The first couple of months of the calendar year are generally a challenge for businesses and their employees. NHS data suggests the ‘Winter Blues’ impact around two million people in the UK1 and, whilst signs of spring are beginning to appear, we’re still in the middle of winter and the darker, colder days often result in the lowest productivity levels of the year2.  So how can organisations motivate employees and get the year off to a positive start? Here are some tips:

Review development plans together

One way to create a renewed focus for the year ahead, is to ask managers to sit down with their team and review their development plans. Is their career moving in the right direction and at the pace they’d like? Are there opportunities to gain new experience within the business, that you could open up for them? Creating these types of conversations will address any feelings of stagnation and help employees feel that you want to help them explore and achieve their full potential.

Offer training or mentoring

Linked to development, is there training that your employees feel would benefit them, helping them achieve goals or solve challenges in their roles?  These may be skills-related or focused on areas such as people management, leadership skills or resilience. If budgets are tight, look for opportunities for employees to be mentored by people inside or outside the business, who have strengths in the areas they want to focus on. Or could junior team members reverse mentor3 senior leaders to offer a fresh perspective and provide personal growth opportunities at all levels of the business?

Provide flexibility

Many organisations are more open to flexible working than ever before, with the benefits widely understood4. If it’s possible within your business, the winter months are an excellent time to offer employees flexible working patterns: for example, allowing working from home, later start and/or finish times, or simply encouraging employees to take a lunch break so they can get outside for a walk during daylight hours. By allowing employees to choose the working hours and location that work with, rather than against, their energy levels, employers can help them overcome seasonal-related low mood.5

Help employees take care of their health and wellbeing

Self-care is more important than ever and employers can help their employees to proactively look after their physical and mental health and wellbeing, by offering a health care cash plan as part of benefits packages.

These plans provide an inexpensive, accessible way for businesses to offer health and wellbeing support to every employee from just a few pounds per employee, per month. Sovereign’s options are the comprehensive Asset or budget-friendly Merit cash plans. Health care cash plans are quick and easy to set up, and they pay employees cash back towards their everyday health costs such as dental treatment, eye tests, glasses/contact lenses and physiotherapy, as well as services such as sports massage, acupuncture and reflexology.

Plans often include 24/7 access to a GP and confidential employee assistance and counselling services, enabling employees to deal proactively with a wide range of issues which in turn can have  a positive impact on your business.

For more information about the options available for your business, email or visit






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