Student Services

Supporting You

Student workplace wellbeing

Working contributes to our happiness; whether it be paid or unpaid work. It provides structure, builds confidence and self-esteem and provides financial rewards.

In the UK we spend on average 36 hours per week in the workplace; so for a considerable amount of time our working environment influences our health and wellbeing. When entering the workplace for the first time, it is important that we try to ensure we have a focus on health and wellbeing.

Positive work experiences

Having a positive work experience as a student or graduate can set the tone for the rest of your working career. Looking after your career and your wellbeing is not mutually exclusive. In fact, positive experiences in the workplace can add to and keep you healthy both mentally and physically. Take advantage of the positive opportunities within your organisation; relationships at work can be very beneficial in giving support and developing skills. In addition, look out for training opportunities and career development initiatives. Progressing and learning new skills can be motivating and confidence building and raises your overall self-esteem and happiness.

Being part of a culture that fosters our wellbeing is really beneficial.  Being well supported by line managers and colleagues is important and we can play our part in this too.  Ensure that you know what your rights are in respect to issues like flexible working patterns, considerations of adjustments on the grounds of disability, benefit schemes for things like the gyms and cycling to work & ensure you know who to report any problems to.  Check out the HR policies relating to wellbeing at work.

The following links may help you to learn about how to have a positive work experience:

Support and healthcare away from University

Working long hours, being unsure of your role and feeling over worked are the types of issues that cause stress.  It is really important that you identify any difficulties early and talk to someone you can trust about how you feel; that could be your friends and family or work colleagues. Within the working environment it is essential, if you can, that you report any difficulties to a line manager, the HR team or your departmental/university placement contact.

Health Care

It is important that you consider continued healthcare once you leave university.  You may have provisions in place in and around Loughborough currently. It is advisable to look at what is available and register with a GP where you are going, either on placement or when you leave the university to work.  You can search the NHS website to locate a GP in a given area:

Further resources

Careers Network

If you are currently on placement and have realised that the type of work you are doing is not for you, you can arrange an appointment with a Careers Consultant either via face to face, Skype or telephone, to discuss your future career options - including what you can do to make the most of your remaining time on placement to prepare for your future career, even if it’s in a different field.

If after graduation you would like any advice about your career plans, you can also make an appointment to discuss your options and make a plan to achieve your revised career goal. To book an appointment contact careers@lboro.ac.uk or 01509 222 039.

Occupational Health

If you are experiencing physical and/or mental health problems (including stress and/or anxiety) that are affecting or may affect you in the workplace, your employer may have an occupational health service to support you, even if these challenges stem from issues outside of your work.  Everything you discuss with an occupational health specialist is confidential, and you do not have to feel embarrassed talking about personal issues (including mentioning factors or people by name at your workplace that may be contributing). They will work with you to identify how to best support you, including reviewing working practises and where appropriate making recommendations to your employer to accommodate your working practises. They may also consult with your GP. They may also provide you with practical information and advice.  Not all employers have an occupational health provider, in which cases it is appropriate to speak to your GP.

If you are currently getting support from the Disability Office during your studies, this will not continue in the workplace. Instead it is appropriate to speak to either HR or occupational health about getting suitable help and making reasonable adjustments.

Other services

ACAS

ACAS provide free independent information, advice, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. For example, if you feel that you are being treated unfairly or that your contract is not being honoured, or have any questions relating to pay, holiday, working hours, redundancy, termination periods, discipline, equality and discrimination, TUPE or any other work-related query, you can contact the ACAS helpline on 0300 123 1100 or use their online service.

Citizens Advice Bureau

The CAB provide free, independent, confidential and impartial advice on a whole range of rights and responsibilities; in the workplace this includes rights at work (contracts, working hours, changes to employment contracts, flexible working etc.), leaving a job, problems at work, discrimination at work, health and safety at work, and raising grievances. They also advise on financial topics (such as debt, budgeting, rent and mortgage arrears, borrowing) and many other topics. The CAB offer a webchat service, or you can go to their contact us page.

