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HR leaders must be aware of Blue Monday, the third week of January. Cliff Arnall, a renowned Psychologist and life coach, coined this term in 2004, 20 years ago. So, as today is the third week of January, we will be exploring the Blue Monday guide for HRs to tackle the woes of Blue Monday and bring back the employee engagement levels at par.

If you’re one of the HR leaders and talent managers struggling with the same issue in January, read the post ahead. You will find many insights along with tips to use our smart HR tech to tackle this issue the entire month. 

Also read: Bare Minimum Mondays 

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The MetLife Research Brief

Blue Monday is the most depressive day of the year for many reasons, according to MetLife research. The stats are as follows to support the statement:

  • 22% of the surveyed employees felt depressed and disengaged at their workplaces in January. 
  • 12% of the same surveyed employees felt depressed and disengaged in December, the next contender to January for Blue Monday-like days. 

The reasons for their disconnection on Blue Monday were mostly (as per the research):

  • 15% felt it was due to the beginning of the year. 
  • 14% felt it was due to the cold and chilled weather conditions. 
  • 11% felt it was because the work was slower in January for them. 
  • 10% felt the Blue Monday woes as they were coming back from long-term holidays.
  • 9% felt disengaged because they had less money. 

According to the same research, employees expect certain kinds of support strategies from their employers. These are:

  • 29% of the surveyed individuals or employees wanted a raise. 
  • 23% of the surveyed employees wanted paid time off. 
  • 20% of these surveyed respondents wanted increased mental health support at workplaces. 
  • 10% of the respondents wanted wellbeing classes at workplaces. 
  • 8% of the same surveyed respondents wanted counselling. 

What can HRs do to tackle the Blue Monday Woes when using EI-driven tech?

According to multiple HR specialists online, it’s normal to feel disengaged at work in a year. However, the month of January can be more disturbing, depressing, or disengaging for employees. Many of them might be going through difficult times in their careers or personal lives during the beginning of the year. 

One of the reasons is obviously the cold weather; everyone goes off on holiday, and there is limited connection with people, especially for those who live alone. So, feeling depressed or disengaged while returning to the normalcy of work at a certain point is common and obvious.

However, HR professionals today can be more sympathetic and empathetic toward their workforce. To enable and empower them with that mindset and vision, it’s time to harness the power of an EI-enabled HRMS software like ours. 

Read below to learn these strategies to tackle Blue Monday like a pro. 

  1. Capture your employees' sentiments with the Happiness Meter

Do not leave your employees in the rift or in confusion. Let them know you’re there for them. Give them the benefit of the doubt to feel lonely, bored, fatigued, overworked, or underutilised when they return from the holiday season. 

So, offer them the Happiness Meter at every log-in and log-out. 

Employees can capture their mood score themselves. Let them stay true and honest about their feelings for the day. HRs and reporting managers must pay attention to this mood-o-meter. This data is visible to the managers in their team’s attendance or analytics. 

They make coaching and wellness decisions on time when they know their staff is feeling out of place, feeling fear of missing out, tired, fatigued, sad, or something else. 

In short, with the Happiness Meter, you let them express themselves. As employees are humans at work. They need an outlet to vent and express their concerns regarding their drooping mental health or well-being. 

A meter like this is an intelligent way to capture their daily mood without being intrusive. A manager does not necessarily have to go and ask them if they are feeling Blue Monday woes after returning to work. 

They can gauge the same idea when they check the daily mood chart and trends of their team members in a zap. 

  1. Become a scrum master with an agenda

Bring back the engagement at work when you are a scrum master with an agenda. Allow your team members, for instance, to share their concerns and agenda for the next quarter. 

Ask them what type of goals they want to achieve this year, how they think they can, and what challenges they think they might face in the coming year. 

Open such difficult conversations with your team members on the scrum calls, which you can initiate by creating calendar invites for yourself on the intranet we provide. Team leaders might also invite others to the calendar to get the notification of the daily scrum call. 

This initiative helps everyone stay grounded with daily work. They can get the ground rules for their own goals by stating openly how much they want to grow this quarter. 

The reporting managers or team leaders can simply monitor or observe the call while others engage with one another to set a strategy or plan of action in place. 

This fuels their adrenaline rush and can help the average employee get away with the Blue Monday woes. 

  1. Celebrate wins on the intranet

Make your staff feel that they are contributing to the overall success of the firm. Celebrate their wins like birthdays, work anniversaries, or even promotions/hikes in salaries. 

Praise them in the open on the intranet for other departments to observe. This activity surges energy in the employees to take the lead of their workdays faster to complete projects on time and get the appraisal they deserve on time. 

