The International Week of Happiness at Work: Building A Positive and Happy Workplace Posted on 20 September 2021 by Amber Gravenell in General This week is the International Week of Happiness at Work. It goes without saying that happiness at work should consistently be a priority; not just this week! However, this week raises valuable awareness of the importance of employee happiness and is a gentle reminder for organisations to review their policies and assess the happiness, health, and wellbeing of their employees.Feeling happy and content goes hand in hand with positive mental health and wellbeing. For the average full-time employee, a large proportion of time is spend in the workplace. Therefore, it makes sense to prioritise employee happiness and create a positive culture in the workplace. If we are happy at work it inevitably trickles into our personal lives. The International Week of Happiness at Work initiative campaigns for all organisations to prioritise happiness at work. Ultimately, happy employees are less likely to leave and will remain satisfied and content in their position for a longer period ensuring employee retention. Happiness at Work within Kent-Teach‘Since working for Kent-Teach, my mental health and wellbeing has improved drastically. We operate on the premise that work is not a place and flexible working is implemented across the whole organisation. I no longer feel under pressure or overwhelmed by time constraints and unhealthy workloads. The option of working from home has benefited me greatly and has allowed me to have a positive work-life balance. This positive attitude towards mental health and wellbeing has meant I feel able to talk openly about my mental health and I know that there are multiple Mental Health First Aiders within the company who I can talk to if I need some support.’ – Amber‘Happiness at work for me is found in the moments when our team share their lives outside of work. Learning about the most important people or things going on in their worlds makes me feel connected to them and moves us from being just a group of strangers working together to a real team that cares.’ – Tash (Kent-Teach Wellbeing Advisor)‘I’m happy in my workplace because work fits around my life and responsibilities outside of work too. I get to drop my daughter off to school and collect her without feeling anxious about being late every day, this means that when I start the working day, I feel calm and rearing to go. The company enables me to feel guilt-free about prioritising family and therefore when I start work on a Monday, I always feel positive and confident about the week ahead.’ – Nikita (Kent-Teach Wellbeing Advisor)International Week of Happiness at Work in SchoolsUndeniably, teaching and school jobs are rewarding and invaluable careers. However, working in education can present pressures and stress. For example, in April 2021 it was revealed by the National Education Union that one in three teachers planned to quit teaching within the next 5 years. The prevalent reasons cited were workload and feeling as though respect for the profession was diminishing. At Kent-Teach, we are committed to recruiting the best staff for the schools in Kent and such statistics are a concern. Wellbeing is a priority for us (for our own staff and school staff!) and we offer a comprehensive wellbeing service with dedicated Wellbeing Advisors for schools in Kent. if you are concerned about staff wellbeing, recruitment and retention then do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can drop us an email using email@example.com and one of the team will respond to your query as soon as possible. International Week of Happiness at Work is an ideal time for school leaders to review current wellbeing policies and check in with staff to find out how they are feeling. We have a variety of support, resources and blogs available; below you will find a snapshot of our resources, blogs and available support.Support in Fulfilling the Commitments in the DFE Wellbeing CharterWith the publication of the DFE’s Wellbeing Charter, wellbeing should be taking centre stage with schools familiarising themselves with the charter and implementing strategies dedicated to staff wellbeing. Our Wellbeing Advisor, Nikita, recently published a blog outlining 5 key steps schools need to take to get started with the education staff wellbeing charter which is an ideal starting point for embedding wellbeing into the workplace. Moreover, we can offer schools comprehensive support covering all commitments featured on the Wellbeing Charter. Why not get in touch to find out how we can support you? Advice on Incorporating Wellbeing into Staff Inset DaysSchool staff understand the importance of Inset Days and recognise they are a vital development tool. Inset Days cover a range of areas from curriculum knowledge to safeguarding. But do your Inset Days include wellbeing? In her blog our Wellbeing Advisor, Tash, discusses 4 ways to include wellbeing in your Inset Day agenda. Providing