How to beat Blue Monday, sickness and SAD

Wellbeing, Design

Monday 15th January is Blue Monday – claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. In our latest survey, we explored what contributed to people feeling blue in the office and what employers can do to help their staff counter the negative effects that winter can have.

In our latest survey, 50% of workers say that winter adversely affects their mood, 42% believe it has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. Our winter survey also revealed that the winter can cause more than just a negative impact on people’s moods, 35% identify themselves as suffering or having suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – a mood disorder most common in the winter, with 55% stating that they feel like ‘pulling a sickie’ during the winter months. To help rejuvenate your people during the winter months, these are some of the key areas that can be addressed by employers to help offices beat the winter blues.

Reliable heating system

Top of the list, with 96%, is a good heating system listed as the most important factor in supporting wellbeing at work. With shorter days (57%), cold weather (57%) and a cold office (54%) rated as the top three negative impacts on mood in the winter, the office needs to be at a temperature suitable for all their employees.

Exposure to natural light

Nine out of ten employees (94%) say that exposure to natural light is important to their wellbeing. Wherever possible, businesses should maximise natural light into the workplace by removing solid partition walls, placing staff next to windows and reconfiguring furniture to gain optimum natural light.

Add quiet spaces

87% of workers say that quiet areas support their wellbeing at work, providing them with somewhere to retreat to when they need to concentrate or have a break. To ensure everyone’s needs are supported in the office, businesses should create a range of spaces which staff can select and enjoy according to their personality type, mood and work.

Open and honest culture

Open and honest dialogue about mental health and wellbeing is valued by 87% of respondents. Creating an open culture in the office should start from the top down to encourage sharing and help improve employee wellbeing across the business.

Breakout areas

Mental wellbeing was highlighted by many as essential in the workplace. Some 92% of employees say that social spaces are valuable to help them get away from the desk and come together with others to build friendships and improve communication in the office.

Every year, Blue Monday gives us an opportunity to talk about health and wellbeing and the steps we can take to enhance it in the workplace. By focusing on your most important asset and maximising their mental and physical wellbeing, you can help ensure you have a healthy, productive workforce.

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