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Blog - How to combat the “back to work blues”!

How to combat the “back to work blues”!

Posted by Tracy Powley 01/09/15



As the holiday season comes to an end, school years start again and evenings start to draw in, many employees will be struggling to kick start their motivation at work.

And many managers will be wondering what they should do to keep morale high.

The ILM’s report Beyond the Bonus shows people’s enjoyment of their role is the single most effective motivator, with other emotional factors such as getting on with their colleagues (42%), how well they are treated by their managers (22%) and how much control they have over their work (22%) also rated highly. 

The research confirms that it is the “intrinsic” factors that really make the difference to how happy and motivated someone is at work – in other words how valued they feel, whether they are recognised for the effort they put in, whether their contribution is noticed, whether they are trusted and whether they have opportunity to take on more responsibility or more challenging tasks. Money can be a good short term motivator, but is no substitute for these other factors.

The good news then, is that line managers can make a real difference to how happy and motivated someone is. They have direct control over how much they recognise effort and praise results. They have direct control over how valued they make their team member feel and it is down to them to decide what to delegate and whether to develop someone’s skills by trusting them to take on something new.

So, at this time of year when the “back to work blues” are at their peak, managers should be asking themselves these key questions to help lift morale…


  • How clear are my people about the goals for the company/ team this year?
  • Am I role modelling motivation and commitment to the organisation myself?
  • How clear are my team members about what is expected of them?
  • Do I ensure decisions are clearly communicated with the reasons behind them?
  • Do I show appreciation and offer regular feedback?
  • Do I give time to my people; get to know them as individuals?
  • Do I ensure my team feel listened to?
  • Do I encourage ideas, opinions and involvement from my team?


These are the things that will make the biggest difference to how motivated your people are. Try setting one action to improve each of these areas and see the difference!

Our management development programmes will help equip managers at all levels to motivate, support and develop their teams throughout the year!

Tracy Powley
Tracy Powley

The way we behave towards each other in the workplace has a direct impact on individual wellbeing, team performance and organisational results. This belief has underpinned our work at Focal Point for over 20 years and has never been more relevant. We are privileged to work with a huge variety of organisations wanting to get workplace behaviour and culture right - and to tackle the inappropriate behaviour that may get in the way of this. Supported by our fantastic team of facilitators and coaches, we are able to make a real difference to peoples’ lives as well as organisational performance. Having worked in both large businesses at management level and in 2 start ups at director level, I am able to combine hands on experience of growing and managing teams - and the associated challenges in creating the right culture - with over 20 years in learning and development. I hold the Certificate in Training Practice and am a member of CIPD. When I am not supporting clients or developing the Focal Point business, you will find me in a calming yoga class...

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