By Katina Byford-Winter, Magenta’s office and employee wellbeing manager
Today marks Blue Monday, the most depressing time of the year. The term was coined after a 2015 study by Cardiff University calculated that the third Monday of every January is the gloomiest day on the calendar.
It’s something we understand innately as a PR business. The rigours of the job can be extremely stressful, so we make sure that take an extremely proactive approach to our people’s wellbeing today and throughout the year. This month, for example, our fridge has been stocked with delicious treats including the ingredients for vegan and meat wraps (don’t they look yummy?). Preparing lunch as a team has given us the opportunity to catch up and share our stories from the Christmas break. January also sees our designated ‘wellbeing champions’ meet confidentially with each member of the team over a coffee. These informal meetings let us check in with everyone (including the MD) to make sure Magenta is doing all it can to support them.
We are incredibly fortunate, however, that our focus on wellbeing isn’t confined to January. Every Monday we kick things off with a team meeting followed by a group exercise class to really get the blood pumping. We also organise quarterly team activities, such as trips to Go Ape and cooking classes, and finish early on Fridays for a social drink.
As Magenta’s newly appointed employee wellbeing manager, a key element of my role is to ensure that the company always provides a positive and successful working environment for our people. If your employers hasn’t done it already, I highly recommend getting involved with ‘Time for Change’ initiative, a fantastic movement that focuses on reducing the stigma of mental health at work. Magenta signed up over a year ago and the online support and workshops we have access are illuminating (and it’s all free). Moreover, there’s the ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ initiative, which is aimed at changing laws to align mental health with physical health when it comes work first aid. It’s great to see MPs taking a stand to get this important bill passed.
With an increasing volume of research being published on the subject of mental health at work, I can only hope that the day will come when Blue Monday is a thing of the past, as employers start taking an active approach to mental health all year long.