Why you should kick-start a workplace wellbeing plan this January!

Christmas and New Year are often a season of extravagance, during which we indulge ourselves with copious amounts of alcohol and chocolate. This is particularly true in December when compared to any other time in the year.

As the festive season draws to a close, that final selection box will surely be purged of its contents and retired from service, replacing it with anxiety-provoking bathroom scales. Regaining motivation and energy for resuming work activities in January after giving yourself a break during this time of year can prove difficult at times.

For those located in regions of the world where January can be dreary with its long, dark nights devoid of festive adornments such as Christmas trees and fairy lights; it may seem like a downbeat time.

In addition to this, the New Year represents an ideal opportunity for introspection and contemplation; as people contemplate what their aspirations for the coming year should be, what outcomes they wish to achieve from it or even how they plan on advancing.  

And for employees who fall into the ‘diverse’ category, there are often further anxieties to cross. Whilst at home over the festive period, surrounded with people with the same ethnicity and culture as them, or who accept them wholeheartedly, they feel safe and equal. Returning to a workplace, where this may not be the case, can fill them with extra dread.

Nevertheless, even contemplating alterations can prove difficult for some employees. And alteration is no easy feat – our innate lizard brain adores familiarity and monotony. This is why 80% of New Year Resolutions fail by the month of February.

Instead, procrastination, fatigue and the post-holiday blues can lead employees to take a less arduous path and stick to their usual routines instead of striving for their New Year’s resolutions. All possible justifications come up – like how things will be easier when it gets lighter; they have fewer responsibilities at work; the children are older – allowing them more autonomy in getting themselves there on time.

Yet, there is also that part that craves the prospect of heralding in the New Year with an impressive burst of energy. That desire to shed pounds and prep one’s body for physical activity looms large; they’d like to devote more time towards productive pursuits instead of passively indulging in Netflix marathons each evening.

January is the perfect time to initiate your wellbeing plan or commence a new corporate wellness initiative.

Initiating a workplace wellness initiative or launching an employee wellbeing plan in January is an excellent time to instil motivation and sustain focus among your employees. 

Workplace wellbeing programs can have a variety of benefits for employees, including reducing stress and improving overall productivity. Programs that focus on physical activity and healthy eating can also reduce health risks and save companies money in the long run.

There are several ways to get started with your workplace wellbeing program in January. You can create a policy or set goals for the year, lead on-the-ground activities or partner with external organisations that offer resources and support.

It is essential that wellbeing initiatives accommodate the various needs of diverse employees. Extensive best-practice diversity and inclusion programs acknowledge well-being as a diversity issue, and any plan should always be made with this in mind.

The key, though, is to start somewhere and build on it over time. 

Boosting wellbeing initiatives and hosting webinars with which employees can be educated about diversity and inclusivity, the physiology of the body, become familiar with how diets influence mood and develop a persistent energy all day arrangement for your workforce could prove to be an effective method to emphasise health and vitality within its core.

New Year isn’t just about weight loss and getting fit, but how we can support all employees holistically to start the New Year in a good place mentally, physically, and emotionally and keep them there.

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Pinky Ghadiali

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