many teachers and lecturers will now be spending more time in front of a screen than before
Here’s how you can help look after their wellbeing...
From primary school children to university students, there's many people across the country who have been learning from home for almost a month (although it might feel like longer!). This can be a challenge for the children, but also teachers and lecturers.
Although education staff might have experienced teaching from home on and off over the last year, many still won't be used to the effects it might have. From spending their day in front of a screen to looking after their own mental wellbeing when working from home.
Your lecturer and teacher wellbeing is important for their own health, but it can also have an impact on their students welfare and also on your staff retention. Here's our top tips on how to look after the wellbeing of your education employees:
Help your teachers adapt to new technology:
We’ve all been having to make some changes to how we live and work, from online quizzes or family game nights over Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype. Many of us have become dab hands at video calls. But going from in person classes, with whiteboards, pens and students in the room to virtual lessons can be tricky.
Make sure your teachers are all fully comfortable with any tech they need to run their lessons, especially the software they’re using to teach. You could try running sessions to help them adapt, share best practices on managing a virtual classroom or have drop-in sessions where they can address any problems they might be having.
Try to also keep on top of, and give them access to, any new technology that could help, whether that’s tablets that can help them write on a virtual whiteboard or secondary screens so they can have a PowerPoint on one screen and their video conference software on another.
Look after their digital wellbeing:
Many lecturers and teachers might be used to spending their days moving between classrooms and lecturer halls, but now they’re spending most (if not all) of the day in front of a screen. Using a screen for too long without a break, or using equipment that hasn’t been set up correctly, has been linked to various health issues including backache, repetitive strain injury and vision problems.
Make sure you encourage your staff to take regular breaks away from their screen if they can as well as making sure their work area (whether it’s a kitchen table or desk in an office) is set up as best they can. If you need more advice, we recommend the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guide on Display Screen Equipment.
Make sure everyone stays connected:
We all need some level of socialisation to help us look after our mental health, and for most of us that can be a struggle currently. Having an informal team chat can help. From checking in with everyone in the morning, or sharing what’s working for them, a place for everyone to connect can help.
Make sure they’re looking after their own mental health:
In a study by HSE, 44% of all working days lost were caused by mental health problems including stress, anxiety, and depression. As well as affecting our ability to work, stress can also take a toll on our mental and physical health. Helping your teachers look after their mental health is important. Here’s just a few things you can recommend they try:
We all know that we should be getting enough exercise, but do you know why? It can help:
- Boost self esteem
- Improve mood
- Help you sleep
- Reduce your risk of stress and depression
Whether it’s following a HIIT work out online in the morning when you wake up, a brisk walk to break up the day or a yoga workout to help relax in the evening. Our Health and Wellbeing pack also has exercises you can do from home, you can download it here. Or you could look at offering a cycle to work scheme? Many of us won’t be commuting to work currently, but a bike is a great way to get active while being out in the fresh air.
Offering a cycle to work scheme helps you to promote a healthy lifestyle and allows your staff to get the bike they want while saving up to 48% in tax and NI contributions. From mountain bikes, electric cycle, or even a BMX, there’s plenty of choice and they’re affordable too! Employees can spread the cost of their bike over 12 to 18 months.
Making time for themselves:
We all need time for ourselves to help relax and destress from the working day. Try to encourage your teachers or lecturers to find a way to work their own personal time into the day. Whether it’s in the morning or evening.
When we’re working from home, we don’t have a physical separation from work so it can be difficult to separate ourselves from work. Encourage your employees not to check work texts or emails after working hours. Plus, if they have a separate room to work from then it’s a good idea to leave work equipment in there and close the door at the end of the day. But we know that not everyone has the space. Even just putting your laptop away somewhere you can’t see at the end of the day can be a good way to separate work from home life.
Make sure there’s someone they can talk to:
When we’re struggling it can be difficult to feel like we have someone to talk to, particularly when we’re in lockdown and we’re living through challenging times. Offering an employee assistance programme (EAP) can help.
An EAP gives your teachers and lecturers access to counselling with BACP-accredited counsellors, including face-to-face, over email or the phone 24/7 hours a day, 365 days a year. As well as giving your employees the mental health support they need, it can also help to create a culture that cares and breaks the stigma around talking about mental health.
How we can help:
We understand it isn’t always easy to know what employee benefits to offer your lecturers and teachers to support their wellbeing. If you want to learn more about the ways you can support your teams, and how they benefit, why not get in touch with our experts? They can help guide your through solutions and plans you can put in place to help your employee wellbeing.