Coaching Opportunities and Encouraging ‘Me’ TimeIn her blog for Kent-Teach, Kent Headteacher Gillian Lovatt-Young discusses the importance of coaching and the many benefits it can have for all staff in the education sector. Job satisfaction, feeling supported and being given the opportunity to progress goes hand-in-hand with retention and staff happiness.Dedicated Wellbeing WebpageOn our website you can find an entire section dedicated to Wellbeing. You can access resources such as helplines and contact details of multiple organisations providing support, a step-by-step guide to improving your own wellbeing and a range of wellbeing articles.Quick PollsWe regularly conduct polls on our website dedicated to staff wellbeing. We use the results of these polls to tailor the support we offer to schools and provide resources that are relevant to school staff. On-Hand Wellbeing Advisors Get in touch today to book a consultation with our Wellbeing Advisors. You will be able to discuss wellbeing in your workplace and ask any questions you might have around Wellbeing. If you decide to become one of our customers you will receive regular newsletters with exclusive Wellbeing content, e.g. templates and guides, to support you on your wellbeing journey.How to Promote Happiness in the WorkplaceShow AppreciationIt sounds simple but remembering to say thank you to a colleague/employee is a quick way to inject some positivity into the workplace. This can be achieved verbally, in-person or via a thank you card or post on a staff forum. Appreciated workers are happy workers. The most successful workplaces are those that value their staff and show them!Engage Regularly in ConversationsRemember to check in with staff informally. Ask them how they are, if they had a good weekend, do they need any assistance with anything. Engaging with your colleagues and employees shows you appreciate their presence and care about their wellbeing and happiness at work. In busy workplaces, such as schools, it can be easy to forget simple interactions, but they can have a hugely positive impact. Prioritise Work-Life BalanceFor many professions an unmanageable workload can be the catalyst for an employee choosing to hand in their notice. In teaching, workload is cited as the number 1 reason for teachers choosing to leave the profession. Therefore, it is essential procedures are in place to support staff with their workload and allow them to have a positive work-life balance.Flexible WorkingIn many workplaces it is possible to easily implement flexible working. Flexible working can take a variety of forms such as working from home on certain days, opting for a shorter working week and choosing shift patterns. In schools, this option is a little more limited due to the forward-facing nature of teaching roles. However, allowing staff to work from home during CPD time and PPA is a great way to introduce a degree of flexibility. Moreover, some teaching staff may wish to reduce their hours or job-share, which is also a viable option for retaining staff.Allow Staff Voices to be HeardThere are many ways to ensure staff feel valued at work. One of the top ways to show staff you care about their contribution is give them opportunity to have their say. Conducting regular surveys is an easy way to do this. But you must ensure the results are analysed and actioned – otherwise, there is no purpose to the survey. There are other ways to give staff opportunity to voice their views such as informal discussions in staff meetings, involving staff in the development of policies and company practice, quick polls and regularly engaging in conversations on a formal and informal level.Introduce Activities to Boost Happiness and WellbeingLunch time or after work activities are a great way to boost staff morale and foster a happy work culture. Regular sessions of mindful activities such as yoga, meditation and adult colouring are effective in promoting positive wellbeing. Thamesview School in Kent, who have worked closely with our Wellbeing Advisors, enjoyed great success with Wellbeing Activities and you can find out more in our Thamesview Case Study blog! In addition to mindful activities, introducing physical activities such as team sports and dance classes are fantastic to burn off steam and boost morale. You could also facilitate creative classes, such as art, or regular team activities such as meeting for a meal, taking part in a game of bowling or having a company trip further afield. In the workplace it can also be beneficial to have quiet areas for staff who want to enjoy some peace and quiet as well as staff rooms which should be designed to provide distance from workstations. If you have successfully implemented workplace policies designed to improve wellbeing and happiness in the workplace we would love to hear from you. If you want to know more about wellbeing in the workplace then visit our blog’s Wellbeing Section for inspiration. You can contact our Wellbeing Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.