How to motivate your staff in January

With research showing that January is one of the most depressing times of the year - especially in the Northern Hemisphere - it's very possible you'll be confronted by a team of staff feeling miserable that the holidays are over, so getting stuck in with motivation and excitement for the year ahead is key to bringing the best out of your team in January.

Here are a few ways you can help motivate your staff in the new year.

Encourage individual goal setting

Most people see the New Year as a fresh start and you should encourage your staff to think about what they can achieve next year. Let them use work time to set both their work and personal goals, and if they're comfortable with this, try and encourage them to discuss their hopes and ambitions with you. Try sharing your goals with your staff too. This will help them take the process more seriously, and they will appreciate using work time for their personal goals too. Some goals might even overlap. You should also offer up whatever help you can to try and support your staff in achieving their goals, and where possible, schedule meetings in the future to discuss progress.

Plan your annual goals together

Organise a fun day of organisational or team goal setting together. An external facilitator could help to manage the process and make sure everyone gets an even say. Add a free lunch or and early finish to the day to make it something everyone looks forward to each year.

Switch it up

One of the reasons January can feel hard is that everything goes back to "normal", after a few weeks of a different, more upbeat and festive routine at the end of the year. So why not make some changes so that your staff don't just go back to the same old routine? Change shift times, or the dress code, or maybe re-organise the office furniture so things at least look different. Small changes can help bring about small positive boosts of energy and morale.

A January party

Organising staff parties in December can be expensive because that's what everyone is doing, so you could put off the party to the New Year, promising staff it will be even better as budgets can go a lot further in the January slump.

Visual goals in the office

Creating your goals as a team can help everyone see they are all in it together. If you can visualise these goals in the office too, whether it is a ‘totalizer’ on the wall for number of new customers gained or there are prizes or bonuses when certain goals are reached. Visualizing the goals can help keep the motivation going for the rest of the year and perhaps add some healthy competition in the workplace.

Support workplace wellbeing

Organise some New Year treats in the workplace and use January as an opportunity to kick-start some of these affordable employee wellness initiatives. This could include organising a masseur to come in once a week during January or offering additional training opportunities for staff or a team health kick. You can often get a discount for local gyms if you purchase memberships together, especially at the beginning of the year.

In the new year, keep an eye on your staff and see what little things you can do to offer support, it can be a challenging time of year so bringing fun and positivity into the workplace can go a long way.

About the author

Jen Lowthrop is Findmyshift's own all-star writer and a blogger. With more than a decade of experience in volunteer management and marketing, Jen also ran her own local deli/cafe. When not writing for Findmyshift, Jen blogs about her travels at She Gets Around and can be found talking about travel, branding and business on Facebook and Twitter.