Each year the third Monday of January is named “Blue Monday”, the day when people can be feeling at their lowest. This can happen for many reasons, but often the cooler (and currently very wet) weather, little sunlight, post-Christmas slump, credit card payments due etc, can all make it a very challenging period for some.

While this January is a little different to recent years which involved COVID restrictions, here are a few top tips on how employers can help employees overcome the Monday blues:

  • Communicate – check in with employees and ask how they are. How they really are. Alternatively encourage them to socialise and talk with each other. Active engagement with employees and peers can really boost low mood and give support to someone who may be struggling. Sharing feelings can also provide relief and encourage connection in the workplace.
  • Offer a one off perk that day / week – whether it’s letting people start an hour later, enjoying a mindfulness lunch, or allowing them to bring a pet into work. Having a fun one-off initiative to help lift the day can really help to promote wellbeing. Such changes may be small, but showing input into demonstrating how they are valued, can increase engagement and wellbeing.
  • Promote corporate wellness – most businesses already offer a number of support initiatives, so now is the time to remind employees about them and reiterate what support is available. For example, if you have an Employee Assistance Programme then circulate the contact details. Take stress seriously and ensure that line managers are available to meet with employees and support them if they’re having a hard time.
  • Encourage positivity and recognise good work – a simple thank you can really go a long way, particularly when much of the interaction a member of staff may have is over email/video call. They can feel demotivated for a number of reasons, but focussing on some positives can help alleviate low mood, even if just in the short term. A happier workforce is often a more productive one. While many use the new year to kick start a new regime, a “new year, new me” approach can be difficult for others.
  • Lead from the top – while sign-posting mechanisms of support and engagement is good, ensure they’re being actively ‘lived’ too. Ensure your business owners and senior leadership team are leading by example. If a manager opens up, or initiates a wellness perk, then it may empower others to do the same. Demonstrate empathy and a little flexibility at this time.

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Cecily has experience assisting employers, business owners and senior executives on a wide range of employment issues.

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Published: 16th January 2023
Area: Corporate & Commercial

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