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Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds So, well-being is a sense of equilibrium. It’s a sense of feeling happy. It’s a sense of being able to thrive. It’s a sense of feeling in control of your life and a sense of being able to engage with activities that make you feel good. It’s really important for people to feel well and have that sense of well-being for them to be able to contribute to society to be part of a family to be able to contribute to the family I think it’s really important particularly if you’re an employee to be able to feel well. If you feel well you are absolutely more productive.

Skip to 0 minutes and 51 seconds I think one of the most prominent factors is the change in how we work in relation to a much more target driven and also I think with that comes pressure, with pressure comes stress, and with stress comes anxiety and depression, and I think people are very reluctant to tell colleagues or tell their managers they’re actually suffering from mental ill-health or not feeling as well as what they should be because there’s an embarrassment and stigma that still goes along with stress, anxiety and depression.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds People are much more happy to say I need a day off today through a physical illness rather than a psychological one because that’s much more socially acceptable and they don’t feel as if they’re putting as much pressure on their colleagues. In terms of presenteeism because people are ashamed or embarrassed to talk about the issues that they’ve got, they come to work, they’re not as productive, and therefore there’s more pressure on their colleagues to pick up where that person isn’t as productive what that’s what there might be.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds I think as an equal responsibility. So, we all have responsibility for ourselves in terms of being able to come into work and to be able to contribute and to get on with our daily tasks, so there’s something about our own responsibility in terms of being able to look after ourselves, but within that there’s a caveat that as employers we have a duty of care to our employees to make sure that the work environment is one which is positive, it doesn’t create too many pressures, that we’re aware of people’s workloads, that we’re aware of people around us and aware of our colleagues, and if somebody is struggling I do see it as an employer’s responsibility to say to that person how are you today, mean it, look that person in the eye and then perhaps you know have that conversation and that meaningful 10 minutes with somebody that actually you get to know what’s happening for that person.

Skip to 2 minutes and 46 seconds So it’s an equal responsibility so for the individual it’s something about being a look after themselves but as employers I think we have got a duty of care to ensure that actually we can provide time and space for our employees to be able to look after themselves whilst they’re at work.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds What we’ve seen is teachers leaving the profession. Now as a mental health practitioner, my concern is actually for those young people. We know that young people, 75 percent of mental ill-health is developed before the age of 24. 50 percent before the age of 15 and so for young people to have that consistent contact with somebody a teacher who they can relate to it might be that they’re having problems at home, but they can relate to their teachers having that meaningful somebody in their life that can make such an impact.

Skip to 3 minutes and 38 seconds So in terms of workload I think there’s something around there’s different workload models around, but I think we need a consistent approach to workload, so I think across the education sector there needs to be some approach to workload that takes account of all the admin duties that are associated with teaching. As teachers we love teaching, we love going into classrooms and teaching students, what we don’t love is all the additional administration and the ministers of work that goes along with that.

Skip to 4 minutes and 8 seconds It’s not tangible so it’s not accounted for in people’s workload, so there’s something about having a workload model across the education sector that takes account of everything that people do, and understanding actually if people are working over and above their hours if they are having to put in 60-70 hour a week, how that’s going to impact on their well-being how they feel about themselves, and then that’s how is that going to affect the students that they’re teaching and absolutely there’s a real issue in terms of staff stress, staff burnout, issues around workload.

Skip to 4 minutes and 41 seconds I think as a society, like I said before, we’re much more target driven we are much more beholden to our leaders in terms of what we are achieving in the hours that we’re in work, but also the expectations that you would deliver over and above and so it’s not just in education, certainly I see in the NHS and I’ve got friends and colleagues who work in finance and absolutely the same sorts of issues exist.

Expert interview: Wellbeing at work

We start this topic by interviewing Diane Phimister, lead for Mental Health at the Coventry University Group who talks about wellbeing in the modern workplace.

In particular, she addresses the following questions:

  • What is ‘wellbeing’?
  • Who holds responsibility for employee wellbeing, an individual or organisation?
  • How do you see the teacher recruitment and retention crisis as a mental health practitioner?

Your task

Feel free to comment on anything Diane has said that you feel to be particularly important to the topic of wellbeing at work.

Post your thoughts in the comments and ‘like’ or reply to posts you find useful or interesting.

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This video is from the free online course:

Wellbeing at Work: An Introduction

Coventry University