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Helping your employees to beat the January Blues 

The dismal weather combined with struggling bank balances and weight gain after the Christmas frivolities it is hardly surprising that the most depressing day of the year falls in January – Blue Monday (this 17th), with the thought of entering another year with Covid-19 there is every chance this could be more pronounced than most.

January is also notorious for employees to be on the hunt for new jobs which makes it more important that you engage and motivate your team.   

As we have reached the end of the festivities, we thought we would look at how you can retain your team, motivate them and help them fend off the January Blues.

It is important to remember that a one size fits all approach to motivation is never likely to work, just as you should remember that the cause of one person’s January Blues may be very different to another’s.  Here are some of our suggestions for having a happy and healthy work force in January:

  1. Thank the employees for their hard work in the previous year, taking into consideration how difficult it has been with the Covid-19 Pandemic. You may not have had the opportunity to celebrate with your employees, due the new Omicron variant which made a rapid and unwelcomed appearance before Christmas, so it’s more important than ever that your employees feel valued and appreciated. However, you may have been lucky enough to have your big “Christmas do” or have given them presents, bonuses ….  or even by the very simple thanks for your efforts this year and feel that you have said thank you enough because of this. But consider thanking your employees upon their return, remind them that their efforts the previous year were appreciated.
  • This can also be an opportunity for you to review the previous year with your team – what went wrong, more importantly what went right and what can we do to be even better this year.
  • Consider setting new Organisational objectives or look to set a new Company milestone for everyone to pull together and work towards. This could be strategic or how about considering an objective that makes everyone feel good – maybe now is the time to choose your charity of the year? Giving people a goal to work towards should help your team stay motivated.
  • Boredom and lack of direction can be a key factor coupled with a “new year, new me” can be what spurs many employees on to look for another job. Use this renewed impetus as an opportunity to understand individual’s ambitions, review their objectives and look at the opportunities for them to develop and progress and match this to the business’ overall objectives.
  • Think about your employees’ health and wellbeing, albeit it will already be on the minds of many when they return, embarking on their new year weight loss and fitness campaigns, how can you help them? This could be anything from providing healthy snacks and encouraging your employees to leave their desks to get some exercise, to discounted gym membership, how about looking at your flexible benefits packages? There are lots of benefits packages out there suitable for small to medium organisations.
  • Ensure communications are effective and that openness is encouraged, keep in mind that employees mental health wellbeing is as important as their physical wellbeing and offering a supportive environment where open communication is encouraged can significantly help employees who are suffering with mental ill health. Remember for some employees this may be something more than the January Blues.
  • Remote workers may be experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness as they may have only worked from home because of the pandemic. You could invite the team to a virtual meeting for a catch-up to see how everyone is doing, how they are feeling about the new year and thank them for the hard work and efforts for the previous year. You could carry out a fun activity during the catch-up, maybe a quiz for example.

You may also want to consider arranging a team day out or even offer the opportunity to go for a meal together to continue to build the repour and working relationships across the board.

  • End the month on a high point, consider arranging a team activity for the end of the month, taking into account Covid-19 and Government guidelines. This will give everyone something to look forward to in a month where normally there is little going on and, who knows, maybe it will help your employees dread January that little bit less next year.

Regardless of the size or objective of your organisation making just a few of these changes may help in engaging and motivating your team not just for January but for the rest of the year. In turn, this will lead to a happier and more productive workforce which can only be good for everyone!

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