Despite well-intended New Year’s resolutions, the months following the holidays can be a bleak time for people, both personally and at work. Post-holiday blues are very real – and seasonal affective disorder, with its ironic acronym SAD, affects about five percent of all adults in the U.S.
At best, your employees will probably need a transitional time to beat the blahs and regain optimal productivity. At worse, safety and well-being may be threatened by people who return to work and are still “off their game.”
Know the Signs
It’s been dubbed “social jet lag.” Workers may feel sluggish, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating, suffer from memory problems, or experience clumsiness, lack of energy, general fatigue or depression. Signs to watch for include:
- Late arrivals or absences from work.
- Withdrawal from co-workers or activities.
- Working behind closed doors.
- Lack of normal enthusiasm or other personality changes.
- Increased errors or absent-mindedness.
Steps to Chase the Blues Away
Taking concrete actions to support your team members and limit the impact of post-holiday fallout is a winning strategy. Employees will appreciate your help and you’ll have them refreshed and reenergized that much sooner. Consider these steps:
- Plan an outing or social event. It could be as simple as lunch or a Happy Hour to encourage socialization. This can be a great time for workers to chat about their lives and take their minds off stress. Strive to make this an activity that a majority of employees will enjoy.
- Set attainable goals. Completing a project or meeting an objective is a great way for people to feel better and more motivated. Break major assignments into smaller components, so people can more quickly see results and check items off their “to do” lists. Celebrate even small achievements.
- Be flexible. During the holidays, chances are many employees have taken vacation time or days off. You may have had a company-wide shutdown period. Help everyone transition back into their regular schedules by being flexible about their time. Allow work from home one day a week or pay period if this is a feasible option. As an added plus, this also saves money on overhead.
- Encourage exercise, including getting outside. Exercise releases endorphins, which make people happier and more productive. Combine exercise with opportunities to get outdoors during winter’s shorter days. Hold a skating party or encourage people to dress warmly and take a short, brisk walk.
- Provide morale boosters. Think outside the box. Set up a ping pong table for a little competitive fun during break times. Schedule “lunch and learn” speakers and lifestyle experts who can educate employees on stress or time management, teach yoga and meditation, or provide chair massages. Implement “casual Fridays.” Just being able to go business casual or even wear your jeans to work can go a long way toward lifting lagging spirits.
- Launch a wellness program. Offer incentives for participation and goal attainment.
- Raise awareness of your EAP. Remind employees about your employee assistance program and provide contact information in case they want to access it. If you don’t have an EAP, this may be good time to start one. They are generally inexpensive and easy to implement.
Need more tips for motivating and engaging your employees? Regardless of the time of year, the workforce development experts at CPS Recruitment can help. Reference our resource center or contact us today to learn more.