Calderdale Council staff struggling with workloads since pandemic changed ways of working

One in five of a council’s employees are finding their work difficult to manage or are not coping since the coronavirus pandemic changed ways of working, according to a survey.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Saturday, 7th May 2022, 12:00 pm

Calderdale Council employees were asked about their current work situation and how often they visited a council workplace as part of a survey into staff wellbeing.

Richard Porter of the council’s Public Health team said this was the second resilience survey undertaken and with 759 people returning surveys got a good response.

The sample showed more than six in 10 employees working from home , around three in ten having a hybrid way of working and less less than one in ten working in a building all the time.

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Council staff completed a survey on their working

But although almost 80 per cent of the workforce were flourishing or coping with their work, the remainder – more than one in five – were finding their work difficult to manage or not coping, and this was a concern, said Mr Porter.

Reasons given by employees who were finding work difficult to manage or not coping included being tired or tired of COVID-19, sometimes related to increased workloads the pandemic had led to, missing contact with customers and colleagues, having an unsuitable work environment, challenges posed by tools to do their job or digital technology and uncertainty about the future.

Some changes were positive, with respondents saying responding to challenges posed by the pandemic had led to job satisfaction, new ways of working and increased productivity had resulted, they had received good support from managers and colleagues and a better work-life balance.

While one in five staff thought there job had not been changed at all by the pandemic, one in three felt their roles had changed completely, members of the council’s Strategy and Performance Scrutiny Board heard.

Coun Megan Swift (Lab, Town) said for people who lived by themselves it appeared there was a problem with loneliness.

Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins, said although the way this survey, which was qualitative, showed how many of the people who responded lived on their own, a follow-up survey could focus on particular issues.

Coun Victoria Porritt (Lab, Elland) said the survey revealed an enormous disparity in the levels of coping among staff.

Comments were interesting in how staff thought the pandemic – unprecedented times – had affected customer relations, said Coun Roger Taylor (Ind, Northowram and Shelf).

Coun Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley) wanted to know what was being done to address issues raised.

Ms Harkins said the findings were influencing working over the past few months – people’s needs and preferences were very different and should be taken account of where it was possible.

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