Is your workplace well-being strategy ready for winter?

Wednesday October 28, 2020

The clocks turning back one-hour last Sunday marked the official end of British Summer Time. To be honest though, the change in weather and sight of pumpkins were a big giveaway.

This change in seasons is usually accompanied by festivities, bonfires, and warm indoor get-togethers with friends. However, the events of this year have meant that, sadly, many of these gatherings will not go ahead as planned.

With what might feel like little to look forward to, combined with a drop in temperature and change to daylight hours, you may find the morale of your team to be at a low point.

As many as one in four adults will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Without accessible support, this can lead to longer term issues including poor physical health and sickness. The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 70 million workdays are lost each year due to mental health problems. Experts fear that the impact of coronavirus could see this figure rise.

A winter-proof workplace well-being strategy can keep you and your team feeling and working well through challenging times. Read on to find out more.

Starting a conversation around mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health: everyone has it and needs to take care of it.

Approaching the subject of mental health in the workplace may feel uncomfortable or unusual at first, but addressing low morale early on can save time and protect the well-being of your workforce.

Sometimes all it takes is an informal conversation. That said, we understand that even these can feel awkward at times, especially if you are seeing your team less due to remote working.

The following tips can help:

  1. Upskilling yourself or your management team with Mental Health Awareness training is a good way to overcome the fear of approaching and addressing the topic with employees. It is a sensitive topic and there are risks involved, so educating yourself and your management team is a good place to start.
  2. Consider appointing and training up a Mental Health First Aider to show your ongoing commitment to workplace well-being. This provides an extra support resource to employees who may not always feel comfortable confiding in their manager.
  3. Provide cues for employees to start a conversation around their mental health. This could be through gentle reminders that you are available if they need to talk, or scheduling regular 121s which include a welfare check.

Supporting your team

By opening doors and having conversations around mental health and well-being you can identify if employees are in need of some support. Once you know this, there are several ways in which you can help:

  1. An Employee Assistance Program or EAP provides private counselling sessions to employees who are going through a difficult time. Confidential support is given by highly trained professionals and available 24/7 through phone and email. A workplace EAP is a cost-effective way to support employees at times when they need it the most.
  2. Encourage healthy habits by ensuring that Working Time Regulations and breaks are maintained. Where possible, a daily walk outside can do wonders for the mind.
  3. Promote the development of new skills. Whether you can offer training which also benefits your business, or simply start discussions around hobbies, goal setting and learning have positive effects on mental well-being. A passion project can be just the thing to occupy those otherwise dreary winter evenings.

Supporting your business

Running a business takes time and energy, make sure to take care of yourself too and not deplete all of your reserves. The business needs you!

If the change in season has impacted your workforce and you could do with a helping hand in managing morale, contact us. Our HR professionals have worked with a diverse range of SMEs and can recommend a suitable and effective well-being strategy for your business.

Preventing People Problems

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