11 Ways to Boost Employee Morale and Productivity During the Cold Days of Winter

For many companies, boosting employee morale and maintaining a high level of engagement and motivation among team members during the dark winter months can be quite a challenge. And with a growing remote work environment, it is even more difficult to make sure your team stays engaged and productive, while also ensuring they make time for self-care. To help, 11 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council reflect on the following question:

What’s your best advice for keeping your team motivated and productive during the dark winter months? Why is it effective?

1. Maintain communication and recognition

Constantly maintain communication and create a work environment based on cooperation, and also recognize the processes fulfilled by each of the team members. This will encourage productivity because they’ll see that their efforts and the continuity of their actions are recognized and appreciated by the leaders, and a commitment to compliance is established. —Kevin Leyes, Leyes Media


2. Don’t lose track of your goals

One way of staying productive and keeping the team motivated during winter is to not lose track of your goals and to come up with more incentives to finish strong. Team-building activities are also a good idea for people to reconnect and to remind them of the core company values and the “why” of your company. —Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

3. Improve employee morale with team-building activities

Even virtually, team-building activities can help your team boost their motivation and encourage their productivity. It’s easy to lose those things during the bleak winter months, but when you have others encouraging you and working with you, it’s even easier to stay focused and on track. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms


4. Switch to a four-day week

A great way to keep remote employees motivated during winter months is to reduce your week to a four-day workweek. In other words, everyone is expected to do the same amount of work they did in the office, but since commutes are completely eliminated, they have to do it in four days. If they can, they can take Friday off. This system keeps people accountable, despite all those pesky cat videos. —Han-Gwon Lung, Tailored Ink

5. Encourage positive collaboration

Use unique digital software tools to create a positive experience when collaborating. Zoom meetings can be tiresome after a while, and team members can get burned out. Encourage virtual team-building exercises or virtual events on a weekly or monthly basis. —Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC


6. Offer bonuses and rewards

Bonuses are always a great motivator during the winter months. I think that you can make the season fun and interesting by also adding other types of rewards that are monetary and nonmonetary. For example, have a “best Zoom background” contest or something similar and gift people branded swag. A few seasonal-themed activities can also make a world of difference. —Blair Williams, MemberPress

7. Recommend they get much-needed light

Encourage them to get as much light as possible, from either the sun or an appropriate therapy lamp. In places like Florida, encourage regular walks or bike rides and visits to local parks on the weekends when possible. In places with freezing winters, you can use heat and therapy lamps to prevent seasonal affective disorder. Schedule safe outings to enjoy the snow. —Duran Inci, Optimum7

8. Encourage them to stay active

I am all about staying active! Even if my team is working from home, I encourage them to take walks on their lunch breaks or move around in the space they have. We’re a small team and operate best when we’re all in energetic, creative frames of mind—keeping that blood flowing is key! —Diana Goodwin, MarketBox


9. Offer flexible work hours to improve employee morale

Allow flex work hours to fit people’s needs. Humans are not meant to work under fluorescent lights and most people would prefer to have some free time during daylight hours. Allow employees to shift their work schedules to exercise or play with their kids when it is light out. We’ve shifted our work hours to start earlier and have disregarded daylight saving time so we can stay productive by honoring our bodies’ circadian rhythm. —Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences


10. Promote healthy eating

Winter is a lazy season. But if you don’t want your team to feel even lazier and less productive, encourage them to maintain a healthful diet. Eating unhealthful food that’s high in sugar and fats can make you feel more lazy and unproductive. Also, drink lots of hot water, soups, tea, or anything warm. This will keep your body warm and help you stay active during the day. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

11. Focus on the joyful aspects of the season

There are foods, celebrations, and changes in one’s environment that only happen during winter. Celebrate these things by holding themed meetings or by sharing family pictures and the like. It will make the dark winter months something to look forward to. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

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