Today marks the most depressing day of the year, supposedly. With the combination of the darkest, coldest and often wettest days of the year, alongside the post-Christmas blues, the majority of the nation is also worn out, strapped for cash and battling with new year resolutions. Throw all of this together, and you could have quite a gloomy workforce on your hands. Naturally, as part of the ‘new year, new me’ mindset that many find themselves in, questions such as ‘am I really happy in my job?’ and ‘isn’t it time for a change?’ start whirling round individuals’ minds. A recent report suggested that ‘boredom’ and ‘needing a change’ were the most likely reasons for an employee wanting to shift up their employment in the new year. So, what can be done to tackle this; and all other motivation-killing issues in the workplace?
Dan Kelly, director of food at London’s premier catering company, Vacherin, believes that health and wellbeing initiatives should be on the agenda all year round; but there should be particular focus in January. The first month of the year is always the gloomiest, and employees are likely to be at their least motivated and engaged. With many taking on the ‘new year, new me’ mindset, it’s important that employers do all they can in the bleak weeks of January to keep employee engagement up. “Providing healthy, productivity boosting, nutrient-filled catering options and encouraging staff to keep active during the day are some of the simple tricks for keeping up motivation. There’s nothing stopping you from going the extra mile, however. By providing superfood snacks such as turmeric cordials, protein bars and freshly squeezed juices you can really make a difference in how your employees feel, and therefore perform, in the workplace.”
Founder of Advanced Workplace Associates, Andrew Mawson, believes sleep is one of the most crucial aspects of our cognitive fitness. The UK’s National Sleep Foundation has found that the average working adult requires between seven to nine hours sleep per night, to be on top form the next day. Obviously, this isn’t always possible for a variety of reasons. Mawson states that “developing a regular sleeping pattern is of the utmost importance. By establishing a set time to go to sleep and wake up by, your body can learn when it should be asleep, and make getting off to sleep that little bit easier – all of which will help us bring our best brains to work.”
Angela Love, director at workplace specialists Active, believes that working in an environment that supports you as an employee is the key to beating Blue Monday, and any other motivational struggles throughout the year. “With more young people choosing alternatives to university, such as going straight into work, and workforces generally working later in life, employees with some 40 years difference (or more!) can now be working together in one workplace. It’s crucial that workplaces reflect and support the range of demographics. Keep up an open dialogue and regular communication with employees, and ultimately; make sure that your space works for you and your team!”
C-J Green, UK CEO of leading service provider Servest thinks it’s all about choice. “You have to do what’s right for you when it comes to work. If you don’t love what you’re doing, then with all the will in the world, you won’t be giving it 100 per cent of your time and energy. On the flipside, if you are doing something that you love – your passion and enthusiasm will naturally entail, and this will be felt by everyone around you. Prior to my role now, I worked in HR – because I love working with people. I’m thriving to ensure that we continue to take a people–centric approach to business and our values reflect that same ethos.”
Cathy Hayward, managing director at specialist communications agency Magenta Associates, says that employee wellbeing should be at the heart of every single business. “I have no doubt in my mind that if you look after your employees, they will look after you. Create an environment that supports and nurtures your people, and issues like ‘Blue Monday’ will be a thing of the past. Treat your staff well, praise them regularly, invest in wellbeing practices, and the rest will fall into place.”
Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.