With Christmas a distant memory, January is often perceived to be the most depressing month of the year. Based on calculations on a number of factors such as the weather, debt level and failing new years resolutions the most depressing day of the year is the third Monday in January and is now known as Blue Monday.
Employers can help their employees beat the January blues and Blue Monday by making a positive start to the year by trying the below ideas.
1. Thank staff
January is the perfect time to send a communication to all staff thanking them for all their hard work over the previous year. This communication can highlight and boast about staff achievements from the previous year, congratulate those who have achieved long service and set out the objectives for the following year.
This will put staff on a positive footing immediately, making them feel appreciated and valued. It will also help focus staff’s minds on the coming year, and encourage them to think about how they can personally contribute during the year
2. Encourage a happier and healthier workplace culture
January is often the time of a “new year, new me” resolution and employers can help staff make a success of these, and contribute towards a healthier and happier outlook.
An effective way of helping staff achieve this is to clearly outline the development and promotion opportunities within the business. This allows transparency of the available career paths to help employees set clear progression goals.
Employers can also contribute towards the health and wellbeing of staff at work. They could introduce a workplace exercise class, gym membership benefits, fresh fruit or healthier workplace drinks.
3. Incentivise staff
Work-based incentives will help focus staff on work, whilst providing a fun, competitive environment during January. The more fun an incentive is, the less employees will focus on the work aspect and, instead, will aim to win or beat the other participants.
Prizes could be made available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis once specific targets are met. Awarding positive prizes that add value to the incentive will also help encourage a positive mood around the scheme. For example, awarding half an hour’s holiday leave will spur employees on more than a box of chocolates.
4. Prevent presenteeism
Although employers want a full workforce present at all times, having sick employees at work could have a negative impact on others. Staff who are at work whilst sick will take longer to get back to full health, spread the illness to others and will, generally, have a negative mood.
Employers should not apply their absence procedures so strictly that employees feel they cannot take time off to recover properly. Trigger points for disciplinary action should be set appropriately and positive support can be provided.
5. End the month positively
Plan a positive event to take place at the end of January to help create an encouraging mood during the month. This could be a social event, such as workplace drinks or a lunch-out on the last day of the month, or a further appreciation event where staff are collectively thanked for their hard work during the month.
David Price is Health Assured CEO and wellbeing expert