The importance of improving wellbeing in the social care sector
According to a 2020 study by our friends at Perkbox, 79% of British adults in employment experience work-related stress. And the care sector is not immune to the problem. A survey by NHS Digital (2018/19) of 50,800 adult carers found that 60.6% reported feeling stressed.
One way to tackle workplace stress is to ensure you are doing all you can to support workplace wellbeing.
And while wellbeing starts with self-care – getting enough sleep, eating well and enjoying exercise, employers should be considering what they can do to improve workplace wellbeing too.
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Why is workplace wellbeing important?
Perkbox has said that 93% of UK employees faced new wellbeing challenges in 2020 – and each challenge has a serious effect on happiness. From that 93%, those employees said:
- Their emotional wellbeing has been negatively affected
- They feel burnout due to balancing work/life
- They feel lonelier and less connected to their colleagues
- Their financial wellbeing has been negatively impacted
Workplace wellbeing is not just beneficial for the emotional and mental health of each employee, but it makes business sense to engage in workplace wellbeing. Research by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, in collaboration with BT, found that workers are 13% more productive when happy.
And Wellbeing Teams, a start-up home care service that puts workplace wellbeing first, recently secured an Outstanding CQC rating thanks to their holistic approach.
In addition, A study by Mind found that 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.
Burnout – a hot topic for workplace wellbeing
Did you know that in 2019 the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised ‘burnout’ as an ‘occupational phenomenon’?
They describe burnout as ‘a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive or prolonged stress that can leave people feeling exhausted and unable to cope with the demands of life.’
What practical things can managers do to help improve workplace wellbeing?
Provide support for anxiety and depression
Before providing support for anxiety, it is important to recognise it as a real issue in the workplace. Anxiety can be triggered by countless sources. It could be related to taking on new responsibilities, a workplace dispute, issues at home or a traumatic event. While anxiety is sometimes hard to spot, being open about understanding anxiety should be totally visible to employees.
- Take the time to talk to and listen to employees. Organise regular one-to-ones to catch up and gather some insight. Make it clear that one-to-ones aren’t just about work, and that you are there to support emotionally.
- Does your team work remotely? Can you provide regular daily contact? Even if it’s a simple WhatsApp chat group or a quick call to check-in. Managing remote employees is tricky, and it can be difficult to gauge how someone is feeling. It’s time to embrace absolutely every communication channel you’ve got.
- Mental health support. Organise special days to focus on and recognise mental health awareness. Arrange workshops focusing on mental resilience to build up your team’s skills.
Find ways to be more social
Loneliness can affect all workers, but remote employees may be more at risk from loneliness. In their workplace wellbeing report, Perkbox found that 49% of remote employees rate their social wellbeing negatively.
- Can you arrange a weekly team meeting to get everyone together in the same space? If that’s not possible perhaps use video call software.
- Encourage employees to drop into the office regularly, even if it’s just for a cup of tea and a catch-up.
- Consider changing the ‘way things have always been done’. Try new ways of working. Would certain tasks benefit from employees working together instead of on their own remotely?
Encourage financial education
With British workers facing some of the lowest levels of financial literacy in the world and research suggesting that money is the biggest cause of stress for employed adults – financial education could be the key to increasing wellbeing in your workplace.
- Can you arrange free online classes or have an outside professional facilitate finance workshops?
- Ensure that payroll, mileage claims and expenses are calculated accurately and paid on time every month.
- Can you provide access to an employee assistance programme or to an independent financial advisor?
It’s easy for achievements to get missed, especially when employees work remotely. This increases feelings of isolation and has a negative impact on mood. That’s why it’s important to recognise the work of employees and show them how they fit into the business.
- Celebrate client feedback and ensure that messages are shared with the team
- Encourage employees to share positive experiences of working with each other
- Recognise employees who complete training programmes, attend workshops and develop skills
Want to know more about wellbeing in the workplace? Check out our comprehensive wellbeing knowledge hub.