5 benefits of investing in the health of childcare workers
With sickness absence reaching record highs in 2022, it is crucial to address the leading causes, including mental health issues. While the common flu and colds tend to pass quickly, burnout-related absences can be significantly prolonged. Therefore, prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of childcare workers caregivers becomes even more important. While employees can take steps themselves, childcare organizations can also play a vital role by investing in their caregivers’ health. Here we present you 5 benefits of investing in the health of childcare workers along with practical steps to take:
1. More fun and motivation at work
Someone who feels physically and mentally well and strong is happier and more energetic. As a result, they can contribute better, they are more motivated, and they achieve better results. In childcare, this means that childcare workers have the energy to be there for the children, take care of them, and engage in activities with them. They are attentive, pay more attention to the children, and can also have better conversations with parents.
It also affects the work atmosphere. Complaining colleagues, childcare workers who work separately instead of together, and colleagues who talk about each other. You can imagine that such a poor work atmosphere is incredibly exhausting. You don’t enjoy going to work and you can’t fully focus on your work. It is an energy drain that can cause mental problems.
A pleasant work atmosphere is therefore extremely important for job satisfaction and mental health. It creates a sense of a good team and promotes good collaboration. Within childcare, this is particularly important because there is a lot of teamwork involved. By investing in the health of employees, they will feel more cheerful and can be better colleagues to each other. When you walk into the childcare group, you can feel that positive atmosphere. Children feel it, and parents notice it too. Childcare workers are the face of your organization. Fit, enthusiastic, and friendly childcare workers are therefore of great importance.
2. Healthy aging
As life expectancy continues to rise and the population ages, many countries have been or are expected to increase the retirement age. However, for childcare workers, this poses a challenge due to the physically demanding nature of their work. From lifting babies to changing diapers, dressing them, and engaging in active play, their job requires considerable physical effort. As employees age or go through pregnancy, these tasks become even more difficult, potentially leading to more physical complaints.
Furthermore, childcare settings are often breeding grounds for viruses and illnesses, making it crucial for childcare workers to maintain a strong immune system. To address these challenges, promoting healthy habits and offering preventive measures can play a significant role in helping childcare workers maintain their health as they age.
The ability of childcare workers to continue working for an extended period is not only important for their personal well-being but also for childcare organizations. The current shortage in the labor market and the impending aging population highlight the pressing necessity for their continued presence in the workforce. By supporting the health and well-being of childcare workers, organizations can ensure the availability of experienced professionals and maintain the quality of care provided to children.
3. Reduced risk of absenteeism
An unhealthy lifestyle and physical and mental complaints can lead to various diseases, such as cardiovascular issues, as well as mental health problems like burnout. Burnout is one of the most common causes of long-term absenteeism.
You don’t want childcare workers to end up in that situation, and it also has consequences for an organization. On average, a single employee’s absence costs about 230 euros per day. The average duration of absenteeism due to burnout is 242 days. This becomes a significant financial burden when it affects even one childcare worker, let alone multiple cases of burnout. Therefore, it is of great importance to prevent this from happening.
4. Safety of the children
Another, perhaps the most important, benefit of investing in the health of childcare workers is that it enhances the safety of the children. Fatigued and distracted childcare workers are less alert, respond less effectively, and may be slower to act when needed. This is also influenced by understaffing due to high absenteeism or insufficient personnel.
By ensuring that childcare workers feel mentally and physically well and maintaining adequate staffing levels, the likelihood of accidents or serious consequences occurring in critical situations is reduced.
5. Positive publicity
Investing in your employees is a way of showing appreciation and acknowledging their importance. In return, employees can value and appreciate such efforts. When they share their positive experiences with family and friends, it creates a favorable impression of your organization as an employer. Others, including those employed by competitors, may realize what they are missing in their own workplace and become enthusiastic about joining your organization. In the current job market, this is highly welcomed!
How to invest in the health of childcare workers?
Now that you understand the benefits of investing in the health of childcare workers, you might wonder how to put it into action? There are several ways to accomplish this:
- Provide healthy food: For instance, place a large fruit bowl in the staff room or in the childcare area where workers can help themselves. This encourages healthy eating habits.
- Offer gym discounts: Everything is getting more expensive, including gym memberships. If employees feel a financial barrier to exercising, remove it by providing discounts or additional allowances.
- Stay connected with your employees: Make sure you regularly interact with your employees, create an open culture, and communicate that there is a trusted person they can confide in. This helps prevent absenteeism by addressing issues promptly.
- Invest in an organizational psychologist: An organizational psychologist can assist in personal problem-solving and improving relationships between employees and the employer. By investing in this support, you demonstrate that it’s okay to talk about problems and provide accessible help, potentially reducing the reluctance of employees to seek assistance.
- Provide relief for employees: Arte Viva’s child safety solutions alleviate the burden on childcare workers by avoiding or reducing hazards. Finger protection for doors, corner guards, window safety measures, and child-friendly radiator covers can help workers feel less overwhelmed, providing peace of mind.
Investing in the health of your employees incurs costs. However, on the other hand, absenteeism also costs you a significant amount, probably even more. Therefore, it is a worthwhile investment that will always pay off.