In the summer, it seems easy to spend lots of time outside, get enough vitamin D, hit our target number of steps per day, and generally take better care of our bodies. But when the weather cools and the rain and snow sets in, it can certainly be tempting to head indoors and hunker down with Netflix and our favourite comfort food. Kids are back to school, colds and flus are making the rounds, and the shorter days make getting enough exercise a challenge.
That pervasive low-energy feeling and decreased focus on personal wellness during the winter can trickle down and have a negative impact on the workplace. So, as a leader, what can you do to encourage your team members to get and stay well this winter?
We’ve got a few easy strategies to help promote employee wellness when the weather gets crummy:
The weather might be cold, but that’s no excuse not to move your body. Bring fitness challenges indoors and inspire some friendly competition – start a stair-climb competition in your building or try out a new fitness challenge app as a team.
Bring wellness to work.
When energy is low, wellness often takes a backseat. Make wellness easier for employees to get on board with by doing the heavy lifting for them. Arrange for wellness events and initiatives to take place on work time to encourage full participation. Bring in a chef to teach a cooking class, send calendar invites with stretch break instructions, or host lunch and learns (provide lunch!) on mindfulness, stress reduction, or another wellness-related topic.
Everyone loves massages.
Well, not everyone. But almost everyone will appreciate a chair massage, and it can be a relatively low-cost way to boost moods, increase circulation, and ensure employees feel appreciated! Connect with a local mobile massage therapist and inquire about corporate rates.
Host a tea-tasting.
Hot drinks are a low-cost way to warm everyone up and have a bit of fun. Ask everyone to bring in a box of their favourite variety of tea, and over the course of the month, invite folks to sample their coworkers’ favourite blends. At the end of the month, get everyone to vote on their favourite and commit to keeping the winner in stock all winter.
Call a snow day.
Here on the West Coast we don’t see much snow, but if you live in a part of Canada that actually sees the white stuff regularly, embrace the magic of a winter wonderland by hosting a snow day. Encourage team-building and have some fun (and sneak in some exercise) by closing up shop early and inviting staff and their families to participate in an afternoon of sledding and hot chocolate.
Build the culture.
Encourage a workplace culture of wellness by assigning a designated place (physical or virtual) for employees to share wellness tips and resources. What this looks like can be tailored to your organization – it could be a wiki page, updates in the company newsletter, weekly wellness updates, or a corner of the office dedicated to resource sharing. There are lots of possibilities, so get creative to spark the conversation. Pro Tip: Find the most enthusiastic salad-eater you know and coral them into helping!
Not convinced? Research shows a solid ROI on wellness dollars – studies have placed the dollar amount at about a 6 dollar return for ever dollar invested. That should be enough to convince even the most skeptical on your team!
Your Engaged HR Assignment:
What new strategies can you incorporate to encourage winter wellness in your workplace? Start building a wellness-centric work culture by committing to putting two of our strategies (or two of your own) into action over the winter months this year.
If you need some workplace wellness inspiration, feel free to give us a call and pick our brains – we’re always happy to share what we’ve learned!