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A guide to surviving Blue Monday with a smile

Blue Monday - employees feeling low

A guide to surviving Blue Monday with a smile

Karen Lloyd HR, retention, employer...

That’s it folks – today is “officially” the most depressing day of the year.  Since 2005 when they started look at these things, the third Monday in January has been known as Blue Monday.   Not altogether surprising; the shine has worn off after the Christmas break, credit card bills are coming in and payday is yet another week away.  If you are anything like us, then New Year’s resolutions so determinedly taken up have already fallen by the wayside, and the weather is just frankly depressing all by itself.

Some think it is hokum – pseudoscience that isn’t worth the time.  However, there are estimates that Blue Monday costs the economy in the region of £93 billion thanks to the loss of productivity.   The term “depression” is also Googled every 2 seconds in the UK today, leading us to think there may just be something in it.

Whether you buy into the idea of Blue Monday or not, there is no harm in looking at your marketing team’s morale and making the effort when it comes to employee engagement in what has been a very dreary January.  We like to take an upbeat approach and put a bit of effort into employee motivation and engagement at this time of year anyway, and thought we’d share some of what has worked for us in the past.

A healthy treat

I don’t know about your offices, but nothing cheers our teams up more than something tasty!  Yes everyone is probably still on post-Christmas diets so you can look for healthy treats – a platter of fruit for example always goes down well and boosts the spirits. 

A bit of bonding

If the marketing budget allows then perhaps you could stretch to a team breakfast or lunch – and even better if you turn it into a team building exercise.  Sharing success stories big and small can be a great way to bring up employee motivation.

Practice gratitude

As good managers, this is one we could all do with adopting all year round, not just for January.   I don’t mean fawning over employees simply for doing their job, but showing an employee how you value them and their contribution can have an amazing impact.  Look for the small things as well as large, soft skills as well as measurable targets.  Has someone gone above and beyond to get a project over the line?  Has someone demonstrated outstanding team spirit in supporting a colleague?  Recognition doesn’t have to be formal – a chat as you pass their desk or phone call for a remote employee will work wonders.

Highlight the importance of mental health

If you are in a large corporate, utilise the support from HR or Occupational Health if available.  They can be a fantastic resource.  If you are in a smaller business with no dedicated sponsor for this area, have a read up online.  This sort of thing works well informally; as a chat in a team meeting, posters in the office and reminding your staff to check the resources available.  It is essential to continue to be mindful of this all year round; mental health is a vitally important issue that should be on all employer's radar, not just in January.

Mainly, we urge you to take a step back and check how your employees are currently doing in terms of their mental health.  Don’t hold back on talking to your staff; look to connect at this more challenging time and it will set you in good stead for the rest of the year.