Community / 14 Jan 2022

How to support employees with January blues

employee mental wellbeing coffee mug

It’s not uncommon in January for a national dip in morale, following the Christmas period, and paired with the continuing pandemic and surge of Omicron, this is more prevalent than ever. This can lead to a drop in productivity among your workforce, with work related stress and anxiety being a leading cause of employee absence.

Research conducted by Censuswide revealed that three in four office workers in the UK are considering quitting or changing their jobs due to ‘burnout, bad work-life balance, toxic workplace environments and long hours’.

The nationwide poll also found that 57% of home and office workers reported suffering from low morale and 18% of respondents thought that their employers didn’t care about employee mental wellbeing.

This research further emphasises the growing need for HR strategies which focus on employee mental health and wellbeing.

How can HR policy help mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?

“At this point in time people’s wellbeing has been more compromised than at any point in living memory,” says Allyson Gayle, Head of Risk & Healthcare at Premier. “It’s very important that right now employers take the time to understand how their people have been impacted and understand what they need to do to support staff, for their organisations to survive and continue to thrive through these ongoing unprecedented and uncertain times.”

In our recent HR Connect webinar, 40% of our attendees revealed that they thought their employees found it ‘somewhat hard’ to talk about mental health at work, and only 40% said that their organisation offers leadership training on Psychological Health.

“The most important asset and resource an organisation has is its people and thus it’s critical that company Boards and HR teams have a clear, meaningful, and robust wellbeing strategy in place that is malleable to accommodate the unpredictable landscape and diversity of the workforce across 2022 and beyond,” says Allyson.

Offering leadership training in employee mental health and wellness will equip managers to deal with staff mental health concerns, giving them the knowledge to offer professional support and a range of resources. It’s also a good idea to have a group of employees trained as mental health first aiders, who will be available to support employees and offer practical advice to anyone struggling with a mental health condition.

How to support employees as they come back into the office

Creating an agile working guide for employees is a good way to clearly outline and address any new processes or concerns that employees may have about returning to the office after the pandemic. This could outline extra health and safety measures being undertaken, a clear process for a positive COVID test from an employee, any updated company policies and mental health and wellbeing contacts and support.

It’s vital to create agile working policies as employees migrate back to the office. However employers shouldn’t fall into the trap of creating a ‘one size fits all’ policy. Agile working policies and decisions will likely need to be created on a personal basis and be flexible, taking into consideration individual needs such as childcare changes and disabilities which may be more vulnerable to COVID.

Watch our webinar on hybrid working strategies here.

How technology can support workplace wellbeing

Creating a mental health hub on a staff intranet is a great way to provide important resources to employees who need them and may not have the confidence to speak to their manager about their concerns. Encouraging employees who are comfortable to, to write blogs on their own experiences is a fantastic way to destigmatise mental health conditions, and may even encourage employees who are suffering to come forward about their own experiences.

Technology platforms such as Gateway2Benefits can also help your employees with their mental health and wellbeing. Gateway2Benefits features a Wellbeing module which can help boost personal wellbeing, positivity and mindset by using the latest leading personalised wellness solutions, which provide your employees with self-care or mindfulness. Learn more about Gateway2Benefits here.

To learn more about positive mental health workplace strategies, watch our HR Connect session on the topic by clicking below.