New Year, new you!
New Year, new haircut! (we’re looking at you, Boris)
New Year, new resolutions!
Yes, some of us might come swinging into the New Year, ready to tackle the world and our epic goals.
But some of us come crawling reluctantly from under the duvet to the home office, with a severe case of the back-to-work blues.
Recognising the January Slump
People have very different feelings following the Christmas break. As a business and as individuals, it’s important we acknowledge and appreciate that.
I’m sure we are all hoping for great things in 2022, but it comes off the back of another tough year. This Christmas break has been longer than usual, due to the timing of Bank Holidays. Additionally, offices changed to home working the week before Christmas. As a result, a lot of people have been at home for several weeks now.
Some people love this and will be raring to go, delighted to still be working from home. Others are fatigued by it. Opening a laptop at the kitchen table feels like more of the same.
I have been working with our senior leadership on ideas to help overcome this amplified January slump. These are some of our suggestions for a positive and sensitive start to the year. If you have any more ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
1. Embrace Informal Conversations
I don’t think you can over-communicate at times like this. This isn’t about micro-management, it’s simply about checking in with people and encouraging them to engage.
Catch-ups don’t have to be for work reasons, social discussions are just as important. We have a Slack channel, for example, dedicated to ‘Thought of the Day.’ It’s not compulsory to join in, but lots of people do. We have discussions from ‘are people bemused by what Boris Johnson is saying’ to affirmative quotes. It’s an open channel.
2. Get Away from the Desk with Walking Meetings
Because there aren’t colleagues to get up and speak to at home, it’s easy to end up sitting in the same spot for long hours. This isn’t great for physical or mental health.
We have set a goal of one walking meeting a day. Instead of a video call, the meeting is via phone with EarPods in and both people walk while talking. It’s a great way to get the blood flowing and get you unstuck from your chair.
3. Discover What’s Changed
I like to speak with as many people in the company as possible to kick-off the New Year, including those I don’t regularly get to talk to. It’s a chance to say, ‘welcome back.’
This is a good opportunity to give a very informal business update. I remind people about the company purpose and what we want to achieve this year. It’s also an opportunity to recognise and remind people of their individual achievements in the last year.
The Christmas break can be a time of reflection and change. Some people may have new resolutions and goals that can be informally discussed. There may also have been some life changes. The New Year is an ideal time to find out what’s new and how people are feeling.
4. Give Time for New Balance
We may want to hit the ground running in January, especially in sales. But a lot of people need to ease back in and businesses should give them time. It’s about finding a new balance again.
For anyone who is feeling a bit blue, it’s important to recognise whether it is about work, family, or other. These are all equal in seriousness and one impacts another. Businesses must recognise that everyone has a life outside of work!
Equally, some people will be feeling great. You don’t want to make people think they SHOULD have the blues! If you’ve started the year in high spirits, try and spread that positive energy on. When you do, appreciate others may need a little more time to get their mojo back.
How do you like to kick off the new working year? What helps you start in the best frame of mind?