January 17, 2020

Our Survey Findings: Employees and The January Blues

More than one third of people dread going back to work in January. That’s according to our latest survey of more than 600 people.

And who can blame them? After an indulgent break over Christmas, it’s hard work getting back into the swing of things. Setting an early alarm, enduring rush hour traffic, and figuring out what on earth you’re going to cook for dinner as part of your commitment to ‘Veganuary’.

But what causes January blues? And what can employers do to reduce it’s affects? Read on for the results of our survey.

What causes January blues?

Well, according to Professor Ed Watkins at the University of Exeter’s Mood Disorders Centre: “Depressed mood is often exacerbated by a perception of a gap between how someone wants things to be and how they actually are. These actual-ideal discrepancies are highlighted at this time of year.”

So, perhaps your employees have spent the last few weeks thinking about what they’d hoped to have achieved by now and this has lowered their mood?

The other contributing factors revealed in our survey were of little surprise.

Yep, the freezing cold, rainy weather gets us all down. And those grim, grey, grotty days that never seem to get light, are affecting our mood too.

And, it looks like Professor Ed Watkins’ point is backed up by 157 people. They said that everything going back to ‘normal’ after Christmas negatively impacts their mood at this time of year. Unfortunately, a joyous, fun-filled December sits in stark contrast to boring old January.

What will reduce my employees’ January blues?

According to our survey, the best way – by far – to reduce the January blues is flexible working.

This might mean giving your employees the option to work from home, so they can avoid commuting in the dark. Or perhaps they could start work early and finish up early? These types of arrangements are dictated by the kind of work your employees carry out. Do their roles allow for such flexibility?

Organising a team social also got lots of votes. So, if you haven’t already, get pestering your Finance Director for the green light to take your team for a slap up meal!

Another way to boost morale, is by providing financial wellbeing support. The December payday was a life-time ago and Christmas was expensive! Lot’s of people feel anxious about money in the New Year. But it’s the perfect time to plan and budget for the year ahead. Providing your employees with the tools and support to alleviate their financial concerns, can have a hugely positive impact on their mental health.

What next?

The good news is lots of the people we surveyed in December 2019 and in the New Year, indicated they didn’t dread going back to work in January at all!

However, more than half of those surveyed get the January work dread either ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’ – which could mean up to 50% of your workforce are battling a low mood and a dip in motivation. And this will no doubt be affecting your business’ bottom line.

If you can provide flexible working options, it’s a simple and effective way to boost employee morale – which means a happier, more motivated workforce, and a reduction in absence.

Find out more about the benefits of flexible working by watching our webinar recording ‘Embracing Flexible Working Practices: Made Easy’.

Alternatively, if you’re a Moorepay customer, you can contact our Advice Line for support. They will be happy to advise you on how best to implement a flexible working policy.


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About the author

Amy Morrison

About the author

Amy Morrison

Amy is responsible for digital content at Moorepay, which includes creating resources for the Knowledge Centre, and making ongoing improvements to the website. With experience in digital marketing, and content and communications, and with a CIPR Certificate in Public Relations, Amy brings a range of skills to her role as Digital Content Manager at Moorepay.

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