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January 20, 2020

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Blue Monday

Getting your workforce through Blue Monday

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As Christmas and New Year celebrations come to an end, many will be feeling the effects of gloomy weather, shorter days, and the debt they’ve run up after the festive break. It’s well known that the third Monday in January is dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, so what can businesses do to boost morale in the workplace and help employees to get through the post-Christmas slump?

Create a fun event

At a time when everyone in the office is feeling low, what better way to cheer them up than with a team event they can look forward to? Get your employees involved by asking them to come up with mood-boosting ideas for both in and out of work. There are plenty of ways you can inject some fun into the workplace, such as:

  • Have a ‘dress-down’ day;
  • Set up a competition;
  • Take everyone out for a drink after work;
  • Treat them to a staff lunch at a local restaurant.

Kick start the day with a team breakfast to help banish tiredness and keep energy levels high, as well as making everyone feel part of the team.

A selection of food will give employees something to look forward to – especially if they don’t normally have time to eat in the mornings. You could try keeping it healthy by arranging a selection of fresh fruits, yoghurts and croissants, or get everyone excited with bacon butties and fried eggs – though it’s worth going with the healthy option if you want to prevent energy levels from slumping.

The main thing to remember is to try to make it something everyone wants to be a part of, and it will give staff something to look forward to in January. 

Encourage staff to take lunch and breaks

Of course, breakfast isn’t the only important meal of the day, and good food practice makes a big difference to your staff’s working day:

Make sure your employees feel comfortable taking breaks to keep moods lifted. During the dark winter months employees rarely see the sun, so it’s great to encourage them to get outside and enjoy the little bit of sunshine we do have!

Recognise good work 

work teamStaff can feel demotivated at the best of times – especially if they’re feeling overworked and their achievements are going unnoticed. It’s important that employers recognise a good job being done when they see it; even just a ‘thank you’ won’t go amiss.

If you’re aware that some of your staff are consistently doing a good job but you haven’t told them so, Blue Monday is a great time to do it as it’ll help them to feel more positive and motivated. As well as creating a happier workforce, simple acts like this may also impact positively on productivity.

Keep happiness levels up throughout the year

Banish Blue Monday and boost morale in the office by implementing these tips and your employees will have something to look forward to as soon as they enter the office. Not only will this help them to feel more positive about the day ahead, but it’ll provide your staff with a happier environment in which to work and, ultimately, increase output.

That said, what if you want to look beyond Blue Monday and boost morale on a more permanent basis? There are plenty of other things you can implement to ensure your employees benefit in the longer term:

  • Think about reviewing the company perks to see if you can offer anything extra to thank them for their continued hard work;
  • Create a committee for staff to get involved with all things social – a great way to encourage team interaction;

Another thing to think about is whether or not your employees are kept up-to-date of the growth of the business – if they don’t know how well the company is doing, they might not feel very inspired or motivated to do a good job. However, if they’re aware of any future plans and how they contribute to this growth, your employees are going to feel more involved and part of the bigger picture.

It’s important, however, to watch out for employees who appear to have a consistently low mood. Try having a one-to-one with them to make sure everything is ok, because there might be more going on than the winter blues.

Maintain good leadership and management

Of course, whilst many of these suggestions may provide a quick, short-term boost for your staff, the key to a fit and healthy workforce is to maintain good levels for management and leadership throughout the year, especially when it comes to wellbeing.

Some significant changes have happened over the past two years regarding how businesses are approaching mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. So where is the mental health agenda heading?

Heather Beach, Founder and Managing Director of The Healthy Work Company, recently asked: Do you need to be an expert to have a conversation with someone struggling with their mental health? Some say that you do. Some advocate not using peer to peer support systems because ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’. Heather also recently sat down with Stacy Thomson, Award Winning Mental Health Nurse & Cognitive Behavioural Coach, to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation. Listen to the full SHP Burnout podcast here.

Raising awareness

Christine Husbands, Managing Director for RedArc said: “Some may see Blue Monday as trivialising mental health issues, but in our experience, anything that raises awareness of the need to look after mental wellbeing is positive.

“We still find that many people struggle to make the first call to ask for help. We make a point of letting employees know that we’re available, but it can still take courage to pick up the phone.

“We see some great results in improved mental wellbeing, but the important thing is that people seek help early. Every year our nurses get more and more requests to support mental health, and this is partly due to the topic of mental wellbeing being discussed widely and openly, so we very much welcome anything that encourages the topic to be raised.”


January Blues: SHP’s guide to helping workers beat the winter slump

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