Male and female office workers in a meeting.

Tips for a safe and healthy festive season

(16 December 2021) With end of year celebrations, warmer weather fast approaching and the impacts of the pandemic, let's help make sure our colleagues, family, friends - and ourselves - are equipped to have a safe and healthy festive season both at work and at home.

If you run a business, the lead up to Christmas could be one of the busiest times of year for you. Hot weather, tight deadlines and extra busy work schedules for some industry sectors can be challenging. The impact of COVID-19 in the community may also place extra pressures on businesses, their workers and families, making the importance of a supportive and safe workplace particularly important.

Here are 3 tips for a safe and healthy festive season:

1. Show leadership as a socially responsible business by having good vaccination rates in your business. This not only helps to minimise harm to your people but it also provides a pathway for your business out of the pandemic. Allow staff the flexibility to attend vaccination appointments and correct any myths and mistruths around vaccination, keeping in mind that some staff may have a genuine reason for not getting vaccinated.

2. Support your people by maintaining empathy for the people facing challenges at this time of the year and due to the pandemic. Some risks to mental health include:

  • changes to work demands
  • changes to how and where people work
  • increased customer aggression and violence
  • social isolation (from either colleagues and/or friends and family)
  • poor communication and change management
  • distress and COVID fatigue.

3. Promote support services that staff can access to support their mental health and wellbeing:

  • If you have an existing Employee Assistance Program, you can remind staff about how to access this service, including the ability to access this service over the phone.
  • Beyond Blue has a 24 hour 7 day week support service. Phone 1300 224 636 or their website is available to email or chat online.
  • Regional Access has free professional telephone and online counselling 24 hours a day seven days a week for people 15 years and older living or working in regional South Australia. Phone 1300 032 186 for immediate support or use their website for online counselling.
  • Adelaide Primary Health Network (PHN) have commissioned a wide range of mental health care services for the metropolitan area including a summary of Primary Mental Health Care Services.
  • Head to Health has digital mental health resources provided by the Australian Department of Health, including apps, online programs and phone services.

Small business owners (sole traders or those with 20 or less employees) can also access NewAccess for Small Business Owners, a free and confidential mental health program developed by Beyond Blue to give small business owners the support they need. Call 1300 945 301 or submit an online enquiry.