How to keep employees working well through January

Wednesday January 22, 2020

Has an employee lost their spark since the new year? Is your team struggling to look on the bright side through the gloomy winter? Whether or not you believe in Blue Monday (the unfortunate title given to the third Monday in January), or the January Blues, this time of year can present challenges for some people. And productivity in the workplace can suffer as a result.

Reduced daylight hours and a lack of sunlight are thought to have a negative effect on mood. While stormy weather can cause a nightmare commute and start many days off in a lousy way. Most new year’s resolutions have been abandoned by now. And every other person is on a diet or feeling the effects of caffeine deficiency since replacing their morning coffee with decaf herbal tea.

Then there’s the financial worries associated with this time of year. Post-Christmas credit card bills loom and a longer than usual period between pay days can turn January into a difficult marathon for many.

If employees are contending with all of the above and productivity has taken a dive in your business lately, showing a little awareness and taking a couple of proactive steps could work wonders. Find ways to revive your workforce and get back on track this January with some simple and effective tips from HR.

Have fun

That’s right. Top of our list is to have some fun, and we’re not joking. Whilst you will need employees to come to work and focus on important tasks, all work and no play can create a dull and uninspiring working environment. If you’re worried that too much fun will be distracting, remember that there are several health benefits associated with laughter. And happy employees are known to be more productive and stay for longer. Do you have a joke or funny story you could share to lighten the mood at the start or end of a meeting? Or why not bring in some tasty (healthy if necessary) treats for people to share?

Show purpose

January is a popular time for new goals and setting some can help employees to have a sense of purpose with their work. However, if the goals are unachievable, they can have the opposite effect. If you set goals for employees at the beginning of the year, now would be a great time to check-in and review progress. Regular updates will help you to understand if everything is going to plan, or if you need to change course for important goals to be met.

Give gratitude

Showing gratitude is a known technique for boosting mental and physical health and well-being. You can introduce this habit to your workforce by making it a clear part of your company culture. If employees feel appreciated and are able to recognise the value in their work, they will be more likely to show appreciation for others and spread positivity to colleagues. It can be as simple as saying “thank you” when work is delivered on time.


Money is an important incentive for employees to feel satisfied at work, but it isn’t the only one. Studies show that employees can find satisfaction through non-financial reward schemes as well. We have covered showing gratitude and appreciation which helps. But other non-financial rewards can also have a direct benefit to your business. Actions such as welcoming employee input on decisions, and making or offering opportunities to lead projects. Always appreciated are training opportunities, which can benefit your company too.

Get talking

Some employees may be struggling with stress or low mood more than others at this time of year. Personal problems from money woes to heartbreak can be an extra burden and filter through to the workplace if someone is in need of support. You may not feel comfortable having these sorts of conversations, but making yourself available to listen can help. An employee assistance programme (EAP) can provide counselling for those in need, and you can signpost official support groups that might be better to advise on specific issues.

If an employee confides in you with a problem that you have never come across before, we can help. Our experienced HR advisers have worked with all sorts of businesses and will be able to help you help your employee with a legal and effective solution.

Want more ideas on how to promote good well-being in your business this winter? Give us a call. We have plenty and will focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

Preventing People Problems

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