Christmas has come and gone and before you know it, you’re back at your desk again. As the January blues set in, it’s more important than ever to support the wellbeing of your team. Our Blue Monday tips help you to prepare your workplace to get through the post-Christmas slump.
Supporting your team through this difficult time of year can make a real difference to team morale and productivity.
When is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday falls on the 16th January 2023
Why is it called Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is believed to be the most depressing day of the year. The term was coined in 2005 by British psychologist, Dr. Cliff Arnall. The calculation is based on a number of factors such as cold weather conditions, amount of natural light, debt, and the sudden departure of the Christmas season. This label caught on and ever since we see #BlueMonday resurface every year.
Some scientists dismiss Blue Monday as a myth. Whether or not a particular day can be classed as the most depressing day of the year, we all know January can be challenging for our mental wellbeing.
What makes Blue Monday so difficult?
- Failed New Year’s resolutions
- Cold weather
- Extra long month until payday
- Lack of natural sunlight – Travelling to work in the dark and returning home in the dark
- Fewer social activities planned
- Guilt about overindulgence during the Christmas period
- Worrying about the amount of debt racked up over the holidays
What about Blue Monday 2023?
Blue Monday 2023 will be especially bad for most people this year with the ongoing cost of living crisis. Energy bills have doubled, food prices have suddenly increased, and mortgage payments are through the roof. This is something that employers should be mindful of. Your team carries their money worries to work and it eats into their focus, causing higher levels of stress than usual.
The correlation between money and mental health
Some businesses are offering their employees cost of living bonuses or pay rises to help cover costs during this difficult time. If your team are incredibly worried about rising costs, Mind has an excellent resource highlighting the places where they can get support for money worries.
Blue Monday tips for your workplace
Our tips for Blue Monday encourage a healthy work culture that prioritises staff wellbeing and protects mental health.
1. Set realistic goals for your team
Adding purpose to each working day is beneficial for mental health. Take a look at your company-wide goals for the year ahead then set individual goals for each employee. Working towards a specific goal gives your team focus and helps drive productivity.
Ultra HR’s goal management feature allows you to formalise goals to help boost morale during the post-Christmas slump. It’s jam-packed with features to make it easy to set and track employee goals. This includes custom templates and automated features to save you time and reduce the admin burden.
Goals, training, and skills management features are all integrated within the software to help you to establish a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This investment in your employees helps to boost engagement, motivation, and productivity.
2. Review employee salaries
With the cost of living crisis and the dreaded January credit card bill coming through the door, now is a great time to review employee salaries. Showing that hard work is recognised and rewarded helps to boost productivity and improve employee retention rates.
Ultra HR makes it easy to keep on top of salary reviews. The HR software solution securely stores all salary information in a central location. This allows you to see at a glance how much each person earns and the last time they had a raise.
The employee review module within Ultra HR can be used to help determine salary increases based on performance. The software ensures that employee reviews are completed properly and stores all the information so you can easily refer back.
3. Encourage active lifestyles
Exercise plays a vital role in boosting our mood and reducing stress and anxiety. According to the mental health charity, Mind: “Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.”
Office-based working generally discourages physical activity, but here are some simple ways to stay active:
- Daily team stretch
Host a daily team stretch at lunchtime or the end of the working day. You can contact local yoga studios or instructors to find out if they provide corporate classes. You might even want to consider hosting it online to get remote workers involved too.
- Virtual walking challenge Host a virtual walking challenge where everyone can get involved no matter where they’re based. You’ll soon find out who’s the most competitive in your office! There are lots of free apps available as well as paid-for options that give you a cool medal at the end of the challenge.
- Stand-up desk
Give your employees the option of a stand-up desk. This helps to improve circulation and posture as well as prevent various health conditions caused by sitting at a desk all the time.
- Cycle to work scheme
Introduce a cycle-to-work scheme as part of your company benefits. The scheme gives your employees the opportunity of an interest-free loan to purchase a new bike, and payments are taken directly from their salary. Not only does this help encourage an active lifestyle, but it also helps prevent congestion and pollution.
Company benefits can easily be managed within Ultra HR. The software streamlines benefit enrolment, communications, and admin, and has built-in self-serve and automated features. Your employees can opt-in at the touch of a button on any device, at any time.
4. Revamp your office space
The space we work in has a huge impact on our mood. Modern businesses realise this. Gone are the days of isolated cubicles, as they move towards open-plan offices and collaborative break-out spaces. Even simple décor changes can brighten up your team’s workday and improve productivity.
Here are our top tips on how you can liven up your office:
- Add more natural light – There’s a wealth of research that suggests that natural light in the workplace can promote health, wellbeing, and productivity. Look at your office and analyse how you can maximise natural light as much as possible. There are multiple ways to increase natural light such as light colour schemes, using mirrors, and removing obstructions.
- Add more plants – Brighten up your office and boost the mood of your employees with plants. According to a University of Exeter study: “Green offices with plants make staff happier and more productive than ‘lean’ designs stripped of greenery”. Some of the most successful companies in the world are already investing in plants for their headquarters including the likes of Facebook, Etsy, and Uber.
- Create a dedicated break-out space – Create comfortable areas where your employees can take a break from their desks. These areas can be used to boost collaboration between team members or simply be used as a chill out zone away from constant email notifications.
5. Prioritise inclusive company events for January
December is packed with social events and catching up with friends and family, then it’s suddenly all over. Why not keep your employee’s spirits up with a company event in January? With most people trying to lose weight after over-indulging over the festive period, you could organise fun activities like indoor football, dance classes, and inflatable assault courses.
Ultra HR has a built-in events management module that streamlines invitations and communications so you can quickly and easily get numbers.
6. Check in with your team
When was the last time you properly checked in with your team? The Samaritans use the term “Brew Monday” rather than Blue Monday to encourage people to connect over a cup of tea either in person or virtually. Asking for help is never easy. Don’t let their worries fester. You can support your team by catching up with them over a cuppa or organising regular one-to-ones.
Our Blue Monday tips show simple ways you can support you team and help them overcome the post-Christmas slump. Whether it’s getting your team active or making changes to your office layout, you can make a big difference to their working day. Ultra HR offers great tools to help you prepare for Blue Monday. Find out more at how our HR management software can help you to boost employee performance and wellbeing.