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Beating the ‘January Blues’

Most people would agree January is a pretty miserable month. We’ve partied through Christmas or maybe not given the latest restrictions and hopefully had a fantastic time seeing in the New Year! The festive period is over and pay day seems like an eternity away.

It is therefore not surprising that employees returning to work after the Christmas break are lacking a bit of motivation and the dreaded ‘January blues’ are starting to set in. It also doesn’t help that a lot of employees decide to go on a diet or attempt dry January!

In all seriousness, businesses should recognise the risks associated with not managing the health and well-being of their workforce effectively. This article shares some thoughts about how to tackle the January blues and motivate your employees for the year ahead.


Highlight the previous year’s successes.

Arrange some time with your team to go through the successes of the previous year. This is good for team bonding, morale, and a great way to talk about the positives you want to bring to the new year. Acknowledging employees that have done well will make them feel valued and encourages them to continue doing what they do effectively. The impact of simply saying thank you can go a long way.


Set targets.

Involve the team in setting targets for the year! Working towards shared goals as a company will keep staff motivated and in the know. This will encourage them to feel like they are part of something bigger and work harder to achieve these goals. Set key milestones to celebrate through the year to keep staff motivated and focused.

Your employees’ health.

After the festive season, everyone has a bit of junk food withdrawal particularly if they have started the latest buzz diet plan. Keep everyone happy and focused by providing healthy snacks to help them maintain their energy levels throughout the day. A healthy worker is a happier worker and investing in them can boost their productivity.

Stress is the number one cause of long-term absence with 12.8 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2018/19. Stress can come from both work with heavy workloads and home with financial stress, lifestyle pressures and general family concerns. This can impact on the way people feel and act in the workplace.

Employers should consider the mental, as well as physical, wellbeing of their employees, focusing on prevention rather than reacting when made aware of an issue. The introduction of flexible working can help employees deal with stress by allowing them to balance their work and personal lives more effectively and reducing the need to take time off. Businesses should also ensure managers at all levels are supportive and empathic. Feeling valued and appreciated can have a positive impact on a person’s well-being.

Clocking off

Everyone seems to be contactable all of the time these days. Often, it’s hard to ignore those emails and messages, even if it can wait until Monday morning. As an employer or manager, you should think of the impact of sending emails out of hours and putting staff under unnecessary pressure. If you do not require an immediate response, then let it wait. You should also set an example and think of your own mental health.

Issues with presenteeism

Presenteeism is when employees attend work when they are unwell. A member of staff who is not fully fit to engage at work may be physically present, but they will not be effectively contributing to the business, impacting not only the quality and quantity of their work but the health of the people around them. Having unhealthy people at work could create a vicious cycle, with more employees falling ill from sick colleagues.

Presenteeism is more likely to occur when there is a culture of working long hours and where the demands of the business take priority over employee wellbeing. Employers should make sure that the culture of the business is to support employees. Recognising the importance of healthy, happy staff will lead to improved business performance.

Have a happy, healthy and productive 2022!

Employees round a table