5 Ways to Help Boost Employee Morale in the Winter

By Alicia Geigel on February 21, 2022

The blustery cold weather, shorter days, and lack of sunlight are all factors that can contribute to what we commonly know as the “winter blues.” While most of us can push through these feelings of sadness and lack of motivation, others have a harder time with the onset of winter and can experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD). According to Pfizer, SAD affects between one and ten percent of Americans, and those who have it can experience symptoms such as “feeling sluggish, agitated, hopeless, overly fatigued and changes in appetite.” Though SAD affects a small portion of our population, we can all agree that the winter blues can undoubtedly affect our mood and productivity, both at home and work.

As an employer, having an awareness of these “winter blues” and helping your employees through the blues is not only important but also the right thing to do. Valuing your employees as people and not working machines means looking out for their well-being and doing what you can to make their work environment the best it can be.

If you are an employer that has noticed a decrease in motivation and change in mood with your employees, here are five ways to help boost their morale this winter.

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Image via Pexels

1. Provide Healthy Snacks and Drinks: More often than not, employees are on the go and don’t have the time to pack an adequate or well-balanced lunch with snacks to keep them fueled during the workday. Instead, many rely on packing simple and quick meals, like a P&J with a bag of chips. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this choice, it is not necessarily the best food source for energy and mental clarity. To help combat this, stock up the break room with a variety of healthy snacks and drinks. These can include fresh fruit and vegetable trays, assorted nuts, protein bars, yogurt, etc.

2. Promote Exercise Breaks: The last thing employees want to think about while working, especially during the winter months, is exercising. However, when stuck at a desk all day, it can become easy to feel drained, unmotivated, and stuck. Help to break up the workday by promoting exercising breaks with your employees and give them time, aside from their lunch break, to move around and get the blood flowing back through their bodies. Most likely, no one will want to venture outside for a brisk walk, but perhaps a group walk around your office building or from your office to the exit door a couple times can give employees the much-needed boost (and break) they need.

3. Encourage Time-Off and Vacations: During the winter months, it’s fair to say that many people are daydreaming about warm weather and vacationing to a beachside destination, away from the cold and winter blues. While I’m not encouraging you to have a vacation giveaway for employees, you can, however, encourage time-off and taking vacations for your employees. Rhett DuPauw of Acoro suggests doing the following, “remind them they have vacation hours to use, don’t expect them to check-in when out (allow them to completely unplug) and set up a vacation schedule so the entire team knows when people will be out.”

4. Offer Mental Health Services: A significant way to boost your employees’ morale and help with the winter blues is to provide them with the appropriate counseling and coaching services to help better their mental health if they are in need of it. Search out different online counseling or coaching services and work with them to obtain a package to cover your employees. In addition, you can work with charities like Time to Change to get both workplace mental health training and mental health support.

5. Create Work Challenges: When the words “work challenges” appear, employees everywhere anticipate difficulty and stress, but I’m not talking about those kinds of work challenges. Rather, the work challenges I’m talking about are the ones that can stimulate the minds of your employees and give them a whole new energy when they approach a project. When you’re planning for the upcoming week, find a project that is in range with the duties and skill sets of your employees that are out of the ordinary and can challenge them. In an interview with INC, founder of Silicon Valley Startup Marketing Sweta Patel said, “Every week we have a new challenge that stretches the team to think from a new perspective. This helps give them energy and enthusiasm. It can be tough to want to do anything, but when you are challenged to give back or to do something beyond yourself, your focus changes.”

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Image via Pexels

Let’s face it, the gloom of the winter months is very real and can have consequences on the mental health of your employees, as well as your company business. These five tips can not only help your employees shake the winter blues, but they can also boost their morale at the same time.

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