Beat the back to work blues with tips from Southern Cross Healthcare
- Take the opportunity of the new year to change small daily behaviours that can lead to a healthier and happier you at work
- Start a conversation with a colleague from a different team at the coffee machine
- Take the stairs instead of the lift when you can
- Head outside for a few minutes of sunshine
- Take regular breaks to do breathing exercises
- If extra support is needed, ask about employee assistance programmes
- Write down how your organisation’s values align with your own to help feel more connected to your workplace
- Look for common interests and values with your colleagues and regularly check in with each other
While it’s normal to experience ‘post-holiday blues’ after the summer break, returning to work in the new year is also a great time to kick start new habits that can enhance your wellbeing in the workplace.
Bella Winter, Head of Workplace Wellness, Southern Cross Healthcare says that while many people set personal and lifestyle goals in January there is also an opportunity to improve workplace wellbeing.
“Setting our intentions for the year ahead often relate to fitness, diet, saving money or upskilling, and, while these are all great for your wellbeing, what can be missed is the changing up the small, daily behaviours that feed into a healthier and happier you at work,” said Winter.
“It really can be the little things that make some of the biggest differences to how you feel in the workplace, like initiating a conversation with a colleague from a different team at the coffee machine, taking the stairs instead of the lift at times when you can, heading outside for few minutes of sunshine or even just taking regular breaks to do breathing exercises.”
Winter adds that reflecting on how your organisation’s values align with your own can be very helpful in feeling happier at work, as it can help you feel more connected to your workplace. Also, looking for common interests and values with your colleagues and regularly checking in with each other.
“Perhaps ask a colleague a more open-ended and specific question such as, ‘how are you feeling about the year ahead’ or ‘what are you most looking forward to this year’ rather than ‘how are you’. This can help to create more meaningful connections with your colleagues.”
Winter encourages anyone feeling in need of a little extra support, and this can be personally or for work-related reasons, to check in with their employers to see if they have access to employee assistance programmes which offer mental health and counselling support. Employee assistance programme provider Raise is owned by Southern Cross Healthcare and will operate throughout January. Consults may be free for some New Zealanders either through their employer or health insurance provider.
Southern Cross’ latest Healthy Futures Report revealed 85 per cent of New Zealanders rate mental health as one of their top five health and wellbeing concerns, with 75 per cent also associating it with being healthy.
Winter, who has nearly 20 years of experience working in workplace wellbeing, says it’s encouraging to see many workplaces shift towards a stronger focus on employee wellbeing.
“It’s wonderful to see the authentic and positive change by employers in extending employee support beyond traditional salary and benefit packages,” Winter says.
“More and more employers today recognise that a healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce.”