In this blog, we outline our top tips to beat the winter blues in the workplace.
With its crisp mornings and golden foliage, Autumn can be a somewhat beautiful season depending on who you ask. But as the clocks go back this weekend, it is a stark reminder that winter is creeping closer.
This means freezing temperatures and far fewer daylight hours. For many people, it is not unusual to head to work in the dark and return home in the dark. And with the added stress of Christmas, it is no surprise that so many people struggle with the winter blues.
What Are The Winter Blues?
Back in 2014, it was found that 1 in 3 people in the UK suffers from seasonal affective disorder. Also known as “winter depression”, symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include low energy, extreme fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and low self-esteem.
This statistic is already pretty startling…and we weren’t in the midst of a devastating global pandemic back in 2014.
As the pandemic continues to take its toll on the mental health of the population, this winter is expected to be a very tough one. In fact, mental health charities believe we are heading towards a mental health crisis.
Winter Blues And The Workplace
As an employer, it is natural to worry about how the winter blues might affect your staff and your business. Unfortunately, studies show that winter is the worst season for sick leave.
January, in particular, sees a high rate of sick leave. In 2016, the Office for National Statistics found that stress was one of the biggest causes of sick leave.
Aside from absenteeism, employers may also see a decrease in employee productivity, engagement, and motivation. Plus, with mental ill-health on the rise, work-related burnout is also a worry for business owners.
So, how can you combat the winter blues in the workplace?
Top Tips To Beat The Winter Blues In The Workplace
For those businesses with employees working from home, it can be even more challenging to help your employees. Isolation is sure to impact the mental wellbeing of your team.
Here are our top tips to beat the winter blues in the workplace:
Provide Mental Health Support
Every business should have a mental health and wellbeing strategy incorporated into their workplace. Offering support, such as access to a mental health professional, might just be the stepping stone your employees need to beat the winter blues.
As the nights come in fast, it can be challenging to find the time to do everything we had planned during the short winter days.
Offering flexible working hours where possible will help your employees make the most of the daylight hours. Plus, it can be incredibly useful for those with families and children to have flexibility with their working hours.
Flexible working practices have been proven to reduce absences and stress amongst employees.
Encourage Regular Outdoor Breaks
Taking regular breaks during the working day can reduce stress and improve performance. As winter approaches, encourage your employees to take regular screen breaks… outdoors if possible!
Even if it is just a quick walk around the block. Aside from spending time outdoors whilst it is still daylight, it will ensure your team are getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D and some exercise.
If you are working from the office or workplace, you could also encourage “walking meetings”.
Communication is key to a healthy workplace. And is particularly important if your team is working from home.
Having weekly team meetings is a great way to catch everyone up and maintain communication. A work group chat is also a great way for your employees to stay in touch and can be helpful to those living alone.
As an employer, you should also consider having regular one to ones with your employees. This is an effective way to check on the wellbeing of your team and offer support where needed.
Plan Something Charitable
Fundraising and taking part in charitable events are always a great way to boost employee morale and help your employees feel as If they are part of something.
If you plan it well, you might even be able to incorporate fitness into your charitable event. For example, a cycling challenge or fun run is a fantastic way to get your team moving whilst raising money for a good cause.
Set The Tone For The Week
Not many people enjoy Mondays, especially during the winter months. As an employer, you can set the tone for the week by holding an informal team lunch or team breakfast every Monday.
Unlike a business meeting, a team lunch allows your team to socialise in a relaxed, informal environment. It’s is an effective way to reduce stress, boost morale and set a positive tone for the week ahead.
Get In Touch
Mindful Partners is a specialist recruitment agency that helps people recovering from poor mental health get back into the workplace.
If you are an employer and would like to find out more about partnering with Mindful Partners, please get in touch. Alternatively, if you are recovering from mental ill-health and are looking to get back into work, please get in touch.