As we know, the role and life as an SBM can feel very isolated due to the nature of our work and because schools and staff rely heavily on the only person with knowledge and experience to make decisive decisions.
With the isolated responsibility also comes an ever-increasing workload which does require the attention and working hours to ensure work programmes are maintained. It seems all too much a common trend and part of the SBM role that we continue to do above and beyond the normal working hours or working day to maintain high standards and ensure work programmes are completed.
Whenever I am networking or meeting with fellow colleagues, the hot topic of conversation seems to be workload and working hours. I honestly cannot remember a week where I did not do above the contracted hours and that is not to say that I do not have flexibility within my role, but it just seems to be the norm.
It is a scary thought that many SBMs have morphed into professionals who expect to work beyond contracted hours. As with many professionals and industries within the UK, we find it acceptable to work above and beyond just to achieve the day job.
I personally have attended various CPD opportunities and training to work smarter, time management and prioritising. In some instances, some of this has worked. However, the over-arching issue of work life balance and doing more than a normal working week has not reduced for me and many other SBMs in the country.
Andy Heron, another ISBL Fellow, shared with us in his blog (March 2017) the Health and Safety Executive’s figure of those affected by work related illness: 1.3 million. The common fact that workloads and working hours are linked to this statistic is alarming.
I also feel that SBMs have been a victim of their own success over the past 15 years and since the rise of the role, responsibility and profile, schools across the country are recognising SBMs as an integral part of their leadership teams, as well as being the go-to person for finding solutions to many problems we face within our settings.
I do not think there is a month or quarter that passes, when I receive a subscription from ISBL or ASCL where they do not cover a topic around stress, work life balance and stress related information. I am not blogging to give anyone the answers, just again to raise awareness and the importance that we just carry on with the norm all too frequently.