time to step it up a gear and remind all staff that their wellbeing is just as important as that of the students. By implementing simple and effective strategies you can quickly see an increase in team engagement and creativity and start getting the most out of your most important asset. Lifting the mood amongst school staff will have a positive effect on students and help them to reach their full potential and feel more confident on exam days.
Benefits of a Staff Wellbeing Policy
Having staff wellbeing as an integral part of your school policy will go a long way toward improving the health and wellbeing of your staff. It will also help you to achieve:
- A reduction in absenteeism and presenteeism
- A reduction in recruitment, onboarding and training costs
- An increase in staff engagement
- An improvement in creativity and productivity of your teams
- promote staff loyalty.
In a study, six highly stressed teachers put some complementary therapies to the test. The results showed that foot reflexology had a large effect on anxiety and a medium effect on sleep. Here’s what deputy head Maria Blackburn had to say about her reflexology treatment.
“I’ve never been so relaxed. My brain was thinking about what was happening in my life, but nothing took over the way it would if you were really worried. My gut reaction is that I am calmer and that I manage everything better. I’m going back in the autumn to see if it helps with the winter blues.”
You can read the full article here.
Communication plays a vital part in every school. Talking to your staff will help you understand how to better support them and reduce stress at work. Part of the role of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) is to find out what the staff challenges are. The issues faced by all staff have changed significantly over the last two years.
The exam footprint is tweaked slightly every year, but the major changes during the pandemic will no doubt have had an effect on the confidence levels of teachers. When you’re able to understand and recognise what they need support with, you can start to put in place strategies to improve and maintain the wellbeing of your school staff.
In the corporate world, it makes good business sense to have a Workplace Wellness Policy, and the same applies to educational settings too.
5 Ways to Boost School Staff Wellbeing
- Support from the SLTs – This includes practical, ongoing support to address issues that have been raised during conversations and also leading by example.
- Look at work-loads – Where possible reduce unnecessary workloads, meetings and emails.
- Respect boundaries – Build a culture of respecting each other’s personal life. Have a policy of not sending unnecessary emails outside working hours. Encourage staff to use email scheduling tools which allow for emails they sent outside a colleagues’ working hours to arrive within their working hours. Consider not having email alerts on your mobile phone.
- Implement personal-focus sessions during inset days – Include wellbeing workshops in each inset day and encourage all staff to take part in at least one per school year. This will give them the opportunity to focus on themselves and highlight how they can easily include activities in their life that help them to support their health and wellbeing on a regular basis, long term.
- Late start – Working from home was successful for many schools during the lockdown. Where possible, give staff the option to arrive on-site a few hours later to enable them to do paperwork in the quietness of their home.
Your staff are the cornerstone of your school and their health and wellbeing are paramount to the stability, success and growth of your establishment and the pupils attending. These suggestions may not work for every school or every situation, but by looking at where you can implement strategies that promote the wellbeing of the staff you will be able to see where and how you can easily make positive changes for all.
I offer a selection of workshops which include individual hands-on therapies as part of my Wellbeing Workshops. My Improving Employees Mental Health workshop is ideal for inset days and teacher training events and can be reduced to a shorter day with 20 minutes sessions is needed.
All my group workshops can be adapted to accommodate larger numbers and run for 60-90 minutes. These workshops focus on establishing what each person can do to incorporate self-care and wellbeing into their daily routine to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Here’s what Sam had to say after his taster treatment…..
I was treated to a taster reflexology treatment, which was very relaxing. Using various massaging methods on specific points of my feet, it was amazing how effective the treatment was and Sharon certainly helped make deadline day a little less stressful.
If you would like to know more about how I can support you by including cost-effective wellbeing workshops into your inset days, please get in touch for a Clarity Call.
Sharon lives with her partner Geoff in Warwickshire and they have two adult children. She worked for over 25 years in an office environment, gaining qualifications to degree level in finance, business and management. While there Sharon witnessed and experienced many stressful situations and suffered illnesses that were stress-related.
Sharon was advised to make some changes to her lifestyle which included trying complementary therapies. After experiencing the benefits of complementary treatments, Sharon decided to retrain and share her knowledge and experiences to help others recognise and manage their own physical and emotional stress and anxiety levels.
Sharon has been working as a complementary therapist for over 15 years now, and she loves helping people manage and reduce their stress levels, to feel uplifted, focused, positive and empowered about their lives.