Aug 18

Workplace wellbeing – it starts with yourself

Posted: 30 August 2018

This month we’ve looked at how adult social care employers can improve the health and wellbeing of the people who live and work in their service.

Georgina Turner, Programme Head for Employer Engagement at Skills for Care, reflects on what she’s taken from the campaign and makes a final plea that we start taking wellbeing seriously – starting with yourself.

Throughout August we’ve heard from Skills for Care colleagues and adult social care employers about the importance of workplace wellbeing, not just for your staff but also for the people who use your service.

One of the key messages I took from the campaign is that a healthy workplace is much more than simply minimising risk.

As well as ensuring your health and safety checks and risk assessments are up to date, making time for meaningful activities that bring people together and focusing on the culture of your service has a positive impact on the way that everyone in your service feels about it.

This message seems fitting with the findings from the recently published Cigna report which found that the UK ranks fifth worst in the world for citizens reporting unmanageable stress – with a quarter of respondents saying that work was the reason for this stress.

We know that care work can be inherently stressful and in light of this report, it suggests that it’s time for employers to ‘step up’ and provide meaningful wellbeing programmes. After all, wellbeing at work = a happy and healthy service = better outcomes for everyone! We’re saying it, you’re saying it, the stats are saying it, Bobby McFerrin’s even saying it (sort of…).

Workplace culture to improve wellbeing

This month it was great to see the launch of our updated ‘Culture for care toolkit’.

Any effective health and wellbeing activities will only work if your workplace culture supports this – for example staff won’t achieve a healthy work-life balance if your culture encourages long shifts and lots of overtime! As they say, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’, so it’s vital that we get it right.

For some, culture is hard to quantify and therefore implement, but this toolkit cleverly balances up theory with practicality to explain what a positive workplace culture looks like and how you can achieve it.

Take time to look after yourself

From my own experience of been a manager and feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, I know I sometimes overlook my own wellbeing – and I’m sure there are lots of registered managers out there who do the same.

But as a manager, wellbeing should start with yourself – feeling good in yourself gives you the foundation and motivation to better support your workforce and the people in your service.

So if all of our talk about wellbeing is actually just stressing you out, then here’s my attempt to make amends.

If you’re a registered manager, I’d recommend checking out our ‘Wellbeing for registered managers: a practical survival guide’.

This guide was born out of our unending admiration for registered managers working across adult social care services, and we wanted to produce something that would convince the most selfless of people to put themselves first. It gives registered managers easy (and even fun) tips and recommendations to help you improve your own wellbeing at work. After all, we’ve all been there when someone’s mood, behaviours or attitudes can affect a whole team – so how you feel and act at work can have a big impact on how your team act and feel.

Start by doing something small

If you’re not sure where to start, Anne Wilson, Registered Manager at Riverview Residential Home, gave this piece of advice in her blog:

“We believe that small things add up to big differences – so a small step each day leads to a giant leap over years.”

Doing something, anything, to improve your wellbeing is inherently better than doing nothing, and the right way is the way that feels right for you. So if you take nothing from us this month other than permission to take some time to focus on yourself, I think we would all consider that to be a job well done.

Find out more

Find a round up of the month's activities here and see how we can help you improve health and wellbeing in your service. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter using #happyworkplace.