Home Tools & Tactics Beating the Mid-winter Blues

Beating the Mid-winter Blues

by fatweb

As the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, winter can be a challenging time in the office, affecting both employee productivity and performance.
Industry expert, Eugene De Villiers, highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with the new season, and provides key tips on how employers can help combat the midwinter workplace blues.
The winter-blues are a real issue in today’s workplace. Research has found that the ‘blues’ are not only characterised by an increase of cold and flu symptoms, but in more serious circumstances, depression and fatigue in employees.
It can leave employees deprived of energy and affect their sleeping and eating patterns, which can result in them feeling unmotivated and having lower levels of confidence.
This can be characterised within the workplace by staff feeling agitated, resulting in a lack of laughter in the office. Helping employees overcome the mid-winter blues can help productivity flourish and keep workplace energy levels high throughout winter. When your team are motivated they interact differently with both suppliers and customers, which has a direct impact on the bottom line.
Keep your place warm
Firstly, in order to overcome the mid-winter blues, it is important to create a comfortable workplace. If possible, make natural light accessible; open blinds, hold meetings in welllit rooms and encourage employees to take their breaks outside the office. Play music and keep the coffee coming.
Consider the temperature of the office. When it’s cold outside, there is no point in bringing the winter chills indoors, so keep the workplace cosy. Not only will this increase employees’ positivity, but it will decrease their yearning to get home to the warmth.
Create incentives
The winter blues can cause a lack of motivation in the workplace, so look at setting goals and incentives. Setting goals for both management and employees to work towards can help fight complacency and inspire staff.
At Extra Mile Company, we apply and incentivise staff to be there, play, make their day and choose your attitude. For small to medium sized enterprises, incentives don’t need to be large to be effective. They can be as simple as verbal acknowledgement at weekly team meetings, a paid lunch, a casual clothing day, or even flexi hours.
It’s all about attitude
If possible, bring a social atmosphere into the workplace to build excitement and keep staff engaged. As energy levels decrease, it is important to encourage employees to socialise and have some comedic relief throughout the day.
Try and organise social events, invite the team tenpin bowling, hold after work drinks or start a sports team. At Extra Mile Company we have a shared lunch every Wednesday and afternoon drinks on a Friday, which keeps the team connected and gives all staff a chance to have a break and some fun. Also try and recognise significant events – birthdays, weddings and other personal and professional milestones, and celebrate these.
Keep up the communication
Finally, one of the most effective ways to help employees beat the winter blues is to simply communicate with them. Get to know your team members and find out what engages and interests them.
An increased flow of communication shows employees that management care about their wellbeing. Giving yourself and your time to others changes their mood, and yours.
Be aware of any changes in post-holiday behaviour and address any concerns you may have. Be approachable and sympathetic to make employees feel comfortable coming to you with any potential grievances.
As an employer, it is important that staff feel they can talk to you with issues they have within the workplace – if they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed for example. Employers may further consider flexible scheduling with work hours and allow more work from home options to accommodate an employee’s needs.
Eugene De Villiers is the managing director of the Auckland based Extra Mile Company, which specialises in creating cost effective behavioural change programmes. For more information contact

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