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4 minute read

Five Steps to Boost Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing in 2023

During the summer, a phenomenon known as the 'productivity slump' can occur. During the summer, employees report a 20% decline in productivity, a 19% decrease in attendance, and a 45% increase in distraction levels. Research has also shown the opposite is true, in that productivity levels actually rise during periods of cold weather.

There are many challenges that employees might face during the warmer months that contribute to sick days, missed deadlines, and distractions. For example, the combination of increased temperature and an uptick in annual leave around this time of year can lead to a significant drop in productivity. When the warm weather is accompanied by a staff shortage and a sense of missing out on time in the sun with loved ones, we can understand why this might be.

So, as employers, how can we ensure our employees remain happy, healthy, and engaged at work? The answer lies in developing flexibility and adaptability within the workplace. With a little effort and some strategic planning, you can create a work environment that enables your team to get the most out of their summer. In this article, we'll delve into five powerful changes that will allow your employees to embrace the joys of summer. Let's dive in and explore how to empower your employees to have a summer of unforgettable experiences and personal growth.

Step 1: Embrace Flexible Summer Work Arrangements

Summer Fridays

Consider implementing 'Summer Fridays'. This can allow employees to start the weekend early and maximise their relaxation, self-care, and quality time with loved ones. Offering this flexibility shows that you value work-life balance and recognise the importance of rest. This could involve a half day or even finishing earlier to allow time for a headstart to their weekend.

Hybrid Working

Provide flexibility for remote work or alternative work locations. This allows employees to take advantage of the summer weather while maintaining productivity. Enabling employees to choose their environment can boost morale and increase job satisfaction.

Step 2: Make Annual Leave Restful, Not Stressful

Encourage Time Off

Emphasise the importance of taking breaks and utilising annual leave to recharge and rejuvenate. Encourage employees to fully disconnect from work and log off from all communication channels.

Prevent Post-Holiday Burnout

Make going 'out of office' as easy and stress-free as possible. This should also extend to returning to work after annual leave. Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing within the team, where possible. By keeping colleagues up to date on the projects that need cover, everyone can stay in the loop and step in if necessary. When team members support and rely on each other, you reduce the impact of individual absences. This can help to prevent a buildup of unfinished work and post-holiday stress.

Keep Communication Flowing

Maintain open lines of communication among team members during an employee's absence. Encourage employees to share their availability and capacity to help out. This prevents a backlog of unresolved tasks or places the burden on one specific team member.

Prioritise and Reassess

Returning to work after a break can be overwhelming. It's essential to give employees breathing room and allow them to reassess priorities. By stepping back and delaying non-urgent tasks, they can catch up without compromising the quality of their work. If possible, avoid overwhelming them with a flood of requests in the first few days. Give them time to readjust to their work routine and maintain the relaxing effects of their time off. This approach sets them up to start back on a positive note and maintains the benefits of their time off.

Learn and Improve

Approach each return-to-work experience as an opportunity to examine how you manage annual leave. Encourage employees to share their feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Step 3: Make Work A Positive Place To Be

Encourage Fun At Work

Organise outdoor activities such as picnics or sports events to create a sense of belonging and cohesion. These activities allow people to connect, strengthen relationships, and make positive memories together. These experiences can create a positive connection with work, making it a safe space even during stressful times.

Make It Easier For Employees To Get Outside

Encourage breaks outside during daylight hours to boost mood and energy levels and improve sleep quality. Exposure to natural light can positively impact mental health and well-being.

Increase Opportunities For Mindfulness

Promote mindfulness practices outdoors, such as organising a guided meditation session in a park. You could also encourage employees to find moments of stillness and appreciation for nature during their breaks.

Provide Healthy Snacks and Hydration

Offer free healthy snacks and refreshments, such as fruits, nuts, and infused water. Staying hydrated and nourished throughout the day improves energy levels and productivity.

Step 4: Make A Proactive Commitment To Wellbeing

Show your commitment to your employees' wellbeing by adding a dedicated service like Kara Connect to your existing wellbeing programmes. Our wellbeing platform offers various services, including coaching, counselling, therapy, and more. Our directory of various hand-picked experts is multilingual, experienced and accredited professionals. We select these professionals based on the specific needs of your employees to create a tailored approach to wellbeing.

By partnering with Kara Connect, you can prioritise the wellbeing of your employees. Through the Wellbeing Hub, they can access support to thrive during the summer and beyond.

Conclusion

During the warmer months, employers have an opportunity to support the wellbeing and happiness of their team. Companies can achieve this by trying out a few different strategies. These approaches comprise flexible working, a streamlined return-to-work process, and team bonding experiences.

Finally, providing access to wellbeing platforms can empower employees to maintain their health and wellness during the summer season and all year round. This approach ensures that employees thrive long-term, boosting the wellbeing of your employees and your business, too.

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Florence Mazy
Shane Cusack

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Florence Mazy
Shane Cusack