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Motivate Your Employees in the New Year: Focus on Wellbeing

The month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Representing doorways, rites of passage, and change, Janus was one of the most important figures in Roman mythology. For the Romans, the beginning of each life, each marriage, each day, each week, and each year belonged to Janus.

The Romans believed that what happened at the beginning was an omen for the whole period, so making a good start was of great importance. There’s still wide-spread superstition surrounding beginnings. The first goal of a football match, a team’s first game of the season, the first question in a quiz … it’s not unusual for people to believe that these beginnings are omens for what’s to come.

New beginnings

Human beings are driven by an urge to achieve self-fulfilment. Whether we’re inventing gods to guide and encourage us, or making new-year resolutions, we’re always striving to improve our lives and to be the best possible version of ourselves.

The beginning of a new year is a time when we welcome change, when we’re most optimistic about the potential for improvement. It’s a time for employers to inject new energy into the workplace.

It’s a time to motivate employees.


Self-fulfilment is built on wellbeing, and this is the starting point for motivation. Social, physical, and emotional health aren’t discrete attributes that exist independently of one another, but rather interdependent elements of wellbeing. Nurturing one area of wellbeing has a positive impact on the whole.

Social wellbeing

Social health is an important element of personal wellbeing. Each employee needs to know that they’re a valued member of the team – on a personal, as well as professional, level. Bullying, exclusion, and indifference within a group can undermine the confidence of individuals and unsettle the integrity of the team.

So, here a few ideas to help cement relationships in the workplace:

  1. Each month, celebrate all staff birthdays that fall in that month with cake at coffee
  2. How about a fun quiz on Friday Staff members could take it in turn to write the questions, and there could be small prizes. Why not stand the idea of prizes on its head with a forfeit for the winner! For example, the person who wins the quiz has to make everyone drinks on Monday morning, or bring biscuits to share.
  3. Taking breaks together is important for team Staggered lunch and tea breaks might seem more practical, but breaks are great opportunities for team building.

Social wellbeing has a huge impact on emotional wellbeing. In turn, emotional stability can lead to physical wellness – for example, through improved sleep or an inclination to exercise more.

Bearing in mind the holistic impact of social wellbeing, it’s important to look out for any sign of negative impact. Steps to enhance social dynamics in the office need to take into account the fact that some individuals may not respond as easily, leading to certain members of the team being left behind.

Physical wellbeing

Physical health is a fundamental element of wellbeing. Biologically, physical wellness equates to strength, resilience, and longevity. On a basic level, this is achieved through eating and drinking well, physical activity, and plenty of sleep.

Mood, cognition, comfort, and energy are all affected by physical health. Concentration, problem solving, healthy joints and muscles, and endurance can all be enhanced through diet, exercise, hydration, and sleep.

Here are some ways to help your employees stay in good health:

  1. Offer company-funded gym As well as the benefits of physical exercise, gym membership is a good way to develop social relationships within the company.
  2. Enrol staff in the government’s Cycle to Work Cycling is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, which can lower the risk of heart disease, improve cellular respiration, and increase serotonin levels.
  3. Install a mains-fed water dispenser in the Availability of hot and cold drinking water, on tap, enables employees to stay well hydrated.

Physical health has a direct and powerful effect on emotional wellness. Good circulation promotes healthy brain function, allowing an individual full cognitive capacity, leading to improved self- esteem, optimism, and drive. Physical health brings with it the ‘feel-good’ factor.

Good mental health has a positive effect on social health. Self-esteem enables us to engage confidently with those around us, and this can have a strong knock-on effect on others.

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing is grounded in a sense of self-worth – the knowledge that we’re a useful member of the team and that we’re appreciated. Homo sapiens is a social animal, hard-wired for co- operation and reciprocal support, and our craving to belong is a driving force in our mental health.

Here are a few suggestions for how you can nurture your team’s mental wellbeing:

  • Get everyone together for a motivational meeting at the beginning/end of each Share ideas; discuss possible changes; ask for employees’ opinions. Encourage employees to take ownership of decisions. Hand over more responsibility, giving individuals a sense of purposefulness and control.
  • Give plenty of positive feedback – to individuals, groups, and the whole
  • Talk about new Set new company goals and share them with your staff. Have a one-to-one chat with each member of the team and set personal goals.

Being a valued member of the team boosts confidence and chips away at inhibition, allowing individuals to trust themselves and others. There’s nothing quite like trust for lubricating the channels of communication. Emotional and social health are so closely connected because our self- worth is anchored by our perception of our own worth within a group.

Emotional and social health have a psychosomatic effect. A desire to be active, an ability to sleep, and a resistance to pain and infection can all be strengthened by emotional fulfilment.

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