Though the recent warm spell was a welcome reprieve, it looks like winter days are finally here to stay. Winter months can be tough on employee moral, productivity, customer service, and general office culture. Science shows that emotions are contagious so everyone in the office can be influenced by just one person feeling glum about the gray skies, gray slush, and deep piles of papers waiting for attention.
With a little creativity, you can help reduce the winter blahs for your entire office when temperatures plummet and the weather begins to rage outside. Work some of these ideas into your company wellness plan, meeting calendar, and office culture to help your colleagues and cohorts build natural resistance to the winter blahs.
Give a Little
Instead of (or in addition to) organizing a group donation this year, consider setting up a volunteer opportunity for your whole office. Not only will everyone be invigorated by getting offsite (everyone loves a little shake up of the routine) but there’s also plenty of evidence that there’s no better way to feel better about yourself than to help someone else. On top of that, volunteering together is an excellent bonding experience for your team, which will continue to provide protection from winter blues in the days and weeks that follow.
Put an Extra (Couple) Celebrations on the Calendar
No doubt your office had a winter holiday party, but it’s probably timed just before the height of the holiday season, when emotions are still warm, glowing and generally upbeat. The time between New Year’s and St. Patrick’s Day can be especially glum with gray, cold weather and not much to celebrate. That is unless you throw a few extra celebrations on the calendar. Use the opportunity to recognize excellent employees, show gratitude for each other, or simply have some fun at the end of a long, stressful week. You can choose established holidays or make up your own that coordinate with your company culture and schedule.
Move it, Move it, Move it
We all know that exercise is a great way to keep our spirits up, but it’s hardly appropriate to require the whole office to go out for a winter jog. Instead, offer a diverse array of non-compulsory options like a lunchtime walking club, carpool to the ice skating rink, or in-office yoga classes.
Gratitude is one of the fastest, easiest ways to feel better about anything. Be a little subversive and simply start recognizing and acknowledging all the things and people you’re grateful for around the office—no doubt it will catch on. Or be more overt and set up a gratitude wall where employees can stick post-its with notes about things they’re grateful for, a gratitude jar where pebbles that represent gratitude can collect throughout the days, weeks, and months of the winter, or start a friendly competition to see who can offer the most gratitude in a day or a week.
Any exposure to nature can help boost your mood but if the outdoors aren’t cooperative this time of year, bring the best of the natural world inside. Pepper the office with live plants, set up a “bring your dog to work” day, switch to full-spectrum light bulbs (which mimic natural light), or set up a big, colorful fish tank in a common room or the lobby of your building.
Just Get Out
There’s no question that a change of scenery can improve our mood, especially when the new location is bright, colorful, and creative. Set up a series of offsite meetings this winter just to shake things up. Not only will everyone on your team appreciate the innovative environment, you’ll also love the added assistance you get from our staff—meetings are always better at Blue Ocean.
Hopefully no one in your office will have to contend with the winter blues, but if you start to sense that team enthusiasm is headed downhill in the dark months of winter, you’ll be prepared. Give us a call today to learn more why so many companies love to hold their offsite meetings at Blue Ocean.