“January, my most favourite month of all the months”, said nobody ever…
According to research, just 27% of people do not find returning to work stressful in the new year, with backlog cited as the main reason for stress.
There is no doubt that we all feel a little bit pillow headed coming back to work after that period of hibernation which extends over the Christmas and new year period (and quite frankly, a good bit after).
January is harsh. Really harsh.
It’s dark in the morning. Really dark. So dark you can only see your own reflection in the window even at 8am. Commuting is nightmare-ish. The train station is no fun place to be on a cold dark morning. Traffic is chaotic because of weather this and weather that. Work is busy. Really busy. Nobody comes back after the holidays to a feeling of “Well, here we are in January – a bit of downtime.” There is a backlog. And the day-to-day to be done. And where is the energy to do anything remotely interesting or fun or ‘you’ after the journey to work, the day at work and the journey back home?
It is all just a bit horrid really but in all of that there is a very small, grain like amount of light.
It’s called ironically, ‘the place of work’.
Yes, there is the stress of backlog and workload those first weeks back, but it is possible for work to become a sanctuary like environment during that pretty low period of the year. Not quite a spa, but a positive place to retreat from the outdoor harshness of January and all that goes with that.
Most people have colleagues they would prefer to poleaxe than chat about last night’s TV with (some may do both simultaneously…), but there will be people in your work environment who can do the following:
1. Make you laugh
2. Give advice when you’re stuck
3. Help you
4. Work with you to find solutions
5. Be the friendly ear you need whenever you need it
6. Support you
7. Like you and care about you
8. Be a source of amusement
9. Bring biscuits to the office
10. Make tea
This may seem like a bit of a mind bender but…
In January, it is entirely possible that you as an employee and you as an employer (yes, you at the back…) can create the one thing we all need in January.
A really great place workplace.
A place where we are happy to be. A place that is better than the cold train station, the traffic jam or even being at home with a duvet pulled right over our heads.
January is a huge opportunity to do the following if you’re an employer:
1. Launch your employee benefits programme
2. Communicate your intentions to launch an employee benefits programme
3. Review your employee benefits programme (and communicate that!)
4. Google employee benefits programme (obviously please just come straight to us and we’ll help you…)
5. Start making noises about making the workplace a great place to be and intentions to engage with your teams on what ‘a great workplace’ might mean to them
January is a huge opportunity to do the following if you are an employee:
1. Capitalise on the ‘we’re all in this together’ spirit – it is there. Nobody is leaping about squealing ‘I just love January – it’s my most favourite month of all the months!’ Everyone feels just like you – totally harshed out…
2. Start thinking about what would make your working life better. There will be quick wins that can be done at a ‘local’ level and biggies that can be done over time with a plan in place. Talk to people. Talk to your ‘People’ people.
3. Accept that not everything can change as quickly as you might want it to in terms of reward and remuneration, but that you can set yourself monthly objectives and goals to achieve which will remind you that you are progressing and that if your working environment, benefits and pay get better then brilliant, and if not, you’re still doing pretty well and you could jump ship to someone else who will look after you better (I know…harsh.)
4. Be positive and feel the glow of your positivity rubbing off on others around you
5. Look after yourself. Sleep well, eat well, reward yourself, be kind to yourself and do everything that you can to feel good
We all know this time of the year is hard. Wouldn’t it be great if work could become our January sanctuary with us all beavering away to make things better for the year ahead, in every way possible and doing whatever can be done to make the workplace as great as it can be for that month?