University of Lincoln, Finalist 2015, The National Grid and Carers UK Best for Carers and Eldercare Award
The University of Lincoln is committed to supporting staff health and wellbeing by providing a number of solutions to help carers balance their workplace needs with caring responsibilities. A key component of the University’s work is a focus on making provisions for emotional wellbeing, stress and resilience readily available to support staff with caring responsibilities.
The University’s suite of policies and procedures, which enables a range of flexible provisions including paid and unpaid time off for carer’s leave, are supported by online resources and a line manager’s toolkit that helps managers to respond to carers’ needs in the most efficient and mutually beneficial way. Staff also have anytime, anywhere access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) which recognises the diversity of staff needs including the challenges and demands of caring. In addition, a web-based tool, the ‘Jointly’ app, is available to carers for free, which helps users to manage daily tasks and responsibilities and eases contact and communication between other carers from the same circle.
The University’s wellbeing ‘me@Lincoln’ site provides information on a number of topics and signposts people to appropriate additional resources. In addition, carers have their own dedicated web area, through which they can get in contact with local organisations for carers and book online training on the topics specific to their needs.
The University believes that a flexible approach to balancing work with caring responsibilities does not need to result in a huge upheaval in work and sometimes small adjustments and a supportive culture can deliver more positive outputs. The University’s positive attitude to flexible working arrangements was recognised by staff in the recent staff survey, when 84% confirmed that they “can approach their manager to talk openly about flexible working” and 74% agreed that “the university provides good support to help them balance their work and personal commitments”.
Employees’ health, wellbeing and resilience are of great importance to the University of Lincoln. It has created an environment where staff feel supported, and where their holistic sense of wellbeing is provided for, through a diverse range of provisions including offering mindfulness and meditation programmes. This work is believed to have contributed to a significant positive impact on staff’s overall sense of wellbeing and has helped in to reduce the recorded level of absence in the associated health categories of stress/anxiety by 39.8% compared to same period in 2013/2014. 92% of staff have overwhelming stated through their feedback that they would recommend the programmes to fellow colleagues.