Beat the Workplace Winter Blues

Ten Tips to Beat the Winter Blues in the Workplace

Winnipeggers are a hearty bunch to survive our winters, but when late January rolls around, many people start to feel the blues with so much white stuff around ? especially at work. Here are the top 10 tips to help beat the blues in winter at the office:

Tip # 1: Re-Energize!

If the cold weather has you in a rut, do a quick self-analysis about what?s draining your energy. Diet and lack of sleep are usually the main culprits. Consider an ?energy management? strategy: Work and rest in increments. It works for athletes! This helps you focus more on tasks. It also gives you the chance to continually re-energize with a brisk walk down the hall, eating a small, healthy snack, or having a great conversation with a positive person.

Tip # 2: Take your breaks? and take them away from your desk

It may be hard to believe, but the business world will be okay without you if you leave your desk (preferably smart phone, too) for a break. Even if you can?t get away for a full hour, simply take 10 minutes to leave your desk and eat your lunch/snack somewhere other than your desk. It will give your body a chance to nourish itself and your mind the opportunity to slow down without work related distractions.

Tip # 3: Make meetings meaningful

With the cold weather, the desire to plan out-of-office retreat meetings diminishes. However, a change of plan can be as effective as a change of scenery.

Create positive, worthwhile meetings by changing some of the activities:

? Start a meeting by asking ?What?s good??

? Hold a potluck lunch meeting (this is a great way to engage everyone, and learn more about each other?s lives outside of work)

? Embargo Blackberries, iPhones and smart phones (they can be energy suckers!)

? Facilitate an opportunity for everyone to contribute (leave no one out)

? Allow the chair of the meeting to be a different staff member

Tip # 4: Allow the workplace to be fun!

Create a committee where its primary function is to create fun in the workplace. Managers and supervisors are key ? allowing staff time to investigate and incorporate ?fun functions? into the work day. Activities could include a longer (pot luck) lunch once per month or creating in-office events that support charity or non-profit initiatives.

?Fun? Facts:

? Laughter is credited with increasing the release of endorphins, the body?s natural painkillers and protectors against depression.

? Fun positively impacts bottom-line results. Ninety-three percent of employees at the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For describe their workplace as ?fun?; and these same companies experience higher bottom-line results in terms of profits and customer satisfaction than non-100 Best Companies.

? An Ipsos survey of 1,000 employees found those who rated their manager?s sense of humour ?above average? said there was a 90 percent chance they?d stay at the job for more than a year.

? A study by Dr. David Abramis at Cal State Long Beach concludes ?people who have fun on the job are more creative, more productive, better decision makers and get along better with co-workers. They also have fewer absentee, late and sick days than people who aren?t having fun.?

Tip # 5: Create creative space

If it?s cold and dreary on the outside, it doesn?t have to be inside at work. Designate space in the office that acts as a refuge from the cold?s chilly influence. Or consider a few minor enhancements to your office or workspace. Incorporate things that make the room more inviting: plants, softer light, a warmer colour of paint, comfortable furniture and more. A creative space promotes creativity and eases the mind.

For an example of how creating creative space has paid off for one Winnipeg company, check out Smith Carter?s website.

Tip # 6: Move into a new groove by shifting your perspective to positivity

Having a tough time being positive? Perhaps you have fallen into a personal pattern that has become a ?rut?. You can move into a new groove by making small changes to shift your perspective to positivity. For example:

? Focus on what you are looking forward to that day (not what you are dreading)

? Assume positive beliefs about your organization, your work, your leader, etc.

? Ask yourself, ?what?s good???about today, about this meeting, about this task that I am about to complete

? Write down what you appreciate about your leader, co-workers, clients/customers

? Write down three things for which you are grateful about work at the end of the day

Tip # 7: Initiate positive feedback

Positive feedback is two-way: You get what you give. Research shows a big ?thank you? can go further than a big pay cheque when motivating people in the work place. In the winter time, people traditionally find it harder to be optimistic about themselves and their surroundings at work. You can make co-workers feel better by recognizing them for their contributions ? past and present

? Tell your supervisor what you appreciate about her (supervisors don?t often hear feedback ? certainly not positive feedback ? and you will notice that not only will she feel better, so will you)

? At the end of a conversation with a co-worker, tell him one thing that you liked about what he said to you

? Look for what you appreciate about your customers, and ?randomly? tell them (this can turn around those challenging customers when you focus on the positive elements of your relationship with them)

Tip # 8: Take the lead on being a leader

Don?t like the negative energy in the office? Don?t wait for your supervisor or manager to take the lead to infuse some positive perspective. Be a leader and take the lead. Give some of the tips mentioned here a try yourself.

Tip # 9: Smile : )

Smile! Don?t you feel better already? Now, smile at your co-workers as you pass them in the hallway, as you greet them at meetings or wherever you get the chance. Research shows you may be able to improve your mood by simply smiling.

Tip # 10: Beating the blahs takes persistence

Finally, beating the blahs in the office takes persistence. Winter?s tough on us all and not everyone will immediately share your enthusiasm, but chances are you?ll be surprised by the number of your co-workers who will. Remember: positivity is contagious!

Deri Latimer, B. Mgt., CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of the top 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional, the speaking profession?s measure of excellence in professional platform skill. Deri combines a business degree with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, and employee engagement.

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