Five Tips for Employers to Help Their Staff Avoid the Summertime Blues

Population Health & Well-Being

Five Tips for Employers to Help Their Staff Avoid the Summertime Blues

The beginning of summer is a great time for employers to focus on employee self-care and wellbeing. June can be a fun and exciting time, but it can also bring unique emotional challenges for your workforce. While many of your employees think of summertime as the season of vacations and cookouts, others may be managing anxiety due to travel, schedule changes, increased family commitments and more.

Given this dynamic, here are five tips for employers to help employees enjoy the summer season:

  1. Promote Wellness Activities that Prioritize Employee Self-Care
    Support your employees in prioritizing activities that help them to relax and recharge as self-care is important for mental and emotional well-being. In the workplace, take time to do things that allow employees to feel relaxed, whether it’s promoting a chair massage, meditation strategies, fitness breaks or sharing nutritional information on healthy summer eating.
  2. Ask Your Employee Resource Group(s), Carriers and/or Vendors to Host Webinars on Mental and Emotional Well-Being
    Promoting a webinar about mental and emotional wellbeing is always a great idea and focusing on summer health is a great place to start. Some specific topics could include outdoor yoga and mindfulness, the wellness power of laughter and fun, and setting commitment boundaries with friends and family. These topics, and many others, will also show that you appreciate your employees’ work/life balance and their lives outside of work.
  3. Establish Summer-Specific Groups or Challenges
    Summer equals outdoors for many people, including your employees. Consider creating some outdoor-focused groups and challenges that align with this reality. An example might be a lunch break or after-work walking group. Another idea would be a “hydration challenge,” given how quickly dehydration can occur during high summer temperatures. You should also ensure leadership participation and promotion in these programs to show their importance to the organization.
  4. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements to Accommodate Changes to Employee Summer Schedules
    While this may not be feasible for every organization, offering “summer hours” and other flexible work schedules is a proven and popular way to reduce stress and anxiety among your employees. If this isn’t practical, promoting the use of paid time off to ‘relax and recharge’ is another way to help your employees. Various studies have shown the positive physical and mental benefits of time away from work, especially for employees who tend to consistently work a lot of hours. Work-life balance is top-of-mind in the summer months, and it is important to ensure that employees set boundaries to help protect their emotional well-being.
  5. Foster a Positive Work Environment
    Creating a workplace that recognizes, supports and acknowledges the importance of positive mental health is one of the most important things an employer can do to help improve their organization. This is especially true during high-stress times of the year. Providing an employee assistance program (EAP) allows your employees to seek help for mental health concerns. Normalizing conversations about mental health within the workplace is a great way to help reduce the stigma often associated with mental health topics.

These tips are examples of how mental health topics in June can be combined to promote a more comprehensive approach to mental health throughout the year. It is important to remember that mental health is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires ongoing attention and support. No matter what approach you choose, the overarching message should always be that your employees can ask for help inside and/or outside of your organization.

Dr. Joel Axler

National Behavioral Health Leader