Posted on January 03, 2018 by Gordon Smith

Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys going back to work after Christmas. It’s a long stretch until payday, it’s cold, and, to top the lot, there is Blue Monday, which is “officially” the most depressing day of the year.

This is a time when employers need to focus on staff wellbeing and health. It’s the month of Veganuary and Dry January.

It can be a time when mental health issues can arise and some employees may feel particularly vulnerable. Exercise is a great motivator and it has been proven to help reduce the risk of depression. A corporate gym can really help boost morale and motivation during this month.

Let’s think about motivating employees after Christmas, because setting healthy patterns of working and living now can make it easier to maintain good health throughout the year.

New Year, new gym

If you’ve used the Christmas break as a chance to audit, service and update equipment – or maybe even reconfigure the gym space – then January is a great time to shout about it. For those employees that may not have used the gym in a while, a fresh-looking workout space could see them reigniting their exercise routine.

For businesses that have recently installed a new gym, then this is great, as it’s an ideal time to create a buzz around the workplace to increase employee engagement and get them feeling motivated to return to work.

January is also good time to get new or existing employees, who may not have used the gym before, involved in exercise, so why not make it a key time to do a sign-up drive and encourage people to join, or even start thinking about exercise? Another way to attract staff would be to have an introduction or refresher session to new or existing equipment or maybe have a launch party; do this over a lunch hour and offer food and drink, make it a social occasion, and continue the festive party vibe.

Sponsored events

Does your organisation like to raise money for charity? If so, then January is a good time to start announcing fundraising initiatives across the organisation. Whether it’s a walk, run or cycling event, getting people to sign-up during this month will give them a focus and purpose to the year.

A charity or sponsored event also means employees will need to create a training programme as early in the year as possible, which should help shift perceptions of January being a negative month.

Not only that, but these events will also involve regular meetings and group training sessions, so will be a great opportunity for team-building and socialising.

Clubs or league tables

For businesses where the office location isn’t ideal for outdoor activity, then why not start a host of exercise clubs that are centred around the gym? Good examples of this are running, rowing or cycling.

Clubs are great for employees who want to increase their fitness with other colleagues as they can workout together and focus on improving stamina, distance, terrain, or just general wellbeing.

For the more competitive employees, creating league tables is another way of getting people motivated and striving to improve their personal best.

Personal training and mindfulness

When it comes to the new year, new you philosophy, you could go all out and hire a personal trainer. What better way for employees to start the year than by having a session with a trainer who can create tailor-made training programmes?

Sometimes we can also get stuck in a rut with our routine and it can be hard to shift an established mindset or set way of working, especially in January. A personal trainer can really help shift perceptions, get staff away from their desk and engaged in exercise.

Additionally, if you’re looking to focus initiatives to reduce stress and increase employee wellbeing across the organisation, then it’s also worth using the gym space to focus on more calming initiatives, such as mindfulness or Yoga.

Investing in people

If you’re starting to think about installing a gym in your workplace, but are worried about expense, then it’s worth noting that it can be a very cost-effective option. With the right care and maintenance, a business will quickly be able to see the benefits across the workforce, not to mention a return on their investment.

Getting back into the daily work routine after Christmas can be difficult for everyone, and as an employer you want to see engaged and motivated employees raring to go in January. Getting some active initiatives in place can really help change established mindsets and get your staff in a positive frame of mind throughout January.