Falling on the third Monday of January every year, ‘Blue Monday’ is the name given to the ‘most depressing day of the year’. And with the continuing global crisis causing constant worry and uncertainty, it’s fair to say that this year could be one the bluest yet.
As many employees are still working from home, the effects of Blue Monday may be exacerbated due to other variables such as isolation, stress and boredom. Therefore, it is more important than ever for employers to support their employees throughout this challenging time.
1. Offer external mental health services
By offering mental health services you can promote the message that your employees are not alone if they’re feeling low or in need of any assistance.
At Vantage, we offer all our staff a free Employee Assistance Programme which provides access to advice and support on a range of issues that life can throw at them. This includes support in areas such as mental health, addiction, debt and work-related problems as well as counselling sessions when people need it the most.
People often suffer in silence, so offering this level of support can be hugely beneficial.
2. Involve your team in the decision-making process
A sure fire way to make your employees feel valued is to involve them in the decision-making process. Regularly reach out and ask for their input, and when a decision has been made, communicate how staff feedback has contributed to the outcome.
3. Celebrate success
A happy workforce is one that feels supported and appreciated. Take time to celebrate the success of individual staff members on a regular basis. The reward doesn’t need to be expensive, sometimes the recognition alone can be enough to boost morale!
4. Organise virtual and in-person events
Whether it’s a virtual quiz, 15-minute time out to encourage open dialogue, team building day or after work drinks, events are a great way for your employees to build more rapport and let off steam after a busy day/week/month.
5. Get to know your team
Keeping business separate from personal life is often encouraged. However, at Vantage we believe that genuine friendships are formed in the workplace. These friendships offer a much-needed support network, particularly useful in times of stress or low mood. As a manager, it's also important to have regular check ins with your staff to help minimise feelings of isolation and show you care.
6. Embrace the power of the office dog
We’re a bit bias on this one, as at Vantage, we have several furry friends who regularly make an appearance in the office. And even whilst we’re working from home, many of us spend our days with our beloved dogs and cats. It’s safe to say, Vantage are a business of animal lovers.
And what could be more therapeutic that petting one of our furry counterparts? Studies have even shown that an office pet can increase serotonin, resulting in a happier, less stressed workforce.
7.Get staff moving
It’s no secret that exercise releases endorphins. In the working day, encourage staff to take active lunch breaks, by stepping away from the computer, refuelling with a healthy lunch and taking a brisk walk in the midday sun. After work, why not set up a running club, football team or hiking club? This allows staff to socialise whilst looking after both their body and mind.
Despite Blue Monday, this time of year is still a good time to take advantage of the sense of new beginnings and change. The new year is the perfect time to be thinking about incentive schemes or wellbeing initiatives. January can be a challenge but taking the above steps can help your business to create a happier, healthier and more successful workplace.