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There’s no doubt that stress and negativity weigh heavy in the office, especially when people are bringing those emotions in from outside work. 14% of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder, aka “the winter blues.”1 Even those who aren’t diagnosed with this illness may still feel a post-holiday melancholy. This may sound like a personal problem, but studies have shown that a stressed-out employee can cost as much as 40% more than a tranquil one through factors like sick time, unproductivity, and effect on others in the office.2 In this article, we’ll discuss some of the ways that owners and their management team can work together to flush out any ill vibes and bring the office through the winter on a high note.

 

Diagnose the Situation

The first key to improving wintertime morale is to understand why it might be low. If your employees seem more than just a little down or tired, there may be issues at the office contributing to their emotions. Regardless of what’s got people feeling blue, one of the best remedies is simply to listen to their concerns, especially about changes to their job. Managers and supervisors should help ensure any policy changes have been clearly relayed to the team. Employees’ feedback should be taken into account when it comes to things like implementing new software or changing procedures for greater efficiency.3

Team-Building Exercises

67% of employees say friendships are one of the primary reasons they get up and keep coming back to the same job every day.4 A strong bond means the difference between a team of co-workers and a family of co-workers.

There’s no better way to strengthen those relationships and spark a boost of collective good energy than getting everyone out of the office. Great activities for cold weather team-building can include, but certainly aren’t limited to the following:

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Share Happiness to Create It

A company-wide charity program, volunteer initiative, or giving campaign can improve employee morale while strengthening the community and building brand awareness at the same time. Pull together a list of potential causes or organizations that need support and have a company-wide vote to decide how and when to contribute to one or more. Team leaders or managers could even design a game or rewards program for teams that raise the most money or collect the most donation items. Just because the holidays have passed doesn’t mean the giving and good feelings must pass too.

Negative vibes and emotions might build up over time, but many are most susceptible to them when the weather is cold and glum. Owners can deepen employee loyalty and improve productivity if they find a way to counteract that trend. A team of employees working together to make it through the winter is far better than a group of dejected individuals, each marking off the days until spring.