Guidance for Head Teachers
As a manager, you play an important role in supporting your team’s mental and physical health and wellbeing. Among many other roles, you can influence:
- Team motivation
- Workload distribution
- Support with relationships in and out of the team
- A positive working environment
- A positive working culture
- Supporting the team through change
- Leading by example with your own self-care
All of which have an influence on staff wellbeing. Employees are much more likely to get involved in wellness activities if they see that their manager is doing so (and are more likely to work late if their managers do). In fact, the central part of a manager’s role is to stimulate constructive change and maintain a supportive environment. If the workforce is demotivated, stressed, burnt-out and not building positive relationships, the team’s productivity and efficiency will suffer as a result.
So what can you do? Where do you start?
First thing to do is understand if there are any wellbeing issues affecting your team. For example, are they dealing with constant queries or complaints from the public? What are the physicalities of the job – are they sitting or standing for long periods, doing manual labour, driving? Are they tending to work long hours, sending emails late at night or at weekends? Every team is different so taking the time to understand this is important.
- Ask staff what positively and negatively impacts their wellbeing, what is working well already and what big and small changes could be made which would have a more positive impact.
- Feedback to staff about what you will do (even if it is something you can’t influence, who can you speak to) and being honest about what you can’t change. Make sure you give timescales and you stick to these.
- Speak to your team about their working patterns, are they tending to start early, finish late, are they working through lunch, are they sending emails or online late at night?
- Send out a health and wellbeing survey to look at staff’s baseline health and wellbeing and also identify areas which may need further work (speak to the Health & Wellbeing Team). To get the best response, get staff to complete this as part of a meeting.
- Find out if your Department or Service have a Wellbeing Action Plan and look at how you can help deliver actions within it which will also support your team.
- Analyse sickness absence, accident reporting and occ health referral data to identify the main area/s of concern. (HR can provide further support with this).
- If stress is a concern, undertake Individual Stress Assessments (ISAs) with each team member to identify the cause of stress
Once you know what the issues are you can work with your team to come up with solutions that aim to support the team and minimise any wellbeing concerns. Put these actions into a Wellbeing Action Plan and agree with your team. Link to any existing action plans.
Also make sure you link your action plan into your business plan so that your team see that you are taking wellbeing and the action plan seriously.
Consider in which other documents your action plan needs to be mentioned – e.g. safe systems of work.
As mentioned before, each team is different. However, there are some standard actions that all teams can do (included in the Wellbeing Action Plan template). These include:
- Recruit a Health & Wellbeing Champion
- Manager to give clear support to staff to get involved in any activities and events and clear support to the Champion to fulfil their role
- Communicate health & wellbeing information and support available (through Champions, Team Meetings, 1:1s)
- Give time for staff to undertake health and wellbeing e-learning g. personal resilience and attend h&w training e.g mental health awareness and attend events e.g. health checks
- Create a Wellbeing Charter
Other examples could include:
- Ensure all office staff have completed a DSE assessment and have the appropriate equipment
- Ensure all staff have access to a suitable area to eat their lunch away from their desk
- Start a stretch/warm-up session at the beginning of each working day
As well as considering what you might need to do as a team, it is also important to reflect on what you do well yourself and where you could make improvements when it comes to managing your team.
This could include:
- Praising more often – 70% of staff in a recent survey indicated staff morale would be better if their manager said thank you more often.
- Upskilling your health and wellbeing knowledge – look at the Learning & Development section to see what courses are available.
- Putting wellbeing at the top of team meeting agendas, 1:1s etc.
- Think outside the box – think of different ways to engage and reward your team
- Leading by example – demonstrate good practice on self-care and your team will follow e.g. not sending emails or being online late at night, not putting meetings over lunch time etc. You will be in a better state physically, emotionally and mentally to be able to lead your team effectively.
- Follow our Employee Wellbeing Flow Chart if any team members have raised health & wellbeing concerns.
Need further information or support?
If you would like further support for your team’s health and wellbeing (e.g. helping to determine actions, further advice on the above or having a Health & Wellbeing Coordinator attend your team meeting) then please contact the Health and Wellbeing Team.
Page updated: 08/12/2020 12:40:52