‘Blue Monday’ has become a recognisable turn of phrase in January. Given the current working climate and factors such as home working, it is now more important than ever for employers to address their employees’ mental health and wellbeing ahead of the upcoming year.
What is Blue Monday?
Blue Monday is the name given to a day in January (typically the third Monday of the month) claimed to be the most depressing day of the year. This year, Blue Monday will fall on the 17th of January.
Here are suggestions to help you and your workforce get through this cold and dark month:
To combat the effects of the January blues, mental health charity Samaritans aim to turn ‘Blue Monday’ on its head by encouraging employers to host a ‘Brew Monday’ on any chosen Monday. This year, workplaces are encouraged to meet virtually over a cuppa to get employees talking about mental health and, in turn, support each other through any emotional hardship they may be experiencing during the turn of the New Year.
By allowing your team to have a break from their work and have a chat with their colleagues, you’ll be contributing towards a more positive workplace environment during one of the hardest times of the year. It’s all about reaching out, checking in and staying connected.
Recognise Good Work
Staff members can often feel demotivated – especially if they’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s important that employers recognise a good job being done when they see it; a ‘thank you’ won’t go amiss. January and Blue Monday are both great occasions to praise staff it as it’ll help them to feel more positive and motivated.
Have a Good Homeworking Policy
There is now an increased requirement for organisations to allow their staff to work from home. It is important for an employer to look after the Health, Safety and Wellbeing of their employees at all times. Having a good homeworking policy will help you to support your staff. There may be a need to consider staff working hours, including any flexibility for childcare, essential shopping, medical appointments etc. Trusting staff to work independently will be a key factor to success.
Encourage Regular Breaks
With many workers now based at home, they may not be taking regular breaks. Make sure your employees feel comfortable taking breaks and leaving their workstations to keep moods lifted. During the dark winter months, employees rarely see the sun, so it’s a great idea to encourage them to go for a walk on their lunchbreak and enjoy the little bit of sunshine that is available.
Whilst special attention of should be focused during January, Blue Monday is a temporary occurrence in need of temporary remedies, and employers should be fulfilling their duty of care towards their employees and prioritising their wellbeing throughout the year. And while members of your workforce may seem especially resilient and bounce back in the New Year, it is imperative that you make your stance known and offer your support to everyone.
If you do notice anyone struggling on their return to work, ensure that you arrange some one-on-one time with them to see if there are any reasonable adjustments you can make to support their wellbeing.
THSP’s Employment Safe Service can support your individual business needs and help you to manage your workforce using the best practices.