Employee rights

As an employee you have employment rights.  You are entitled to:

  • Getting the national minimum wage
  • Statutory level of paid holiday
  • Minimum rest breaks
  • Protection against discrimination
  • To not work more than 48 hours per week
  • Protection for ‘whistleblowing’ – reporting things which are wrong in the workplace
  • Not being treated less favourably if you work part time

For more information on your rights as an employee visit the Gov.uk webpages.

If you are a current student and you would like advice on your rights as a worker, you can contact Student Advice by calling 01509 222058, emailing advice@lboro.ac.uk, or visiting the website.

Disability and mental health in the workplace

Managing a disability or health condition in employment may require us to think about our strengths and challenges in a different way.  It can be important for us to consider the positive attributes that having a disability may bring in terms of our personal profile; for example a focus on our analytic nature or our natural ability to communicate creatively.  University can provide an inclusive and supportive environment where adjustments are implemented to allow us to reach our academic potential.  It may be worth considering if the challenges you experience may impact upon your employment.

You may find Student Workplace Wellbeing - a Document for Discussion really useful if you wish to explore your disability in the context of a work environment.

The definition of a disability as described in the Equality Act 2010 is ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day to day activities’.  A ‘substantial adverse effect’ of an impairment is described as being more than minor or trivial – the effect is a long term illness that has lasted, or is likely to last more than 12 months.  It is important to note that mental health difficulties can fluctuate and in some cases cease for periods of time but, if there is a possibility or likelihood of re-occurrence you are still protected.  However, if one minor period of illness has occurred and it is unlikely to return you may not be covered. 

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects workers from direct discrimination within the workplace, for example being refused employment due to a disability. Other protected characteristics include age, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. The Act also encourages the use of ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable the fair treatment of all employees within the workplace.

Further resources about disability in work:

This document will help you to consider the types of difficulties you may have and also, what you may find helpful within the work setting:

Mind have created a webpage covering discrimination at work, as well as providing a legal advice service with information and advice surrounding your rights in the workplace. Visit their website to find out how to contact them, and click on the link below for more infomation.

Sharing information about your disability with employers

Paid or unpaid work is important to our health, happiness and personal growth. The value and role of work can be significant for disabled people; work can boost confidence, contribute to the recovery process, provide opportunities for developing skills and social relations.

In the work place, disabled people such as those with mental health difficulties, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, long term health conditions, dyslexia and other neurodiverse conditions have the right to the same opportunities and treatment as everyone else.

Some people feel happy to be open about their disability, perhaps because they need specific support in order to do the job. Other people feel uncomfortable sharing this information, perhaps worrying they may be viewed differently or don’t want to be labelled in this way. The decision whether to tell an employer about a disability is an individual one and may depend on various factors such as:

  • How comfortable you feel about telling other people
  • How disability-friendly you perceive the employer to be
  • How the disability may impact on your ability to do the job
  • How confident you feel in asking for support when you need it.

UK Placement providers are asked to agree to the university placement charter and must uphold the duties of the Equality Act 2010 protecting any student with a protected characteristic from being discriminated against. All Host Organisations are expected to respect equality and diversity. This includes but is not limited to making reasonable adjustments for disabled students.

Choosing whether to share information with an employer is a personal decision and you need to consider your own thoughts and feelings, and decide what is best to do for your personal situation. Below are some PDFs which can support you in making the right decision for you:

Support with your disability whilst on placement

Support in the workplace

Generally work is a positive experience, but sometimes things go wrong. This can include having too much work and/or deadlines, changes in your role, negative behaviour of others or something in your personal life which negatively affects your work. There are several free services within the university which can give you the support you need.

Wellbeing Advisers

A Wellbeing Adviser is able to give you an opportunity to discuss and reflect on issues which may be impacting on your wellbeing. They can offer advice on managing the situation, provide self-help information and strategies for coping as well as information about other support services which may be able to help you. Examples of the types of issues you could speak to a wellbeing adviser about are below:

  • Stress
  • Low mood
  • Bereavement
  • Family issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Transition to University

In the lead up to starting work or your placement this could include a face-to-face appointment and email advice, whilst you are on your placement this could include a telephone appointment if a face-to-face appointment is not possible. A Wellbeing Adviser is not able to offer ongoing support but may be able to help you to access other services which can.

