Simon lives in West Cornwall and is the manager of a care support organisation, providing personalised care and support to people within Cornwall. He recently took part in the In Work Health and Wellbeing pilot project to access one-to-one health and wellbeing coaching.
The idea is that if organisations take a more proactive interest in the wellbeing of their workforce, it will contribute to a happier, motivated, more valued, and healthier workforce. This can have many benefits which are attractive to employers, such as increased productivity, reduced staff turnover and fewer sick days.
This sounds good on paper, but can it be an effective way of supporting valued employees? We spoke to Simon about his experience, to learn how useful it is in practice.
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
“I’ve always been a positive and hardworking person. I worked for Jobcentre Plus for 17 years. Then I took on a new challenge, supporting people with learning disabilities. I’ve really enjoyed this role, over the last 13 years. I’ve worked from the bottom to the top. I was promoted from support worker to team leader, then for the last three and a half years, I’ve been the registered manager.”
What was the reason for accessing the ‘In work Health and Wellbeing support’?
“I completed a survey about the impact of Covid-19 on wellbeing and Natalie from the Pluss social prescribing team contacted me. I decided to accept the support that was on offer. I was at a low point. I felt over-loaded and run-down from my demanding job. Working through the pandemic has been the most difficult experience I’ve endured, and it had taken its toll on me.”
What challenges had you faced?
“The pandemic was a complete shock for everyone. We all had to adapt and change the ways we worked. I had to cover multiple roles. My administrator resigned and wasn’t replaced. I was shielding and working from home. I had to source PPE, deal with staff enquiries and recruitment – trying to find staff cover and at times it felt like I was running the supported living service in Cornwall single-handedly.
“This had the cumulative effect of pushing me to breaking point. I have a number of health issues to deal with and I carried on, but effectively, I felt that I’d hit rock bottom.”
How did the In Work Health and Wellbeing coach help you?
“Maureen, my health and wellbeing coach, was amazing. She really supported me, listening to me during a bleak time in my life. Maureen came up with invaluable strategies to help me. Things like making sure I took breaks when working, which I never did, and to keep pushing for another member of staff and listening to mindfulness recordings to help manage daily pressures.”
What difference has the support made to your life?
“I will always be eternally grateful to Maureen. She really helped me during a low point in my life. I looked forward to the meetings. She made me feel valued as a human being and the advice she gave me helped to regain my self-worth and focus.”
What would you say are the benefits of the In Work Health and Wellbeing coach?
“Having a coach that’s a good fit, that you can connect with makes a world of difference. The support was invaluable. It helped me to find a happier version of myself, which I’d almost lost. Thank you, you’ve been a lifesaver.”
The In Work Health and Wellbeing Project was created to support and empower employees to be active in managing their own health and wellbeing. The pilot project was developed to support organisations who provide domiciliary and frontline care within Cornwall. Pluss as an organisation were fully aware of the challenges being faced by the health and social care sector and the need to support and retain employees.
Natalie Brown, Pluss Health and Wellbeing team leader said: “During the pandemic many sectors have been under immense pressures, with high staff turnover and employee sickness. We understood the need for the additional one-to-one coaching and support. The hope of the project was that alongside companies we could provide additional health and wellbeing support to improve morale, address any concerns and for employees to feel more supported.”