On Monday 21 January 2019, individuals across the UK will be faced with what’s said to be the most miserable day of the year. With the festive period over, the financial hangover setting in and dreary weather continuing to dominate, the third Monday of the year is known as ‘Blue Monday.’ Contributor Claire Sharman, Employee Benefits Business Development Manager – Jelf.
The term was first coined by a travel company as a marketing tool, the January blues is a fact of life for most employers, with productivity taking a discernible downturn at this time of year. Research conducted by HR software specialists, CharlieHR found that the number of people taking sick leave was 53 percent higher in January than the average for the other 11 months of the year, with coughs, colds and mental health issues largely to blame.
Faced with impending unauthorised absences, financial implications of loss of hours and a cohort of unmotivated beings in the office, businesses are urged to implement a strategy that helps staff feel motivated and valued.
Organisations have long understood that a healthy employee is a more industrious one. Benefit packages offering private healthcare or dental cover have become integral in the fight against absenteeism. But a shift in perceptions of what constitutes good health, are forcing employers to take a more holistic view, looking beyond physical wellness to overall well-being.
Mental health problems account for as many as 70 million lost work days each year, at a cost of £2.4billion to UK employers, and at Jelf, we have seen a greater uptake in employee assistance programmes that support the emotional health of employees.
Well-being packages can range from qualified counselling services, whether face to face or over the telephone, to simply offering Fitbits that encourage staff to keep active. Discounted gym memberships, cycle to work schemes, childcare assistance and financial advice services also go a long way to boosting staff morale, increasing productivity and driving business efficiency.
An effective well-being strategy is also a powerful tool for retaining and recruiting talent. Loyalty to employers is a fading characteristic amongst younger professionals, with the average worker seeking new pastures every four years. As employees enter the new year in search of a fresh start, January isn’t just one of the most miserable months, it is also one of the busiest times for recruitment companies.
Employers that offer more than just a robust remuneration package will be more attractive, as workers look beyond basic salary when choosing a job. But, offering a comprehensive programme of benefits isn’t always enough and employers need to communicate what is available. Tools such as Jelf’s exclusive employee engagement platform Personify, allow staff to view their total rewards online and calculate the value of everything provided by employers on top of basic salary.
January can be a tough time for businesses. Taking time to review assistance programmes available and introducing simple measures that protect the well-being of staff, ensures organisations will enter the new year on the right foot.
2 Mental Health Foundation