The excitement of the holidays has long worn off, but the days are still gray and cold. It's easy to feel like things are moving extra slowly this time of year, but that's no excuse to stop striving to meet your business goals.
Below, six entrepreneurs discuss their tips for getting their teams back into gear and excited for the sunnier days ahead.
Start a big project.
If it feels like things have been slowing down, you may be worried your team has gotten off course and lost sight of the company's mission. That's why John Rampton, founder of productivity tool Calendar, makes this a time to introduce something new.
"This is the time of year I like to roll out a larger project that involves considerable work," he says. "It is typically something that sets us up to build out the company further, which gets everyone excited. They see a lot of work ahead and know there is a purpose."
Create long-term goals.
Solomon Thimothy, co-founder of inbound marketing agency OneIMS, suggests getting team members looking inward and focusing on the long game. He says: "Short-term goals may not be a priority around this time. Instead, create long-term goals that are motivating and achievable for each employee."
"It's always important for employees to continuously learn and improve on their skills. The goals can be for their personal lives, their departments or the company itself," Thimothy adds.
Make time for one-on-one meetings.
Taking time to speak with each employee individually shows you're paying attention to their wins and struggles and can help them refresh their own outlooks on their work. James Schmachtenberger, co-founder and president of mental health supplement retailer Neurohacker Collective, uses these meetings to find ways he can better support each member of his team.
"I like to focus on creating a culture that encourages and supports employees to be authentically themselves both at work and at home," Schmachtenberger says. "During this time of year, take time with each person and learn their resolutions and goals, and then find at least one way that you can support them in achieving a major goal they've set for themselves."
Plan a getaway.
If the weather has been especially dreary, a change of scenery could be exactly what your employees need to revive their enthusiasm. This is the perfect time to get away from it all -- as a team.
"At our company, we make a point to have a company retreat once a year. It builds company morale and community, making us a team more than a company," says Diego Orjuela, founder and CEO of medical device firm Cables & Sensors. "We always plan our trips around the winter months, as they are the hardest to get through. We take our team somewhere warm where costs are not too high and the weather is a bonus."
Offer remote work opportunities.
"I run a remote team and allow my employees to work from wherever they want," notes Brian David Crane, founder of caller ID app Caller Smart Inc. Offering employees the opportunity to stay in the comfort of their own homes -- or even work from their favorite vacation spots -- could win major morale points in the winter.
"During the colder months, they can spend a few months in another location of their choosing," Crane explains. "It allows them the freedom to make their own schedules and escape the short, dark days of winter. Make sure to have clear deadlines and goals in place beforehand so they don't fall behind."
Turn it up.
Sometimes the smallest changes can make all the difference. If you can't manage major shifts in your team's working arrangements, find little ways to add excitement to the work week this time of year so employees have a bit of extra fun to look forward to.
"Liven up your space," suggests Jessica Gonzalez, founder of cell phone charging station provider InCharged. "Play music in the office, and consider something fun like a ping-pong table for short breaks in the workday. Treat the team to dinner at a fun space that feels tropical. Most importantly, come in with the energy you want to see."