Having Fun at Work and Beating the “Winter Doldrums”

Whether it’s seasonal affective disorder or you’re simply bummed out because of the cold, gray skies, and snow, winter can be a tough time to stay productive in the workplace. We all handle the season differently but injecting a bit of fun into the workday can certainly help beat the winter doldrums.

Humor and fun can have an incredible impact on the workplace and those in it, including:

  • An increase in productivity
  • Improving employee loyalty and satisfaction
  • Building camaraderie
  • Inspiring creativity and innovation

Naturally, you want to encourage the development of each of those benefits year round because let’s face it: a happy employee makes for a happy workplace. The winter, in particular, is a time to pay especial attention to the needs of employees since this is the time of year when they can benefit most from having their spirits lifted and by being reminded of their value to the company, each other, and their bosses.

If your goal is to lighten the mood, lift spirits, and stay happy while winter is hanging around, try out any of our recommended tips below.

1. Brighten the office up

Literally and figuratively! One of the most common reasons people experience seasonal affective disorder is due to the lower levels of sunlight available during the winter season. It’s been proven that increasing the amount of light in your environment can substantially boost your mood. Why not take it a step further and have some fun with your new lights? Consider leaving those colorful Christmas lights up a few months longer, or bring in some fun and quirky lamps or lighting to keep things bright and happy around the office.

2. Make some noise

Depending on the work environment, playing music can really help employees stay upbeat and moving around—both of which work wonders for beating the winter blues. When people hear music around the office, it can be an indicator of positivity and someone trying to have fun, and that can be infectious! Even if you can’t necessarily play music for the entire office to hear, maybe listening to something through headphones can still put you in a cheery and energized state to make your workday fly right by. What about featuring a “dance off” at lunch!

3. Start a war

With nerf guns, rubber bands, wads of paper—whatever you have laying around (and is safe to lob at your nearest coworker) can be a big way to get people active, on their feet, and having fun. Of course, you want to make sure your colleagues are okay with that sort of horseplay before you unload an arsenal of soft foam darts at them, but chances are they’re just as excited to have some fun around the office as you are. (Don’t forget the safety goggles!)

4. Raise a glass

Of Hot Chocolate! (What did you think I meant?) Just like taking ice cream treats around in the heat of summer, travel through the office with Hot Chocolate to help people relax and unwind for a few minutes.

6. Hold contests

Everything from riddle challenges, paper airplane contests, or sports pools can be used to inspire a sense of friendly competition around the office. Most people love to compete in some way and giving them an outlet not only encourages playful competition but also gets people excited for each other—to see who wins and how they’ll do it. Companies can get creative with the type of contests they hold, but the point behind them should be to promote a fun activity that has people engaged and working together in some way. (Don’t forget the dance off!)

7. Hold a meeting

Holding regular meetings that include “good stuff” from every participant. For example, our monthly staff meeting ALWAYS includes an agenda item for “what was the best thing that happened this month” – it can be a great way to reinvigorate anyone who may be feeling the winter season weighing them down. Such meetings can remind employees that not every meeting has to be stressful and that the company is making time to make sure they’re happy.

You can also use these meetings to introduce teams and coworkers to one another if the company is exceptionally larger, or they can share skills, life hacks, or anything entertaining with the rest of the office. When done right, these meetings can be fun, informative, and a good reminder that even at work, they can still learn something new.

Remember, playing at work encourages us to embrace opportunities rather than retreat from them; it also induces a sense of flow, which is perfect for productivity. We spend such a huge portion of our lives at work, and it’s important to realize that living your life and working don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

In fact, when you’re happy at work and can enjoy your job, you grow to become passionate—and that’s when you start to forget that work is work, and treat it as just another part of living. Let us know if we can help you liven up your workplace to beat the winter doldrums!

This entry was posted on by HR Resolutions.

Love: A Fine Thing (But Maybe Not at the Office!)

To quote John Paul Young, “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around,” and that holds true even at the office. People can fall in love, flirt, and meet future partners anywhere they go and (un)fortunately, that also includes the workplace. Continue reading

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How to Pull Off a Successful Performance Evaluation

It should be no surprise that most people, from managers and employees to a fair number of HR professionals would rather see the performance review become a practice of the past. They can dredge up anxieties, compromise productivity and company morale, and wind up causing a whole mess of trouble if handled incorrectly. That being said, there are some invaluable reasons for perfecting the process and integrating it into a company’s standard practices. Continue reading

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The Importance of Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goal setting is one of the biggest ways to improve the workplace—from communication across teams to more effective manager-employee relationships and increased worker efficiency. Goals also help create a sense of accountability and allow individuals to assess progress they’re making along the way. In this way, setting goals and creating performance evaluation strategies go hand in hand. To effectively evaluate an employee’s performance, you have to start by setting smarter goals. Continue reading

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One Holiday Too Many?

As we approach the busy holiday season, every business tries to have some cheery festivities. But with so many holidays, how do you choose what to celebrate and when? Everybody loves a little turkey and pumpkin pie…and some tailgating…and some challah bread…and maybe some Christmas carols and Kwanzaa dancing and New Year’s toasting. While it’s certainly important to take time to celebrate and relax as a business or organization, you need to find the right balance. We’ve asked Jonathan Segal, partner at Duane Morris, to share with us some wisdom for the holidays. Continue reading

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Best Practices for Terminating an Employee

Having to terminate is likely one of the hardest parts of running a business. It requires finesse, compassion, and conciseness; and if you do it right, you can make the transition painless for employee and employer.

Every company operates differently but they all have to manage hiring and firing employees, so it pays to establish good practices for terminating workers to minimize backlash or confusion in the workplace. Continue reading

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How Not to Fire an Employee

Having to fire an employee or employees is often one of the worst parts of having a job—for both the employee being let go and the person doing the firing. Most of the time these terminations go off without much more than an air of sadness and perhaps a few tears BUT there are plenty of horror stories spawned by ineffective and just plain awful terminations.

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NSFW Phraseology for $1000 Please

We often say “we just can’t make this stuff up!” and we’re very, very sincere about that statement. I’ve been in human resources and personnel for (gulp) almost 30 years now and STILL get surprised. Case in point – we completed a work place investigation earlier this year and I actually had to look up some of the statement in the Urban Dictionary. No – I’m NOT going to repeat them here! I’ve worked in lots of “shop talk” environments before – not a problem, I’ve got broad shoulders. Some of these? Made me blush and that does NOT happen often! So, again, NO, I’m not going to repeat those statements – allow your imagination to run wild!

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Momma Always Said…

Polite people do not talk about pay, religion or politics! Well, the National Labor Relations Act begs to differ with Mom and says that employees MAY talk about pay – it’s a protected, concerted activity (wages, terms and conditions of employment.) So, sorry Mom, you lose this argument!

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