Happy employees are 13% more productive than their unhappy co-workers (University of Oxford Said Business School, 2019). Health care workers, in particular, face a wide range of health and wellness stressors. They are at high risk of burnout due to on the job demands, shift work and other risk factors. The World Health Organisation describes the characteristics of burnout as “feelings of intense fatigue, loss of control and an inability to produce concrete results at work”
In this current ‘new normal’ environment, stress levels have been heightened due to additional external pressures such as lockdowns, finances, health worries etc. It is now that employers have to ‘up their game’ and be extra vigilant around ensuring they are doing everything they can to reduce the risks staff face at work. If burnout is allowed to creep into your organisation affected staff will avoid interaction with service users, be irritable and call in sick, a lot.
As we know, working in care can be challenging at the best of times let alone with these additional pressures. What can happen if you don’t take staff wellness seriously? Well the biggest threat to your business is that they take out their frustrations on your clients! We have all heard the various horror stories in care as they have been well documented in the media.
Some of you may remember a time when you were under stress and the effect it had on those around you. For example, perhaps your child was playing up and you responded in an extra harsh tone of voice, or perhaps you returned home from work and were not quite as friendly as usual to your partner due to a ‘hectic’ day at the office. Similar repercussions of stress related issues play out in care services all over the world when staff are stressed out at work.
Ensuring that the wellness of your staff is taken seriously need not be expensive. In fact, in some cases it is little things that count and have a massive return on investment. Simple things such as remembering birthdays, providing mindfulness tools, signposting to services they can use when they are stressed out and acknowledging their achievements is really appreciated and improves positivity.
I remember a staff member once calling me to thank me for the birthday card she received. This was totally unexpected as we had a lot of staff and I did not actually remember her birthday. We actually used an automated birthday acknowledgment system built into our HR system, but she didn’t know nor care about how she got the birthday message from the company but was simply touched that the company cared enough to take the time to send her a card.
For those of you that would like to take it a step further please actively look for opportunities to make it really easy to signpost staff to the correct places when they are feeling stressed, and try to build staff wellness into your business practices. Look for tools that allow you to evidence how you take care of your staff. I assure you that both service users and staff will be thankful and it will result in a higher quality of care delivery for your organisation.
Staff are the cornerstone of your care service. Keeping them in good health will be an asset to your business and they will be more positive in their approach to work. Satisfied, engaged employees will continue to show up and deal with challenges head-on.
Staff burnout is associated with a multitude of problems such as hypertension and sleeplessness. So introducing innovative systems, such as online wellness platforms, will assist workers with recognising signs and symptoms to enable them to make decisions and lifestyle changes that will help them find strategies for improved work, life and family balance.
You may find these online tools below useful. If you would like to know more about how to implement effective online wellness programs in your workplace please do not hesitate to reach out and email me firstname.lastname@example.org
By Stephen Watson
Awarded ‘The Best Care Management Solution – England’ at the Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Awards 2019, hosted by Global Health and Pharma.
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