Beating The January Blues: How To Support Mental Health In The Workplace

supporting mental health in the workplace

With a new year upon us – and renewed pressures of ‘new year, new me’ – returning to the workplace in January can be stressful in more ways than one. Indeed, research has found that after a lull in December, psychiatric visits sharply increase in January.

But mental health in the workplace doesn’t need to be daunting. Here’s some simple steps you can take to support your employees’ wellbeing at work.

Invest in training

56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance. A quick online search reveals plenty of information and is a great starting point for beginning a conversation about mental health in the workplace. The charity Mind provides an abundance of particularly helpful free resources and training.

Set a challenge

After the indulgent festive period, January is a great time to reset and be mindful of what we’re putting in our bodies. And with alcohol proven to increase depression, weight gain and sleep loss, why not incentivise your colleagues to take part in Dry January or a fitness challenge? Take a look at RED January, a community initiative encouraging individuals to be active every day, for inspiration.

Ask ‘how are you?’

We ask it countless times everyday, but when was the last time you genuinely listened to the answer? Showing your employees that their wellbeing matters and there’s someone to listen can make a big difference. Sanctus partners with businesses to place coaches in their workplaces, creating a confidential and impartial space for employees to talk about their mental health – you can find out more about their work here.

Boost collaboration

72% of employees who have a best friend at work are satisfied with their jobs, compared to 54% who don’t. While having a best friend at work isn’t essential, such a stat highlights the importance of positive working relationships – not only to work, but also to your employees’ morale and wellbeing. Encourage team collaboration, be it in a project or at an offsite team-building day.

Work-life balance

Sure, there’s always going to be days where an extra hour or two is required to get the job done, but are your employees frequently staying late and working through lunch breaks? Taking as little as a five-minute break is scientifically proven to boost focus and productivity, so a gentle reminder of this (and checking that workloads are manageable) could be worthwhile.

Create a workplace where everyone is accepted

Discrimination can often be very subtle and even unintentional – light-hearted ‘banter’ can have a much bigger impact than realised. Work with your employees to establish a workplace culture where everyone feels not only accepted, but respected for truly being themselves.

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year!