Employee wellbeing in the new year

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Health Assured team

20 December 2018

According to the NHS, approximately one in 15 people in the UK are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) between the months of September and April.


As the festive holidays come to an end, we soon find ourselves in the heart of winter. These months are often perceived to be the most depressing season of the year. People often attribute their effected mental health due to the weather being darker and damper, as well as many still feeling the pinch in their pockets from the festive season.


But the winter months don’t need to be so bleak. A New Year is a time for a fresh start. It’s a time to reflect on the previous 12 months, set the precedent for the coming year and put the plans in place to make 2019 more successful and rewarding for everyone involved at your organisation.


So, to make a positive start to 2019, here’s how to help your team improve their mental wellbeing during the winter.


Thank your staff

A new year is the perfect time to thank staff for their hard work over the previous 12 months. Highlight and boast about staff achievements, congratulate those who have achieved long service, and set out this year’s objectives.

By doing so, you’ll make your team members feel appreciated and help focus their minds on the coming year by encouraging them to think about how they can contribute.


Improve work culture

The start of a new year is often the time of the “new year, new me” resolution, so help your staff achieve their goals and encourage a healthier and happier workforce.


Outline the development and promotion opportunities within your organisation. Such transparency helps employees set clear career progression goals.


And, if you have a slightly larger or high-performing organisation, you could contribute towards the health and wellbeing of staff with in-house exercise classes, gym memberships, or free fresh fruit and healthy drinks.


Incentivise staff

Incentives help staff focus on work in a fun and competitive environment. The more fun you make it, the less employees will focus on the work aspect and, instead, aim to reach the reward. You could offer prizes to staff who hit specific targets—you don’t have to spend a lot, either.


The best kind of prizes add value to the incentive to encourage a positive mood so people buy into the scheme. For example, awarding half a day’s annual leave will likely spur team members on more than a box of chocolates or a gift voucher.


Prevent presenteeism

Although you want your full workforce present at all times, having staff come into work while ill could have a negative impact on others. Sick staff who work take longer to get back to full health, can spread the illness to others and will be in an unproductive mood.


Don’t apply your absence procedures so strictly that employees feel they can’t take time off to recover properly. Set appropriate trigger points before intervention is needed, such as a letter of concern after four absences over a 12-month period.


End the month on a high

Plan an event to take place at the end of February/March to help create an encouraging mood during the season. This could be a social event, such as a workplace ‘bake off’ or a free lunch on the last day of the month. Or, if that’s too costly, how about another appreciation event where you thank everyone as a collective for their hard work during the month?



If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

0844 892 2493

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