For many of us north of the equator, the winter months are long, dark and very, very cold. That long stretch of time between the Christmas Holidays and Easter can seem like an eternity and can often drain the energy out of even the most hearty of workers. One of the more challenging aspects of talent management is reinvigorating a staff that’s ready to hibernate for the winter. Although we are all in the final stretch before Spring, making a few simple changes can help keep your staff on the right track during these dark and dreary months.

1.  Introduce More Natural Light Into The Office: Exposure to natural light makes employees happier and more productive in the workplace. Natural light becomes even more important if employees are spending most of their time in front of a computer screen. There are several ways to introduce more natural light into the office. Glass walls can be used for the sides of the office. Daylight harvesting can also be used to bounce the natural light that comes through office windows. Both of these options also cut down on energy consumption, which offers an added benefit.

2. Rearrange the Office to Mix Things Up: A simple change of scenery can perk up employees. Move desks or cubicles closer to windows to take advantage of natural light. Other simple changes such as hanging new art or rearranging furniture can also give the office a new feel and help improve productivity.

3. Plan An Office Potluck: An office potluck is a simple way to cheer your team up. A home-cooked feast will give employees the chance to mingle, eat good food and still remain productive. Ask each staff member to bring a dish to the potluck and set some time aside for everyone to enjoy the festivities. If potlucks aren’t your organization’s thing, then get creative and plan other fun winter activities for staff. We’ve seen some great ideas like an office breakfast, skating after hours and even friendly contests where the winners get their car de-snowed by their teammates.

4. Set Business and Fun Goals: Setting business goals is important, but when spirits are down during the cold winter months, setting fun goals can make the workplace a happier place to be. Providing incentives for reaching these goals will also boost morale. It is also important during these months to ensure performance goals are on track. Set quarterly or monthly meetings to discuss the status of goals that were set at the beginning of the review cycle and ensure employees are still on-track to completing them.

5. Be Flexible: We all know that this time of year is also referred to as ‘flu season’. Colds and other fun ailments tend to spike in the winter months and the last thing any organization wants is to encourage employees to spread their illness at the office. Be flexible during the winter months, allowing employees to work from home if they don’t feel quite up to being in the office.

Tracking the results of your changes and determining which ones were most effective can help you kick the winter blues again next season.