Tips to Stay Productive in the Winter Months

5 min. read

The winter months can be difficult for employees and companies, so you’ll want to plan ahead and be ready to address any concerns.

On the one hand, it may seem like winter should be an easier time to maintain productivity: there aren’t distractions like nice weather or summer vacations. However, many find staying productive in the winter difficult for leaders and their employees. Here are some tips to stay productive in the winter months and methods to prolong this productivity year-round.

Why It’s Hard to Stay Productive in the Winter

Why is it hard to stay productive at work during winter? There are many reasons, but here are four of the most common:

The Days are Shorter

It is known that shorter days and reduced sunlight affect people’s moods. Some find they are less motivated, have trouble being in a good mood, and feel more tired. This is partly from a reduction in serotonin caused by less exposure to sunlight.

Holiday Stress

While the winter holidays are typically associated with joy, quite a few people find the holidays stressful. Even if they’re having happy times with their families or friends, holidays can include:

  • More spending
  • Busy travel
  • Increased social obligations, stress, and grief
  • Overindulging in food or alcohol

These factors can contribute to lower productivity and increased stress for workers during the winter.

Additional Requirements from Parents

For your employees who are parents of school-aged kids, winter months can bring an additional challenge of navigating school breaks. While most workers get a day or two off for Christmas and New Year's, many schools have breaks of two weeks. This has parents paying additional childcare costs, rotating their time off, or finding extra help at a challenging time of year.

End-of-Year Pressures

The end and beginning of the year at your company may bring additional work pressures. There may be fiscal obligations, budgeting, sales quotas, and the need to stay productive while many people take vacation time.

How to Stay Productive in the Winter

All of these factors can contribute to additional stress and lower productivity. Understanding the potential stressors, here are some tips to stay productive in the winter months, and ways to keep your employees' happiness in mind:

Encourage Outside Time

Sunshine can benefit workers’ physical and mental health even when it's cold outside. It’s easy to stay inside all day, working in front of screens or rooms lit with fluorescents. Encourage your employees to book time in their calendars to go outside for at least 20 minutes daily.

Address Holidays Early

Be clear about how you expect employees to manage upcoming requests for PTO. Remind everyone about policies for carrying PTO over to the next year or taking more PTO than they have on the books. Encourage teams to work together on planning time off to avoid micromanaging and allow employees to make the right choices with their teams.

Find Meaningful Ways to Reward or Gift Your Employees

Being encouraged and rewarded is an excellent way to stay productive at work during the winter. This is where you can really get creative! For example:

  • Gift certificates for employees can go a long way, from grocery stores to meal delivery.
  • Can you give a few half days to your team? Knowing they’ve got extra hours to wrap gifts, see their families, cook, or just relax can bring joy to your employees this winter.

Host a Give-Back Day or Initiative

If your team is close geographically, think about finding a local charity where you can volunteer:

  • Can you stuff backpacks for children in need so they’ve got new school supplies for January?
  • How about wrapping donated toys or making personal cards for those in the military?
  • A day at an animal rescue can also significantly help the organization and be a spirit-lifter for your team.

If you are geographically separate, brainstorm ways you can collaborate on a service project:

  • Can each employee have a day off to volunteer?
  • You could help a remote charity with efforts like designing new fliers for them, setting up social media channels for them, or emailing politicians about important issues.
  • Many hospitals, churches, nonprofit organizations, and schools would love to have this sort of help, even if it’s just for a day.

We’re Here to Help

In addition to following these tips to stay productive in the winter months, this is a great time to take the pulse of your employees’ happiness. Amazing Workplace can help, and we’re happy to show you how with a demo of what we offer. Contact us today.