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Tips for helping employees start the New Year off on a healthy foot

25 Jan 2021

Bored business man in office dreaming of holiday - Original

Tips for helping employees start the New Year off on a healthy foot

For many of us, a new calendar year marks a fresh start – a chance to set new goals and form new habits. The holidays provide a much needed break and many employees will return recharged and re-energised, ready to tackle the year ahead. For other staff, the transition back to work isn’t so smooth. With the holidays done and dusted, some workers may be feeling a bit flat returning to reality and resuming the daily grind.

As employers, you have an opportunity to guide your employees through any post-holiday blues and make sure they start the New Year off on the right foot. Try out some of the below tips and support your employees as they transition back to work, so you can help them feel enthused for the year ahead.

Offer summer hours

Give your employees an opportunity to enjoy the longer days over summer (when traditionally productivity drops and workers are more likely to be distracted ) by introducing summer hours. There are different models to consider such as early starts and finishes (i.e. 7am to 3:30pm day) or reduced hours on a chosen day of the week.

Alternatively “Summer Fridays” is an increasingly popular flexible working arrangement that allows your employees to leave early or take the day off at the end of the week. If your business allows, contemplate implementing these flexi-working schedules beyond just summertime – benefits can include increased employee productivity and engagement .

Refresh your workplace

Working in the same space day in and day out can get a bit dull. Studies show that the physical environment has a direct impact on both work performance and productivity , so use the New Year as a chance to revamp your workplace. You don’t need to commit significant investment to renovate the entire office, even a subtle refresh to the area can lift employees’ spirits.

You could start by shifting the furniture around or rotating seating arrangements. Make sure you have areas for employees to take breaks and relax too. It’s important that your staff aren’t confined to their desks all day and have a place where they can take a moment to refresh. Consider getting some greenery for the office. Plants provide so many benefits including increased concentration, memory retention, creativity, energy levels and overall improved mental health – and can do wonders to liven up a space!

Create a wellness programme

If you haven’t already, consider establishing a dedicated wellness programme. An effective, well-executed wellness programme can improve employees’ health and overall wellbeing , and consequently help with employee retention. The best wellness programmes will incorporate feedback from employees and be measurable with its success evaluated along the way.

Form a wellness committee who will effectively champion the wellness initiatives in your organisation. Their role will be to organise, create and promote activities that improve the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff. The committee can lead initiatives such as company sports or recreation teams, health screenings or mental health workshops.

Ask your staff for feedback

Receiving feedback is just as important as dishing it out. You may already have formal systems in place (such as staff surveys or two-way annual performance reviews) but it’s also crucial to give employees the opportunity to provide regular informal feedback. And while feedback sessions or reviews might typically take place at the end of the year, doing so at the start can help set up new and actionable practices for the year ahead.

Schedule recurring one-on-one catch-ups, to chat through what’s on your respective minds. If you’re a part of a larger organisation, make sure you hold skip-level meetings. Regardless of if they report to you directly, it’s essential to build a relationship with your entire team. Skip-level meetings allow you keep your ear to the ground and view the organisation from all perspectives. Make a conscious effort to take on board any feedback – everyone likes to feel valued and that their input matters. If you decide to implement their ideas, it will also give them something to look forward to.

Encourage team bonding

Organisational culture is often critical to the success of a company. In a team environment, individuals working together produce better results than they could independently. Encourage team bonding by planning events outside of work or setting up a social club that takes the reins to do so. If you’re stuck for ideas - plan a cooking class, go to a trivia night or get active and try a team hike.

These kinds of social initiatives give employees an opportunity to interact with their colleagues outside of a work environment - where they can simply bond and build stronger relationships. Remember your organisation’s culture contributes to employees’ sense of belonging, job satisfaction and performance, and their overall commitment to your business . If you’re interested in seeing how nib group health insurance cover could help support the wellbeing of your employees, click here to find out more, give us a call on 0800 287 642 or email [email protected].