How to help your team beat the January blues

Employment & Skills | How To

stressed worker

According to psychologist Dr Cliff Arnal, today is Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year.

With another national lockdown in the UK and the so called ‘most depressing day of the year’ here, how can you support your team to beat the January blues?

Communication

Giving regular updates and being open about business decisions can help your team understand what to expect and builds trust.

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer from Employment Hero explains: “If there have been job losses, be realistic about what you are expecting of the remaining team members. Staffing changes can cause massive workload anxiety with employees, be sure to discuss any new roles or expectations with the staff member directly. Have regular check ins to make sure they are across any key priorities and look for ways to streamline their workload if possible.”

Work-life balance

Encouraging your team to find a good work-life balance can help stop individuals from feeling overwhelmed and from burnout.

Natalie Rogers, HR Director at Unum UK explained: “With many UK employees working remotely, it’s easy to overlook the value in taking regular breaks. Staying safe while taking time for some sort of daily exercise is important for physical and mental health. As there is less sunlight in the winter it’s best to spend time outdoors earlier in the day to maximise daylight exposure and vitamin D production. What’s more, working remotely for long periods of time can lend itself to bad working habits. For example, late night emails can make employees feel pressured and be a trigger for workplace stress and burnout. Leading by example is the best way to promote a healthy work/life balance throughout these difficult times.”

Workplace traditions

Workplace traditions such as celebrating birthdays and dress-down Fridays should be continued even when working from home.

Alex Hattingh explains: “Allowing traditions to fall off the radar sends a bad signal. Neglecting activities that employees have become accustomed to can strain the emotional connection individuals have with their employers. These events are also key moments for employee engagement, as they encourage team members to connect and develop positive relationships with their colleagues.”

Making wellbeing a priority

Sharing wellbeing resources and offering regular check-ins can support your team at a challenging and stressful time.

Natalie Rogers said: “Many employers provide an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offering advice and support on a range of work and life issues. There may also be other mental health resources – for example, we provide specialist mental health support to employees when their employer has a Group Income Protection policy with us. Not all employees know these resources exist though, so again communication is key.”

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