15 October 2020

The year no-one expected enjoyment in work to increase… yet it did!

Lived experience of staff in Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service in 2020 

by Julia Robson, Sharon Gugerly and Catherine Heaney

Read time 2.5 minutes

Find out how Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service were able to unexpectedly increase their satisfaction at work during the Covid pandemic and the handful of other surprise benefits that it brought them whilst working in a difficult time.

Enjoying Work is a high priority area for ELFT QI, which has been developed and supported by learning systems since 2016. 

The Bedfordshire Wellbeing (BWS) service has been running an Enjoying Work QI project since September 2019. From January 2020, in locality meetings, the BWS QI project team have asked all 85 staff members how much are you enjoying work on a scale of 1-5?”, where 5 is the most positive response and 1 is the most negative response. 

Change in the enjoying work scores over time are illustrated on the run chart below, a tool for visualising variation in a measure over a particular time period.  

The average score for enjoying work was measured as a baseline in January 2020. Before changes were made this was 3.6. Once changes started we can see there was already a trend upwards in the scores, indicating progress towards improvement from January to September 2020. 

You can see the spike in scores since the service embarked on the digital ways of working during the pandemic.  

Figure 1: Outcome measure, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your enjoyment at work on a scale of 1-5 ?”

 

Changes we tested 

The management team wanted to introduce Microsoft Teams as a new programme for the service.  The QI project Communications Group were asked to present on this change idea at the whole team meeting in July.

After the whole team meeting, drop-in sessions were set up for staff to ask questions or work through any issues that they had experienced while accessing Microsoft Teams.  Alongside the drop-in sessions, through their Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles, the project team learnt that tutorial documents and videos would be helpful additions. These were then produced to help the staff access and navigate the programme. 

In August, service documents originally stored on the local network drive were copied to Microsoft Teams.  The service saw an increase in communication and accessing documents via MS Teams, and a decrease in whole service emails.  To measure the impact of this, Menti was used in every staff meeting to ask the question, “How satisfied are you with staff communication at the moment, on a scale of 1-5?”.  The average score is entered into a run chart monthly.  

Figure 2: Process measure,“How satisfied are you with staff communication at the moment on a scale of 1-5 ?”

 

 

Team identity as a united service​ 

Due to the large team within BWS (85), attendance at meetings always proved difficult. This was due to multiple factors, including travel time from various bases around the county, finding a venue large enough and the resulting loss in productivity (as this meant less time to see patients). Since the pandemic, the service now meet monthly via video conferencing and embark on desktop yoga together! Admin colleagues now also meet weekly and the Working Together Group has a higher attendance rate due to being digital. 

Unintended Benefits​ 

The service started to see some benefits to digital working beyond what was predicted in PDSA testing. For example, staff sickness reducing. Below you can see the consistently low staff sickness rates from March 2020 onward.

Figure 3Balancing measure, % of Absence (Full Time Equivalents) (sickness levels at BWS) 

Since working digitally, there have been cost savings in the following areas:

  • Room hire fees in GP surgeries 
  • Travel expenses for meetings and training 
  • Accommodation costs for trainees 
  • Printing and paper 

These cost savings can be seen in the chart below:

Figure 4Balancing measure, Costs of working on-site (total costs in £) 

 

The service gained feedback from staff during digital meetings about what has been working well for them, since working from home. This helps identify the increase in enjoyment at work scores. This feedback was gained via Menti and Slido polls:

In summary, Bedfordshire Wellbeing Service feel reassured that they are supporting their staff to have a more positive experience of work, despite living in such challenging times. The service are confident that they will sustain these outcomes and processes put in place in recent months. They hope that by sharing their experiences, they will inspire other teams to use Quality Improvement approaches to help their people feel happier and healthier in their workplace, through the pandemic and beyond.

Copyright © 2020 East London Foundation Trust. All rights reserved.

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