The dreaded Blue Monday is upon us. Supposedly the most depressing day of the year for workers, Blue Monday typically falls on the third Monday of January. A combination of bleak weather, debt, low motivation, the end of the holiday period and the failure of new year’s resolutions cause this particular Monday to be the most miserable day of the year.
Whether or not you agree that there can be a universally depressing day, Blue Monday does draw attention to employee welfare. A stressed, unhappy and demotivated team is – needless to say – bad news for any business. But how can companies improve employee happiness at a time when a little extra help is likely to be needed?
Smarter tech could well provide that extra helping hand. Here are some of the ways that technology can help alleviate employee woes and transform Blue Monday from miserable to manageable.
With the new year comes new technology. So, Blue Monday could be just the time to update the devices used daily by your team. Not only does equipment failure waste company time, but those slow, old systems are incredibly frustrating for the employees trying to use them.
This frustration can damage employee relationships due to high stress levels – we’ve all been short with colleagues when we’re feeling vexed. And that’s not to mention the productivity impact: battling against bad hardware will reduce motivation as well as output.
It’s not just old technology that’s hurting the focus of your team. While updating your devices can help with slow and crashing systems; issues such as poor organisation, missing data and colleague interruptions can also cause workplace disturbances. Fortunately, these employee woes can all be helped by tech as well.
Constant interruptions often prevent employees from settling into their work, keeping them on edge as they strive to complete tasks. In fact, 71% of people report that frequent interruptions distract them from their workload. These interruptions often take a work-related form, such as an inability to find information, struggling colleagues and too many customer queries coming at once.
Business process automation can alleviate many of these employee woes. A touch of automation in the office can help with the repetitive manual tasks your employees hate, such as fielding emails, extracting data and manual data entry into a CRM.
Taking the weight off the administrative workload helps employees focus on their core job duties, without getting lost in dull, mindless tasks. It can’t make it Christmas again, but business process automation can certainly help your employees feel in control of their workload – which contributes to increased happiness levels.
Promote a friendly atmosphere
When the January blues hit your office, employee relationships can take a hit. This Blue Monday, technology that promotes workplace chat could banish the bleak atmosphere of your workplace and create easy to use solutions.
Installing workplace chat technology isn’t only great for collaboration. It also means that employees feel encouraged to forge and maintain friendships with their colleagues. This creates a productive and friendly atmosphere, that both inspires teamwork and empowers it.
With service desk tech like live chat software, employees are also able to get quick help from a colleague when dealing with tricky customers. This ease of support can create camaraderie amongst workers, lightening the workplace atmosphere. Plus, nifty features like pre-chat surveys mean that employees won’t be stuck out of their depth with customer queries, as chats from customers will automatically be handed to the relevant person or team.
Online project management tools such as Trello are another big help when it comes to employee relationships. Such applications encourage team members to share ideas, as well boosting organisation and communication. Making it easier for teams to see where the work they are doing is benefiting others give a sense value to individual’s innovation and ideas.
Improve motivation and add value
Lack of motivation won’t have appeared just because it is Blue Monday. It will have built up over the month, as employees returning to work question the value of the tasks they are set. When employees find it harder to be productive and see value in their work, it can lead to low mood and employee burnout.
Recognising the need to care for your employee’s happiness is a step in the right direction to higher productivity. By using tech to better support your employees, you’ll see an increase in engagement, innovation, and employee retention.
Blue Monday needn’t be a day to simply ‘get through’. Take an active approach, and make it a day to evaluate what you can do to improve your employee’s happiness. This Blue Monday, why not start using technology to help employees beat those January blues?
The SmallBizRising Blog is designed to be an educational content hub pulling information, best practices and practical advice for the small business owner and features topics including accounting, marketing, technology and more. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with new content as it is posted. The blog was created by The Neat Company and receives contributed content from a group of contributing companies that provide technology, services and solutions to small businesses.