As it often brings new budgets and opportunities, January is one of the most exciting times of the year for businesses. However, when it comes to your employees, morale can be at an all-time low after the buzz of the festive season has worn off, and they’ll need to swap the parties, mince pies, and Christmas films with early mornings, busy commutes, and endless meetings.
This isn’t helped by the fact that Blue Monday is just around the corner. Falling on the 15th January in 2018, this is considered to be the ‘most depressing day of the year’ due to a range of factors including the weather, failed New Year’s resolutions, and the amount of time since Christmas day, and our most recent payday (let’s face it, December is an expensive month for even the most budget-savvy of us).
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way every January! In fact, there are a number of ways you can help your employees beat the ‘New Year Blues’, and increase office morale after the festive season…
Review perks to promote a better work-life balance
Let’s get straight to the point; after a week or two of sleeping in, attending festive parties, and sitting on the sofa watching Christmas film after Christmas film, the cold dark mornings can make it tricky for office workers to readjust to their regular 9-5 working day, and jump straight back into work all bright-eyed and bushy tailed!
To make this transition easier, you should review your employee perks, and see how many enable you to promote a better work-life balance. For example, offering flexible working (to a certain degree), as well as the ability to work from home when needed, can be very useful for parents whose children are yet to go back to school. Not only that, but offering these benefits show your employees that you trust them, which can make them feel more appreciated and boost their motivation.
Encourage exercise and healthy eating
After a spot of overindulgence over the holidays (and two of the most common New Year’s resolutions being to eat a healthier diet and exercise more), it’s safe to assume that many of your employees will come back to work in January with the aim to get fitter and eat more healthily.
It’s well-known that eating the right power foods can kickstart your concentration, and that exercising increases blood flow to the brain (which makes you more alert) and eases feelings of anxiety and stress thanks to the release of serotonin. To reap these benefits, you could provide healthy breakfasts a few times a week, and ensure your office has a well-stocked fruit bowl. You can also organise group fitness activities for the whole team to get involved in, such as a lunchtime run club, or even a quick game of football, rounders or Frisby in the park.
Work with your employees to set achievable goals
Opportunities for development are now more important to employees than ever; in fact, with it being the new normal for people to hold between 10-15 jobs in their lifetime (with 12 being the average), it shows that many won’t hesitate to move on if they feel their current role doesn’t offer them the best opportunity to develop their skills and career. Therefore, you should work with your employees to set personalised goals, and a great time to do this is in January; this is because many businesses are likely to review their budgets and plans for the year ahead.
Not only will setting clear goals help to keep your staff focused on their work (which will increase their motivation as they’ll want to work harder to reach these goals), but if they’re both small and realistic, this will increase morale by giving them a sense of achievement when these are completed. It’s simple, really; the more someone feels they’ve achieved, the more driven they’ll be to maintain a high quality of work and achieve more of their aims.
Organise fun team-building activities
One of the easiest ways to beat the New Year Blues and ease your employees back into working life is by ensuring they have as much fun as possible along the way! This can mean anything from taking the team out for lunch or a few drinks after work, to hosting quizzes in the office, or even taking them go-karting or bowling. Anything goes, so long as it’s fun!
Organising team building activities is also a great way of strengthening relationships within the office, which will boost morale and improve the atmosphere in the workplace. Some great examples of team building activities include obstacle courses, escape rooms, and canoeing, to name but a few.