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14 Jan

Wellbeing in the Workplace

A new year is here and everyone seems to be on the January bandwagon – Veganuary, no-meat Monday’s and of course, the gyms are raking it in with new membership sign-ups!

This is a great opportunity for us and will make a huge difference in people’s personal wellbeing, making them feel better both physically and mentally for so many reasons. But alongside healthier cooking at home and all those miles on the treadmill, we still really need to consider our wellbeing in the workplace.

We spend so much of our time at work and can often face stressful situations; even sitting at a desk for too long can be detrimental to your mental health. According to Accenture, 9 in 10 UK workers have faced a mental health challenge. So, what can we do about it?

GET ACTIVE

Are you guilty of the only steps you get Monday – Friday walking from the work car park? Do you spend your lunch hour at your desk, sat eating snacks and scrolling through social media? Are you a culprit for taking the lift instead of the stairs? It’s time for this to stop. I know it, you know it. Increase the distance of your walk in the morning before setting up at your desk for the day and use your lunch hour to be pro-active and exercise. Whether you find a local class that can be done within the hour, or do a loop of your offices to get some fresh air – physical activity is one of the best ways to fight off depression and anxiety. Don’t be scared to take that first step, it will make you instantly feel better.

BE SOCIAL

So many of us worry about making new friends in the office, but having a social relationship and someone you can trust, get on with and enjoy the company of is so important. A regular job is 9 – 5 (or 6 for most of us let’s be honest), but your friendships are forever. So speak to that co-worker who has similar interests, ask them about their weekend and build a relationship so you’ve got someone to chat, rant and laugh with, because you’ll both need it. Who knows, your friendship may go further than a work environment? Life-long friendships are often formed in the workplace.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

We can often avoid plans mid-week as the fear of being tired (or even worse, hungover) in the workplace is too much to handle; but don’t punish yourself for having a life. Going for that coffee or meal with a friend after work is SO good for the soul, and we all know it, especially if it’s only every once in a while. Do as much as you can to get yourself out and about, and you’ll soon forget how dark and dull January can be – you’ll also sleep better, making that work morning wake up a little easier.

MAKE IT YOUR OWN

Work-life can get monotonous and we often dread spending hours chained to a desk, staring at the same old four walls, doing the same old boring day-to-day tasks. Take matters into your own hands and invest in making it a slightly more pleasant place to be – trade those communal cups for a personal one from home, buy a couple of desk plants to jazz up your area and clear out all of that old paperwork you definitely no longer need. Creating a nicer, more comfortable work environment can be so simple, but so effective. Adding a picture of a loved one will instantly brighten the darkest day.

BE OPEN

This one works both ways. Be open with your manager and team about the way you feel, but also be open to listen to others who need that someone. If you don’t express your feelings or share the burden of certain stresses, it will get on top of you and make your job even harder. Share that task that you know full well is not a one-person job and tell your boss about Sandra from sales breathing down your neck. Likewise, if your boss gives you constructive criticism – don’t take it as a negative. Instead of feeling targeted and getting upset, take it in, learn from it and improve. It will only help you in the long run and you’ll thank them sooner or later.

CREATE A CULTURE

If you’re not satisfied with the values or benefits for supporting the staffs wellbeing at your workplace, do what you can to change them. Be pro-active in generating change and research the rules on the minimum an employer should be doing – and ensure it’s happening at your work. Businesses can often be stuck in their ways, so encourage your employer to introduce new schemes or benefits that promote wellbeing. A free team lunch all together once a month, early finishes on a Friday or a slightly longer lunch hour is a great boost for employee morale.

Jess MacDonald
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