Right about now, your employees have recovered from the hectic holiday season. There is not much promise of time off until spring, the holiday bills have arrived, and the employees’ motivation is in low-gear. You know that engaged employees are important to the success of your business, but what can you do when the “weather outside is frightful?”
The Urban Dictionary defines office fever as “Feeling crazy at work inside an office.” One reason for that cooped up feeling is the lack of sunshine or light. Studies have shown that light has a powerful effect on our brain and our well-being. Light is a stimulant for alertness and has been used to improve performance and counter the negative impact of sleepiness or “winter blues.”
If it is not possible to send your staff to the Caribbean for a few days, what can be done? Here are five ideas to consider.
- Adjust work hours to allow employees to either arrive or leave while there is some sun left. No one likes to commute in the dark in both directions. Encouraging carpooling or ride sharing can also make driving in the dark safer and possibly more pleasant. Not having to drive alone can make your employees feel a bit more happy and safe.
- Provide snacks that contain Vitamin D and C such as oranges, orange juice, strawberries and cheese. Not only will these foods provide immune support to keep colds away, but they will encourage employees to think more about how good healthy snacks can taste. Eating healthier is not only good for the waistline, it’s also great for the immune system, concentration, memory, creativity, and mood.
- Furnish a place for employees to have a hot meal—a microwave oven is inexpensive and convenient. Hot soup on a cold, gray day can do wonders to lift your employees’ spirits and provide fuel they need to keep going. Providing hot drinks can also give employees a little “pick-me-up” when the afternoon begins to drag—hot tea, hot chocolate, coffee, and hot cider are inexpensive but can mean a lot to your staff.
- Brighten up the workspace—if your walls are “greige” (a blend of gray and beige), try painting an accent wall in each area a different, eye-popping color. According to an entreprenuer.com article, color affects us in different ways—using the right colors can have a big impact on productivity and mood. For example, restful green and soft blue can improve efficiency; yellow can trigger innovation in creative people; red and orange in small doses can create an energetic environment. If you can’t change the wall color, how about some accent pieces, like pictures, containers, or desk accessories.
- Encourage your staff to begin filling out the vacation calendar for 2016. This serves two purposes: it helps management to get an idea of what time away from the office you can expect from the team; but more importantly, it gets employees thinking about their next vacation. Planning time off can boost their moods and increase creative ideas and productivity.
Retaining self-motivated and engaged employees is a valuable business asset. Providing an environment that encourages their productivity during the “office fever” season is a good investment.