~ 67 per cent of teachers are under unprecedented pressure — how can tech help? ~
The pandemic has made educator’s jobs even more challenging — according to the Times Educational Supplement Staff Wellbeing Survey, 67 per cent of teachers had an unmanageable workload in 2021, compared to just 22 per cent in 2020. To prevent work from spilling over into their home life, educators must ensure their work hours are as productive as possible. Here Douglas Mulvihill, marketing manager, UK and Ireland of cloud communications provider Ringover, explores the role of cloud communications in reducing educator stress.
Having a good work-life balance is critical, both for employees and the organisations they work for. At an individual level, workers can experience significant improvements in mental health and wellbeing as they feel more in control of their working life. Employers who help staff achieve a better work-life balance can expect to see increased productivity and lower levels of sickness and stress.
In the education sector, where staff performance directly affects the quality of the learning of their students, having a motivated, productive workforce is essential. But many of the tools typically employed by businesses to reduce staff stress — flexible working, reduced hours, a shorter working week — are unavailable to the education sector. What can be done to reduce stress among educators?
Adapting to remote learning
While most students are now back in the classroom, that doesn’t mean distance learning is a thing of the past. 20 out of the 24 Russell Group universities are still including some online teaching for undergraduates and staff sicknesses have forced some schools to consider temporarily returning to online learning. With less than two in five educators feeling confident in their current role, what can be done to make remote teaching simpler?
Good communication is an essential skill for any teacher, whether that’s with students, other teachers, parents or management. Cloud communication solutions ensure educators can achieve the same great communication remotely. With real-time voice, video and messaging capabilities, educators can feel confident that they can always reach colleagues and students.
Educators never had a modest workload, and it is only increasing. A report published by the Trades Union Congress revealed that 31 per cent of teachers worked unpaid overtime in 2021, up from 25 per cent in 2020. Ensuring that work stays within working hours is a great way to reduce employee stress, allowing teachers time to rest, relax and return to work rejuvenated.
Educators need technology that works for them, to ensure maximum productivity. Relying on a fixed phone line located in the school’s secretary office simply won’t suffice — a single landline won’t serve dozens of stressed teachers. Instead, education facilities must consider a business phone system that uses VoIP technology.
There are many benefits to using VoIP, which takes calls over the internet rather than a traditional landline. Speed is key when managing a complex network of several hundred students, so features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), an automated phone system technology that allows incoming callers to access information via a voice response system of pre-recorded messages without having to speak to an agent, is ideal for managing persistent parent queries.
Other functions, like implementing hunt groups so callers can be put through to multiple phone lines, can also streamline the many areas of administration teachers are often expected to handle.
Teachers can also use VoIP to manage their data, quickly sorting contact lists by class, assignment and level, so updates can be sent out fast to those who need them. Messages can be scheduled in advance, for example reminders about assignment due dates, so educators can spend less time sending out repetitive, simple messages and more time focussing on planning and delivering excellent teaching.
Above all, cloud-based telephony means that no one has to wait for a receptionist to be done with another caller or get put on hold, nor do teachers have to navigate a complex web of communications through a dated phone line — the combination of hunt groups and a well-configured, multi-layer IVR will ensure educators get the information they need, and fast, to help ease some of their growing workload.