Blue Monday falls on 15th January in 2024 – it is widely acknowledged as the most depressing day of the year. It came about after a psychologist identified a formula for defining those classic January Blues. Several factors come into play that likely contribute to the low mood most of us feel at this time of year. These factors included debt, monthly salary, the length of time since all that Christmas cheer, the time since failing new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels, and the feeling of a need to act.
Now is a good time to check in with your employees to see how they are doing. With potentially more challenges ahead as the cost of living crisis continues, it’s more important than ever for businesses to prioritise their employees’ wellbeing.
Here are some strategies to boost well-being on Blue Monday and beyond.
1. Financial support
One of the main reasons why Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year is because many people are still recovering from the financial burden that Christmas brings. Although it’s not often discussed in these sorts of conversations, being financially secure contributes greatly towards personal wellbeing. Now would be an ideal time to hold your annual performance reviews, discuss opportunities for the new year and extend any advice or support you can offer – even if it’s some useful external resources you can find that can help your team feel encouraged.
2. Recognition and Reward
Now is a great time to acknowledge the fantastic work your employees have been doing over the last year and get them energised for the new year ahead. Starting the new year on a high note can really help to lift spirits. Setting up a reward and recognition system is a great way to boost morale. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) provides insights into effective recognition practices in the workplace. Creating a virtual wall of fame to celebrate the colleagues you’d like to give special thanks to or sharing a simple email or group message will go a long way in showing your team how much they mean to your business.
After a busy festive season, full of laughter and fun, January can quickly feel quite boring, so why not lift the mood this Blue Monday with a social outing or team-building activities and a bit of laughter. Whether it’s just ten minutes at the start of your morning call, or an organised social at the end of the day, put time aside to catch up with your colleagues. Have a laugh and make sure you talk about anything except work … or the weather! Strong social connections are vital for well-being.
4. Mindful breaks
With daylight hours at a premium during the winter months, encourage employees to take a break from work and enjoy some of the few hours of daylight we have. Mindful breaks during lunch or when the afternoon slump sets in provide an opportunity to step outside, revitalize, and benefit from a boost of vitamin D.
5. Ignite inspiration through learning
Supporting employees in their professional growth can have positive effects on their overall well-being. When Blue Monday hits it’s likely many of your team could have low motivation levels. Well, what better way to get them keen than booking a bit of time in the diary as an inspiration break to learn some new skills. Perhaps they can start a book they’ve been too busy to read or take an online training course to refresh some skills. When you’re stuck in a rut or down in the dumps there’s nothing better than the feeling of having some encouragement and time to progress.
6. Promote a healthy work-life balance
Promote a culture that values work-life balance, discouraging excessive overtime and encouraging employees to take breaks. Consider implementing flexible schedules or remote work options. Giving employees the flexibility to adapt their work hours or choose remote work not only acknowledges their individual needs but also reflects an understanding of the various factors impacting their lives. This flexibility contributes to reduced stress and increased job satisfaction.
For HR help and guidance as we head into the new year, please contact hr inspire’s expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy which can bring your business the benefits, protection, and experience of an entire HR department.