A Manager’s Guide to Surviving Blue Monday
Karen Lloyd employer, HR
Today has been known since 2005 as “Blue Monday”; the third Monday every January. Back to work after the Christmas break, seeing the Christmas bills start to land, payday feels like years away, New Year’s resolutions abandoned, low sunlight levels and cold weather. All of which combine to make today “officially” the most depressing day of the year.
It’s been seen to cost the economy each year with a loss in productivity, an increase in unauthorised staff absence and the term “depression” Googled every two seconds in the UK.
Now, whether you think it is pseudo-science or a genuine phenomenon, many have embraced it as a holiday, either celebrating by trying to create a more uplifting feeling in the office or allowing ourselves to wallow in the blues.
We always prefer a more upbeat approach so thought we’d compile our list of things to make us and our employees feel a little more cheerful this Blue Monday. With the added bonus that it never hurts to put a bit of effort into employee motivation and engagement, particularly so early into the New Year – start as you mean to go on!
This is a really easy one to adopt – it’s amazing the response when an employee feels valued. If any of your team have perhaps made a big effort to bring something across the line prior to Christmas, or have started the year off with real zeal and a great attitude then recognising it, even just informally with a “great job” can go a long way.
Give your employees some space
Be sensitive to the fact that employees might be feeling a little low; perhaps consider that high pressure meetings or activities could be delayed or restructured to a time that would be more effective.
Highlight mental health support
If your business has an occupational health team, someone in HR or Health and Safety dedicated to mental health then great – use them! If not, there are some great toolkits available on line. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting, it could be a reminder of the resources you have available to your staff, or some new posters up in the office, or a chat in a team meeting. This is a very important strategy to maintain throughout the year, not just now. It is a topic that in our opinion, must always be accessible and never swept under the carpet.
Bring a little cheer!
Whilst Christmas has truly been and gone, you can still spread a little cheer in the office. Consider bringing in some treats (and healthy options too – don’t forget those New Year’s resolutions that some will still be sticking to!). Perhaps you can have a team breakfast or lunch to reinforce a bit of team bonding or throw it out to the team for some ideas.
Whilst January can be a depressing time of year, it can also bring some positives. It’s a great time for embracing change with a sense of a new beginning. If you are thinking of introducing new programmes or schemes then it makes sense to capitalise on this.
The most important message however is not being afraid to talk to your staff and connect with them; an attitude that we should really embrace throughout the year, not just at this time.