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5 ways to help your employees beat the winter blues

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Once the holiday season is over, you may notice a drop in company cheer that was felt just a few weeks earlier.  We start to feel the burden of several more, long, sometimes unbearable, months of winter looming ahead.  Personally, you struggle to keep up your own spirits.

How can you lift your staff’s spirits when you’ve got the winter blues yourself?  Here are a few ideas to help create some energy in your office/workplace, and to drive away some of the winter humdrums that are trying to settle in:

Sunlight!  Lack of this precious commodity during the winter is a major factor leading to the winter blues.  Most jobs have standard business hours which means your employees leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark. Try to make daylight more accessible to them.  Encourage group lunches where employees can get outside and bond on nice days or arrange more official luncheons out.  If the whole department can’t go together, mix it up from week to week.

When weather permits, hold your morning “touch base” meetings outside.  Tell everyone to bundle up as you head outside to breathe in some fresh air before the workday begins.  Or have a mid-day stretch outside by taking 15 minutes to walk around the building and talk about what’s going on that day.  And on those few-and-far-between sunny days, get them outside to feel the sun on their faces, if even for 5 minutes.

Vacations!  Pass around the company calendar and ask staff to start thinking about vacations they will take during the year whether traveling to the Caribbean, to another continent, or staying at home listening to music.  Try to get your staff excited about better days (and better weather!) to come.  Everyone likes to dream about the days when the dark and snow don’t engulf their lives.  Get their minds, if not their bodies, into warmer environments!

Coffee!  It’s no secret that employees, whether in an office or manufacturing environment, love their coffee.  Also, coffee gets people motivated!  If you’ve still got that old coffee maker in the break room, buy your employees a Keurig machine (or a comparable one-cup maker) to get some excitement brewing. Host coffee swaps in the break room every week or two.  Those who don’t drink coffee can brew tea or make hot chocolate with a one-cup maker.

Clean your work area!  There’s a belief that employee performance improves when they keep their work area clean and organized.  Have a contest to see who can create the most improved work environment.  Then have employees vote for their favorite and give away a nominal prize to the winner.  Employees that are already neat and organized can team up with others to help them in their quest for the most-improved work station.

Make them aware of local classes!  Have a representative from a local community college visit to talk about class offerings.  Your employees may discover a new hobby, opt to start/finish a degree, or learn a new craft.  Instead of going home, getting into their pajamas and sinking further into the blues, motivate them to enroll in a class to keep them busy through the winter.

We all suffer through winter every year, and we all come out winners.  It’s the rough road in between that can get us down.  Hopefully some of these ideas will help you shake things up at your workplace.



Frank Lewandowski, Partnership Manager