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Businessman in a Cold Office

Colder weather and overcast days have a way of making team members—and clients—feel listless, and can even disrupt the day’s usual workflow and pace, leading to lost productivity.

For tips on how to switch a cool weather mood back to peak productivity, we asked 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

Q. What is one way to help your employees regain their pep during the colder months?

1. Let them work from home

During the holiday season—usually from early November to late January — I let my employees work from home on either Mondays or Fridays. I’ve found this helps them regain motivation and get reenergized for the following week. —Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC


2. Embrace it

Here in Chicago, the winters can be brutal and we may not see the sun for extended periods of time. Winter and fall give us more opportunities to do cold weather team activities, and the holidays also bring an excitement that we embrace. Ice skating, holiday happy hours, a Christmas tree in the office—all of these can help boost moods and engagement during the cold weather months. —Joel MathewFortress Consulting

3. Organize holiday parties and retreats

Come October, we start celebrating the festival time starting with Diwali (Indian festival of lights), Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. We will bring food, desserts, and cakes into the office for staff, and we will also go out to dinner three to four times during these months. I also do a retreat with my offshore team. This is enough to energize and make everyone feel blessed in the cold winter. —Piyush JainSimpalm

4. Promote exercise

There’s nothing quite like sweating it out when it comes to beating the blues that winter months bring. The body, upon exercising, releases endorphins. One of the effects that endorphins have on our bodies is similar to the high that morphine produces. In a nutshell, the high that your own body gives you works as an excellent mood booster—come rain, sunshine, or snow. —Derek RobinsonTop Notch Dezigns

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5. Take the team somewhere fun or warm

Combine your annual team planning meeting with an outing by taking your team somewhere fun or warm. For my next team strategy meeting, I am planning to take my team skiing. It’s part work and part play. It takes care of getting employees out of the office and on a company trip, and enables the business owner to bring the team together for a strategy session. —Jean GinzburgJean

6. Offer sun lamps and hot cocoa

Grab some sun lamps and hot cocoa. Offer a trip to a tanning salon as an incentive for a goal. Be humane by reminding everyone to stay safe on the icy roads. Decorate for Christmas. Winter comes every year, so we might as well get used to it and make the best of it. —Derek BromanDiscount Enterprises LLC (DEGuns)

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7. Make breaks mandatory

Just like vacations, small breaks throughout the day can relax and revive employees. Work often goes much faster when you take a moment to chat with a colleague or leave your work area for even a few minutes. Also, think about putting treats in a community area or kitchen, so everyone will leave their desks and interact with each other for a bit. —Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker


8. Give them coffee and snacks

When the temperature drops, we bring in local-roasted coffee and snacks. I suppose one could say we embrace the weather, and I would agree with that. Why fight what you cannot control? Warm up with some delicious coffee and then get that work done. —Colbey PfundLFNT Distribution


9. Have a well-stocked kitchen

Provide the right amenities for your team during those months. This can include things like a variety of teas or instant soups, porridge, cereals, etc. Keep a well-kept pantry so your team can find some home-like comforts at the office on days when it’s needed. —Nicole MunozNicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.

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10. Do “Summer Fridays” during the winter

Many companies have “Summer Fridays,” with casual dress and more flexible hours. We find this to be even more effective in winter when sunlight hours are shorter. Give your team flexibility, make sure to do team outings (like, outside!), and acknowledge to the team you know winter can be a drag, so they feel comfortable speaking up if they’re down. —Aaron Schwartz, Passport

11. Create an emergency warming kit

There’s nothing worse than coming into the office with cold feet. So try creating an emergency warming kit for your employees. Find a cupboard or drawer in the office and keep a few sets of new socks that people can take if they come in with wet feet. You could also throw in some gloves, heating packs, cough drops, and more. —Blair Williams, MemberPress

12. Host internal competitions

We love to host internal competitions to keep things interesting. These competitive, yet friendly activities, include indoor Olympics, fundraisers, food drives, and a number of fitness competitions. All are a great way to strengthen personal and professional relationships, while boosting morale through the colder months. —Stephen Ufford, Trulioo

13. Make sure to plan ahead

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a real problem that can damage work performance. To fight it, plan an outdoor team building activity, specifically during winter months on a crisp, sunny winter day. Also, provide vitamin D rich snacks, so your employees know you have their best interest in mind. —Zev Herman, Superior Lighting

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