A third have suffered or are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter has a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of British workers according to a new research reveals simple changes to the workplace are better at beating the January blues than traditional wellbeing benefits

The survey comes from workplace consultants, Peldon Rose, which reveals that over two-fifths (44 per cent)* of employees say winter has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing, half  believe it adversely affects their mood and 30 per cent state winter affects their productivity.

Over a third of respondents (35 per cent)  identify themselves as suffering or having suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that becomes more severe in the winter –  and three-quarters (76 per cent) have experienced or are currently experiencing stress in the workplace.

Yet, only a third of people surveyed feel the company values their opinion in the workplace environment and only 26 per cent believe their workplace has a positive effect on their mental health, indicating a room for improvement.

Employees believe the office environment in particular has a vital role in helping to tackle the January blues with office-based factors such as exposure to natural light (90 per cent), quiet and private areas (76 per cent) and social and collaborative workspaces (75 per cent) all rated as significantly more important in supporting mental health than traditional, tailored workplace benefits such as health insurance (62 per cent) and gym memberships (58 per cent).

Three-quarters say greater involvement in decisions about their workplace would have a positive impact on their motivation, mood (70 per cent), productivity (70 per cent) and mental wellbeing (56 per cent)

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive of Peldon Rose said:

“Thousands of office workers are struggling with their mental health, motivation and productivity this winter, but our survey reveals that there are steps businesses can take to try prevent SAD and the winter blues developing in the first place. The first step is for businesses to engage with their staff via change management and getting them more involved in decisions about their workplace environment. By doing this it will boost their motivation, mood and productivity.

“Employees are clear that rather than paid-for interventions, such as mental health support through health insurance, a supportive work culture and the right office environment will do far more to support their mental health and boost their wellbeing, meaning all businesses, regardless of size can look to make small changes that will have a big impact this New Year.”