Late January through early March has always been my least favorite time of the year. With the seemingly endless winter weather and the lack of holidays to look forward to, it’s easy for me to get into a bit of a funk. And I know I’m not alone in this—simply ask Google what the worst month of the year is, and you’ll find a plethora of articles and blogs denouncing the late winter months.

Unfortunately, these negative feelings sometimes follow us into the workplace and can set us in a bit of a slump. So what can you do to cure your employees’ winter blues? Try these quick tips to get your employees reengaged in no time.

1. Appreciate your employees

Sometimes a little bit can go a long way. Let your employees know that you value them! Give them a shout-out in a meeting, surprise them with their favorite candy, or simply say thank you when they do something for you. Not only does positive recognition boost employee happiness and engagement, but it is also linked to higher productivity levels—a study conducted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that employees who received regular messages of gratitude were 50 percent more productive than employees who did not. Start recognizing your employees this winter season!

2. Volunteer together

Give your employees a break from the typical 9-5 day and organize a company volunteer event! Employees will be happy to have a break from their routines, and working toward a common goal has the power to bring people together. In fact, one survey found that 71 percent of employees who participated in companywide volunteer programs felt more positively about their employers as a result. Do something good for your community, your employees and your company by organizing a company volunteer event—it’s a win-win-win!

3. Promote exercise

Even the most avid gym rats are guilty of working out less during the cold months. That’s why winter is the perfect time to start up your employee wellness program! Encourage your employees to get moving. Host yoga sessions, start a Fitbit challenge, or turn your traditional meetings into walking meetings. According to a study by Quantum Workplace, only 28 percent of employers provide stress-relief breaks, but more than 71 percent of employees desire them. Your employees will return to their work with fresh minds, positive attitudes and healthy hearts.

4. Host fun food events

This tip is slightly contradictory to the tip above, but I’m standing by it! Nothing brings people together like food does. Organize a company chili cook-off, comfort food potluck or dessert bake-off and let your employees relax for an afternoon. It will give employees a chance to destress, enjoy themselves and remember why they like working for your company.

5. Engage in team building activities

Rapport among employees is extremely important! According to TINYpulse’s 2015 Employee Engagement report, employee happiness is 23 percent more correlated to coworker relationships than it is to supervisor relationships. Take some time this season to reengage your employees by reconnecting them with one another. Click here for a list of “team building activities that don’t suck”.

6. Help your employees grow

According to Bersin by Deloitte, the lack of professional development and growth opportunities are among the most common reasons for leaving a company. Satisfy this need and engage your employees by providing professional development opportunities! Bring in industry experts to speak with your staff, sign up your team for a free webinar, or hire career coaches to help your employees sharpen their skills.

7. Be flexible

Legally, employers CAN require employees to come into work during inclement weather, even if the wintry weather has created hazardous conditions. But do you really want to be that employer? Forcing people to risk their safety in order to make it into work is a surefire way to disengage your employees. Embrace the remote workplace this season!

Keep these tips in mind during this final leg of the winter season. Are there other engagement techniques that have worked well for you in the past? Let us know in the comments!

Author Christina Boodée

More posts by Christina Boodée
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