No matter the size of your business or the industry in which you operate, it is vital that you do all that you can in order to maintain and build upon office morale. During the winter months, it can be more challenging to encourage and motivate employees, partly due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). As the weather becomes colder and the days get longer, it’s not uncommon for people to become more tired, grumpy and generally slow down, including within the workplace. This then causes team morale and energy levels to drop, which has a roll-on negative effect on overall team satisfaction and performance.
It has been shown that companies which prioritise employee morale and team engagement, especially during the winter months, are overall more resilient. Most people need a boost to help them feel more energised and motivated throughout the winter months, and this can come in the form of morale at work – after all, this is where your employees spend a large majority of their week.
There are plenty of low-cost options to boost morale, as well as ones which require a larger investment, but they can simply be small gestures which brighten employee’s winter blues. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which you can boost employee morale throughout the winter months.
Offer Mental Wellness Initiatives
Although the winter months can be a time for holiday cheer and spending time with family, for others, it can bring stress and mental health strain. There are a number of factors which can come into how winter can have an impact on mental health, but for employees especially, work factors can come into this also. Remember, this is a time of year when employees will likely be leaving for work and getting home in the dark, which can have a knock-on effect on their mental health and wellbeing.
If you do notice that your employee morale takes a dip during the winter months, introduce mental wellness initiatives, such as access to virtual mental health guidance for employees to use as and when they feel they need it, or hold regular coffee mornings with your team where work chat is completely off the table for an hour or so – this can help to build real connections within the team and boosts mental wellness.
Celebrate Company Wins
Your employees work for your company and they will likely want to hear if their hard work has paid off. If your business has hit certain milestones or goals, or there have been big accomplishments achieved, then take the time to recognise the contributions which were made within the team and especially individuals who helped make the success possible. Establish a space within your team where they feel appreciated for their hard work and contributions. When employees feel valued and appreciated, this will give them a morale boost, as then they know and understand just how their work is contributing to the wider company, spurring them to apply this to all their projects and become more driven.
In a recent study, 65% of employees said that they’d like more feedback from their managers or leaders, so take some extra time out to speak with your team members on a 1:1 basis and discuss their progress and performance. This can help employees feel in the loop and like they are a genuine part of the team, making them more confident and prepared for their workload.
If your company is making bigger or more widespread changes in correlation with its growth, then consider implementing further things to boost morale and recognise your team’s efforts, such as benefits and perks. Employee morale can, and often is, improved with incentives.
Create Better Work Routines and Habits
New Year resolutions are at the forefront of everyone’s minds come early January, but not everyone might be feeling like a new year, new them – and remember, that’s ok. Getting into good work habits and routines, rather than setting large resolutions, might have a better impact on your team and make them feel more supported and have higher morale. It could be something as simple as reducing the number of non-essential meetings, instead condensing down into a quick email or teams message.
Meeting fatigue is something which a large volume of employees struggle with – a recent survey found that 89% of employees said that they would benefit from having just one meeting-free day per week – so consider being more mindful of how your team manage their time. This can be a huge contributor to avoiding employee burnout and fatigue, and by starting in the New Year, you can get this habit off in the right direction.
Remember, employees will copy what they see, whether they realise it or not. If they notice senior staff members not taking breaks or working late, then they will feel as though they need to do the same, which can lead to burnout and reduced productivity and morale. If you are a leader or manager, make it known that, whilst you do these things, you don’t expect everyone else to do the same.
If you find that employees aren’t working as productively as they should be, or there is an increase in people being vocal in that they are uncomfortable or are missing certain work essentials, then consider something a bit bigger in terms of budget such as new furniture or an office fit out, and redesign especially if your team has grown or changed in recent years and your current space and offering is no longer suitable.