Category Archives: Mental Health Advice

Beating the winter blues – When workers are SAD

Beating the winter blues - When workers are SAD

Beating the winter blues – When workers are SAD

As staff enter the latest COVID-19 lockdown and this coincides with shorter, darker days, managers may find it useful to share information on how best to beat symptoms of the winter blues — or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — wherever employees are working.


According to the NHS, symptoms of SAD can include:

•a persistent low mood

•a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities


•feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

•feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

•sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

•craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities. Workers should consider seeing their GP if they are struggling to cope and the doctor will most likely assess their mental health, asking questions about their mood, lifestyle, eating habits and sleeping patterns, plus any seasonal changes in their thoughts and behaviour.

It is thought that lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the production of melatonin and serotonin (the neurotransmitters responsible for sleep and mood) as well as the body’s internal body clock.


A range of treatments are available for SAD but the most common treatments include:

•lifestyle measures ― getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing stress levels

•light therapy, where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight

•talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling

•antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Eating well can help too: people should drink lots of water and eat foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and mackerel) and amino acids (such as eggs, nuts, fish, whole grains and spinach). These foods are readily converted into serotonin, which may help to boost mood.

Search out previous blogs for advice. How to help someone with SAD.

Contact us for further information. 


Published · Updated

How to improve the wellbeing of employees.

How to improve the wellbeing of employees

How to improve the wellbeing of employees

When managing health and safety at work, it’s easy to focus on just the physical hazards of the workplace. This is where most of the legislation lies, with the biggest penalties being dealt out for non-compliance.

However, employee wellbeing addresses both the physical and emotional health of employees. Aiming to prevent problems arising or, if they do, helping employees to cope with them. This allows the issues to have a minimal impact on their work.

Why improve wellbeing?

Research shows that having positive wellbeing in the workplace leads to an increase in motivation and productivity, whilst reducing absenteeism and staff turnover. Therefore, creating a workplace culture which supports employee wellbeing should be the goal of any business.

While the benefits are obvious, the negatives of not looking after employee wellbeing speak loudly. With the Centre for Mental Health suggesting that UK companies lose £34.9 billion in productivity because of mental health issues alone.

Don’t limit your business to just health and risk assessments, ensure you improve wellbeing for your employees outside of the legal requirements. Let’s look at some ways you can below.

Improve physical wellbeing

You can set aside funds to encourage the activeness of employees or improve workplace facilities. Whether that be through infrastructure or through education, there are a few key areas you can focus on.

Physical activities

This is the most simple way to improve physical wellbeing, make your employees more physically active. To improve physical wellbeing, an employee doesn’t need to spend hours in the gym but simply move around the office more.

This can be encouraged by implementing an initiative in the workplace where you educate employees on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle and encourage them to stand up and move throughout the day.

Though it is important to note this “policy” idea is intended to provide permission to employees to get up and moving; it is not meant to be policed.

Funds can also be spent on equipment such as standing desks or a foot peddler to improve their health. Or for those employees who are interested in working out at a local gym, you could look for a group discount to provide them with.

• Educational workshops
• Policy/initiatives in the workplace with group walks
• Discounted/free gym memberships
• Weekly/monthly exercise classes at the workplace
• Equipment such as standing desks

Healthy eating

Diet is an important factor in an employee’s physical wellbeing. Over a long working day, it’s inevitable they’ll want a snack at some point. As an employer, you can encourage wellbeing with healthy and nutritional snacks around the workplace.

You can go a step further and ensure there are healthy options when holding workplace functions or events. Always opt for a healthier set of dishes for your employees.

Allowing for an adequate space where employees can store and prepare food also promotes healthy eating. Many convenient lunch meal deals from supermarkets or corner shops are either very calorific or offer little nutritional value. This allows employees to bring in healthier options.

• Healthy snacks at work
• Healthy food at work events
• Adequate food storage and preparation equipment at work


Sleep deprivation plays a big part in an employee’s wellbeing. If you lack sleep every night, there are some serious ramifications for your long-term health. Research shows that as a result of less sleep, individuals “move slower, have trouble concentrating, become forgetful, make bad decisions, are more irritable, and show visible signs of sleeplessness.”

How can you promote better sleep habits? Encourage employees to take regular breaks and ensure there are reasonable work schedules in place. Promote or provide tips for good sleep at home such as limiting screen time and avoiding stimulants like caffeine too close to bedtime.

• Education
• Reasonable work schedules

Improve mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing in the workplace is something that is incredibly important towards a productive business but is often last on the list of priority.

As mental health is almost invisible compared to physical health, it can often go by the wayside even to those suffering. This leads to an inevitable crash at work if you do not encourage positive mental health wellbeing.

Here are some ways you can encourage mental wellbeing in your workforce.

  • Provide wellbeing support and perks
  • Offering employee benefits aiming at improving wellbeing is a great idea to keeping your employees’ mental health up. This can be achieved in a number of ways, which allow the employee to have a confidential support network.
  • One way of doing this is by investing in an employee assistance programme (EAP) to improve wellbeing. This provides employees with a wellness programme as well as access to counsellors to talk through workplace issues.
  • Providing resources and programmes can also be an invaluable way of supporting mental wellbeing. This allows employees to tackle these issues and at their own pace, sometimes it is difficult to talk to someone else so reading can be a good alternative.

