Not another new blog I hear you groan! Yes, I’m afraid so. But fear not. This is not an opportunity for me to have a monthly rant against the policy gurus, decision makers, dodgy practices and confounding customers that can make our daily lives challenging. Instead this is your conversation space to share your thoughts, ideas or insights into the background to our professional lives. If you would like to be a guest blogger our Marketing Officer, Mimi Stanwood, would love to hear from you. You can contact Mimi by email firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, well-argued, thought-provoking and/or funny rants are welcome.
But I am not going to rant. Instead I am going to reflect on something that I find increasing troubling as I hear more and more from members and employers about pressures that they are under. I want to talk about health and wellbeing in our profession.
You may recall that our Employment and Salary Survey report last year ended on an overall positive note in that 87% of respondents rated their job satisfaction as very happy or generally happy and almost 85% said that they would recommend the profession as a career choice. The caveat was the long, often unsociable hours that many respondents worked, not necessarily for good pay. Exploring this further and talking to several members over the past few months, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that things are getting worse. Many members are under increasing pressure to get surveys done (and we know that’s not a 9 to 5 job), get reports out, make decisions on recommendations and/or review proposals more quickly, at higher volumes and with ever-pressing clients breathing down their necks. What suffers can be quality of work output. But what can also suffer is health, both physical and mental.
The survey season is not too far away and we know that can be crazily busy. But is it really reasonable that we should expect people to do dawn and dusk bat surveys over several nights, or doing torch surveys for GCN, and still be at their desks for a full working day between 9 and 5? And expect them to be doing good work? Are we happy that our colleagues who have had very little sleep (and possibly in a car and not in a bed) should then drive long distances whilst struggling to stay awake and stay safe? Are we confident that more junior staff have the confidence to say when enough is enough? And, are we as managers comfortable that we can raise our heads from our desks and see when things are going wrong?
This year in CIEEM I would like us to have a bit of a focus on understanding and improving health and wellbeing within our profession. It is heartening that some employers are already recognising that offering a good work-life balance can be as important to potential recruits as money. But it is disturbing that sometimes it takes having really bad experiences as individuals before we recognise that some things are more important than money. And what worries me even more is that we risk making the profession less attractive to potential recruits if we cannot get our act together and recognise the risks.
Look out for In Practice articles and discussion threads on this important topic throughout the year, especially our Summer Conference on 4th July in Birmingham which will be on the theme of health and wellbeing in the profession. Let’s also take time to be kind to ourselves and to look out for those for whom we are responsible and whom we work with.
Blog posts on the CIEEM website are the views and opinions of the author(s) credited. They do not necessarily represent the views or position of CIEEM. The CIEEM blog is intended to be a space in which we publish though-provoking and discussion-stimulating articles.