Blue Monday: 5 tips to boost morale and motivate this January
It’s that time of year again. Morale and engagement is low throughout your workforce, and it’s no surprise with the dark nights, gray skies and general lack of excitement that January provides for many.
As we approach the pit of the working calendar today – a day so typically dismal that it has been named ‘Blue Monday’, many employees will be busy implementing their own strategies to beat the blues (take note, HR – you’re likely to be extra busy approving summer vacation requests this week).
So, while workers are trying their best to remain optimistic and engaged at this time of year, what can – and should – HR and business leaders be doing to support this to increase workforce motivation and boost employee experiences?
Here are our five top tips:
- Show: your human side
One thing that pervades across all the best global companies to work for is an extremely simple concept: an employer’s ability to show they care. With 70 percent of employees reportedly spending more than 40 hours a week at work, the workplace is now a central part of our lives and as such, needs to be perceived as a positive place by employees.
Showing you care can be as simple as a ‘thank you’ or tracking employees’ birthdays with a view to sending cards or gifting them with a cake. The little things really do count and the difference they can make in business performance terms should not be underestimated.
- Give: a small boost, for a big result
Often it only takes a small gesture to lift someone’s spirits on an occasion when they are feeling down in the dumps. Positivity spreads, just as negativity does, so make sure you’re fuelling the former. Wider initiatives likely to be well-received by your workforce could include anything from bowls of free fruit (sugary treats may seem tempting, but can lead to productivity crashes and decreased mood), to spontaneous early finishes on a Friday.
- Initiate: fitness and wellbeing
The positive effects on physical and mental health are proven time and time again, and with employee wellness now firmly on the HR agenda, initiatives such as these are being increasingly adopted by companies looking to reward their employees while reducing sickness at the same time.
Setting up a running club, or any activity ranging from a lunchtime walk to a yoga session, will get people moving and is also an ideal opportunity to get people talking. Social interaction is a sure-fire way to improve mood while also getting a burst of endorphins.
With the New Year now upon us, now is a great time to get started. After all, exercising as a group with your co-workers will always be more fun than going solo.
- Organize: a team social
January is a time when we all want something to look forward to. Organizing a fun trip out is a great way of getting everyone together in an out-of-office environment, and typically, this also helps productive relationships – and even friendships – to blossom. Be mindful of your team as a whole though: if a substantial proportion are attempting ‘Dry January’, it might be worth opting for an activity such as go-karting or bowling.
- Create: a positive environment
Above all else, creating (and maintaining) a positive work environment has the greatest impact on employee morale and motivation. And, with the link between work-related stress and health complaints now stronger than that of financial or family problems, creating an optimum working culture that promotes optimum business results is essential. If your competitors are beating you on this front, you’re missing a trick so make sure your HR plans prioritize company culture and ensure a positive environment for all employees.