How to beat the New Year blues

We’ve all been there; first day back in the office after a week or so of festivities, same faces, same routine, grey skies out of the window – sometimes it’s not that happy a new year. So how can we shrug off the New Year blues?

Firstly like all great business issues, let’s plan for it! If we know doom and gloom are around the corner why don’t we place it on the business agenda. We all plan how we’re going to celebrate Christmas in the workplace but little thought or effort is put into how we’re going to kick off the New Year apart from re-setting sales targets.

As with all activity in the workplace each individual will react differently to any plans you have in mind. But consider the New Year is a time the majority reassess their lives; have they reached their career goals, personal happiness etc. Why not take the opportunity when everyone is thinking along similar lines to engage your workforce and find out how they can further grow in their role and gain further satisfaction from being an employee. Remember the more satisfied employees are in a role the more companies will experience higher levels of productivity, profitability – something all businesses desire.

Set-up focus groups or undertake a staff survey to consider what are the main issues in the workforce and work through those issues in focus group and with individuals at regular manager one-to-one meetings. Whatever you do don’t brand the group the ‘New Year Blues’ as it will not be seen as a gimmick and won’t be taken seriously. Listen to staff feedback and act upon their suggestions. Be open and honest and share the focus group’s findings with the rest of the workforce. Never pay lip service to employee engagement; always ensure the board takes it seriously and really get behind the changes.

Review career development and leadership strategies as these are normally the major downfalls to employee engagement in most companies. Ensure managers understand each employee’s career goals and work collaboratively to achieve personal and business goals. Staff may benefit from working from one day a week from home, or being seconded to a different department to experience a different perspective on the business. Employees often return enthused with a whole set of new skills and ideas that can be shared with others – remember enthusiasm is contagious!

Tactics to deliver a more satisfied workforce will vary from organisation to organisation. Perhaps set-up your own staff awards system to praise excellent work. Employees can be put forward by their colleagues as well as their managers and it can really help start a ‘feel-good’ roll in your company. Many employees may be kick-starting their New Year diet – so why not organise your own ‘Weight Watchers’ group and support a healthier approach to life with fresh fruit made available by water stations.

We all know the weather will probably not be great in January, but why not set-up your own company trip to go ice-skating, ski-ing or try curling! The winter Olympics commence on the 7 February so put up screens in the office for all to keep up with the latest happenings at the games? If budgets allow re-decorate your workspace to give it a vibrant new feel and ask your staff what they would like in their office interior? Re-assessing how you do business, on lap tops in break out areas, or in blocks of tables set out in lines will really affect the working dynamic within your workspace.

Also, don’t take total responsibility for your staff’s happiness – everyone is different and it’s vital for employees to also consider what they can do to keep motivated and make their job more interesting. Together an employer and employee should be able to create strategies for individuals to grow rather than go. Remember 2014 is a fresh start for everyone, so let’s embrace it and create better working environments for everyone.

Gary’s TOP TEN TIPS:
• Plan how your business will engage staff on the first day back in the office.
• Engage your workforce – find out what they want?
• Engaged employees will raise productivity and profitability.
• Set-up focus groups.
• Act upon employees suggestions.
• Offer fresh fruit to employees to kick-start a healthy 2014
• Consider an office refurb/re-organisation.
• Review career development and leadership strategies.
• Remember enthusiasm is contagious!
• Get individuals to grow not go!

To find out more about getting your company fit for purpose in 2014, visit www.surveyinitiative.co.uk .

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