While the start of a new year can spell optimism and opportunity for some, for many it’s a difficult time to manoeuvre. The excitement of the holidays is over, we might have loaded ourselves up with overwhelming resolutions, and it can feel like there’s not much to look forward to.
Although some disregard the concept of Blue Monday as a gimmick, for others it’s a very real problem and can come with unpleasant side-effects for mental health and productivity at work.
In 2020, ‘the most depressing day of the year’ will fall on Monday 20th January and whether you ‘buy-in’ to the doom and gloom of the day or not, it’s a great opportunity to lift spirits, demonstrate you care about your employees and open up the conversation about mental health.
So, to help you get started we’ve put together seven ways to boost employee morale on Blue Monday.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so show your employees a little gratitude and let them know how much you value their hard work and commitment to your business. An appreciated employee is a happy one, and happy staff are more productive and motivated, so you’ll not only be boosting morale but your bottom line too.
Remember, this doesn’t have to cost you a penny and there’s no need for lavish gifts to show your gratitude, something as small as a pat on the back or a simple ‘thank you for all your hard work, I really appreciate all your efforts’, will go a long way.
At a time when people might be feeling overwhelmed, bogged down or even panicked, taking deep breaths and practicing controlled breathing techniques is hugely underestimated.
So, whether you employ two people or 20, set aside 10 minutes at the start of the day and get everyone together to focus on breathing.
Tip: Encourage them to take five short breaths in and exhale for twice as long.
You’ll help your workforce clear their minds, manage their stress levels and focus on the day ahead, while also be arming them with a great technique to use whenever they need it in the future.
If you know your staff might be feeling a little down in the dumps do what you can to accommodate their feelings and be a little more flexible. Is Susan 10 minutes late because of the traffic during the school run? Don’t make a big fuss of it. Is John looking royally fed up on the sales floor? Offer him an extended lunch break to try and lift his spirits.
By making a conscious effort to do what you can to raise morale on this difficult day you’ll be reducing the odds of the negativity dragging over into subsequent days or even weeks, all the while demonstrating your compassion as a leader.
Why not introduce some fun activities into the workplace? Take a look at these tried and tested ideas from other businesses:
Introducing a little joviality alongside some enticing or amusing incentives is a great way to lift spirits and boost morale. If you don’t like the sound of these ideas there’s no limit on what you can do, so come up with something else to suit your business!
We already discussed the idea of a group breathing exercise, but there are loads of ways you can allow your staff a bit of extra TLC. Here are a few ideas:
Reward your staff for making it through a tricky day by taking them out after work - it could be for a meal, to the pub, bowling or anything else you fancy. If you’re clever about this and organise it ahead of time, you can let your employees know, build excitement and give them something to look forward to - potentially alleviating feelings of doom and gloom from the offset.
We realise not all business owners have the purse strings to foot the bill for things like this, but simply making the effort to organise it should deliver much the same results - after all, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Tip: An after-work outing is a great option for businesses who’d struggle to implement some of the other ideas during a working day. It’d be difficult for sales assistants to conduct a group meditation exercise on the shop floor, for example.
Whether it’s on Blue Monday or any other day of the year, it’s super important you promote a workplace where staff feel safe, supported and comfortable discussing their mental health. This is something you can be actively promoting on a regular basis, but with Blue Monday in mind why not send an email to all your employees letting them know your door’s always open and you’re available to talk whenever they might want to?
If this isn’t achievable (perhaps you work on the road or from a different location), consider implementing a mental health ambassador. This doesn’t have to be an additional hire, but an existing staff member who feels up to the task. The power of talking is phenomenal and can release tension, introduce perspective and reduce stress.
Remember, the aim of these morale-boosting tips isn’t to push aside or distract from the way your employees are truly feeling, so even if you decide to implement all the ideas we’ve listed, it’s still important to provide an outlet for people can talk too.
If you want to ensure 2020 is your business’ best year yet, then you’ll need to be confident your payment systems are up to scratch. From EPOS till systems and card machines to online payments and developer support, we’ve got everything you need to take payments in the years to come. Get in touch with our experts today on 0808 274 2017.