• Invest in an EAP
• Provide mental health resources and programmes

Engage with employees

Providing employees with external support measures, such as EAPs, are a great option. However, if you engage with employees, this is a great way to encourage wellbeing alongside this.

If you show you care in the workplace, it can help foster positive wellbeing and bring a workforce closer together.

Whether that be through more one-on-one meetings and recognition, or with events paid for by the company. When talking to an employee, show you care about them as a person, ask about their life, talk about their career and goals rather than just job performance and just engage with them.

  • One on one time with employees
  • Asking about the employee’s life rather than work
  • Talk about their career and goals
  • Company events

We hope this has been useful. Remember to share this information with others in the company.

Contact us if you require further information.

Guest Blog with David Price from Health Assured Thank you!

Menopause at Work: Risk Assessments, Policies & Guidelines


Menopause at Work


Menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t menstruated in 12 consecutive months and can no longer become pregnant naturally. It usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55, but can develop before or after this age range.

Menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes and weight gain. For most women, medical treatment isn’t needed for menopause.

Let’s start with why menopause is relevant in the workplace.

100% of women will go through menopause but that’s nothing new. What has changed is women’s role in the UK workforce.

Women currently comprise nearly half the UK workforce and the number of older UK women in employment has been rising for a number of years alongside the rising retirement age.

As a result of this more women are experiencing menopause whilst working. Moreover, growth in female leadership means the number of women in senior roles is rising and will continue to do so.

So, menopause is more relevant in the workplace today than it was even 20 years ago because women are working longer and they’re working in more senior positions too. The menopause symptoms women will experience can affect performance at work and impact relationships with managers, colleagues and clients.

Symptoms include poor memory and concentration resulting in an inability to recall facts, figures and names leading to a loss of confidence with colleagues and clients. Hot flushes aren’t just uncomfortable they’re embarrassing too. How would you feel about leading an internal meeting or pitching to clients when you’re at risk of visibly breaking into a sweat every 30 minutes?

The good news is with the right support and access to balanced expert information women can successfully learn to manage symptoms at work and at home too.

What can you do as an employer?

Start by reviewing the occupational health and wellbeing documentation you may have in place. If you require this documentation, please contact us.

  • Look at completing a risk assessment for the individual and consider the specific needs of menopausal women with regards to temperature, ventilation, toilet facilities and access to chilled drinking water when they’re in the office, travelling for business or working off site.
  • Consider the formal policies and guidelines you currently have in place with regards to topics like managing stress and mental health and how can they be adapted to incorporate the needs of your female employees experiencing menopause symptoms?
  • Or would it be more appropriate for your organisation to introduce a menopause policy and guidelines as part of your wider health and wellbeing agenda. It may be beneficial to produce separate guidance to meet the differing needs of staff and managers.

Updating your occupational health and wellbeing documentation is just one way your organisation can support female employees through menopause.

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us.

Alternatively, contact to discuss the range of solutions available to your organisation to minimise the impact of menopause in the workplace.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is a chance for the UK to focus on mental health.

This year’s theme is kindness, with the week running from 18 – 24 May 2020.

The focus on kindness is a response to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having a big impact on people’s mental health. Being kind can significantly improve our physical and emotional wellbeing – whether we are giving or receiving it. There have even been scientific studies into the effects of kindness, showing that acts of kindness help your immune system, reduces stress, gives you energy and are good for your heart! The power of being kind goes even further, it has been proven to slow ageing, improve relationships and it’s contagious!

Some people have mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, which means they have feelings that won’t go away and which start to really affect day-to-day life.

We would like to use Mental Health Awareness Week to celebrate the thousands of acts of kindness that are so important to our mental health. Have you carried out any acts of kindness recently? Here at WHSS we gave chocolates to a care home. Let us know in the comments below on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you’re worried about mental health, wellbeing, or if you have any questions, speak to a friend, relative or your GP.

Contact us to offer guidance at this time.


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Mental Health at Work: Quick Facts

Stressed man rubbing eyesStress is now recognised as a very serious health and safety issue, and one that all organisations must address if they are to comply with health and safety legislation. Employers must treat stress like any other health hazard.

This topic explains the benefits of taking proactive action and highlights the factors associated with stress that can be very costly to employers. It also considers how employers can risk assess for stress as well as looking at actions employers can take to address the causes of workplace stress.

  • Stress can cause absenteeism, high staff turnover, low morale, increased insurance premiums, reduced productivity, more frequent accidents and compensation claims.
  • The most common signs of stress include: being withdrawn, producing work of a lower standard than usual, increased sickness absence, alterations in working hours and being short-tempered or irritable.
  • Organisations should take a proactive approach to reducing stress levels, eg having a policy on stress and effective procedures, providing appropriate training and offering treatment and rehabilitation should it be required.
  • The HSE has identified six primary sources of stress at work: demands of the job, control, relationships, change, role, and support of the individual.
  • Employers can gather information about stress in their workplace by qualitative methods (eg talking to staff, focus groups) and quantitative methods (eg sickness absence data, staff turnover, questionnaires).
  • Managers should regularly review issues such as volume of work, working hours, job design, communications and provision of training, management style and the incidence of bullying or harassment in the workplace.

Contact Walker Health and Safety Services if you wish to discuss this subject.