January Blues Seal slumped on rock

Do you ever arrive at the office door in January feeling like you’ve made the most of Christmas and New Year only to feel a little ‘now what’? Are you conscious of the need to cut back on spending, eating and drinking while feeling a little lack lustre at the thought of the long, cold months ahead?

Or are you one of those people who comes back after the new year all guns blazing with a renewed vim and vigour, laughing in the face of the post-December doldrums? Well good for you!

However, everyone in your office might not be feeling quite so upbeat and could do with some help keeping the January Blues at bay. Why not treat it as an opportunity to pull your team together, motivate and engage them and get the business off to a flying start for the year?

Here are 9 tips to get you going and a few words of wisdom from some experts on making changes.

1. Welcome back newsletter and thoughts

Don’t let the new year go unmarked, welcome everyone back, share your thoughts and plans for the year ahead and get everyone excited about what’s coming up. You could tell them you have a few things in store to help them combat the January Blues!

Good communication is essential in business. Keeping staff informed and involved so that they understand where the business is going and what part they play in that is key. They should be the first to hear of any exciting developments or any good news stories.

2. Help them de-stress

It’s easy to get back to your desk in January and feel a sense of panic at the work that you’ve come back to a mountain of work. At the same time, you might not be feeling your most positive or be in the right mindset to deal with it.

According to HSE 12.5 million working days were lost in 20176/7 due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

Mental wellbeing is about happiness, confidence, self-esteem, good relationships and resilience among many other things. You might want to ask someone like Positive Mind and Success Coach Jane Keogh to run some lunch-time workshops in the office. Jane can give your staff some simple exercises which will help them combat the feeling of stress or helplessness and leave them feeling positive and energised.

3. Encourage Healthy Eating Plate of healthy Food

There’s a good chance chocolate is the enemy in January and a good percentage of your staff might be contemplating a diet. How about providing free fruit every morning, or every Friday at least?

Or why not treat everyone to a free lunch one day but make it a healthy one? Companies like Lean Lunch in Leeds make tasty, healthy food and even better, they deliver to your office!

4. Decluttering Session

‘Tidy mind, tidy desk’. Anyone who has seen my desk will snigger at that.

But it’s so easy to build up clutter over the years and end up surrounded by paperwork, stationary and post-it notes which you don’t need or use. If you’re anything like me, you’d be amazed at what you can find lurking at the bottom of a draw!

Fiona Bennett from Simplify Your Home says:

“When your work space is calm and clear, your mind will follow suit and you can be more in control of your agenda, allowing you to intentionally choose where to focus your attention and therefore what you achieve.”

Fiona suggests some easy ways to approach the task of decluttering so why not set aside an hour or two for all staff to stop what they are doing and start decluttering?

“For an organised work space, start by completely emptying one surface, drawer or cupboard into a tray or box, then pick up each item and ask yourself ‘Is this essential to my work?’ put any ‘yes’s’ into a keep box or area.

When you’ve finished that, it’s time to find logical homes for everything, putting the most frequently used items in the most easily accessible places and the least used, further away.

I like to reserve the top drawer for current work, enabling you to clear the day’s work into this drawer at the end of every day, purposefully marking the end of the working day and leaving a serene, clear surface for the next!”

5. Get your staff mobile

I don’t mean buy them a new phone. Get them moving! They’re no doubt feeling sluggish under the weight of turkey and mince pies and probably want to get a bit fitter but might not have the motivation.

According to Personal Trainer, Graham Whitehead

“the new year is always a fantastic time to set new goals and aspirations. One of the most common goals is often weight loss through the use of an exercise program. Exercise has many benefits and without it people can suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

He also suggests that even if you dislike exercise, “implement a 20-minute walk outdoors every day, and you will make a significant step towards improving your health without interfering with a potentially busy work schedule”.

So why not help your staff by setting up a weekly yoga class or getting someone to set up a walking or running club. Or get everyone to down tools at 11am every day for a week and do desk exercises for 5 minutes. It’ll give them a break from the routine, more energy and, if nothing else, a bit of a laugh.

6. Staff night out

If Dry January is in full swing most people don’t want a work outing to the pub so why not arrange something a bit different? Everyone know that laughter is the best medicine – if there’s a comedy club near you, perfect! Or if there’s quite a few of you why not hire out a small screen at Everyman and give them all a real treat to look forward to at the end of the month.

7. Offer some flexibility Lady lying in bed

If you haven’t got much of a budget why not offer something that doesn’t cost much but which staff might not be able to get in larger, more corporate organisations – flexibility.

Acknowledge that January can feel like a long month and bring in a flexible working pattern for all staff for that month. Be creative, give people lie-ins every Monday for an hour or allow everyone to finish early on a Friday if they make up the hours in the week. You can work it around your business needs and if it’s only for a few weeks it hopefully won’t be too difficult to find something that works.

8. Put in place some Training & Development

If you or your managers haven’t had conversations with your staff about how you can help them develop it’s time to start. It’s not just about assessing how the year has gone, it’s about looking at the future, understanding what ambitions your staff have and how you can support that in a way that benefits them and the business.

Sally Roberts of Fun Training for Results knows all about the value of training your staff in way which is engaging and really makes a difference. “Leaders frequently tell me that their teams are energised, driven and motivated to make change happen, right now, that’s what Fun Training For Results does, it inspires new ways of doing business. When staff are valued and their skill set invested in they perform better, it’s fact that impacts on the bottom line. Recently Sharon, from a window manufacturer attended a sales course, straight after she printed off Step 1 Source, stuck it on her wall and then messaged me to say she’d quoted for £1.2million pounds! Sharon uses what she learned and gets the results, she is happy. The return on investment for her boss – huge!”

9. Prize Giveaway

Who doesn’t like to win prizes? Why not start up an ideas box and say that once a week you’ll empty it and give a prize to the best idea? The prize doesn’t have to be anything overly expensive and you could get some great ideas that help the business. Ideas for improvements could cover all areas of work including the environment, culture, communication, teamwork, products and processes.

So, go on pick just one of the ideas, or one of your own, and implement it before the day is out. Turn the January Blues in to the January Do’s!