Embracing workplace wellbeing through the winter blues 


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It’s getting to the time of the year when winter blues begin to set in. The temperatures have well and truly dropped, flu season is in full force, and the summer holidays feel a bit far out of reach. 

A gloomier atmosphere in the workplace can be normal this time of year, so it’s a good time for small businesses to check in with their staff and think about ways they can continue offering wellbeing support.

All workplaces play a central role in building people’s resilience and positive wellbeing, so they can better cope with setbacks, take advantage of opportunities, and be productive, contributing members to their families, communities and workplaces.

There’s no doubt the added pressure of high inflation, talent shortages, the Covid-19 pandemic, and uncertainty about the future have all created a tough working environment these last few years.

This is the backdrop for many small business owners when it comes to looking after wellbeing, both their own and their employees.

The reality is it can be really hard to know how to address it or get started.

It can also be hard to juggle with everything else. But focusing on wellbeing doesn’t require revamping your whole way of doing business. It also doesn’t mean living a life of yoga and meditation.

It can be about finding simple ways to build a culture of appreciation in your workplace. Or changing attitudes towards talking about wellbeing in your workplace and asking for help.
It doesn’t need to be a big change or cost huge amounts of time or money – but it is something Kiwi employees are yearning for.

For example, supporting flexibility around sickness at this time of year in particular is a crucial part of creating a positive work environment.

Colds aren’t just being passed around the office at a rapid rate, they are rampant across schools and daycares, and parents are juggling a vicious cycle of frequent sickness at home.

Where possible, giving staff the support to work from home so they can tend to sick children is one way of easing the burden.

Encouraging your staff to design their best work day by prioritising flexibility for exercise, and time outdoors is another way of creating a positive environment through the dreary days.

Choosing to have walking meetings is a great way to get you and your employees out and about during the day to get some fresh air, some Vitamin D and a change of scenery.

Of course, ensuring your staff have access to tools to reach out for extra support when the going gets tough is another top priority.

The Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) gives Xero starter, standard, platinum or ultimate subscribers, their employees, and their families free access to confidential mental health counselling and resources.

Leading a wellbeing culture is something we can do every day, but at this time of the year don’t forget it’s important to show both your staff and yourself some extra TLC.

Related: Room to grow for SME wellbeing

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Bridget Snelling
Bridget Snelling
Xero New Zealand Country Manager

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