If you are a student seeking support from a Wellbeing Adviser please visit our make an appointment page for more information and to complete the support request form.

Placement Tutors

Placement tutors are a good point of contact for any challenges or questions you have during your placement. In most instances they will not speak to your employer unless you want them to or if there is a serious issue. If they cannot help you directly, they will signpost you to the appropriate service.

Careers Network

If you are currently on placement and have realised that the type of work you are doing is not for you, you can arrange an appointment with a Careers Consultant either via face to face, Skype or telephone, to discuss your future career options - including what you can do to make the most of your remaining time on placement to prepare for your future career, even if it’s in a different field.

If after graduation you would like any advice about your career plans, you can also make an appointment to discuss your options and make a plan to achieve your revised career goal. To book an appointment contact careers@lboro.ac.uk or 01509 222 039.

Centre for Faith and Spirituality

The Centre for Faith and Spirituality offers help with spiritual, ethical and moral concerns. Chaplains of various faiths are available to anyone irrespective of their religious or spiritual beliefs. Their contact details are below:

cfschaplains@lboro.ac.uk, 01509 223741

Counselling and Disability Service:

The Counselling and Disability Service can offer advice and support on a range of disability and equality based issues for students. If you are a student on placement and you have concerns about the impact of your disability or mental health issue at work, or if you are a staff member supporting students on placement and you have concerns, you can get in touch with the service for advice:

Student Advice:

Loughborough University Student Advice and Support Service provides free confidential impartial and non-judgemental advice and support on many matters including money, housing and immigration issues.

Student Services

If you are unsure who to talk about to about any issue you are having, whether it is health, financial, housing, visa or any other challenge, then contact main Student Services information desk on 01509 222 765, studentservices@lboro.ac.uk or by simply dropping into the Bridgeman Building.

Information for employers

It is good practice for employers to have a focus on positive working environments and to take issues such as disability confidence and wellbeing seriously.  Whilst there are legal obligations to consider with regards to equality for example, it is also good business sense to have a clear direction with regards to wellbeing.  This can enhance your employees experience of work and in turn, improves all aspects of the working environment and business chain. 

 

Why Focus on Wellbeing in the Workplace? The Business Case….

Creating a culture of wellbeing in the workplace is not just morally desirable, it also has tangible benefits too.  Having a ‘great place to work’ increases employee loyalty and actually, research shows that productivity is positively affected. Staff retention is also better with lower absenteeism. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of us may suffer from a mental health difficulties and stress accounted for 11 million lost working days in 2016 (Health and Safety Executive). As an employer, you have a duty to address stress in the workplace and this benefits everyone! 

Attracting the best talent to your organisation means that we need to be as accessible as possible for all candidates.  Disabled employees are underrepresented in the workplace.  Being disability confident may well attract talent from a wider base therefore providing a wider pool of potential employees. 

 

What Can You Do?

If you want to focus on wellbeing in your workplace, there is a wide range of resources available online from introducing a ‘walking lunch’ to an overhaul of your wellbeing polices.  If you are concerned about managing disabilities within the workplace, there are many initiatives that you can access, many of which are free. 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/index.htm

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/tackle-stigma-workplace/support-employers

https://www.scope.org.uk/support/services/employment

http://www.autism.org.uk/employers

https://www.remploy.co.uk/employers

The Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei)

The Student Workplace Wellbeing Group

The Student Workplace Wellbeing working group was created to address health and wellbeing issues faced by students as employees. This will also encompass the more detailed requirement of those students who are protected by the equality act 2010; thus attempting to ensure that disability is not a barrier to employment.  The group is a cross-departmental student services working group with colleagues from the Counselling and Disability Service and Careers Network working together to further the student workplace wellbeing agenda.

For more information about the working group please contact k.l.watts@lboro.ac.uk