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energize teams during winter months
3 min read

Ah, winter. The time of year when the sun sets before we’d like it to and we wear more layers than we thought possible. Now that we’re through the holidays, it’s time to focus on setting goals for the year ahead and being productive throughout the winter. Unfortunately, dark and cold days aren’t very motivating for most.

Employees who should be excited about new budgets, goals, and projects often feel the negative impacts of the seemingly dreary environment and fall into a winter slump. 

In fact, an increasing number of people are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), with leading medical experts estimating that up to 26% of Americans may be experiencing some form of seasonal depression.

What does this mean for you and your workforce? It could mean a lack of motivation, lower morale, and overall lower productivity. So, how do you as a leader help energize teams instead? Now is the time to get creative with ways to energize and motivate employees. Here are three ideas to kick-start your creative juices:

1. Stay active

Give your team activities to look forward to and mix up the daily grind. Host a daily afternoon “stretch break,” start an in-office yoga club, or take brisk walks (outside if you can). Or, simply find a funny YouTube clip or online meme to start the day.

Team members at Reward Gateway are big fans of any YouTube video – whether it’s Baby Shark or Ariana Grande’s nostalgically entertaining Thank U Next music video. Laughter and music can truly be the best medicine.

energize teams during winter months

2. Make it personal

Stay in touch with your employees on a more personal level. Open and honest communication doesn’t come naturally to all, but even small conversations about upcoming family events, favorite sports teams, or the latest funny Facebook post can help evolve your relationship and boost an individual’s morale.

Are you a leader of teams in multiple locations? Set up a mid-day Google Hangout to get some added face time and catch up on life.

Download our eBook to discover ways to motivate and engage employees during  the winter months »

3. Regularly recognize achievements

A little kudos can go a long way. Even something that might be viewed as a standard expectation of the employee’s role can (and should) be celebrated. You can improve manager-led recognition at your organization by setting aside time each week to recognize top performers on your team.

energize teams during winter months
An example of manager-led recognition with a values-based eCard.

For example, on top of Brian's daily tasks, today he demonstrated the RG value "Work Hard" and went above and beyond with strategic planning for the quarter up ahead to make sure everyone on the team is on the same page. 

Share this as an example with other team members. They’ll benefit from seeing an example of how you expect them to behave, especially when connecting the behaviors to values, and I guarantee Brian will feel appreciated for his hard work.

Springtime will be here soon enough. Until then, take a little time to help your team beat the winter slump and everyone will benefit. How have you motivated your own teams? Share any creative and unique ideas with us in the comments section below.

Stacy Lake

Stacy Lake is a Client Success Launch Strategist at Reward Gateway. She loves American football and is a life-long Philadelphia Eagles fan. She competes every year in a fantasy football league with her husband and his friends.

Client Success Manager

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