It’s not yet deep mid-winter, but if you are already feeling that seasonal slump, you aren’t alone. Just because the weather outside isn’t ideal, doesn’t mean that your office environment has to be the same. Here are some quick ways to perk up office morale and beat those winter blues.
Get your daily dose of Vitamin D
Or at least make your office environment brighter. It’s tough to feel upbeat and motivated when it starts to get dark earlier, and research shows that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) hits about one in 300 Australians. Luckily, there are relatively easy steps you can take to brighten your employees’ days. First, get as much natural light into the office as possible – open blinds and curtains and move any objects obstructing views. If window access is limited, encourage workers to take a stroll around the block during their break, because even a little exposure to the outside can have positive effects.
If you have the money or resources, invest in some light boxes to place around the office, or switch to light bulbs that mimic the sun’s rays, such as full-spectrum bulbs.
Add some greenery to your office space
A study conducted by the University of Queensland concluded that offices with plant life can increase worker productivity by as much as 15 per cent. The drab greys and whites from outside slowly filter inside this time of year. Let nature work its magic by bringing the great outdoors to your employees to promote a different kind of vegetative state. The pop of colour from plants creates a diverse backdrop, and better air quality contributes to increased alertness and overall health.
Do some feel-good deeds
One great way to improve office moral is to give back through volunteering. Getting employees involved with volunteering opportunities contributes to a sense of unity among workers, as well as builds connections with the community at large. There is intrinsic value in giving back: volunteers report higher levels of trust, life satisfaction and wellbeing. In addition, volunteering is associated with happiness and better mental health, according to a study conducted by Volunteering Australia.
There is a huge range of ways to get involved and encourage your employees to give back. Gauge where your employees’ interests lie, and then find ways to maximise on the skills they already possess. Youth mentoring is a great way to get knowledge workers to donate their skills. Choosing a charity to support throughout the year is another way to get your whole team on board. If you want to start small, see if there are any local organisations or charities that need event-day volunteers. Check here for some resources you can use to get started.
A little fresh air goes a long way. It’s easy to start feeling cooped up in the winter, but studies show that even short bursts of aerobic exercise can boost metabolism and release endorphins. Some quick ways to get the blood moving are office walking clubs or a ‘stand and stretch’ afternoon office routine. Not only does exercise do a body good, it will also relieve stress and boost mental acuity, making it easier for employees to stay focused and positive.
Promote office health
Like clockwork, a downturn in temperature means an uptick in illness. Once the sniffles start, it’s hard to stop that flood. To prevent mass illness-induced absences, educate employees on the importance of taking care of themselves physically. Promote good hygiene behaviour in shared bathroom facilities and keep resources on hand about how to seek treatment for common illnesses such as a cold or the flu.
Create social support
Don’t underestimate the power of social connections. We spend large chunks of our week with co-workers, and this is the perfect opportunity to get your employees to know each other. Social activities can be as simple as grabbing a coffee together, hosting an office party or even starting an office peer-support program to get different departments talking.
Good workplace relationships are one of the most important sources of office happiness, and anything that gets you laughing together will improve morale and trust among staff. Once your employees feel engaged at work, it’s easier to help break them out of that mid-winter rut.