Access Skills provides comprehensive support to individuals undertaking any of their care sector training programmes. Our team often find sharing experiences and care tips that they have picked up from speaking to our learners to be a positive part of their jobs, and something Access Skills encourages.
‘Lone working’ is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as ‘those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision’. Although some staff do prefer to work alone because it allows them to be more efficient and productive, and gives them a level of autonomy in their workplace, it is important to know how to support them as a manager.
In research conducted by Skills for Care, they have found that lone workers have found that the opportunity to learn and develop themselves has helped to adapt their skills and has given them an opportunity to get to know other staff. It also gives them a sense of confidence in their own ability to perform their roles correctly when working alone.
Managers are able to promote learning and development in their lone workers by:
- Providing shadowing and buddy systems where possible
- Offering a variety of learning opportunities to suit different learning styles (e.g. classroom-based learning, eLearning, peer learning, and team learning)
- Encouraging lone workers to get to know each other through training
- Setting up team meetings that can act as skills development and an opportunity to share experiences and what has been taught
It is also crucial for managers to support good mental health and wellbeing in their lone workers by having good communication. Most lone workers find that the job role has a positive impact on their mental health, but there are some negative elements to the job role that need to be noted. When working alone, employees find that it is difficult to discuss issues or challenges that they are experiencing, and this causes an increase in stress levels through feeling the burden of decision-making by themselves. There is also a pressure on lone workers to work when they are unwell because it is much more difficult to cover absences.
It is important for managers to understand how employees feel in these working environments, and to set up a clear line of address for workers to communicate any issues or concerns that they have as early as possible to avoid escalation.
There are other ways to support lone worker’s health and wellbeing. These include:
- Arranging drop in sessions where lone workers can discuss their concerns and get advice
- Designating a carer liaison officer or mental health champion that acts as a point of contact for lone workers and supports them in formal processes
- Matching lone workers to the people they support based on similar personalities and/or interests to minimise the risk of loneliness and isolation for the lone worked
This post is just a small example of the support structures that are available for managers to put into place for their lone workers. A wider variety of support structures can be found in Skills for Care’s leaflet.
Access Skills also offer a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management for Adult Care which explains crucial managerial tactics and structures for prospective or current managers, as well as many other topics. If you would like to know more about this, visit our website, or give us a call on 0121 510 2169 (option 1) today.