Much of the conversation about wellbeing in Higher Education has focused on the students. However, recent research carried out pre and post COVID-19 pandemic reveals that the Higher Education workforce globally has been experiencing its own crisis. Clearly, institutions need to focus more on improving staff wellbeing as well as their students.
A survey carried out by Education Support found that more than half of HE employees showed signs of depression while a third reported feeling emotionally drained from their work or experiencing ‘burn-out’. Explorations into the stressors revealed increased workloads and demands on time and resources may be to blame for declining staff wellbeing.
The Root of the Problem
Evidence shows that Higher Education staff are at higher risk of suffering work-related stress due to heavy administrative burdens, high pressure tasks and increasing expectations. Administrative tasks in a HEI often involve time-consuming manual data collection and entry. They often also require manual review and can be time sensitive.
Pressures and workloads have only been exacerbated by education’s digital shift, brought on by the pandemic. Universities have had to make major changes to their management and delivery of teaching services and student support. At the same time the sheer volume of demand on student services has skyrocketed.
The Student Element
We already know that high levels of support for students can improve student wellbeing and success. However, new research into HE staff’s health has found that high levels of staff wellbeing are positively linked to student wellbeing too.
Education Support found the most effective interventions for improving staff wellbeing were reducing staff workload and sources of work-related stress. Removing some of the administrative pain points for Higher Ed staff may be crucial to supporting their wellbeing.
Institutions should implement technology that can take the pressure off the most time-consuming and important tasks for staff. Make key improvements with systems that handle time-consuming manual tasks such as:
- Taking and recording student attendance
- Measuring student progression and success
- Reviewing mitigating circumstances requests
- Identifying students in need of support and reaching out
This technology can save staff time and reduce workloads, as well as removing the pressure and stress that accompanies human error. It’s no secret that happier, healthier staff means a happier, heathier institution. Improving their experience improves Higher Education for all.
For more on improving staff and student experiences at your institution, check our solutions for Higher Education.