Workload reduction: a call to action
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 2, 12 March 2021, page no. 11
As 2021 began, there were many proactive conversations about workload, the number one priority of the QTU and its members. These have identified that the two most important considerations are reducing workload in a sustainable way and consultation with members.
The workload reviews in 2020 resulted in the Agreed Position document signed by the department and the QTU and the Union’s workload reduction resource, giving members key areas and strategies to help them achieve sustainable workload reduction. These outcomes provide an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to reduce workload in tangible ways.
Everyone wants to reduce workload in a way that is tangible and sustainable, but how do you begin?
The QTU has developed a workload reduction action plan (https://www.qtu.asn.au/workload_reduction), which outlines steps members can take to begin their journey to workload reduction, uniting with members in their workplace to seek a position through consultation and to determine priorities for action.
To get started, download a copy of the workload reduction action plan and discuss it with your Union Reps and admin team. Add workload as a topic of discussion at the staff meeting/admin meeting and the LCC meeting agenda to begin conversations at your workplace. Consult with members to determine the way forward and complete the workload reduction action plan. Develop an action plan together that has a clear objective, timelines, and a way to measure tangible outcomes.
Workplaces may identify different sources of pressure as impacting on their workload, and therefore may prioritise different areas to begin with. If a school has a number of areas that need to be addressed, consulting with members is the appropriate way to determine the priorities. Getting school leaders, Union Reps and members to work together is the recipe for success. It has been said that there is no silver bullet for workload. That remains true. What we have now is an opportunity to take the “what this looks like” aspect of the workload reduction resource and make it the lived experience of our members in their schools.
Yes, we will need to change how we do things. Yes, we will need to educate our school communities in line with the change/s that we are going to implement. It may be challenging. Change that will deliver sustainable reduction in workload will take time.
If we always do what we have always done, the tangible reduction in workload will remain a dream. At the end of the day, the Agreed Statement is for actioning at the local level, and if we continue to cling to unnecessary work, who is responsible for the workload crisis members report? This is the opportunity for change. Don’t miss it.
The workload reduction action plan
This is designed for use with the workload reduction resource A3 poster. This resource will support members in seeing how these strategies can live and breathe in their workplaces. It is a practical guide, using questions to prompt consideration and next steps in workplaces. Download a copy of the action plan and table it along with the workload reduction resource poster at your next staff/admin meeting, and add it to the LCC agenda. Take your action plan back to your branch to encourage other members to complete one.
Right to Disconnect
The Right to Disconnect resource encourages members to compose their “out of office” response as a part of the campaign. Stories about how the Right to Disconnect campaign has improved the workload or work-life balance of our members are welcomed. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or share with your organiser.
Have you had a workload win? Share your win with your colleagues, at your branch meeting or via email@example.com