Blue Monday: What do you need to know?

news article

Jan 21 2019

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The 21st January 2019 marks ‘Blue Monday’ – now officially identified as the most depressing day of the entire year ahead!

Despite its somewhat gloomy connotations, Blue Monday is now widely recognised across the UK, and plays an important role in raising the profile of mental health within the workplace.

Blue Monday

So, what exactly is Blue Monday?

Generally falling on the third Monday in January, the term ‘Blue Monday’ was originally coined by Cardiff University lecturer Cliff Arnall. Loosely based on a mathmatical formula, Blue Monday is attributed to variety of different factors, including the weather, increased debt levels, the amount of time since Christmas, low levels of motivation, and even established medical issues such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

How could Blue Monday affect your business?

The impact of Blue Monday should not be underestimated. Whilst some employers dismiss the day as little more than a PR stunt, few would dispute the serious impact that stress, anxiety and depression are increasingly having on the modern workplace.

The mental health charity Mind now estimates that as many as 1 in 4 employees could be currently dealing with a mental condition in the workplace. Mental health continues to be very much a ‘hidden’ problem in many workplaces, with workers at all levels often feeling embarrassed or even afraid to talk to their colleagues and managers about mental health issues. It is estimated to cost UK employers as much as £15 billion in productivity, and over 91 million working days lost to mental ill health.

A recent BUPA study also uncovered a strong connection between workplace stress and other serious illnesses, which then led staff to take more sick days. The report found that two thirds of business leaders have suffered from a mental health condition, of whom 58 percent stated that they felt awkward disclosing their struggles at work.

What can businesses do to help employees cope?

A positive outcome from the ‘most depressing day of the year’ could be using it as a valuable opportunity to raise the profile of mental health and general employee wellbeing across your business. There are many ways that HR could contribute to improving mental health levels within the workplace:

  • Incorporate knowledge and awareness of different conditions into wider manager training.
  • Offer regular health checks to employees, incorporating both mental and physical wellness pointers.
  • Introduce an occupational health service. This is proven to boost confidence levels in employees, increase morale and bump up awareness of health issues, yet 60% of employees surveyed by BUPA had never been offered medical support in their workplace. This was despite 62% saying they would find regular health check ups beneficial.
  • Place staff health and wellbeing at the heart of your company’s focus. This could involve introducing schemes to tackle drug and alcohol problems, setting health initiatives such as ‘cycle to work,’ or even looking into discounted memberships for employees at local health clubs.

Can HR software help?

Mental health issues can often be poorly understood within the workplace, and as a result can create patterns of short term sickness absence. However, intuitive HR software can help in identifying and managing those who may be struggling with mental health. Absence tracking features can spot trends and common patterns, and can act as a useful tool to spark conversations between employees, managers and HR teams. It is even possible to set up Workflow reminders for managers to ‘check in’ regularly with staff who may be managing a mental health condition in the workplace.

If you’re still wondering how absence management could save you crucial time and money, you have put together two FREE webinar sessions discussing this very subject! Scheduled for both the 23rd and 24th January, this webinar will demonstrate how Cascade can take the headache out of managing absences, relieve your administrative burdens, and provide you with an exclusive look at the system in action. Sign up here today!

Alternatively, contact us on 0344 815 5566, and discover what smart, intuitive HR software could do for you.


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