After the holidays end, two more months of winter can leave spirits low in the office. But you don't want to see productivity sink in the new year, so it's important to liven up the company vibe to banish the winter blues -- and the lethargy that comes with them.
Faced with limited hours of daylight, these six entrepreneurs have used morale-boosting tactics to show their teams the light at the end of the tunnel.
Refresh your office with a coat of paint.
When the weather outside is dreary, bright colors and a new layout can liven up indoor spaces. Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO and co-founder of technology platform AirPR, found that a refurbished office spurred new energy for his team.
"A few of our team members stuck around after hours to paint one of our walls AirPR blue and create several new seating areas for folks to gather and brainstorm away from their desks," says Fouladgar-Mercer. "Having a change of scenery helps keep creative juices flowing and energy in motion. Allotting a small budget for an office refresh is totally worth it, especially during daunting winter months."
Order personalized team hoodies.
"To create a fun, family vibe in the office, I came up with the idea of ordering hoodies with our company logo and each team member's name," says Daisy Jing, founder of beauty product line Banish. "The hoodies are cool and stylish, perfect for my team."
Sweatshirts are not only warm and cozy, but they can also send a heartwarming message to your team members. "It's my way of saying that I appreciate them and it makes them feel comfortable right in time for winter," says Jing.
Take advantage of the limited daylight hours.
Leila Lewis, CEO and founder of wedding PR agency Be Inspired PR, understands that winter is draining in part because of the lack of daylight hours, especially when the majority of that time is spent in the office. She encourages her team to get outside during the workday when the sun is still shining.
"Make an effort to get your team out during the day -- for lunch, a walk, or an early happy hour," says Lewis. "Also, brighten up the interior of your office with colorful accent colors to your decor, and always make sure blinds are open to let in natural light."
Don't review benchmark goals in December.
"Just because the calendar year ends on December 31st, that doesn't mean our year-end goals need to fall on the same date," says Diego Orjuela, CEO and founder of Cables & Sensors, a patient monitor accessories company. Orjuela's team sets goals for right before the spring to keep their momentum going through the winter.
"Set your goals past the new year so that the end-of-year blues don't set in," says Orjuela. "Your team will work through the end of the year and past the winter months looking to reach a target date that ends right before the good weather sets in."
Take an annual trip.
Even though the holiday celebrations have come to an end, that doesn't mean your team has to stop celebrating. "We take our entire team (now more than 60 people) on an annual trip to celebrate another year in business," says Erik Huberman, CEO of digital marketing agency Hawke Media.
"This coming year, we will be taking everyone on a three-day trip to Big Bear, CA to go skiing and snowboarding," says Huberman. "It is an incredible way to bring the team closer together and make this time of year exciting."
Enjoy hot drinks on cold days.
Andrew Kucheriavy, CEO and founder of web design agency Intechnic, has an easy recipe for raising dampened spirits: "As simple as it is, having a variety of coffee and tea options is a nice way to both raise spirits and warm up," he says.
"Everyone can start off their cold winter days with a hot drink. Team members always get excited when deliveries come in and they have something new to try," says Kucheriavy. And it doubles as a great bonding activity for your team: "We gather around the tea kettle and chat about all the fun things we did over the holidays."