As the holiday period approaches, some businesses are preparing for a well-earned break while others are looking ahead to one of their busiest periods of the year.

Give the gift of a mentally healthy workplace

Whether you’re winding down or cranking up, the coming weeks are an ideal time to thank employees for their efforts over the year, encourage everyone in the workplace to take care of their mental health, and look forward to a healthy, productive 2016.

For businesses hoping to make the most of a bumper trading and hospitality period, ensuring staff are supported during the busy times will help to both safeguard employees’ mental health and boost productivity.

Planning is also crucial, as beyondblue’s head of workplace research and resources, Nick Arvanitis, points out. “In industries where the pre-Christmas rush and festive season is a busy time, ensuring you have adequate resources in place and check in regularly with employees will help you and your team cope with increased demand,” he says.

“Where employees are juggling work and family commitments, organising rosters to give people some time with their loved ones can help to ease stress and keep staff motivated. Ensuring your employees take a break after the busy period so they can recover and be prepared for the rest of the year has benefits for both your staff and your business.”

For some people, the Christmas period can also be a difficult time for other reasons. Being mindful of employees who may feel isolated due to of a lack of social or family connections, and providing additional support where possible, can make a real difference.

If you’re shutting up shop until early January, encouraging employees to take a proper break from work and switch off completely will help them return refreshed and more engaged. And the same is true for small business owners and sole traders – while it’s tempting to keep answering emails and placing orders from your cousin’s lounge room during Christmas dinner, enjoying some uninterrupted time with family and friends will promote good mental health and ensure you’re ready to hit the ground running in 2016.

Ringing in a happy, mentally healthy New Year

For all businesses, the end of the year provides a natural reflection point – a time to look back on the past 12 months, but also ahead to a fresh start and a chance to further ramp up your efforts to create a mentally healthy workplace. Our four-step checklist will help you start the year with your best foot forward.

  • Begin by reviewing any initiatives you’ve introduced in 2015 to create a mentally healthy workplace – what’s worked well and how could you improve?
  • Whatever your business’s size, we’ve got some ideas to help you get started. Take a look at our tips for small and medium/large organisations.
  • If you haven’t already created a Heads Up action plan, 2016 could be your year! Check out our action plan tool and create a strategy tailored for your business.
  • Communication is a big part of any strategy, ensuring your team comes along on the journey. We’ve developed a range of templates and speaking notes that you can adapt to suit your organisation and help you get the message out.

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