14 Ways to Boost Employee Morale During the Cold Days of Winter

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As a leader, your job is to motivate your team and help them forge bonds that encourage better collaboration. And during the winter, when cold weather may have everyone stuck inside, is the perfect time of year to bring everyone closer together for a little bit of team building.

To find out which approaches work best, we asked a panel of experts from Young Entrepreneur Council to respond to the following question:

Q. What is the best way to use the colder months to help draw team members together?

1. Host a daily recess

The cold months are tough on everyone. Scheduling a brief 15-minute recess that allows your team to walk around the office and socialize is the best way to avoid a slump. It gives them a chance to move around and talk about topics not related to work and help relieve stress. —Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

2. Schedule social events

Find ways to get together indoors. You can host a gaming party, movie night, or something else where everyone can socialize and be together without feeling it’s always about work. —Angela Ruth, Calendar

 

3. Use online video conferencing

It’s not always possible to meet in person, especially with inclement weather. So it helps to have online video conferences for greater interaction. This is particularly helpful to any of our remote team members, who then feel more included and involved with what is going on. —Serenity Gibbons, NAACP

4. Plan indoor team building events

Team building activities take many shapes these days, including ones that can be done indoors. Ask a member of staff who is apt at event coordination to plan an hour-long event in the office each Friday and out of the office once a month for simple and silly events that will bring your team closer together, especially in the colder months when it’s tempting to hibernate. —Michael Hsu, DeepSky

5. Implement “Winter Fridays”

Many companies offer a “Summer Friday” program, where folks can dress down and even leave early during the warm-weather months. We flipped that on its head and offer more flexibility to our team during the winter. The days are shorter, so leaving early—and being comfortable in sweats!—is even more impactful during the colder months. —Aaron Schwartz, Passport

6. Bring in warm treats

Even in Santa Monica, the cold can take its toll on us. When the temperature drops and a chill takes over our office, we like to get the team some warm treats. They may be cookies or doughnuts or lunch—something to warm the bodies and make everyone forget that it is cold outside. Whenever we do this, it seems to cheer everyone up. —Zach Binder, Bell + Ivy

7. Have a shared office social calendar

The winter months can be hard, and if your staff is feeling it, productivity may dip. The best means I have found to combat this is to plan events everyone can look forward to. Having a social event on the calendar every month gives everyone, including myself, something enjoyable to work towards and makes those cold months pass by quicker. —Adrien Schmidt, Bouquet.ai

8. Schedule workouts in the office

Encourage team members to get up and move around. We get used to being so cold and not wanting to do anything, we become lazy and it impairs our productivity. When team members get together and work out, they’re able to build bonds and achieve more together. It is great to get a workout in every day. —Sweta Patel, Startup Growth Mode

9. Embrace outdoor winter activities

Instead of hibernating indoors all winter, get out and embrace the cold weather. Take your team out for a winter activity you can all enjoy together, like going to an ice skating rink or going to a hockey game. It’s great for team building, and the fresh air will give your mood a boost. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

10. Volunteer as a team

Promote a team volunteer exercise. Maybe it’s working in a soup kitchen over Christmas, or you might send folks out after a storm to shovel snow in your community. Cold weather is tough to deal with, but it can be a team-building exercise if you’re willing to get a little creative. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. Encourage weekly coffee chats

We use a Slack bot called Donut, which pairs up people each week for coffee dates. This allows the team to schedule breaks that work with their schedule so they can just sit and chat with a colleague about home, hobbies, etc. It’s become something people look forward to every week, especially during the colder, shorter days. —Kerry Guard, MKG Marketing

12. Drink hot cider together

Although we don’t suffer from the same inclement weather here in San Diego that many other parts of the world do, we still enjoy engaging in winter traditions. One of my favorites is making hot cider with mulled spices for all team members to enjoy. This gives all of us an excuse to gather in the break room regularly to talk, and to enjoy some hot drinks! —Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

13. Schedule lunch and learns

Lunch and learns are a great way to stay warm indoors while you’re learning something new. If some of your team works from home, you can use video conferencing tools so no one is left out of the lunch and learn. Find interesting speakers, TED talks, or have fellow colleagues host the meetings and teach employees something new. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

14. Give out hot chocolate and hoodies

One way to embrace the colder weather is to bring out new treats that are better enjoyed in the winter, such as hot chocolate with marshmallows. This is also a great time to give your team branded hoodies. Make sure you have a photographer on staff so you can take pictures of the team in their hoodies for your company page. —Jared Atchison, WPForms

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