How HR should tackle post-vacation blues

How HR should tackle post-vacation blues

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Do you know what the “post-vacation blues” is? Or, even better, have you ever experienced it?

It is that kind of depression, feeling of sadness that employees feel after the holidays. Is it a legend? Is it a myth? Or does it really exist? We do not know this, but we do know that an happy workplace makes the difference for a business (and for the employess as well), and Human Resources have to do what is in their power in order to achieve this.

How can Human Resources avoid the post-vacation blues?

Human Resources have a hard task: make the working environment pleasant for everybody. Making a place where you spend eight(ish) hours per day enjoyable is a priority. Your employees should not be forced to come to the office, or feel obliged in doing their job. They should be happy about coming to work, and excited to accomplish their goals. But how can HR incentivize this feeling? How can they create the proper environment in order to avoid the post-vacation blues?

  • The real secret is to start from the beginning: HR should be focusing on hiring people who are going to make your workplace happier and more positive. When you are hiring a candidate, it is natural to focus on studies, experiences and past achievements. But personality should not be ignored, and a positive person would definitely be a catch. Look for the intangibles. Be very aware of how you feel around that person, how do they make the other people feel. Do they laugh? Do they smile?
  • Ever heard of the Hawthorne effect? It’s the increase in productivity in the workplace when people feel that they are cared about. When you ask a person how they are, they feel instantly that you care abou them. Take a little time to find out how things are going in their lives. It does not take hours, but just few moments to say “how are you?”.
  • When you are in the Human Resources department, your co-workers look to you to set the tone for the office environment. A positive attitude is key to an enjoyable, more comfortable workplace. Happy workers are more productive, and that’s a fact. Companies like Zappos have created an entire culture based on “being fun and being a little weird.” Creating a joyful working place means changing the way business is conducted: so smile at people, be genuinely happy around your co-workers.


  • HR department should organize some fun activities, celebrate happy moments and achievements: being at work should also include fun time. Being realistic, fun cannot be there all the time. But it can appear in the smallest things, like a personalization of the workplace, of your desk, organizing and happy hour on Fridays, playing games, using caricatures of staff members instead of real photos, posting a positive quote or picture by the coffee machine.
  • HR has the job of improving the company welfare. It needs to be a company where people like to be, and not have to be. The company has to provide some benefits to ensure the employees welfare. On one side, it can be expensive and negatively affect your bottom line, on the other side looking after your employees will benefit you in other ways. By providing a plan that’s good for employees’ welfare, you show them how much you value them. This can help make them feel welcome and happy in your company, motivating them to work harder.
  • Try to understand if your employees are really happy in their workplace. Take a poll. Find out what people really think, and get their opinions on how best to accomplish those goals.


Apart from the duties that come with a job, perhaps the most important thing that influences employee happiness is their working environment.
You can have a happy workplace if you take the time to make it a happy workplace. Hire happy people. Don’t focus too much on the negative sides, make sure to take part in the little things that make a difference in people’s lives. It won’t be a major change at the beginning, but if you focus just on getting the work done, your workplace won’t be happy, and post-vacation blues will be a year-round blues. But, if HR works together with the employees, and make the working environment happy, well, this is the key to be on a rollercoaster that only goes up.


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