The principles of staff wellbeing seem to be at the very heart of our employer’s relationship with its employees – or so we are led to believe.
The Wellbeing Fair encourages us to get fit, take time out, adopt stress reduction strategies, but there is one fundamental here that we should all remember.
Taking personal responsibility for one’s own health is laudable, and clearly is something that we all have a vested interest in, but this approach CANNOT be seen as a proxy for the employer taking responsibility for the circumstances and situations that are often at the root of some of these problems.
The biggest single issue in the sector is workplace stress, and it is incumbent upon your employer to make sure that its workforce is properly supported to minimise the causes of stress. That DOESN’T mean telling you to “calm down”, “take a chill pill” or suggesting that you are in some way part of the problem because of your inability to cope.
As we continue to endure the consequences of the Bradford Excellence Programme, that means properly managing significant and far-reaching changes through the application of its own union approved Organisational Change Policy and Stress Management Policy; these are absolute responsibilities of the employer that it would appear seem to be taken as optional dependent upon circumstances.
This is high level stuff but by sticking to these basic and agreed rules the Institution would send a signal that our raison d’être is to support a culture that actively contributes to employee wellbeing. Perhaps then we would not see instances such as the following!
In a supreme paradox, the January meeting of the Faculty of Life Sciences Safety Panel was scheduled for 12 noon to 1:30 pm, which some of you might recognise as the contracted period for lunchtime.
Clearly there are times when a meeting has to take place urgently, and lunchtime might have to be sacrificed, but when pre-planned regular meetings are scheduled to take place over the whole of the lunch period, it might be suggested that workload limits are clearly being breached. Moreover, it is fundamentally unfair to place employees in such a position where they have to make a choice. Some of us will stand up for our rights, but others may well feel that to do so would be perceived as petty, or be concerned that by declining they may in some way miss out or be disadvantaged.
It would appear then that lunchtimes are a moveable and/or disposable feast (pardon the pun) that remains within the gift of our employer. So much for wellbeing!