Blue Monday: Tackling Workplace Stress in January
Posted by Thomas Faulker - Health and Safety Adviser
Commonly viewed as the most depressing day of the year, “Blue Monday” was coined to refer to the 3rd Monday in January which often leaves people feeling miserable. Between the combination of the dark days, return to the usual 9-5 routine, and the post-Christmas blues, this day is a particularly gloomy one in what is already a dreary month.
So, what exactly has Blue Monday got to do with workplace stress? In the same way that conflicts can arise more frequently during the festive period, work-related stress can have more of an impact on individuals as they will already be feeling the additional financial and mental strain that the start of the year places on many.
The first step to dealing with stress in the workplace is spotting the signs. This may sound straightforward but often individuals experiencing work-related stress are too caught up in their situation to realise that something is amiss.
This is where stress awareness training for employees comes in. These courses can help individuals recognise the differences between pressure and stress and educate them on the common signs of work-related stress.
Behavioural changes are the most common signs of stress and being able to recognise these changes in their own behaviour will allow employees to seek help from their line managers before the symptoms turn into a more serious issue. The most common behavioural changes that indicate stress in the workplace include:
Once employees are able to recognise these changes within themselves, they can then take the appropriate steps to address them including working with their line manager to tackle the cause of the stress.
Alongside the self-recognition and reporting of stress, the HSE Stress Management Standards should be used by the management team to regularly assess the areas of work design which are most commonly associated with work-related stress, illness, and absence.
The six key areas of work design, as identified by the Management Standards, that contribute to stress are:
Using the Management Standards approach, organisations can support employees by carrying out regular risk assessments in relation to each of the areas and putting safeguards in place that will protect them from unnecessary stress in the workplace.