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Promoting Workplace Wellbeing in The Colder Months

Published by Anova

22 November 2023

As the daylight hours decrease during the colder months, your workforce can really feel the effects of this seasonal shift. The impact on employee wellbeing and overall morale can be significant. Employers should recognise this impact and the importance of promoting wellbeing, to create a more positive and productive work environment.

According to research conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, approximately 3% of the UK population experiences Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)*, with higher occurrence in environments with decreased sunlight and colder climates, particularly during the winter months.



How Employers Can Promote Workplace Wellbeing in the Colder Months


>    Embrace Natural Light

Reduced sunlight during the winter months can lead to a drop in mood and energy levels. Encourage employees to take advantage of natural light by positioning workstations near windows or creating designated break areas with ample sunlight exposure. Consider adjusting lighting within the office space to mimic natural daylight, promoting a more energised and positive atmosphere.


>   Allow Flexible Scheduling and Remote Work Options

Winter weather conditions can make commuting challenging and draining. Offering flexible scheduling or remote work options can alleviate stress associated with travel during this type of weather. This not only promotes a healthier work-life balance but also demonstrates empathy towards employees' wellbeing.


>    Promote Physical Activity

Physical activity is a powerful mood booster. Encourage employees to stay active during the winter months through wellness programs, fitness challenges, or even providing on-site fitness facilities. You can even add in a ‘walking meeting’ when the weather allows! Regular exercise has been proven to combat feelings of lethargy and can significantly contribute to overall mental wellbeing.


>    Create Comfortable Workspaces

In our Anova research with Alexforbes on 'Beyond the Paycheck,' we recommended redesigning workplaces to incorporate both quiet spaces for focus and open areas for collaboration. While many businesses are scaling back flexible work options, it's essential to consider incentivising a return to the office rather than enforcing a universal mandate, preserving the wellbeing advantages without compromising individual choice.


>    Encourage Social Connection and Team Building

Winter blues can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation. Create a sense of community within the workplace by organising team-building activities, social events, or even simple coffee breaks where employees can connect and share experiences. Strong social connections contribute to a positive workplace culture and can help combat feelings of loneliness.


>    Offer Mental Health Support

Recognise the impact that winter blues can have on mental health. Provide resources such as signposting to mental health organisations, counselling services, workshops, or seminars that focus on stress management and emotional wellbeing. Open up conversations about mental health to reduce stigma and create a supportive environment.


>    Celebrate Achievements and Milestones

Acknowledging and celebrating achievements, both big and small, can lift spirits during the winter months. Recognise the hard work of your team and create a positive work culture by highlighting accomplishments. This can contribute to a sense of purpose and motivation, counteracting any seasonal downturn.

 


In conclusion

Prioritising workplace wellbeing during the winter months is essential for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. By implementing strategies that address the unique challenges associated with the season, employers can ensure that their teams remain engaged, motivated, and resilient throughout the colder months.


*Reference

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