Five tips for overcoming the January blues

Overcoming the January Blues – how you can support your team

After the festive season, many employees experience a decrease in their overall morale and motivation. With the uncertainty around the cost-of-living crisis, January can be a hard time for people and their mental health.

Furthermore, time off for the festive period has provided many employees with the opportunity to distance themselves from the workplace. This allows time for them to ponder their current job role and turn their attention to creating new goals for the year ahead – one of them potentially being to look for a new job.

So, as an employer, what can you do to stay one step ahead of an employee resignation?

Focus on wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing have been a growing topic within workplaces with more companies putting in place mental health first aiders and wellbeing support systems. It’s important that talking about mental health in the workplace is normalised as much as possible. Creating a culture where your employees feel comfortable, heard, and supported can have a huge impact on their ability to come forward about any struggles they may be having. Feeling down from time to time is completely normal, but it’s crucial that people do not feel like they must struggle alone or without the support from their employers.

Here are a few ideas you could think about putting in place to help your employees:

     1. Plan a time in the working day for employees to get outside (10 minutes outside can reduce both mental and physical stress).

     2. Make plans that people can look forward to. Shared lunches and team building exercises can be a great way to bring people together.

     3. Connect with employees. Make sure you regularly check in with employees either in person or face to face via video calls where possible.

     4. Look to set achievable goals for employees to help them get motivated.

     5. Creating a wellbeing action plan may help an employee feel they can open up and work towards positive goals, with your support.

Create a healthy work culture

Work life balance can also have an impact on employee wellbeing and morale. We would recommend checking in with your employees to review their working pattern to see if their current working agreement fits their current lifestyle. Personal commitments can vary for employees, so having open conversations about how changes to their working pattern could support them can be very beneficial.

Employees who feel supported and encouraged by their employer to create a work pattern which works for them, and their families, are more likely to want to be loyal to your organisation and offer some flexibility in return.

Another small change that you can make to create a healthy work culture is actively encouraging people to turn off their emails and not answer calls after work. Setting clear boundaries that this is not an expectation shows your commitment to work life balance, but also helps your teams to avoid burnout. In turn, improving mental wellbeing.

April 2024 will see some important changes taking place with regards to flexible working requests and how these should be approached by your organisation. More information about this will be available in our February Employment Law Changes blog.

Invest in your team’s development

If an employee can see a path for progression (in whatever form, not necessarily promotion), then they are far more likely to want to stay working for your organisation.

Now is the time to start planning how you can commit to making professional development a priority in 2024. Do you have an allocated budget for training? If not, now would be a good time to create one so that your employees know what support is available.

Perhaps you will be completing your annual reviews in the next few months. Use this as the perfect opportunity to get your employees thinking about their goals for the year and what they see themselves achieving. This should naturally lead to conversations about how you as their employer can help them to get to where they want to be and what this looks like in terms of investment.

Remember – not all training has to be external, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Do you have any budding mentors and rising stars who would like the opportunity to cross-train their peers? This is a really great way to develop leadership skills and offers the opportunity for plenty of feedback to be provided.

Starting the year with a proactive approach to employee wellbeing and retention should allow you to hit the ground running – giving you a stronger business for 2024 and beyond.


Carly Anderson-Riley - HR Consultant at Sue Willmott HR and Careers Consultancy
Carly Anderson-Riley

– HR Consultant for Sue Willmott HR & Careers Consultancy.

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