January gets a bad rap. For many of us, it’s not our favourite month. Christmas festivities have been and gone and the last payslip received now feels a very long time ago following all those celebrations.
The third Monday in the month has become known as Blue Monday and this year it falls on the 17th.
But while you may feel there are plenty of reasons to succumb to the long dark nights, January can actually be a perfect time for you and your employees to reset.
Review your benefits
It may be worth taking stock of the last 12 months and evaluating what benefits were most valued by your team and what areas could be improved. For example, were employees struggling to get an appointment to see their GP? Would they benefit from an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) instead? EAPs can provide access to specialist medical professionals, as well as online GPs.
Perhaps you could introduce a cycle-to-work scheme. This would be particularly useful for those employees who are wanting to up their fitness this year or lessen their environmental impact.
Financial wellbeing can play a major role in how content we are within work. It’s worth making sure that your employees are getting the best out of their salary and pension. You could do this by providing a financial education package to help them feel in control of their finances.
Employers increase wellbeing initiatives
Last year it was reported that several large UK employers took on the challenge of banishing Blue Monday from their workplaces.
Outsourced receptionist firm Moneypenny added the Calm meditation app to their pick-‘n-mix benefits platform, whilst West London business campus, Chiswick Park launched a comprehensive Workplace Wellbeing Programme. This included a range of virtual exercise classes as well as webinars on nutrition and getting better sleep.
Make January more fun
Why not turn the month into a chance to learn or do something new together? Focus on health, wellbeing and mood-boosting activities. Some ideas could be:
- Have weekly step challenges. You could introduce small prizes for motivation.
- Start a book or film club.
- Dedicate some time for everyone to share some money-saving tips in a workshop. This could be a welcome discussion considering how far away January pay-day feels for many of us.
- Introduce a weekly meditation or yoga class.
- Keep communication channels open and highlight that you’re available should they need to discuss anything with you. Fostering trust will help employees to feel secure and safe to come to you should they have a problem.
- Above all, take notice of your employees’ behaviour. If you notice that they’re booking short blocks of annual leave, taking unofficial mental health days or cancelling meetings last minute it may be worth checking in to see how they are.
Of course, not all of these ideas will work for everyone. But injecting some new activities might help the month go faster and keep employees motivated.
The key thing as always is to keep your team’s wellbeing high on the agenda and this will look different company to company or even between groups of employees.