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07 January 2019

Make wellbeing a priority in 2019

It’s now one week into 2019 and for many it will be the first day back at work after the festive break. And as we approach 12th January, known as “Quitters Day” when most people are likely to have given up on their New Year’s Resolutions, I’m sure there are some of us that are already berating ourselves for breaking ours…

Whether it’s embarking on Dry January, Veganuary, attempting the 5:2 diet or even just trying a little harder to be a little healthier, we often start the year with good intentions. These resolutions may not be health related – they could be work related, pledging to find a new job, achieve a better work/ life balance or realising a long held ambition to start a new business or launch a new product or service.

Whatever the resolution may be, this time of year, with the cold weather, long nights and lack of sunshine, as well as the changing of a year, can bring all sorts of pressure that can negatively impact our wellbeing.

With this in mind, January is an opportune moment to take time to think about our wellbeing, and that of our employees, and whether there are steps that we can take to promote a happier, healthier working environment.

Holistic approaches can tackle physical wellbeing, while also aiming to support and improve the mental health of staff. Conditions such as anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress are experienced by one in six British workers each year. The work environment and poor job design can play a big role in the manifestation of these conditions

Making wellbeing a priority in your business is not only good for you and your staff but can also lead to increased productivity, improve staff performance and reduce absenteeism. This makes an excellent business case, but the benefits stretch further reaching the wider economy, the NHS, Government and society as a whole.

The UK’s 5.6 Million small businesses can, and do, play a powerful role in improving the lives of their employees through a variety of actions. We are seeing businesses introducing new and different initiatives to foster wellbeing in the workplace – from communal staff lunches and setting up staff breakfast clubs, to offering flexible working arrangements and supporting workers returning to work after a serious illness, to having plant walls in offices and starting up work yoga groups.


This year, Red January have partnered with Mind to encourage people to do something active every day this month to support your mental health, this could be a morning swim, a bike ride or walking instead of taking the bus. Check out the campaign website for more information.

Last year, FSB ran our second successful wellbeing campaign, to raise awareness of how important it is to talk about mental health in the workplace, and how small business owners should create a workplace culture that challenges the mental health stigma.

Here are some ideas that you can think about introducing in your business:

  • Take a lead in your business and help destigmatise mental health by talking about it
  • Sign up for a Mental Health First Aid course for training to help you better understand mental health in the workplace
  • If you’re self-employed reach out to a networking group. Remember –going it alone doesn’t mean you are alone
  • Investigate flexible working arrangements and whether it could work for your business
  • Start an ‘in-work’ fitness group – this could be a running group
  • Try a walking and talking meeting
  • Bring some plants into your office to improve air quality
  • Consider training courses to upskill you and your staff

So if you are a small business owner or self-employed why not think about small ways you can make wellbeing a priority in your business in 2019.