How to boost team morale this winter

Naomi Humber, Head of Mental Wellbeing at Bupa UK shares 10 ways to boost your team’s mood this winter.

The shorter days, darker nights and colder temperatures can all impact your team’s wellbeing. Many employees experience lower moods and energy levels during the winter months

An analysis of Google search data has revealed UK employees are turning to Google for winter wellness tips and advice as the evenings get darker:

  • 420% increase in Google searches for ‘winter wellness’
  • 300% increase in Google searches for ‘work life balance and mental health’
  • 100% increase in Google searches for ‘mental health top tips’
  • 80% increase in Google searches for ‘workplace wellness programs’

Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can boost your team’s mood this winter to help them be their best. Here are 10 simple ways you can support your employee’s wellbeing as the evenings get darker.

  1. Encourage your team to enjoy natural sunlight

The lack of daylight hours in the winter can affect your mood, so try to make the most of them and get outside when you can. Even on a cloudy day, getting outside will help your body to get the light it’s craving.

As a manager, you can encourage your team to wrap up warm and get outside for a morning or lunchtime walk to help boost their mood. Why not lead by example and set aside 30 minutes during your day to head outdoors?

  1. Check they’re working in the right environment

Bright working environments have been proven to help alleviate some symptoms of mild depression. Try to make the most of natural light in the office, and keep the space well-lit with bright lights when needed.

If your team are working home encourage them to let in as much sunlight into their working environment as they can. For example, open any curtains or blinds and sit by a window.

For some employees a SAD lamp can also help. These are plug in lights which mimic the sun and are thought to boost levels of serotonin and melanin.

Evidence around light-therapy is still not 100% conclusive, but it does look as though it can deliver positive short-term effects – so it could help your team look after themselves until the days start getting longer.

  1. Encourage regular exercise

While exercise might not seem so appealing when it’s cold outside, it can actually have a big impact on our mental health. Regular exercise increases levels of endorphins, the so-called ‘happy’ hormone. Exercise doesn’t need to be long or strenuous either. You could suggest organising a lunchtime running or walking club or even after work exercise such as yoga to wind down after a long day.

  1. Make time for your team

Prioritise being available to chat to your team when they feel as though they may need some help or advice. It can feel a huge relief to open up about how you’re feeling.

Try to set aside team every week to catch up with your team on an individual basis – even if you’re busy.

  1. Provide access to support

If your team are struggling with their mental health this winter, make them aware of any support available to them.

Whether this is pointing them in the right direction to find wellbeing resources, such as mindfulness techniques. Or access to health services such as doctors’ appointments and employee assistance programmes (EAP).

  1. Organise seasonal events

The winter brings lots of seasonal activities to enjoy, such as ice skating, Christmas markets and of course Christmas parties. Organising seasonal events for your team to enjoy together can help to boost motivation and lift spirits during the winter months.

  1. Offer positive feedback

Encouraging your team with positive feedback is a great way to help boost their self-esteem and motivation. Reflecting on achievements over the past year as well as goals for the future will ensure your employees are engaged and feel supported over the winter months.

  1. Promote a work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance can have a positive impact on employee wellbeing. Encouraging your team to find a work-life balance that allows them to switch off after work and relax can help to beat the winter blues.

  1. Provide the right snacks

Don’t underestimate the power of eating healthily – it may boost your mood, give you an energy boost and help you think more clearly.

While it might be tempting to buy the team to sweet treats like donuts, these should be a treat rather than a regular occurrence. Instead, providing healthier snacks like fruit, nuts and seeds can help people keep a clear mind.

Likewise, if your workplace has a canteen, look to offer healthy lunch options and snacks to help your team eat a balanced diet whilst working.

  1. Lead with creativity

When it comes to boosting your team’s mood get creative – sometimes the simplest things can help brighten someone’s day. For example, celebrating your favourite things about winter together. And make sure to ask your team to suggest their own ideas for boosting team spirits.