The winter months pose unique challenges not only for individual wellbeing but employer wellbeing programs. Many organizations struggle to keep employees engaged in tired “Maintain, Don’t Gain” challenges, and often wait until mid-way through the first quarter to hit the ground running with new strategic goals and programming. In this light, it’s worthwhile to ask: what else can we be doing to capitalize on these months?
Here are seven ideas to keep your employees engaged in wellbeing throughout the winter:
- Support healthy eating: Many people struggle to eat healthy this time of year. Help your employees stay on track by providing free fruit and perhaps revisit food policies to control the quantity of holiday treats that collect in the break room.
- Create a gift wrapping station or party: Set up wrapping paper and supplies in a shared space or an empty office to encourage employees to get together during the holidays.
- Support mental health: The winter months often bring about Seasonal Affective Disorder due to the fewer hours of daylight. Promote your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) resources to remind employees of the importance of self-care. Other ideas include bringing natural light into the office with daylight LUX lamps that mimic the sun’s rays, bringing physical activity indoors, encouraging desk-side stretches and holding onsite group fitness classes.
- Provide flexible hours: Many employers offer flexible hours during the summer, but these can be just as needed in the winter. Allow your employees to take advantage of limited daylight hours and keep up with their ever-growing holiday to-do lists.
- Help employees give back: It is common to sponsor charitable giving opportunities during the holiday, but keep in mind that many people are already strapped for cash at this time of the year. Instead, try holding a coat drive, as employees can easily donate old coats or other articles of clothing and can even get their kids involved.
- Try new recipes: Challenge your team in the winter months to taste test healthy recipes (check out our featured recipes in our monthly newsletter, Wellbeing Insights).
- Spread the love: Small words of kindness and gestures of recognition make a huge impact on culture and employee morale. Check out some easy ideas for recognition in our blog post, “A Little Recognition Goes a Long Way.”
Lastly, use this time to dig deeper into your long-term strategy for employee health and productivity. Use the winter months as a time to reflect on where you are as an organization and where you want to go next year.
Abby Stevenson and Amy Howell contributed to the production of this blog.