Winter wellness – it’s all about rugging up warm, getting that flu jab and staying home from work if you’re unwell, right? Well, that’s part of it.
But have you thought about how you’ll care for the mental wellness of your team this winter – particularly at work?
Deadlines, demanding customers, COVID-19 worries, long hours, remote working – the list of things that can knock our wellbeing at work is endless. And the long, grey winter months can make it all feel so much worse. But improving our mental wellbeing is priceless.
So, how can you ensure you are being an ethical leader and creating an environment of winter workplace wellness? Read on to find out.
How To Boost Workplace Wellness This Winter
Why Workplace Wellness?
Good mental health at work and good management go hand in hand. There’s evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. According to WorkSafe NZ, focusing on mental health in the workplace is essential because:
- It’s good for business. When people are happy in their environment, they are more productive, take less sick leave, and are more likely to remain in their jobs for longer.
- It’s a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act (which is as much about mental health as physical health!)
- It’s a moral and ethical obligation for all of us to do the right thing by one another.
Workplace wellness creates a better working environment for everyone, so it becomes a pleasure to be at work despite the dreary weather outside!
Navigating The Winter Blues
The winter blues are a well-known phenomenon. They are most heavily felt throughout the workplace. As the temperature drops and the weather worsens, it is harder to get those sunlight hours that our bodies desperately crave.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that your team may be feeling those winter blues and have a plan to combat their impact as much as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to regularly check in with your team – individually and in a group setting.
Encourage open lines of communication so that your team can discuss issues or problems they are facing, have constructive conversations so that they can build resilience, and develop perseverance.
A Guide To Improving Mental Wellbeing In The Workplace
Here at Spice HR, we believe that good mental wellbeing at work is crucial, which is why we support the Five Ways to Wellbeing developed by New Zealand’s Mental Health Foundation.
Whilst these are general principles, they can be practically applied in the workplace. Here are the five areas your team should focus on for great workplace wellness this winter:
Listen and talk, be present, feel connected. Speak up when you need to, and listen to others. Keep the communication lines open by encouraging discussion
Give your time, knowledge, and presence – an essential part of connecting!
3. Take notice
Recognise the good things that your team are doing and the things that spark their creativity and joy. Even the little things count. Appreciate them!
4. Keep Learning
Embrace new experiences, see development opportunities, and provide ongoing learning experiences for your team members.
5. Be Active
Encourage your team to keep active throughout the day even if their role requires them to be at a desk. Do what you can, help them enjoy what they do, and don’t forget to move your mood and your body! Just move – no matter how you do it!
Here at Spice HR, we think that number 1 is particularly crucial: Connect. Many struggling with mental wellbeing try to hide their feelings, afraid of other people’s responses. If you create workplace cultures where people can be themselves, they will speak more freely about mental health concerns and reach out for help when needed. It all comes down to open lines of communication.
Are You An Ethical Leader?
Part of supporting good mental health in the winter workplace is ensuring you behave like an ethical leader. That means taking the time to build a healthy workplace environment for all of your team members.
Ethical leaders tend to choose people over financial reward. While economic growth is essential for many businesses, you will struggle to achieve your goals if you don’t have the buy-in of your people. That means balancing your decision-making to ensure you are doing the right thing by your employees and doing what is best for the business.
There are plenty of ways you can do this. But ultimately, it comes down to creating an environment in which people want to work. An environment that embraces excellent communication. One where people’s opinions and ideas are respected, management show transparency and shares information, and staff feel heard.
Ensuring your team leaders and management have a sense of empathy is vital to supporting their staff appropriately.
Ready To Spice Up Your Workplace Wellness?
Achieving great workplace wellness can be challenging at any time of the year, yet that challenge increases significantly during the winter months.
Need more guidance to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace? Reach out to the Spice Gals!
Spice HR support small and medium businesses who need help getting HR frameworks in place – and we love helping businesses boost staff wellbeing.
So: stop right now, thank you very much – and drop us a line!