In the US alone, 10 million people experience seasonal affective disorder, caused by a lack of serotonin that you would usually get from sunlight.
Cold days and dark nights can largely impact a company’s team spirit and productivity, while bringing additional hazards to the work environment – meaning managing teams during this time can come with increased hurdles and roadblocks.
The winter often brings a whole host of issues, such as additional screen time (with fewer outdoor activities to do), more workplace accidents, and disrupted sleep due to limited light.
As the winter season approaches, it’s important for employers to be prepared to help employees through these months as seamlessly as possible.
In this article, Evotix explores ways to boost your team’s well-being this winter, pointing to the impact a few simple initiatives can have on increasing employee morale, happiness, safety and retention.
Celebrate company and employee wins
While it’s important to celebrate a company milestone and give recognition to employees throughout the entire year, going above and beyond during the winter months will go a long way.
A great way to jumpstart the new year is to review what you accomplished the prior year and reward your employees and teams for their accomplishments. Post-holiday blues means the early months of winter are usually in much need of some extra positivity, so there is no better time to celebrate team wins, however small.
Creating an environment where employee appreciation is the norm, will not only attract and retain top performers but will contribute to their overall well-being. So whether it’s a team dinner, award, or gift voucher, there are a whole host of ways to show your appreciation.
Ensure additional training is readily available to your teams
Providing training is key to being a great employer. So whether it’s safety related or something else, employees should be well-aware of the training options available to them.
Make sure your whole team knows what they have access to – if it’s in-person training sessions, online EHS resources or any other support. With additional hazards often present themseleves during the colder months, emphazing safety training is of the utmost importance.
Ensuring employees are able to confidentially get any help they need and feel supported and protected is essential. In doing so, you are creating a safe working environment that will ultimately boost employee mental well-being through the winter and beyond.
Provide wellness benefits
Wellness benefits have become an integral part of corporate culture. Today, an impressive 80 percent of American businesses (with over 50 employees) offer some sort of wellness benefits, averaging around $750 per person, per year.
Although many corporations offer these benefits, many businesses are still lacking them, so it’s worthwhile considering what you can add to improve the lives of your team. Additionally, it’s important to revisit these benefits each year, and see if there are any better benefits on offer.
Providing a wellness program can help employees feel valued, and in return improve the productivity and morale of your team. A full wellness program allows people to alleviate medical costs, helps them de-stress and relax through options like fitness programs and makes sure they are taking care of themselves.
Create a strong sense of community
The work environment, whether it’s an office, storefront or warehouse, plays a pivotal role in the well-being of each worker. Ultimately, it’s this space that brings people together for meetings, collaboration, socials or simply a quick catch-up.
Creating a community can be done in a variety of ways. For one, boosting communication, through chat platforms such as Slack or Teams, or engagement via company social media accounts, can help employees feel like they are in the know. Organizing events is a great way to get people together and connect with one another. And offering options for sub-communities and clubs can also be a fantastic way to interact with colleagues and other teammates through shared connections or interests, such as fitness or crafts.
For those that are remote or hybrid working, there are still many ways you can build community virtually. Introducing social calls – to discuss topics outside of work – can increase your employees’ sense of belonging and build on the company culture. Regularly reaching out to catch up and check in can also make all the difference in making an employee feel connected.