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Helping Employees with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Employers and managers have a duty of care to their staff. Now that we are in the middle of winter, managers need to keep an eye on employees who are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The NHS describes SAD as a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It is said that symptoms are usually more severe in the winter months due to less natural sunlight.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

• A persistent low mood.

• A loss of pleasure in normal day to day activities

• Irritability

• A lack of energy

• A feeling of guilt or worthlessness.

The impact of SAD could be lower productivity levels as employees may have low mood or concentration. They may also call in sick more often for a multitude of reasons and not perform to the best of their ability.

Employers can support staff by improving the work environment through removing clutter and letting in more natural light. Also, communication is key; employers should talk to their employees and make sure any concerns from either party are voiced.

Training managers or having a mental health first aider can also be beneficial as any issues can be resolved in the proper manner. Another suggestion would be to advise employees, especially those suffering from SAD, to take a walk outside whilst on their break, or allow for flexible working so they avoid travelling in the dark.

It’s important to be aware of SAD and those it affects. Through education and training, employers can equip line managers with the tools to help reduce staff absences, increase employee productivity and improve staff retention. It also allows employees to feel heard and reduces the stigma of mental health within the workplace.

📢If you need advice, contact one of our team on 01935411191 or email for a free initial consultation phone call. 📢

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