As we plough into February, for many people those laudable New Year resolutions have faded to sad, distant memories. And, while the lingering weeks of winter can still sap morale, it’s not all doom and gloom. Help is at hand in the form of some simple steps you can take to keep your people engaged and productive until spring comes. A positive approach to boosting motivation is key to success. Here are my top tips.

  1. Set clear goals and provide feedback
Employees are more likely to feel motivated when they know and understand what they are expected to achieve and have clear guidance and support do it. Providing regular feedback is also important to ensure they know whether their performance is on track. Accomplishments and shortcomings should both be considered in a positive, constructive way.
  1. Recognise jobs done well
Recognising good work should encourage employees to continue trying to do their best. Knowing their contribution is appreciated helps them realise their effort and input make a difference to the business. Even a simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way to reassuring them how much you value their effort.
  1. Encourage staff to take lunch and regular breaks
Taking regular breaks, eating well and staying active can help employees to maintain a positive mood. They can also help to boost resilience and enable them to cope better with the stresses and strains in their lives. Where practicable, make sure they know that it’s okay to get away from workplace at break time – whether it’s stopping for lunch or simply going for a walk. Even simple measures such as encouraging a healthy, balanced diet (which employers can facilitate by ensuring their people have access to healthy choices) and taking regular exercise can help.
  1. Think flexibly about working hours
Understanding your employees’ needs and, if practicable, being flexible about the hours you offer them may result in them being less likely to call in sick. Introducing specialist software such as ShiftPlanning and TimeForce, which can be adopted to allow employees to make changes to their working hours, will give them a greater sense of empowerment. The ideal is to ensure you put into place the right working patterns to meet your business’ needs as well as enable your employees to have a good work/life balance.
  1. Teams work
Giving employees something to look forward to is a great way to keep them feeling motivated and can improve workplace energy levels. There are plenty of things you can do such as have a dress-down day, workplace competition or even a team outing – anything that you think they would enjoy. You may wish to do something together as a team to raise money for or help out a local charity.

These simple tips should be easy put into practice and can make a big difference to the wellbeing and performance of your team – and not just for winter but all year round.

By Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare