Beat the January blues

Returning after a long and enjoyable Christmas break can leave employees feeling a little sluggish, which can affect productivity and motivation. Here are some top tips on how you can banish the January blues in the workplace, and get the year off to a good start

Welcome your staff back

A survey by Investors in People revealed that 44% of employees questioned said that a welcome back from bosses would increase their motivation. So, on a Monday morning, kick-start the working week by showing an interest in employees’ weekends; the perfect way to boost morale.

Expect the leave request rush (and have a process to manage it)

After the festive period staff will be keen to book their next holidays. You may find that you are inundated with holiday requests after Christmas; rather than increasing stress levels and fobbing staff off ensure you have a good holiday request process in place. Dealing with holiday requests swiftly will make sure staff feel valued, which, in turn, will affect their productivity and work quality.

Recognise commitment

Don’t forget to acknowledge staff who have worked antisocial or additional hours over the festive period. Let’s face it – no-one likes working when others are on holiday – so ensure this is highlighted at their next appraisal.

Support stress-reduction activities

The come-down after the festive season brings with it increased stress levels and lower moods. Evidence links physical exercise to good mental health so ensure your employees can get out at lunchtime. A quick walk in the fresh air can do wonders for a person’s mood and, in turn, help them regain their focus for the afternoon’s work. And when it comes to breaks, encourage staff to take theirs away from their desks; so many people are guilty of eating while they work so ensure your office boasts a welcoming staff room, canteen etc, so staff have a place of respite to escape to for a few minutes each day.

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Give praise where praise is due

During a time when moods are low, the easiest way to pick staff up is by telling them you appreciate the good job they’re doing. Acknowledging hard work is an instant mood booster and staff will be keen to keep the momentum going!

Set out training needs

Assess employee training needs for the year ahead. Learning and self-development go hand-in-hand and are the perfect staff incentive, with both the employee and the employer benefiting. Encouraging learning and the development of skills increases staff retention levels and motivation.

Be stress-aware

Post-Christmas blues, changes in staff, performance reviews and new goals for the year ahead can trigger stress in staff. Promote an open discussion on stress in the workplace, offering advice to staff on stress management which they can use to their advantage. Plus, ensure managers and supervisors are aware of the symptoms of stress and how best to approach it.

These tips originally appeared in a blog post from Consult HR.

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