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Beating the blues: why employee wellbeing should be a priority this January
Blog //15-01-2024

Beating the blues: why employee wellbeing should be a priority this January

by Lauren Campbell, Content Executive

January is often seen as a tough month. The winter chill in the air is still here, the festive season has been and gone, and we’re easing back into the pace of work. It is no surprise that 'Blue Monday', which falls on 15th January this year, has been dubbed the "saddest day of the year". Research has found that 2 million people in the UK suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), causing symptoms similar to depression which can elevate difficult emotions around returning to work and getting back into a routine after the festive break. As a leader, it is important to recognise the impact that this time of year can have on your team and take proactive steps towards supporting them through it.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of employee wellbeing and offer some tips on how team leaders can connect with their team through meaningful conversation to help combat the January Blues.

The importance of employee wellbeing

At its core, employee wellbeing is about ensuring that employees feel valued, respected, and supported. This, in turn, leads to a happier and more productive workforce. When an employee’s trust in their organisation and leadership is strengthened, retention rates and staff absences are often reduced too. By taking steps to support your team through tough times, you are demonstrating that you care about their overall wellbeing and not just their output, making your business a better place to be.

As mentioned, January can be a difficult month for many people. The excitement of the festive season is over, and we’re back to the early starts in cold, dark weather. The impact of the January Blues can be really felt in the workplace, with decreased motivation and productivity. Team leaders need to be aware of this and be proactive in offering support and encouragement. One way to support employees through January (and beyond) is to have open and honest conversations with them. This can include checking in on them regularly, asking about their workload, and being willing to offer support when needed. It is vital to remember that these conversations should be on-going and two-way, so that employees are encouraged to speak up if they are struggling. By creating an environment where employees feel heard and advocated for, leaders can help combat the January Blues and improve continuous performance.

Tips for team leaders

When it comes to supporting employees through the January Blues, there are a number of steps that team leaders can take. Some of our top tips include:

  • Encouraging employees to organise their daily plan and schedule in time to take regular breaks throughout the day. This could also include getting out for some fresh air on their lunch break for example. Whilst the days are still shorter and darker, planning in time to get out is really important for everyone’s health and wellbeing. Consider how this could be a team effort through the introduction of a ‘steps’ challenge.

  • Offer flexible working arrangements where possible

  • Providing access to resources that support wellbeing, such as an Employee Assistance Programme

  • Schedule in regular check-ins with employees to identify any issues before they become major problems. Giving your employees designated periods that they can speak to you lets them know that you value them, and you are willing to set aside time to have meaningful conversations. Use these sessions to discuss anything from general work/life balance, performance management, to personal development and objective setting.

  • Consider investing in modern digital tools that can help you to manage your team and objective setting, with more ease.

Ongoing benefits of wellbeing conversations

Blue Monday is an important reminder for leaders to reflect on their approach to employee wellbeing. Taking the time to listen to and support your team, allows workplace culture to be improved. This can improve staff satisfaction and bring entire teams closer together to improve productivity and collaboration.

However, it goes without saying that employee wellbeing should be a priority all year round. The days of the annual appraisal and end of year review are fading fast. From retention to better engagement and a closer-knit organisation, the benefits of ongoing wellbeing conversations are manifold.

How to hold a wellbeing check-in with your employees:

  1. Practice vulnerability. Be open about your own concerns or wellbeing to allow the other person to feel comfortable with sharing theirs.
  2. Document your conversations and highlight key areas for improvement or objective planning so your employee has a clear path to work towards to achieve their goals.
  3. Be constructive in your feedback with your employee, allow the opportunity for them to receive and give their own feedback.
  4. Give space and time for your employee to respond to, or reflect on, feedback in your sessions.
  5. Be patient, understanding and caring.
  6. If you suspect that there may be a bigger concern contributing to an employee’s performance, create a safe space for them to trust you with opening up. Not everyone feels comfortable speaking up, so remind them that they can give you a message separately if they would prefer or provide them with the links for internal employee support contacts.

How could Advanced help you?

Here at Advanced we have many People Management solutions that help to power your world of work. Specifically, our Performance & Talent software is designed to boost well-being, improve company loyalty, and increase employee satisfaction by listening to and understanding your people.

We've created a safe space to facilitate employees voicing their opinions and feelings. Performance & Talent can transform your performance culture and improve employee engagement through continuous performance management and refined feedback processes.

We have also hosted a webinar that takes a deeper dive into all of the topics raised within this blog, so if you would like to learn more about how to facilitate wellbeing check-in’s with your team using our Performance & Talent solution then please watch on-demand here , or visit our website for more information: Performance & Talent - Continuous Performance Management | Advanced (

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Lauren Campbell

Lauren Campbell


Content Executive

Lauren has been with OneAdvanced since March 2021, bringing well-built experience in both writing and the marketing landscape. She has been previously responsible for driving the relationships with our strategic technology partners, and now creates insightful and thought-provoking content for Advanced, specialising in our Spend Management and Governance space.

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