Education leaders have warned that 2017/18 will bring many financial challenges to schools with the pressure to cut budgets.

“Up to now schools might have been able to squeeze by using any reserves they may have accumulated, but any such reserves will now likely have gone. Some schools will be in severe deficit if they are in already poorly-funded areas.” Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders

So, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are maximising your resources and minimising your costs. One area that can be improved is wellbeing. Keeping staff healthy, productive and in school helps reduce occupational support and supply costs.

In the CIPD’s seventeenth national survey of absence it highlighted how important it is to focus on communicating wellbeing and enabling your managers to proactively encourage wellbeing. Over the last 12 months 64% reported to have improved communications about wellbeing to staff compared with 48% in 2015. The survey found that there had been a large increase in public sector organisations offering training such as mindfulness for staff, 46% compared with 26% in 2015. It all highlights that leadership teams are now recognising the benefits of improving wellbeing.

The survey found that the most effective methods for improving wellbeing and reducing absence were:

  • Utilising occupational health
  • Scheduling return to work interviews
  • Setting and monitoring triggers for absence
  • Upskilling and enabling line mangers to manage absence

The most common reason stated in the survey for increasing focus on wellbeing, within the public sector, was to lower absence. The public sector does remain the most active in terms of managing absence but it also has the highest absence rates of the sectors, so you can understand why people want to reduce absence.

Currently absence can cost a school £272,631 per year, based on an average secondary school with 200 staff and the average days of absence at 7.4, according to the CIPD survey*. To calculate your absence costs, use our savings calculator.

Focusing on wellbeing and monitoring absence could help you cut unnecessary costs quickly and promote a healthier more productive culture.

Here are our top tips to improve wellbeing:

  • Identify trends early across departments or dates so that you can proactively take steps to encourage wellbeing during these periods or in these areas.
  • Make accessing occupational support and counselling easy. Communicate to staff how they can flag when they have a need for some support.
  • Conduct a quick survey to see what areas staff feel they need support in, in order to improve wellbeing.
  • Make sure risk assessments are up-to-date.
  • Consider offering flu jabs for employees at this time of year and provide hand sanitizer across the site.
  • Offer training opportunities to upskill staff, rewarding with development opportunities can improve morale and wellbeing.
  • Consider holding on-site health checks to check cholesterol levels and blood pressure and/or flu jabs, we can help with this, just get in touch.
  • Provide wellbeing training on how to reduce stress, ask us for information on sessions available.
  • Put in place a wellbeing strategy or action plan.

If you need any help with any of the points above, please get in touch with our team. We can help provide wellbeing sessions, training and support including CBT, Counselling, Occupational Health and Mindfulness, just call 01924 827869. SAM can help reduce absences and improve wellbeing by automating triggers and identifying trends early. If you would like a free demo of SAM, just get in touch.



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