FrustratedMonday mornings can be tough at any time of year, but they are especially tough after vacations and on the cold, wet, windy mornings of January. That’s why the first Monday morning back at work after the Christmas and New Year holiday season can be the most challenging for your employees.

Spirits and motivation can be artificially low, and headhunters will be on the prowl, offering a bright light to (seemingly) guide your staff out of its melancholy. An excessively slow return and reengagement after the holiday season can mean the loss of a week’s worth of productivity — or more — which is something that no small business can afford to lose.

And so, I thought I’d set out some post-festive period tips for employers to help combat the January return-to-work blues, which should enable your workers to get back up to speed quickly.

1. Plan Something Fun for the First Day or First Week

This doesn’t mean a formal, town-hall meeting: that’s not fun. Also, make sure staff members know about it in advance, which turns it into an incentive. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it should be light, novel, fun, and a chance to reengage — something for people to look forward to.

2. Help Staff Lose That Christmas Weight

One of the biggest motivators for many staff members after Christmas will be losing that excessive Christmas weight gained from eating too much chocolate and too many mince pies. Why not help with this by offering to subsidize gym membership for January and supplying free fruit and cereals for the month? These ideas might not suit every business, so come up with ideas of your own if necessary.

3. Some Kind of January Performance Incentive

January is clearly a tough period for refocusing and reengaging, so why not have some kind of incentive for the highest performers during the month of January? This could be as simple as a doubling/tripling of  the employee-of-the-month incentive or introducing a specific incentive for top performers in January. It should be proportionate to the level of performance drop-off you normally see in January. That way, the incentive may soon pay for itself.

4. Show That the Future Is Bright

You’ll need to get back to basics, and at some point within the first days or week you’ll want to get the team together to paint an inspiring vision for the year. This is the time to talk about new products, new strategies, new ideas, new perks, the annual events calendar, planned new hires, and new office openings. This is the time to engage and excite your team so it has an inspiring vision going forward.

5. Rehire Each Staff Member

It’s easy for staff members to become disconnected over a long break, which can make them susceptible to headhunters, new roles, and new horizons. That’s why I think it can be a great exercise to rehire your current staff during the first month, which could mean refreshing their roles, adding new, exciting responsibilities and learning goals, and giving employees a sense of ambition for the year. Reenergize and revitalize your team members by making them feel like they have started in a brand new role.

I’d love to hear tips and advice that you may have to reengage your team members following the Christmas break!

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