Help your team handle Blue Monday

January is cold and dark, and slightly depressing. Despite youre very best intentions youre very likely to have already broken most, if not all of your New Year resolutions by now.

Simon Dalley: BrightHR Brand Marketing Manager

The festive period, as great as it was, seems very far away and employees throughout the country are starting to think about the realities of paying bills. This year, Monday 18th January has been named as Blue Monday; the most depressing day of the year.

If you want to help your team overcome the blues on Blue Monday you might want to try out some of these ideas:

Provide Breakfast Chocolate

Chocolate is renowned for its special powers improving even the most miserable of moods. It increases serotonins, raises endorphin levels and helps people relax. What a better way to start the day! If your team aren’t the type that would shovel chocolate bars for breakfast, you might want to consider providing them a hot chocolate drink to get them going for the rest of the day. And if anyone moans and groans about having chocolate for breakfast you can remind them that numerous studies have shown having a small piece of chocolate for breakfast can actually be beneficial for weight loss by helping to kick start the body’s metabolism.

Decorate the office with flowers

Flowers are a great way to add some colour to your office, but research has also suggested that flowers have positive benefits for our emotional health. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey carried out research that suggests the presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, helps people feel satisfied and positively affects behaviour.

Flowers around the workplace don’t have to be expensive, and a few strategically placed bunches could go a long way to helping your team overcome the January blues.

Turn all the lights on!

January is a dark month and your employees can easily sit down at their workstation in the morning without taking the time to turn all the lights on. Although there’s a cost to having more lights on, light therapists across the world argue that we are programmed to be more alert in the daylight hours and the earlier we’re alert and ready for the day, the better. Just get in early and turn all the lights on! If you’re team has lamps and other lights you don’t often use be sure to turn those on too. Also, you might want to consider changing the bulbs for daylight bulbs which mimic the effects of natural daylight and which are thought to help people remain alert for longer.

Cancel meetings

Who wants to be sat in boring meetings on Blue Monday? When your people aren’t feeling at their best, why not ask them to cancel the meetings they’ve got booked for the day? If they can’t, how about suggesting they have a huddle rather than a formal sit down meeting? At BrightHR we’ve found that having quick stand up meetings — we call them huddles — can be a great way to bring a lot of people together without having a drawn out boring meeting.

Turn on the smile

If you’re an employer or HR manager it’s your job to get people smiling on Blue Monday. Smiling has been shown to have positive effects on people’s moods and what’s better, if you smile at someone they are naturally inclined to smile back at you, making them feel better about themselves and their day too — it’s a win win!

Ask your team to book their holidays

If Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year, why not get your team to book a holiday or at least think about a break they’re going to take during the course of the next year.
BrightHR’s HR software allows employees to quickly, and simply book holidays in a fun manner — if your team are using our product they’ll almost certainly feel better after they’ve submitted their holiday request!

Do some star jumps

Some of your team might have already gone to the gym before work, so they’ll already be feeling the positive impact of exercise in the morning, however many won’t have done. It doesn’t take long to get everyone together to do some quick exercises and get the body going. Research suggests that exercise can really help to positively impact people’s moods. A quick bit of workplace exercise will help people to have a laugh with each other, reduce their stress and reduce depressive feelings.

Make the day a fun day!

At BrightHR we’re all about fun in the office. We have loads of games around, almost everyone has a NERF gun and we encourage people to have spontaneous fun. We believe this helps people feel more engaged with the business and be more creative in their everyday roles.

The ethos behind our culture is supported by the report we commissioned from the UK’s leading business psychologist, Professor Sir Cary Cooper. In our It Pays to Play report we found evidence that fun in the workplace can have a positive impact on people’s moods and reduce the stress they feel.

Blue Monday would be a great day to have a bit of fun in the office, it doesn’t have to cost a lot, perhaps print out a few quiz sheets and have an office quiz, or how about bringing in a few board games to use on your team�s breaks?

What are you waiting for?

As well as being known as one of the most depressing days of the year, Blue Monday is also known as the day people are most likely to start looking for a new job. Putting just a little bit of time and effort into making Blue Monday fun could save a lot of money in recruitment costs in the future. Perhaps better than that, you’ve got a great excuse to help people interact with each other, become better friends and communicate more to get through the day in a fun way; all of which will undoubtedly help boost productivity.