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How happy is your workplace?

This week started with what is said to be the ‘most depressing day of the year.’ Whether or not this is correct, the down period after Christmas with its dark winter days and unpredictable weather is pretty miserable for everybody, and can be a trigger for those of us with mental health issues. In the workplace this can lead to low morale, less productive staff, and increased sick leave. So how can we make our workplaces happier and healthier?

 

Spruce up your office

It may be grey and miserable outside, but that doesn’t have to extend to the inside as well! Using colour and art on the walls, and investing in some nicely designed ergonomic furniture can really boost your team’s mood. You could even try adding smells to your office with a diffuser using a mood-boosting blend of essential oils! If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, try making this into an area where people can work on sunnier days, with tables and chairs surrounded by colourful planting in pots or borders. Music can also be a powerful mood-enhancer, but equally some people find it distracting to work with music on. Make sure that if you do play music in the office there is always somewhere quiet that employees can move to if they need to concentrate.

 

Encourage healthier lifestyles

Being healthier, and particularly taking more exercise, is proven to make us happier. Encourage your staff to adopt healthier lifestyles by encouraging the Cycle to Work scheme, by hosting a Yoga or fitness class on site, or by providing a range of free healthy snacks. You could even invest in a health insurance scheme that rewards your employees for being more active.

 

Destigmatise mental health

The days when we viewed people with mental health issues as ‘weak’  or ‘unfit for work’ are thankfully over, but it can still be hard to open up about our mental health struggles at work. Encourage a policy of open communication, by openly promoting mental health strategies, training a mental health first-aider to deal with any crises, and by making provision for mental health absences within your sickness policy.

 

Create a positive team dynamic

We don’t have to be best friends with our co-workers, but we do have to get along! Make sure you plan regular social events for your team including more informal get-togethers as well as training events such as team-building or strategy away-days. Raising money for a charity is also a good way for employees to interact socially as well as giving them the mood-boosting feeling that they are doing something good for the wider community.

 

There are many ways to boost morale and create a happier environment at work. If you have an idea to improve wellbeing at work, and want to know about the possible tax benefits involved, speak to one of our advisors!