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15 January 2019
It's mid-January and the excitement of a new year has waned, the post-Christmas blues have set in, the weather is grey and gloomy (at least for us in the UK) and the resolutions? Well… let's not talk about how the resolutions are going! Combine these factors, and the result is a day crowned as Blue Monday, taking place on the third Monday in January, the 21st this year. Research carried out last year by workplace consultants, Peldon Rose showed that 40% of workers believe that winter, with its darker, shorter days, has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing. In addition, over a third said that they felt Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) impacted them.
So, what can your business do to alleviate the symptoms of Blue Monday? To boost employee morale in January and throughout the rest of 2019?
Create Staff Events:
At a time when employees might be feeling low, organising a team event that they can get involved with and look forward to can go a long way to improving morale. This could be as simple as a dress down day, or you could even incorporate a charitable element by raising funds for your chosen charity with a bake sale. It doesn't need to be elaborate or time consuming, just something for people to engage with.
Recognise Good Work:
It might sound simple, but often a “Thank you” can go a long way when employees are feeling demotivated, especially if they're overworked and feel their achievements are going unnoticed. 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.
Even Work Allocation:
We all know the dangers of overworking and piling too much on our employees; it can lead to stress, dissatisfaction, even burnout. However, under allocating work to others in the team can lead to them feeling disheartened and undervalued. Neither situation is ideal. Utilising a dedicated Resource Planning tool can give you an overview of your team's utilisation at that moment in time and coming up in the future. It can even allow them to express preferences in line with skills they would like to develop and projects they would like to be considered for meaning they can kick off 2019 with clear self-defined objectives.
Offer Training & Development Opportunities
Mentoring and offering support to employees can help them feel more secure in the workplace. Structured systems for feedback, training and development can boost engagement, having a positive impact on morale and productivity.
Research from the Association of Talent Development found that organisations offering employees a comprehensive training programme have a 218% higher income per employee than companies that don', which speaks volumes about the benefits of empowering and developing your talent.
Are your employees aware of business progress and growth? If they're not aware of how the company is performing, they might not feel particularly inspired or motivated to do a good job. Regular town hall talks, internal newsletters and email updates provide excellent ways of communicating progress and future plans for the business with your employees, and reiterating the important part that each employee plays in realising this vision can help them to feel more involved and valued.
If you're concerned about an employee with consistently low moods, it might be worth having a private chat with them to make sure everything is ok. For more advice on spotting signs of mental health in the workplace, visit the ACAS website - http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5921