Heads Up

Paperwork boredom

Not enjoying what you do has a lot of downsides. Gallup have conducted a lot of research into this, far too much to cover here, but some juicy snippets are:

  • People who use their strengths at work are six times more engaged in their job
  • People have a better quality of life to the order of three times
  • People are more likely to have ideas if they are happy in their job

In a study conducted in 2010, they found that lower job satisfaction seems to be a pre-curser to poorer profit, and whilst this is talking about business, people work in business and social sectors, so I think it’s fair to say these results apply to our schools.

The list can go on and on! The fact is so many people are not happy in their role which means they are not getting the best from their lives and your children are not getting the best education they could. When we’re not happy we are less creative, less committed to our job/workplace and find it harder to give our best; you and I know there will be people who feel like this in your school.

In the best teams, we see people who are engaged in and enjoy what they are doing. Enjoyment does mean social time together, laughing and bonding, and it also means enjoying your work. Whilst I accept that most jobs have parts we don’t like doing, it’s about that being the smallest part possible and the parts that we enjoy and are good at being the main part.

Increasing enjoyment and engagement can seem like quite tall orders, and I like to look at tangible ways we can increase enjoyment so let’s look at one of those things that decreases enjoyment in work: paperwork.

We so often hear how people are sick of paperwork. I don’t think many people went into their chosen field for lots of paperwork and I’m sure you and your teachers didn’t; you wanted to educate and make a difference. ‘But paperwork is a necessary evil!’ I hear you cry, and yes, there are benefits to it, but do we need so much of it? Can’t we minimise it?

I get to work with a lot of outstanding heads and I come across some of the ways they manage this burden, so that paperwork is useful and minimal:

Planning – ‘I don’t ask for it to be given to me, because it’s not for me, it’s for my teachers.’

Levels (or whatever we’re calling them these days) – one head has a very simple way of collating and interpreting data so that all teachers use this data.

Communication – morning huddles which are highly effective in communicating all that is needed, reducing the amount of emails sent.

strength_circTip: Think of one thing you could do for your team that would let them enjoy their job more and do it; it might be training, reducing or removing some paperwork, or even a celebration.

photo credit: practicalowl via photopin cc