The hangover from the festive period can continue long into January – culminating in the dreaded Blue Monday, the so-called most depressing day of the year. This year, Blue Monday falls on 15 January and although there may not be hard science behind the idea, there’s no denying that January can be a gloomy time in the workplace.
In small businesses, where business owners and managers are forced to wear the HR hat, it can be easy to neglect workplace motivation and fully understand the effects that lack of enthusiasm can have on individuals and consequently the productivity of a business.
Over all there are a few approaches managers can adopt to maintain motivation and ensure staff stay focused and productive.
An appreciated colleague is a happy colleague. Showing a little gratitude can go a long way towards a motivated, higher performing workplace. Managing a small business means owners and managers are able to have closer and more intimate relationships with their employees. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and a bit of recognition can lead to better self-esteem and workplace relationships, boosting productivity. Not only that, unhappy employees can lead to unhappy customers.
Recent research by Sage revealed that over 66 per cent of those surveyed, see being valued as the most important aspect of their day to day employment. Positive work experiences also have a huge impact on productivity. 78 per cent are more productive when work experiences are positive. This jumps to 92 per cent for younger employees (millennials), which are becoming the largest generation in the workplace.
The phrase “conscientious capitalism” is becoming increasingly popular, emphasising the need for businesses to focus on the purpose beyond profit. We have seen this move with large corporates, but are now seeing many small businesses step out and take on social responsibilities in local communities, and bringing employees along on this journey could be a good way to keep them engaged.
Setting up an employee volunteering programme and giving employees paid time off to volunteer for important causes is likely to pay back. It can enhance your employees’ skills, encourage team-building and create a positive culture within your business. It also means your business will be recognised by more people in your local community.
Employee Volunteering, an organisation that works with businesses in the corporate, third and public-sector, found that 97 per cent of volunteers found it helped to develop a strong team, 95 per cent felt that volunteering had a positive influence on them and 76 per cent said it had a positive influence on how they feel about their employer.
Flexible working is one reason, why many employers choose a large corporation over a small business. As a small business it is crucial to ensure that you are giving employees an element of control over their time in order to motivate them. Sage’s research found that 81 per cent of those surveyed stated that flexible and remote working is very important and highly valued.
For many working parents who choose to work for small businesses, located closer to home and schools, flexible working provides a good way to balance work and everyday life without compromising either.
When implemented properly, flexible working could work wonders for employee morale, engagement and general workplace productivity.
Don’t let Blue Monday get your employees – and your business – down. Beat the worst of the Monday blues this January.
Tony Lehner, APAC People Director, Sage