Stressed out academics are being offered pillows, fluffy socks and Horlicks as part of an innovative new lifestyle management programme, designed to help them cope with the punishing effects of their workload.
Workplace stress consultants In Equilibrium have devised the Academic Lifestyle Management workshop in a bid to help university and college professionals to deal with the pressures of present day academia. Insomnia is one of the many areas covered in a programme aimed at improving the health and performance of academic and support personnel in the education sector.
According to a survey of 14,250 University and College Union members released last year, almost three quarters find their job stressful. Key stress factors reported by respondents were lack of time to undertake research, excessive workloads, lack of resources to undertake research and poor work/life balance.
During the last five years, In Equilibrium has acquired considerable knowledge about the internal pressures of the Higher Education system, by providing training and employee opinion survey services to 36 universities and colleges throughout the UK.
In Equilibrium Director Dr David Mason Brown said: “Many people think of universities and colleges as leafy places of quiet learning and don’t realise that they can often be extremely stressful places where staff have to juggle ever increasing teaching commitments with research work and finding new ways to generate income for the department.
“There is a great deal of pressure to maintain academic standards while all the time managing a very tight budget and often they feel more like professional business managers than academics dedicated to nurturing young minds.”
Other stress factors include long, unsociable working hours, employment uncertainty and tension between management/admin staff and the academic staff.
In Equilibrium’s Academic Lifestyle Management training course introduces participants to a variety of concepts and techniques, which can work together to maintain good health and reduce the risk of stress. Lifestyle approaches, work-life balance and personal ways of thinking are all covered, using interactive exercises. Participants will be provided with tools they can use to help them deal with stressful events.
Included in these is an audio CD with a relaxation section personally recorded by Dr Mason Brown that helps you to switch off after work.
The pillow sleep set is a fun way of emphasising how important good quality sleep is to maintaining personal health and performance during periods of excessive demands and uncertainty.
Dr Mason Brown added: “This is a difficult message to get across as many academics regularly burn the midnight oil and can end up having the kind of disrupted sleeping patterns more commonly seen amongst shift workers such as doctors or police officers.”
In Equilibrium provides in-house training courses and consultancy to private and public sector organisations throughout the UK.