Ideas to Get Past Holiday Blues

It’s inevitable. The holidays are over. The weather is cold (or at least, colder). It’s time for the “winter doldrums” or “post-holiday blues,” when motivation in businesses of all kinds is often at its lowest. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to help employees ditch the doldrums and push post-holiday blues out the door—boosting their morale and productivity as well as your business. Here are a few ideas.

Let there be light—lots of it

Studies show that insufficient lighting contributes to depression, while proper lighting improves mood and energy levels. For highest productivity, experts recommend using LED bulbs that emit a constant stream of blue light, which fosters alertness. Additionally, more natural light in employee workspaces, the better the productivity of those employees will be—no matter the season. Some offices we know of have fun with their holiday lights, leaving them up throughout January and February for a little spark.

Fill employees’ social calendar

The socializing season doesn’t have to come to a close with the end of the winter holidays. Organize a pot-luck or catered breakfast or lunch—or a group meal at a restaurant. Hold a middle-of-the-day snack party—or even a dance party. Sponsor a day trip on a weekend (or close the office for a day). This excursion can involve anything from winter sports like skiing or skating, to bowling, to a cooking class.

If yours is a casual work atmosphere, take creativity to the next level. For example, instead of just a snack break, have a hands-on “make your own” break—be it tacos, ice cream sundaes, or, as one office did, s’mores.

Tweak the schedule

For some people, leaving the house in the early morning winter cold (and dark) to get to a job is a depressing prospect. For others, driving or otherwise traveling from work under the same conditions leads to a case of the blues. Where possible, allow employees to alter their work schedules to accommodate their preference—arriving at the workplace an hour or so later than usual or leaving an hour or so early. The time can be made up by working through lunch if need be. Some employers even let employees work at home one day a week or one day every other week during the winter months.

Stock up on healthy snacks

After the holidays, many people resolve to start eating healthier—and healthy eating gives employees the energy they need to perform well despite winter gloom. Make it easier for everyone to adhere to their resolution to eat better by filling the break room fridge and cabinets with healthy food, such as fruit, nuts, veggies, yogurt, and protein bars.

Kick off an exercise challenge

Provide employees with pedometers—perhaps, ones with your company’s name on them. Challenge them to log the most steps walking around the office or, if the weather isn’t too punishing, outdoors while grabbing lunch or during breaks. Hand out winter-themed prizes—for instance, gloves, hats, gift certificates redeemable for hot beverages—to the winners on a weekly basis.

Winter has its challenges for businesses and their employees. However, just a few small initiatives—such as the ones above—will help make the season a happier and more productive one for everyone.