“Blue Monday”, which this year falls on Monday 20 January 2020 is the day claimed by some to be the most depressing day of the year. Following the highs of the festive season, many people find themselves struggling mentally at this time of year.
Research shows that on Blue Monday, someone Googles the term “depression” every two seconds in the UK, making way for a swathe of unauthorised absences or sickies and a drop in workplace productivity, as festive feelings fade and the return to work hits home.
For employers, creating a positive workplace culture where employees feel that their wellbeing is prioritised carries a wealth of benefits. Research shows that companies with happier employees outperform the market, with a more productive workforce, and employees who feel appreciated. But how do employers go about creating a happy and healthy workplace; below are five top tips.
1. Encourage staff to take lunch and breaks- good food practice makes a big difference to your staff’s working day. Maintaining a healthy diet is good for general health and eating at regular intervals will help with combating stress and depression.
2. Promote a good work/life balance- encourage staff to work sensible hours, take full lunch breaks and recuperate after busy periods. Senior leaders should role model these positive behaviours where possible. Supporting employees to fit their lives around their work with more flexible working practices can also keep people healthy, committed and productive and help reduce sickness absence.
3. Recognise good work- staff members can often feel demotivated, especially if they’re feeling overworked and their achievements are going unnoticed. It’s important that employers recognise a good job being done when they see it, even just a “thank you” won’t go amiss.
4. Normalise mental health- touch base regularly with your employees to check how they’re getting on and think about what might be causing them stress. Create space for them to ask questions and raise issues and give them permission to talk about home as well as work issues if they wish.
5. and…… Keep happiness levels up throughout the year- if you want to look beyond Blue Monday and boost morale on a more permanent basis, there are plenty of other things you can implement to ensure that your employees benefit in the longer term, for example reviewing the company perks to see if you can offer anything extra to thank them for their continued hard work.