Overlay
Business management

How employers can help beat Blue Monday

The January blues should be a cause for concern for all employers. 

The end of January is thought to be one of the gloomiest times of the year: a combination of the wintry weather and the financial hangover from the higher level of spending over the festive season means many people find themselves feeling low. 

As a result, the start of the third week of the month has been dubbed ‘Blue Monday’, and while it’s not directly related to work, employers may find that staff well-being is affected.

Although we can all relate to the concept of the January blues, well-being should be something employers focus on all year round. The global pandemic has given rise to a mental health crisis, and recent statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show a clear increase in work-related stress, anxiety and depression, leading to heightened levels of absence and accidents at work.

How to start a conversation about well-being

So how should forward-thinking businesses react when employees are facing a number of external pressures, often outside their control, in the current ever-changing environment? 

Often, when talking about well-being, we tend to focus on mental health; but well-being is broader than this. A good well-being proposition should be holistic, incorporating mental, physical, social and financial health. 

All of these have been affected by new ways of working. Think about what measures you have in place already and consider the following as part of your strategy.

The impact of new ways of working

Consider the circumstances in which your staff are operating and how this could affect them. While advances in technology and the ability to work from home have created greater flexibility, extended periods of homeworking can negatively impact an individual’s well-being. 

A good well-being proposition should be holistic, incorporating mental, physical, social and financial health. All of these have been affected by new ways of working.

A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that the challenges of homeworking and the impact this has had on work-life balance are among the most common causes of work-related stress.  Blurred lines between family and work life, along with reduced physical activity and social interaction, can take their toll. Keeping in regular contact with remote teams is therefore critical.

Invest in line manager capability

Line manager capability is key to creating an environment that fosters employee well-being. It’s important to invest the time to upskill line managers, providing them with the skills and tools to have productive conversations with their teams about health and well-being, spot the signs when things might not be quite right, and support team members if well-being becomes a concern. Line managers will also be experiencing their own challenges. Many businesses are exploring how they can set line managers up for success and are investing in resilience training.

Include financial well-being in your proposition

Financial well-being is a topic that often tends to be neglected by employers. Given the economic impacts of the pandemic and Brexit, this is an area employers need to be aware of. Examples of steps you could take are:

  • Review your current reward and benefit offerings to make sure they’re still fit for purpose and meet employee needs.

  • Promote any company benefits available to further support employees and raise awareness of the support available for them.

  • Explore and promote free sources of information and guidance to support employees with skills like budgeting, for example. 

  • Consider investing in initiatives such as debt counselling, provision of interest-free loans and access to financial advisers.

If you feel you could benefit from free business tools, resources and guidance, sign up to Royal Bank MentorDigital and get access to employment law, HR, and health and safety support. You don’t need to bank with Royal Bank of Scotland. Royal Bank Mentor also provides advice for more complex workforce matters, through a subscription service. Mentor’s subscription services incur a cost. 

Register for Royal Bank MentorDigital

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

scroll to top