By David Price, CEO, Health Assured
While it may be a ‘jolly’ season for some, the festive period can be a difficult time for many, often contributing towards mental health conditions including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), anxiety and depression.
It’s no secret that many people struggle with their mental wellbeing during the winter months. The days are shorter, the weather is bleak and the financial pressures of the festive season start to mount up for many.
The year 2020 is no exception. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, people across the globe have experienced loss, sick relatives, childcare challenges and heightened anxiety, all the while keeping distant from family and friends.
Subsequently, employers everywhere must do their best to fulfil their duty of care towards their people and ensure that the wellbeing of their team members is supported during these challenging times.
With employees currently working under new conditions, whether they are working remotely, in Covid-secure environments or if they have been furloughed, monitoring your people’s morale and wellbeing can be a challenge. Here, are a few ideas on how to give your people a wellbeing boost during the pandemic festive season:
Encourage physical activity
Thanks to the shorter, darker and colder days that winter brings, many of us tend to keep wrapped up and stay indoors. Encourage your people to get outside as much as possible during their breaks. The fresh air will help prevent them from becoming burnt out, and it will give them a chance to increase their daily vitamin D intake – crucial for brain development and functioning.
Reward & recognition
Acknowledging your people’s hard work and commitment to round off this challenging and unprecedented year will do wonders for your team’s morale. Consider hosting a virtual end of the year awards ceremony for your people with fun prizes and rewards.
With many of your people likely to be socially distancing from their friends and loved ones over the festive season, team morale might be lower than usual. Arrange virtual social sessions for your colleagues to socialise with each other in a safe space. If you have furloughed team members, ensure that they are invited too and use the opportunity to check in to see how they are coping.
It’s important that you keep on top of people putting work before their health. If left unchecked, your people may become burnt out, resulting in higher absences levels and a risk of increased turnover. Encourage healthy work-life balances within your team by leading by example and making yourself available to your people to listen to any concerns they may have.
2020 has been a challenging year for us all. As we enter a festive season full of uncertainty, schedule some informal check-ins with your team members. Offer them the platform to share their concerns and reassure them at you have support procedures in place in the event they wish to seek help or guidance, such as a confidential EAP helpline.
For reasons out of your control, there will be many external influences that could potentially affect the mental wellbeing of your employees this festive season. However, by focusing on supporting your people during these unprecedented times, you will contribute towards building a positive and inclusive working environment and culture.