Overcoming the January Blues

Wednesday January 5, 2022

It is not surprising that January is renowned for being a miserable month. We have the usual cold, wet and windy weather and darkness falling before the 6 o’clock news arrives; at the same time as dry January and endless diets are promoted.

Employers are by no means responsible for every facet of their employees’ lives, but having a happy team does increase productivity, so it is well worth investing in some ideas to keep your staff motivated to help you achieve your goals.

Train your team

Staff training and development is always one of the most motivational and beneficial things you can offer. Training does not mean having to let people disappear off for the day. We can provide accessible, effective eLearning courses which can deliver on a range of subjects very cost effectively.

You can find out more about these here.

Share your plans

January is the start of the New Year and we have been through a long period of uncertainty, so sharing your plans, hopes and aspirations for the business in the coming year with the team will help them understand the part they play which in turn will help you achieve your goals. Keep them informed of progress and celebrate success along the way.

Have open conversations with staff

Especially with home working firmly back on the agenda for many businesses, frequent good quality check-ins with staff are an essential tool. Working from home can increase the feeling of isolation, so, even at the most basic level, having regular 121s simply shows that you care.

A regular team meeting can provide structure to the day or week, and also encourage collaboration. Remember that for some staff the “Stay at home, stay safe” message was wrong as domestic abuse cases rose dramatically. Make sure all managers are aware and recognise the signs.

Get your team talking to each other independently, also. A sense of camaraderie often works wonders – there is truth in the old adage “A problem shared is a problem halved.”.

Plan a social

Christmas may only just be gone, but that in itself can be one of the contributing factors to the January blues – the sense that the fun is over and there is a long slog until anything else is worth celebrating. This is exacerbated by many people blowing family budgets on treating loved ones to Christmas presents, and a longer than normal gap between paydays. As Omicron spread, you may have felt the need to cancel your own Christmas party in December too, causing disappointment.

So getting a date in the calendar during January for some fun could be just the ticket. Whether the situation permits a full-on meal, night out or party; something on Zoom; or even just fancy doughnuts and coffee delivered to your office one Friday: it gives the team something fun and positive to focus on.

Facilitate fitness

There are well-known links between exercise and positive mental health, as well as the more obvious physical health. As with many of these suggestions, there are different levels at which you could pursue them.

Simply encouraging your staff (whether in the office or working from home) to  get up from their desk every forty-five minutes or so for a stretch and have a screen-free time is good. Increasingly, people own a smart watch or phone which remind them of this automatically.

If you wish to explore more comprehensive fitness solutions, it may be time to review your employee benefits offering. The UK Cycle to Work scheme, for instance, is a good government initiative run via employers which helps people buy a bike for the commute (and recreational use) through tax breaks.

Our network of local HR Dept offices across the UK and Ireland have extensive experience in helping employers with every aspect discussed in this blog. So if you would like to find out more, please get in touch.

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