Blue Monday isn’t just a song by New Order. The early weeks of the new year are famously a struggle for many people, and there’s one particular date when mid-winter gloom is reputed to hit the UK workforce hardest.
The third Monday in January (falling on the 15th in 2018) is the day in question There’s even a playful equation, invented by psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall, to explain exactly why it’s the worst day of the worst month for low spirits in the workplace.
Apparently Blue Monday is when a number of factors combine to create the perfect storm of January misery:
- Bad weather and dark mornings
- Post-Christmas money worries
- Time since the end of the festivities
- Failure to stick to new year resolutions
- Shortage of things to look forward to
Even though the Blue Monday equation is fake science, it is a timely reminder of a very real problem.
According to Mercer, the global employment consultants, January is the worst month of the year for employee absence – accounting for a third of all sick days. And Mondays are the worst day of the week for sickness absence all year round.
Stress has become the biggest cause of employee sickness absence in the UK, so mental wellbeing has to be high on every health and safety professional’s list of priorities – and not just in January. Proactive action to tackle stress and mental wellbeing problems in the workplace can pay dividends by reducing absenteeism and increasing productivity.
All the more reason for employers and health and safety professionals to keep their knowledge up to speed. Phoenix offers a wide range of health and safety training solutions all levels, plus risk assessment and consultancy.