Category • Blog articles

Catering for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in the office

Ollie | January 16, 2024

January is a tough time. It’s cold. The sun pops up for a ‘hi-bye!’ then retreats again, leaving us in the darkness. The festive comedown has left us craving pay day. And the back-to-work rush has chucked up more deadlines than ever.

‘Winter blues’ are here. And office employees are especially vulnerable to feeling low in January: tasked with proving their worth to employers in windy conditions. With a cost-of-living crisis creeping in the background.

pensive woman in a business meetingImage by Tim Gouw from Unsplash

This being said, all leaders need to be conscious of people feeling SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or simply not themselves. And realise there’s no better time for wellness initiatives in the office. Take a look at some below.


Wellness initiatives to lift spirits in the office

Encouraging open communication is a must. Remember to share this blog with your team leaders.


Start with your coffee

FreshGround employee holding a coffeeFreshGround’s Zoe Goodenough with coffee from the F5 Egro Next

Coffee is a natural mood-booster. The caffeine content in your morning cup hits you with dopamine and can put a spring in your step. From personal experience: a quality cup can be the difference between dreading my morning presentation to charming my way through it.

We believe happiness in the morning starts with coffee, and that your team should never have to exert themselves to grab a morning cup. It takes them 16 minutes and staggering £3.80 of their money to ‘pop out’ to the high-street for a coffee. Are you prepared to save them the trouble?

Discover More: Bring barista-quality coffee in-office with these machines

Normalise work breaks

two FreshGround employees giggling on a work break

90% of employees believe taking regular breaks can help boost their mood. Yet many feel afraid to take breaks – anxious it’ll be taken as a lack of ambition or commitment. Whereas the reverse is true. Every human being needs breaks to replenish their bodies minds, reduce stress and re-set themselves.

This being said, team leaders have to normalise work breaks to nurture their team’s happiness, prevent burnout and keep their workplace mentally healthy.

Discover More: Mindfulness at work starts with coffee

Encourage breathwork and meditation

Our quality of breathe directly impacts our stress levels. It’s easy to find ourselves spinning around in a washing machine of competing priorities and deadlines. Life is busy, yes. But there’s always time to breathe.

From personal experience: just 5 minutes of conscious deep breathing can an evaporate the workplace rush and turn my day into a slower, more conscious and mindful enterprise. It’s a meditation. And so, as an office manager – setting times in your team’s calendars for mindfulness can boost morale ineffably. You may also want to consider apps like Headspace and Reaction Club, which encourage breath breaks.

How are you breathing today?

Remember to walk

Walking is as essential as brushing your teeth in the morning. Each step in the sunshine outside adds a little colour that disperses the winter blues. Even a 5-minute walk can make us feel zesty with endorphins, soften stress and offer a new perspective.

Make vulnerability acceptable

three woman talking in a work meeting, around a table Image by Christina from Unsplash

Cultivating a safe space for communicating vulnerability is crucial. All business leaders must normalise this so that every employee (from the CEO to the junior hire) can voice their feelings and needs without fear of judgement.

Ultimately, silence cannot push your business forward. Imagine the difference between closed off employees weighed down by negativity (likely to slip into ‘quiet quitting’ or look elsewhere for work due to a lack of support); compared to those who are encouraged to use their voice to respond to wellbeing initiatives and express their needs. It’s time to start talking.

Get in touch with FreshGround

We can help you create workplaces that put employee happiness first. Get in touch on 020 7553 7900 to talk about your needs.