Why January is the best time to launch an employee wellbeing programme

A quick summary:

The beginning of a new year is a huge celebration, and one filled with change, opportunity and growth - however, the dreaded January Blues can take its toll on our mental health and performance at work.

With the festive period now over and January Blues in full-swing, different stress factors start to emerge in our daily lives. Often, these are in the form of increased debt in the aftermath of Christmas, irregular sleeping patterns and other reflections from the past year which hinder our mood and happiness. 

These consequently have an impact on our mental health and wellbeing; and if one thing’s for certain, if we aren’t able to manifest a positive outlook for the year ahead, we also can’t function at our best in the workplace!

So at this time of year, it is essential we are considerate of others, and support those closest to us in what can be a challenging month. And while this is sound advice for our family and friends, how do we make a positive impact in the workplace and empower colleagues and employees to fulfill their potential in the midst of January Blues?


The fundamentals of an employee wellbeing programme

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt at Heka, it’s that any company, at any scale and within any type of business can improve tenfold by implementing an employee wellbeing programme. Why? Because no matter how, where or why people work, we’re all human and wellbeing plays a vital role in our ability to succeed and perform at our best.

So what exactly is an employee wellbeing programme? Simply put, it’s the investment of time and resources by an employer to support employee mental and physical health. 

To create a solid employee wellbeing programme, employers must consider the following: 

  • Identify what you want to achieve through the programme, the outcomes you envision and how they can make a positive impact on the business.

  • Understand exactly what employees desire and how those suggestions can contribute to better employee wellbeing.

  • Create a strategy to implement the wellbeing programme and measure the results to help with future adjustments. 

It has to be a long-term commitment by senior leaders who can demonstrate the organisational culture has been built around the best interests of their workforce. By doing so, this can contribute to solving company-wide challenges such as staff performance, retention, and even the financial standing of the business. 

According to independent research by Glassdoor in 2018, employee satisfaction does improve the financial performance of companies in the UK. The research identified that having a one-star higher rating on Glassdoor was equal to almost one percent higher returns on company assets. For public companies, they experienced extra stock portfolio returns of 16 percent per annum. This research demonstrates that well reviewed companies on Glassdoor do perform better financially overall. 

In addition to this and outside of the wellbeing programme, many business leaders fail to follow the simple rule of promoting a better work-life balance to their teams. This simple act reinforces any wellbeing programme and the new attitude to wellbeing that the company is trying to encourage. 

It’s not enough to create a wellbeing programme that doesn’t communicate with the core values, attitudes and culture of the business. Employees need to feel trusted to do their work and feel like their concerns are heard and acted on in an open and supportive environment. Without this, an employee wellbeing programme can come across as forced and will ultimately fail.

woman sitting in front of the sea


Why choose January for your employee wellbeing programme?

We’ve now covered the different challenges we face during the beginning of each year and the basics of a strong employee wellbeing programme. So, what makes January the perfect time to start?

Prevent early signs of low team performance and productivity

Believe it or not, January is no stranger to employee turnover, presenteeism or complete absence. The qualities that make for a star-spangled team begin to take a nosedive in the early months of the year, and this is just one reason why senior leaders must take action in the form of an employee wellbeing programme. 

According to the HSE, in 2020/21 stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases.

By taking a stance on employee wellbeing as early as possible into the year, senior leaders can counteract low team morale, productivity and performance before it truly takes its toll on employees. 

It’s about starting off strong as a team and for business leaders, acknowledging and acting on the struggles many employees face in January with openness and empathy. 

Building a foundation for employee wellbeing for the next twelve months and beyond

Everything good takes time! As business leaders have experienced throughout their career, things take time; and that’s no exception for building a healthier and happier team.

One of the reasons for launching an employee wellbeing programme in January, is simply to prepare for the next twelve months and beyond. There will be mistakes and learnings along the way, but it's all in search of a great employee wellbeing programme. 

Setting the foundations early on in January, senior leaders have the chance to refine and master throughout the year and really hone in on how to build a better team.

An employee wellbeing programme isn’t the fast-fix for an unmotivated and unproductive team, fresh off the back of the festive break. It takes time to understand what changes will make the biggest positive impacts to each and every employee.

