Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year (apparently)

Does anyone like Mondays? Not many. But is Blue Monday actually the most depressing working day of the year and what should businesses be aware of?

David Quinn: BrightHR Social Media Manager

Who likes Mondays? Not me, probably not you and certainly not the Boomtown Rats. For most people, Monday is the most depressing day of the week. The day you have to go back to work after the weekend break is never great, no matter how much you might love your job. But if you believe the media there’s one Monday that is more depressing than all the rest - Blue Monday.

The term Blue Monday was developed in 2005 by Dr. Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, who created a formula to ascertain which day was the most miserable of the year. His formula took into account the weather, debt, the time since Christmas when we are most likely to fail our new year's resolutions and motivational levels.

With payday still awhile away, Christmas well and truly over and the weather starting to take a turn for the worse, Blue Monday usually falls on the third Monday of January.

But how could Blue Monday affect your business?

Staff engagement

In our blog post ‘Help your team handle Blue Monday’ we explored how to make Blue Monday more bearable for employees in the workplace. We proposed ideas such as providing treats; cancelling meetings; encouraging employees to request time off later in the year and making the day more fun.

There are some great tips in that post, but you could face more serious consequences on one of the most depressing days of the year - the prospect of losing staff altogether. This is because it has been shown that Blue Monday, as well as being the most depressing day of the year may also be the day that your staff start looking for a new job.

Staff sickness

Although Blue Monday has been given the title of ‘the most depressing day of year’, it’s not the day that people are most likely to take off time off work due to sickness. The press will have you believe that it’s ‘National Sickie Day’ (the first Monday in February), but after studying data from our absence software we found that the second Monday in December is actually the most common day for people to call in sick.

However, Blue Monday is firmly in the middle of flu season, and as it follows a weekend, there is an increased likelihood you may experience employees taking time off due to a short term illness.

So, if you’ve got an employee or two who have called in sick on Blue Monday, it’s perhaps best to take a step back before jumping to any conclusions and bear in mind that all employees at some point will likely have the odd day off.

The importance of monitoring staff absence

Whilst Blue Monday might not be the day employees call in sick it is important that businesses treat staff absence seriously and that it is monitored effectively. By doing this you can start to uncover underlying trends and gain an invaluable insight into the health and happiness of your organisation and its employees.

Supporting your staff

It can be difficult to give your staff the support they need, especially when you have to balance this with running the business. But by not providing support can lead to frustration, absence or even an employee's decision to leave your company. Blue Monday could be around the time these frustrations start to bubble up to the surface.

So how can you better support your staff without taking time away from running the business? One way could be through an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) such as Bright EAP.

With an EAP your staff are given 24 hour telephone access to confidential advice from trained counsellors who are able to help on a matter of issues, both work related and non-work related. From family matters and financial issues to health and wellbeing information, Bright EAP is here to support you and your staff.


Need help in supporting staff? Call one of our team on 0800 783 2806 and find out how Bright EAP can help your business, alternatively, you can request a free demo of BrightHR today and see how our brilliant people management software can help manage staff sickness and absence.