In fact, when team leaders praise team members even for a smaller achievement on the intranet, they feel charged up to bag even more results with consistency. When the mind starts to think like that, depressive thoughts are far left behind. 

Instead, employees start to engage with one another, often online on the intranet, to complete the project and get over the loopholes. 

  1. Help your teams to upskill with tougher and more challenging projects

Tackle the slowest month of the year, January, with toughness in the project pipeline. Push forward your talent’s calibre and potential when you offer them more challenging projects to spearhead and unlock. Let your teams surprise themselves with ad hoc projects. 

Let them know if they can execute and manage new projects in January from one end to another. This diverts their mind from stagnancy. Instead, they feel livelier and want to start contributing more as soon as possible to win more incentives at work. 

Plus, new and tougher projects mean employees get to upgrade their current skill set with on-the-job training. They might discover a whole new side of themselves that they never thought of before because of a new project in the pipeline.

Now, this project might be a micro one but with a bigger impact, more visibility, and greater incentives. The employee must choose the project if they can expand their horizon of knowledge and expertise without hampering the current KRAs or KPIs. 

  1. Lead your teams to get out of this phase

Be a smart leader. Know how and when to shift the focus of your team members back on track or at work. It takes time, no doubt. But when there are targets, outcomes, and escalations to handle, the vibe of the team changes and readjusts itself. 

Sometimes, the leader has to take the baton and supercharge the energy to increase the output. They do so by introducing AI-enabled tools like AI Suggest and CV Parser. 

I mean, these two are the best tools for new-age recruiters these days. Be it January or any other month, when you combine these two tools and add to your hiring and shortlisting process, the operational efficiency doubles up without extra effort. 

Who wouldn’t want that now?

So, a leader can introduce such brainstorming and mind-bending strategies to execute in January to get over Blue Monday and get to work with seamless engagement and collaboration. 

  1. Be sensitive to the issues and concerns

Feedback, suggestions, or criticism, each one of those communication styles and approaches has an effect on the sender and receiver. I mean, recently, I discovered that there are different ways and mediums of giving feedback to an employee. 

An employee might like receiving feedback verbally and in front of the entire team. At the same time, the other person considers it gloating or blunt. So, they want to have a little chat with the immediate supervisor or the boss in private. 

This happens because every individual is different, even in the third week of January. So, leaders and managers have to be super cautious when they are delivering good, great, bad, or worst news to their team members. 

They can initiate an open channel of communication on the intranet. It helps people to interact with one another on difficult and different topics. These approaches keep the initial need to vent out or know about the inner happenings of the organisation at bay. 

In fact, people can bond over difficult conversations when there is a channel to communicate and share anonymous feedback and suggestions, knowing very well that the management will act upon it if deemed fit and necessary. 

Our intranet provides that with group chats and discussion forums to ensure that the open flow of communication never stops. 

  1. Let your staff plan their holidays with a calendar

Your people at work need time off, or they need to plan for it. So, enable the holiday calendar for them when the new year insinuates. The staff can then plan their month or year's holidays in advance. 

This helps them to keep their moody behaviour at bay. They feel more at ease when they know that they have not exhausted their holidays or paid days off. 

They can check their leave and attendance records and balances at any time while using uKnowva’s instance installed or implemented in their organisation. 


The blog talks about the MetLife research brief on Blue Monday survey results. Then, we delved deeper into the smart HR tech-enabled strategies to keep your workers motivated, engaged, and focused at all times. 

This Blue Monday guide only highlights 7 points at the moment. There could be many more as you begin implementing uKnowva at your firm to redefine employee engagement levels in the darkest and the most depressive times of the year. 

Contact us now.

FAQs on Blue Monday Guide for HR Professionals

Q: Can HR use Blue Monday as an opportunity to address broader mental health issues?

A: Absolutely. HR can use this day to kickstart ongoing initiatives, emphasising the importance of mental health throughout the year. It's a chance to reinforce a supportive workplace culture.

Q: What resources can HR provide for employees struggling with their mental health?

A: HR can share information on counselling services, employee assistance programs, and self-help resources. Creating an atmosphere where seeking help is encouraged is crucial.

Q: Should HR organise specific events on Blue Monday?

A: Events should be optional and sensitive to individual preferences. Some employees may find comfort in group activities, while others may prefer more private ways of dealing with stress.

Q: How can HR gauge the impact of Blue Monday on employee morale?

A: Surveys, feedback sessions, or one-on-one check-ins can help HR assess the emotional well-being of the workforce. This information guides future well-being strategies.

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