Kicking the Post-Holiday Blues at Work

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The lights sparkled, gifts were given, families visited, champagne poured and the ball was dropped.  It’s the post-holiday season; you know the one, where employees are eagerly returning back to work after all the festivities with a twinkle in their eye and a pep in their step! 

Except ... that is not what is happening.  If you are like most every other employer, your employees are in fact present, but they may be suffering from the post-holiday blues. We can feel this way if we have experienced intense emotions like stress, or if we have overindulged or overspent. Or, we may feel the blues while adjusting to returning to work and realizing the festive times are over. We spend months preparing for the holidays, and with a snap of a finger, it is over. 

What to Expect When the Holiday Blues Sneak In

Employers can almost expect a lack of motivation, enthusiasm, participation, productivity and quality when the post-holiday blues enter the work place.  “It’s normal for people to fall into somewhat of a funk following the holidays,” says Bert Alicea, vice president of EAP and Work/Life Services at Health Advocate.  “They anticipated the holidays for weeks, so returning to work is difficult, especially if they don’t have another break for months.”  According to Alicea, it can take up to two weeks for employees to get back into their routines. 

We believe it doesn't have to be that way!  Employers and managers play an important role in helping employees get through this period quickly and feel connected to the bigger plans and goals for the year. Being proactive and conquering these blues before they impact the business or other co-workers benefits the company AND the employee.  After all, we know company goals are met by engaged employees, and nobody enjoys the blues! 

Company Goals are Met By Engaged Employees

Here are a few tips employers can use to reduce the post-holiday blues:

  1. Schedule a Town Hall style meeting where the President of the Company and the Senior Leadership Team communicate the goals for the new year.  Take the time to use departments that tend to have lower morale as examples as to how those areas are integral players in meeting their goals. 
  2. Schedule round-table sessions where employees from areas that do not normally work together have an opportunity to collaborate.  Genius ideas come out of these sessions, often from that unsuspecting employees. 
  3. Introduce an employee wellness program in January. Offer incentives for participation and goal attainment. This would be a great addition to your engagement program. It could include establishing a healthy lunch bunch or a walk-a-thon.
  4. Hold a professional development day early in January. This is effective at helping employees to re-focus. 
  5. Watch for telltale signs that the post-holiday blues might be moving into depression and offer help by connecting them with your Employee Assistance Program.
  6. Plan and communicate a company outing such as bowling or a sporting event.
  7. Ensure that managers are more visible, available and have the tools to listen actively to their employees.

That first day back in the office after the holidays could arguably be the longest day of the year (we all know that the Summer Solstice is actually the longest day of the year, technically). Employers can offer the following tips to their employees to help reduce the stress and help them ease smoothly back into the swing of things.

Coach Your Teams to Start the Year Off on the Right Foot

  1. Encourage your employees to resist the temptation to fall back into their old routine.  We can all think of things that we do on a daily basis that might not make us as productive as we can be. You may suggest they each come up with one habit they pledge to eliminate.
  2. Have team members set workable goals.  Sometimes something as simple as a “to do” list helps us focus and stay on task.
  3. Suggest they get outside.  Even in the cold weather, a few deep breaths of crisp, fresh air stimulates the mind and energizes the body.
  4. Provide employees with the time and opportunity to declutter their work space. Getting rid of things that have been laying around and starting the year back with a clean space helps accomplish goals.

Post-holiday blues are something that every employer will encounter with their employees but by providing support and understanding, you will reduce the amount of time spent lingering in that space and will have a positive impact on your total employee engagement. Go make some magic happen this year - you can do it, we can help! 

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At C A. Short Company, we are your partner for increased employee engagement resulting in increased performance outcomes to grow your bottom line. Our process and research-based platform helps you engage your team in order to increase your bottom line, motivate your staff to the benefit of the entire organization, and reward your people for the positive changes they make. To request a Complimentary Consultation, please click here. 

 

Topics: Holiday, Employee Engagement, Employee Engagement Strategies

R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

About the Author
R Scott Russell, CRP, CEP

R Scott Russell is a video host, public speaker, and a sought-after thought leader in the world of employee engagement and recognition. At C.A. Short Company, he is responsible for producing engaging content, helping clients maximize the effectiveness of their programs, and providing ongoing training and education.