Have you every considered asking an employee, Are you ok? and waiting on the answer?Employers have become increasingly cognizant of mental health problems in the workplace evidenced by more companies offering mental health days and enhanced counseling benefits.Winter can be tough a time for people who deal with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), anxiety and mood irregularity due to holiday blues and grief and loss. From decreased sunlight, colder temperatures, and the bleakness of outdoors, this can make anyone feel a little more down and less productive as normal.

A 2020 article by Forbes indicated that SAD can negatively affect motivation and diminish workplace communication and productivity. Workers with the disorder are also more prone to injuries, accidents and absenteeism which cost businesses $51 billion annually. The impact on the workforce includes but is not limited to lack of focus, loss of interest in work activities,feeling down and isolating from peers. So, the question you might ask an employer is how can I support my employees who struggle with the winter blues? I’m glad you asked. Here are 5simple tips that organizations can use to support your employee’s emotional wellness during the winter months:

  1. Provide employees light therapy lamps for their desk- These lamps produce and emit a brighter light that allows your employee the additional sunlight needed during the winter months. The increased energy and elevated mood in turn has a direct correlation on productivity.
  2. Allow for a flexible work schedule during the winter months- Some employees commute to work when it’s dark and return home when it’s dark. Giving employees the opportunity to see daylight or leave work before it’s dark could help elevate their mood.
  3. Educate the leadership on the symptoms and consequences of SAD to foster healthy communication, empathy and understanding with their direct reports who suffer from this disorder.
  4. Develop employee mental health wellness initiatives that provide mental health training and additional PTO for mental health self-care.
  5. Encourage employees to utilize their EAP and Mental Health benefits to secure counseling from a licensed practitioner.

For additional tips and resources to support the well being and mental health of your employees,
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