Have you looked around your workforce recently and seen the winter blues set in? This could be because the excitement of the holiday season, the parties and celebrations, are now just a distant memory while the work goes on. If you are concerned about employee productivity and engagement as we get into the new calendar year, you are not alone.
It’s not just the cold weather and grey skies that has your employees feeling down (although Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real depression diagnosis that falls within the Americans with Disabilities Act). The time from Thanksgiving through New Year's (Day) typically includes family and friend get-togethers, food and fun. That high can linger into the first few weeks of the year but now your employees are coming back to reality.
Employees return having to focus on new work demands with steep and ambitious targets to hit. This can be difficult to handle. If you look around your office and see lots of blank faces staring into their computers, consider these ideas to reenergize your workforce:
1) Introduce wellness initiatives or activities
Many of your employees may already have new year’s resolutions that focus on wellness and fitness, so why not help them meet their goal? Clear out space in a conference room and bring in an instructor once a week to lead a yoga class before work hours or during lunch. You can even stream fitness instruction videos from YouTube and play them using a projector to save some cash.
Don’t forget to provide a disclaimer that states employees should consult their healthcare professional to make sure they can participate. As we all know, exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy! Other options could be a lunchtime walk around your corporate park, or healthy potlucks where everyone can contribute something different.
2) Focus on small, attainable goals
While it’s important for businesses to be ambitious, especially in a new year, piling too many objectives and goals on your employees can get overwhelming. This is especially true since many of these goals will take the whole year to achieve. Instead of focusing on every one of your company’s goals right at the beginning of the year, break them up into more achievable targets and spread them out over the year. For example, instead of only focusing on a big release in Q4 and every detail associated with it, focus on one client, or one sale or one line of code at a time throughout the year. This will keep everyone from constantly feeling like they are drowning.
3) Take time to celebrate when goals are met
You don’t need to have a big blow-out for one software patch or one new pitch, but do recognize when things are achieved. One easy way to do this is in a weekly email blast to your employees from the executive team summing up all the achievements from that week, no matter how big or small. It can also be done in a monthly get together where goals are celebrated, but so are birthdays and work anniversaries. It may not seem like much, but even the smallest recognition can go a long way towards motivating employees.
4) Show your appreciation to employees
You may have ended 2016 by offering holiday bonuses or extra days off, but employee appreciation should not just be a once-a-year thing, and it does not necessarily have to be a monetary reward. You can thank your team for a job well done and recognize when someone hits a milestone, whether personal or work-related. A little motivation can go a long way towards alleviating the post-holidays blues and get your employees ready and eager to tackle 2017!
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