There may not be immediate results of launching an employee wellbeing programme, because positive change takes time. Yet, building the foundation to an employee wellbeing programme early into the year means companies can reap the rewards of healthier and happier teams in the near-future. 

Rebuilding brand reputation, company mission and organisational culture for future success

Attracting high-quality talent isn’t easy! Many businesses simply struggle to identify what potential employees look for in addition to a good salary. The answer? A strong brand reputation, a mission statement that excites employees and an organisational culture that encourages openness, motivates and supports people. 

This is exactly what employees need from an employer to flourish and perform at their best. In fact, Glassdoor once released a survey asking a 1,000 employees in the UK and a further 4,000 in US, France and Germany questions regarding mission and culture in the workplace. 

The survey found a staggering 57% say workplace culture is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction. With employee wellbeing one of the biggest contributors to a positive workplace culture, this statistic makes it hard to ignore just how important culture in the workplace is.

But what does this have to do with an employee wellbeing programme? Wellbeing benefits like this build trust and respect for senior leaders, among existing employees and for future talent looking to join the team.

An employee wellbeing programme is the ultimate display of commitment to helping employees with their mental and physical health. An act that speaks volume and will help realign brand reputation and prove just how serious senior leaders are in their quest to build a successful business.

There’s no time like the present when it comes to positive business evolution. These kinds of changes do not just build a happier team, because a healthier team builds a better business! 

That is why January is the perfect time to focus on rebuilding brand image, revamping company mission statements and proving to employees that their wellbeing is essential if the team is to succeed for 2022 and beyond. 

team meeting in the office


The benefits of introducing an employee wellbeing programme in 2022

So, it’s clear why January is the prime time of the year to kickstart an employee wellbeing programme, but what are just some of the benefits senior leaders can expect to see moving forward throughout the year?

Minimising presenteeism


Presenteeism happens when employees continue to turn up to work despite bad mental and physical health. By implementing a wellbeing programme, presenteeism can be minimised as employees will have easier access to mental and physical health benefits. Additionally, teams do perform better when they are encouraged to take time away from work and look after themselves mentally and physically. According to research by Opodo.co.uk in 2017, 43% of respondents from the UK would take a sabbatical to help improve their mental health; with 32% responding that they would take a sabbatical to improve their physical health.

Improved job satisfaction


As simple as it sounds, providing more meaningful workplace benefits that focus on mental and physical health will ultimately improve job satisfaction. It is no secret that employees want to be happier and healthier with better work-life balances; a wellbeing programme incorporates all these desires under one umbrella. 

Reduced costs from employee absence

Every year, the UK loses millions (32.5M in 2019/20 according to HSE) in lost working days through employee absence, largely due to work related ill-health. Happier employees in a healthier work environment means less absences throughout the year and reduced costs on things like temporary staff.

Better employee retention


In addition to less employee absences, business leaders can expect better employee retention levels. According to extensive research by iOpener Institute, happier employees tend to stay two times as long in their organisation than unhappy employees. So, offering an employee wellbeing programme puts companies a cut above their competition.

Enhanced workplace efficiency and performance


As mentioned throughout the above, a happier workforce will essentially boost performance and productivity. When employees feel valued, and understand their wellbeing is being taken seriously, they can focus on their work with utmost efficiency and performance. This is because they are no longer suffering alone and their mental and physical wellbeing is being taken care of properly. 

In fact, thecircularboard.com reported in June 2021, that 55% of workers agreed that they are more engaged when their work is recognised.

A woman in a yoga stance


Choosing Heka for your employee wellbeing programme

As you now know, there’s no time like the present to launch an employee wellbeing programme for your team! 

While we’ve made every effort to provide the basics to starting a workplace wellbeing programme, there are many more considerations that could easily be overlooked and hours of planning required to really create something employees want and love.

However, fear not, as we have the answer to your problems; in fact, it’s our mission to make employee wellbeing easy and accessible for companies of all shapes and sizes. 

Our platform provides access to a wide range of industry leading wellbeing partners across the UK. Current users are using Heka to empower their teams by focusing on their personal health and wellbeing!

With a range of wellbeing experiences including virtual training programmes, fitness classes, life coaching and much more, the Heka platform has something for everyone and our partners list continues to grow. 

Book a demo with one of our team to find out how the power of employee wellbeing through Heka can really transform your team morale, productivity and performance for 2022.