For #WorldWellbeingWeek, Mark Topps looks at how you can encourage open conversations, conduct surveys and more, to support the mental health of your care staff.
This week is World Wellbeing Week, designed to raise awareness and provide us with knowledge, skills and tools to manage our own mental health and wellbeing.
Over the last couple of years, wellbeing awareness has been more prominent within social care, with many services putting steps into place to support the wellbeing of their care staff.
Wellbeing is often described as the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. People who have good levels wellbeing are often described as flourishing and have feelings of happiness, contentment and curiosity, and are able to fully engage with life around them.
Our overall wellbeing is made up of physical, mental and emotional health and therefore it’s important that we take care of our wellbeing in order to live a healthy life.
Social care is a giving role and we often want to please and support others before we take time for ourselves, however it’s essential that we put strategies into place for our teams to ensure they feel supported.
Many care providers have open door practices which is great but encouraging wellbeing conversations is something we all need to strive towards. If you notice that one of your team members is behaving out of character or there are concerns about someone’s wellbeing, it’s vital that you start a conversation with them to see how you can help.
It's all about developing a wellbeing culture where staff feel they’re in a comfortable, safe place, where they can trust who they’re speaking to and that there’s transparency and confidentiality.
Working in social care, there’s a culture of keeping our personal problems at the front door but this mindset needs to change. Everyone faces issues outside the workplace that will in no doubt impact performance. Having a culture that encourages your team members to discuss these problems will help them feel supported and valued.
Many organisations have started implementing wellbeing champions, members of the team look at how to improve communication, how to better support wellbeing in the workplace and to best gauge the needs of colleagues.
The best people to become champions are your frontline staff members. The changes they will implement will have the most widespread impact for your team and will help to embed a wellbeing culture.
If you don’t already have champions, ask your carers if they want to be involved and explain the benefits of the role.
It’s important to ask people what they think about wellbeing in your service and to act on any feedback given.
Before you send out a survey, think about what you want to achieve from this:
Knowing your goal will help you to ask the right questions. The survey should be kept brief – no more than ten questions – to ensure that you get a higher amount of people completing it. Try to us direct but open questions so that staff can give honest feedback and of course, keep it anonymous!
Use the results to gauge and understand changes that need to happen within your workplace to better support the wellbeing of your team.
It’s important to re-run surveys on a frequent basis but also to compare results as this will allow you to see if culture has changed. This will help ensure you’re continuously adapting and moving forward to meet people’s wellbeing.
Sharing the results of the survey and showing what steps have been taken are essential to making people feel supported and show that their opinions have been considered. You can do this through a 'you said, we did' format.
Wellbeing Week is an opportunity to take time to reflect on how we are looking after ourselves and our teams and what more we can do to further support our wellbeing.
Most importantly, make a pledge this week to support your own wellbeing.
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