Monday, January 18, 2021 marked the 17th “Blue Monday”, considered the most depressing day of the year. This day, initially invented by the British tour operator Sky Travel in 2005, was intended to encourage individuals to book vacations through an advertising campaign.
This idea was based in particular on the observation that this third Monday of the year brings together several negative elements that can impact morale. The start of the week, the monthly salary that has not yet been paid and the effect still felt of the holiday season expenses, the gloomy weather and the abandonment of good resolutions, are all criteria that invite you to escape and think about your next vacation. If this day generally makes people smile, in 2021 it is part of a darker reality with a pandemic that lasts and struggles to go away, and prospects of escape compromised.
The impact on the morale and mental health of individuals is therefore a reality. A study OpinionWay for the firm Empreinte Humaine conducted in December 2020 indicates that half of French employees are in a situation of psychological distress due to the health crisis. An evil that should not be ignored by business leaders.
The human factor: the key to well-being
Employee well-being is based on a people-centered approach, which aims to help individuals find the right balance between the aspects of their lives that are important to them. Not only is this approach desirable from an organizational point of view, it also has a real impact on the success of a business. With such high stakes, it goes without saying: human resources teams must ensure that they do everything possible to contribute to the well-being of their employees.
Most companies approach remote management and the possibility for employees to work from home, only from a technical point of view. In this context, well-being takes on even greater importance, especially given the alarming statistics published daily on the influence of telework on mental health. This is all the more critical now that it is set up by default for any company able to apply this format with its employees. However, these measures are based on the economic situation and the crisis, and not on people. Thus, it does not matter whether employees live in shared accommodation, whether they have to deal with home schooling or whether they live alone, the impact of this organization on individual well-being can exert pressure and generate different constraints.
Finding ways to help employees continue to learn, connect and bond on a personal level is therefore more than necessary. For example, instead of an annual in-person and off-site meeting, a company can host an online summit dedicated to collaboration, learning, external stakeholders, and fun experiences for all employees. Investing in executive coaching and training programs would in particular help managers support their own teams in the current context.
Identify what relates to well-being in the company
To understand the different elements that relate to well-being, it is necessary to take into account this concept as a whole; it also includes mental and emotional, physical, financial and family / social needs. There are a number of initiatives that leadership teams can and should take to ensure employees feel heard and cared for.. For example, the CEO may broadcast weekly communications to employees; these initiatives are generally welcomed by the latter who, in these uncertain times need information, and communication from their management – it is essential to ensure that employees receive all the information and resources available in connection with the pandemic. To go further, organizing informal exchanges between management teams and company leaders makes it possible to address the feelings of employees and find solutions and measures to better help them.
Since homes have become places of professional practice, the notion of quality of life at work has evolved towards overall well-being. Indeed, the balance between professional and private life has had its day and companies must now consider it from the angle of the integration of the two spheres. As everyone experiences this situation through the prism of their own realities, it is difficult to define which is the most important issue, although mental health is a major concern today. The right approach at this stage is to establish close contact with employees and understand their situation as well as how to meet their individual needs. It is essential that every problem is approached from all points of view. To do this, the perception of employees is key to navigate these waves of uncertainty and ensure both productivity, employee engagement, and the sustainability of the company.