Blue Monday, which falls on Monday 18th January 2021, is known as the most ‘depressing’ day of the year. Whilst the initial concept was created for a travel company’s marketing campaign, it is possible to see how cold dark nights, debt post-Christmas and post-Christmas blues could contribute to low mood. so what can be done?

Everyone should be mindful when using the term ‘depressing’ as, whilst there may be contributing factors which make people feel low or down in January for the reasons outlined above, depression is not a one-day event and could be offensive to those suffering with their mental health.

What can employers do to help?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant that mental health and wellbeing are discussed more openly. It can be a difficult landscape to navigate as in comparison with a physical condition, it may be difficult to see how an employer can assist an employee with a mental health condition, especially if employees are working from home. Things to consider:

  • Day to day changes in an employee’s behaviour may be the first visible sign of poor mental health that can be picked up even whilst working remotely. Examples may include: an increase in unexplained absences, a lack of energy, poor performance and changes in mood. If an employee is showing such symptoms, as an employer, you have a duty of care to check how the employee is. 
  • If you have an employee assistance programme (EAP), employees may have access to a counselling service, which would enable them to have an impartial, confidential conversation to discuss any issues they are facing. If you do not have an EAP but would like to know more about these, please do get in touch as one of our Account Managers from our Employee Benefits team can discuss this with you.    
  • Ensure recognition is given to employees for the hard work over the previous year. A simple ‘thank you’ and praise where it is due would help to increase motivation.
  • Managers are the first line for both detecting any issues and also supporting the employee when an issue is raised. 

Communicate to Motivate
A way to improve the motivation of employees during these dark months, especially when working from home where the atmosphere may be different to an office environment, is to regularly communicate with employees. Examples include:

  • Regular individual catch-up with managers should be arranged to ensure there are open lines of communication between employee and manager. The manager then has opportunities to spot any potential wellbeing concerns and the employee will feel more supported to open up if issues are occurring.
  • Have a monthly team meeting to keep employees connected and to update the team with progress on projects, common queries, any training etc.
  • Company updates so employees are aware of how the business is doing and plans for the future. If employees feel content and secure in their work and employment, the employer will get more back from them in return.

As you can see, communication is key to keeping employees engaged and motivated in what may be the dreariest and mood lowering months. 

If you need more help in supporting your employees then Sagegreen HR is here to help. Email us on hr@sagegreenhr.co.uk to start a conversation.

 

Do you need some FREE HR advice?

Why not book a no obligation chat, with one of our local HR professionals (not a salesperson)