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!