• Blue Monday, what is the impact of the ‘Most Depressing Day of the Year’ on your Employees?

    The third Monday in January, which is, January 16th this year, is imminent. What is so significant about this Monday, you might ask? It has been branded in the media as ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the year. In our article below, Michelle McDonagh, senior HR expert from Adare Human Resource Management, analyses the impact that mental health can have on Irish businesses and considers some supports that companies should implement to promote mental health well-being in the workplace. 


    Firstly, Is Blue Monday really the most depressing day of the year? 

    There is much debate about the origins of Blue Monday, dubbed the ‘most depressing day of the year’. It’s seen by many as an effective marketing ploy by a UK travel agency to grab some media headlines. However, there is no denying that January can often be perceived as a gloomy time of the year, as the festivities of the holiday season have ended. For many Irish businesses, it is a time that we task employees with the finalisation of annual planning, KPI setting, sales targets and budget cycles.  


    What can we learn from Blue Monday as Business Owners/Managers? 

    Irrelevant of whether the ‘Blue Monday’ date is in fact a genuine formula to capture the mood of the nation. It is worth using the day as a reminder for businesses to reflect on and review employee experience and well-being and to consider how our 2023 HR strategies and HR Planning can support our people. At Adare Human Resource Management, we believe that putting Employee Health & well-being (including mental health) front and centre of business planning is integral to the success of companies. Building a positive culture within your business allows both the company and its employees to thrive.  


    Why support Mental Health in the Workplace? 

    Our HR Barometer Report 6.1 published in Q2 2022, showed that Employers had seen an increase in short-term absenteeism in the previous 12-month period due to mental ill health (a 46% increase), and due to work-related stress (a 35% increase) 

    This clearly demonstrates that while some Employers are introducing initiatives to promote better mental health, this is still an issue in the workplace - and one that is impacting productivity, engagement which will ultimately encourage people to leave their jobs when, in a tight job market, we need them to stay. 


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    What can impact the Mental Health of employees? 

    Excessive workloads, burnout, personal problems and issues with colleagues and managers negatively impact the mental health of employees. It is therefore important that a healthy working environment is supported to promote positive mental health. Developing a culture that encourages people to speak up when they are feeling these pressures helps normalise mental health challenges and allows an opportunity for early intervention, support and correction. 


    What are the Mental Health Challenges of Remote and Hybrid Working? 

    Given the number of Organisations with remote or hybrid working models, the impact of social isolation on remote-working Employees can lead to increased workplace stress and anxiety. The benefits of our new ways of working are plentiful but they do require additional communication supports. Employers should ensure they are actively managing these risks so connections between Employees are continuously facilitated to mitigate this. 


    Positive Mental Health HR Initiatives to Consider  

    A working environment that advocates positive mental health has many benefits. There are fewer sick days due to mental health, which improves productivity. It supports employee retention and employee engagement and develops a more collegial workplace. 


    Employers could consider offering: 

    • Stress Management Workshops  

    • Workplace Mental Health First Aid 

    • Training courses in Mental Health Resiliency  

    • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) 

    • Development of a Communication Framework 

    • Supervisory / Management Training 

    • Performance Management Framework 

    • Mental Health Seminars 

    • Mental Health Champions or Ambassadors 

    • Mental Health Days 

    • Workload Management Training 

    • Promotion of healthy lifestyle habits 


    How to Measure the Success of Health and Wellbeing Initiatives? 

    Before implementing any initiatives, it is important for businesses to have metrics to measure the success of any programmes. This provides the opportunity to tweak, improve or cease initiatives accordingly. Some measurements to consider tracking are productivity, employee absence, employee retention, employee satisfaction and engagement.  


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    Please do get in touch to learn how we can help your business thrive by delivering HR Initiatives that promote employee wellness. You can email us at adarechambers@adarehrm.ie or click here to book a call. 


    At Adare HRM we believe that implementing the right people initiatives benefits both the employees and the business, driving the overall performance of the organisation. We realise that the management of Employee well-being is a complex process, and our HR experts have a wealth of experience in providing training and practical solutions to meet our client’s needs.