shutterstock_99036785Today marks the most depressing day of the year. #BlueMonday is trending on twitter, as festive feelings fade and the reality of winter weather, hiking energy bills and the return to work hit.

It is no coincidence that Blue Monday occurs in January, The Mental Health Foundation has claimed that stress symptoms can “intensify” in the first month of the year, after the New Year resolutions and the Christmas Period is over, with money and work being the two main causes.

As most of the British workforce return to work, employment experts, ELAS, has warned of the impending impact that ‘holiday blues’ can have on the workplace productivity and offer advice on how employers can beat Blue Monday

Pamela Rogerson, Head of HR at Sound Advice, says:

“January can be a difficult month, as many workers get back into routine after the busy Christmas period. Employers should be aware of the pressures staff may be under and be proactive rather than reactive in their approach to the ‘Monday Blues’.

“It’s important that employers fully understand the effects that stress can have on both the individual and the productivity of a business.”

ELAS has complied three top tips for employers aiming to beat Blue Monday and ensure that January is as stress free and productive as possible:

1. Promoting good health:
Creating a workplace culture that promotes good health is extremely important. Initiatives such as wellbeing days and consultations with professionals (for example, confidential workplace psychologists and physiotherapists) go a long way towards safeguarding the wellbeing of employees.

2. Flexible working options:
Organisations that promote employee well-being by offering flexible working options are significantly less likely to report ‘pulling a sickie’ as one of their top five causes of absence and additionally, find that employees are less likely to attend work while unwell.

3. Effective management of absences:
Managing absences effectively will also go a long way towards stemming the impact of absenteeism. For example, monitoring absences and conducting back-to-work interviews will enable managers to validate the reason for the absence and also establish whether the employee is well enough to return to work or whether they should be referred to an occupational health consultant.