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Four smart ways to boost employee morale this winter

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Maintaining momentum during winter months can be a tough job but a well structured wellbeing and benefits strategy, with a key focus on choice can make all the difference.

3rd Dec 2021
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Keeping teams motivated during the seasonal transition to winter was challenging even before the pandemic hit. But now there are a new set of issues that HR professionals must consider. The former green-for-go travel list left many without a break abroad to switch off from work. This, combined with uncertainty on how Covid-19 will evolve over winter, has left many feeling concerned and demoralised. And this is having a knock-on effect in the workplace.

Offering employees a wide range of benefits to suit their individual mental wellbeing is an excellent way to ensure your staff feel valued and listened to

According to recent research, 41 per cent of people have experienced burnout in their career over the past few months, making it more important than ever to prioritise your employees’ needs. 

With the shorter days well and truly here and many having returned to the office for the first time in over a year, it is essential to boost morale and maintain momentum amongst your workforce. The good news is there are many ways that businesses can lift spirits when employees are experiencing the winter blues. 

Staff wellbeing is a priority

To lift morale this winter, it is critical to ensure your staff feel valued and supported through a forward-thinking reward and benefit programme. Businesses must support employees’ mental health as the colder, darker months can often leave staff feeling demotivated and down. 

Many employers make the mistake of creating a one-size-fits-all wellbeing strategy, but wellbeing means different things for different people and that must be accounted for in order to see employees truly thrive. The most effective HR teams have built a well-structured wellbeing and benefits strategy, with a key focus on choice. Offering employees a wide range of benefits to suit their individual mental wellbeing is an excellent way to ensure your staff feel valued and listened to. 

Ensuring good mental health not only supports employee wellbeing but can also help your business continue to grow. Having healthy and happy staff will only encourage business opportunities and efficiency amongst team members, so incorporating these initiatives sooner rather than later could help your company thrive through the winter and into 2022. 

Goodwill in the workplace 

Something as simple as giving employees back an extra hour or two on a Friday or enforcing ‘no Zoom’ days can go a long way to boost morale. Many companies have 4pm finishes on Fridays for people to make the most of the longer summer evenings, but it is worth maintaining these all year-round.

Continuing flexible working initiatives is not only effective in boosting staff morale generally, but also helps motivate them towards the end of the week when they might be losing momentum. 

Allocating even a single extra day for mental wellbeing can do wonders to help your staff reset

Alongside a trend for reduced summer working hours’, 2021 has seen a rise in additional holiday allocation. Companies such as Bumble temporarily closed all its offices for a week to combat workplace stress, allowing employees to switch off and focus on themselves. 

Whilst providing an extra week of holiday might not be feasible for all companies, particularly for smaller ones, allocating even a single extra day for mental wellbeing can do wonders to help your staff reset. With burnouts on the rise, prioritising your staff’s mental wellbeing is paramount.

Financial wellbeing 

With the economic and financial uncertainties caused by the pandemic, there is a growing need for companies to support their workforce with money management. Financial stress can affect anyone and is often a key component to lowering employees’ moods, overall wellbeing, and confidence.

In a recent survey conducted by Blackhawk Network, 92 per cent of respondents said it was important that an employee benefit has a positive impact on financial wellbeing. In addition to that, 30 per cent of employees think that an increased focus on financial wellbeing is the reward and benefits area that needs to change post Covid-19. 

Providing advice and counselling services that promote responsible spending are all great ways to support employees, without costing more than a few pounds per employee, per year.

Financial stress can affect anyone and is often a key component to lowering employees’ moods, overall wellbeing, and confidence

Another low-cost benefit that can boost the financial wellbeing of your people are pre-paid cash back cards. With Ministers refusing to rule out the possibility of another lockdown this winter, many will likely stick to staycations for the remainder of 2021. But this doesn’t mean that people can’t relax just as much as when they were jetting off overseas. You can help your staff members get the most out of their staycation by making their spend on fun activities like eating out go further.

By offering pre-paid cashback cards as a benefit, your employees can earn up to 15 per cent of their spend back per transaction – across a wide range of retailers, restaurants, and leisure experiences. These cards can help your staff make their money go further to help and get the most out of their UK breaks, treating themselves and maximising what they can do with their time off.      

Keeping employee morale high with choice

As the nights draw in and the excitement of Christmas still seems in the distant future, it’s important to keep employees motivated and feeling valued. By offering a benefit package, rooted in choice, employers can ensure employees are left feeling supported, listened to and most importantly driven to deliver the best they can. 

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