When the days grow shorter and the weather becomes colder, many people find themselves struggling to get through the workday. The winter blues can be a real problem, making it difficult to focus on tasks and causing feelings of fatigue and sadness. You can't do anything outside without gloves, a hat, scarf, and boots. And the cold weather has you indoors more often than not with nothing to do but look at your phone or watch TV all day long. It's hard to stay positive when it feels like winter will never end!
Most people, including your employees, get bored easily in the winter. Many of them suffer from SAD, an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as "winter blues." It's a type of depression that usually starts during the fall and ends when spring arrives. The symptoms are more severe than just feeling down or blue; they include feelings of hopelessness and despair, lack of interest in normal activities, weight gain or loss without trying to change your eating habits, sleep problems like insomnia or oversleeping low energy levels—in short, you feel anything but happy about life.
Therefore, it's essential to keep your spaces as warm and comfortable as possible. Brightening up your office could lift your employees’ moods, creativity and have an overflow effect that could make your clients or customers stop by more often. The good news is that there are ways to make the office more cheerful during these dark days. Would you want to invest in a bit of change that can brighten up your office? We’re here to tell you that it's possible with a few minor adjustments that won't cost a lot.
Today we'll arm you with a few office décor ideas to inspire a brighter mood in your office. So, sit back, sip on some hot cocoa as we spark the fuse that will inspire change during these dull and dreary winter days.
1. Getting Rid of Tacky and Bulky Office Furniture
Today’s modern office spaces use Feng Shui and other minimalistic décor concepts to enhance their look and sustain energy flow. It's not merely about keeping the costs down, but it gives office managers an easy way to address their employees' ergonomic and accessibility concerns.
We get that bulky office chairs and traditional heavy dark oak office desks are status symbols. However, they can be imposing enough to darken the mood in your office. Lest we forget, they encourage people to sit down more, which contains the energy in one place instead of spreading it around the office.
Sitting down for long hours also negatively affects the human psyche and health. It can cause muscular aches while promoting poor blood circulation. Such factors contribute to dullness in employees because you can't be happy if you're in constant pain.
The best place to start is replacing those tacky and bulky sitting desks with cutting-edge height-adjustable desks. Aside from a minimalist outlook, modern standing desks feature contoured edges and bright countertops.
And you can always find an option that has bamboo, oak, marble, or glass if you like the look and feel of an authentic desktop. You can add a stylish ergonomic office chair because all that standing will tire you. This is one of the best ways to compliment your office space by making it brighter and more conducive to active sitting or standing.
Side note, you may also want to tear down the dull walls that come in the shape of office cubicles. Such features are a stumbling block to energy flow and workplace collaboration. But, we understand that open office concepts aren't for everyone. Therefore, you could opt for simple translucent privacy partitions.
2. Proper Lighting
Sadly, many office managers underestimate the importance of good office lighting options. When winter sets in, such issues come to light (pardon the pun). During such times, offices in the Northern Hemisphere suffer as less natural light from the sun filters through office blinds and windows. Aside from reduced visibility, it can demoralize employees' engagement in their tasks.
You can install sash windows and ambient LED bulbs if your office faces to the west to have more lighting. Having a modern yet classy desk lamp also creates the illusion of longer hours of daylight. However, be careful not to overdo it because going overboard with these measures could have the opposite effect.
Installing paintings and other wall-mounted fixtures can offset the polarity and ensure balanced aesthetics.
3. Lighter Shades of Wall Paint or Wallpaper
Less natural light is one aspect that makes winter days seem longer and more dreary. This is something you can't change. However, you can make your office a little brighter with the proper lighting and wall paint.
Avoiding glaring red, brown and deep shades of blue helps make things feel less gloomy as the snow and winter frost start to bite. You can paint your office wall with lighter yellow, blue, green, or orange shades to brighten the office. Neutral colors like light-green and white work for accounting firms, law practitioners, and other astute offices.
A fresh coat of paint or wallpaper makes a huge difference. You may be surprised at how it can brighten up your employees’ morale and your clients’ confidence.
4. Replace Coffee Breaks with Hot Chocolate Breaks
Coffee breaks are essential. Not only do they allow your employees to recharge their energy but also to socialize and break the monotony of tedious tasks. So why not break from tradition during the festive period?
You can supply them with instant cocoa and milk mix packets for short breaks. You can also stock your office kitchen with the following items to make 30 minute breaks brighter:
You can also encourage your employees to bring their homemade holiday hot chocolate recipes to the office. This measure makes it fun for everyone. Best of all, the sugar rush can add a spark of creativity and heightened energy levels that are sure to brighten up the space.
5. Some Music for the Right Ambience
Many studies show that listening to music can brighten up your spirit, whether actively or passively. That's why sailors sing sea shanties while performing demanding tasks in synchrony. Or why movies and TV shows use soundtracks and scores to highlight different moods.
The holidays offer the perfect reason to whip out a Christmas-themed playlist. No one will judge you if it's still playing around labor day! After all, we all have a few songs that play in the back of our minds as we do various things. Music is the soundtrack that powers the stories of our lives.
Of course, not all industries are ideal for music as it can be an unwelcome distraction. You can try out noisli –an innovative website that lets you craft less distracting yet uplifting background noises.
A mix between a crackling fireplace and a chilled-out coffee place comes highly recommended for office workers. It's so reassuring and soothing that your employees may feel less stressed from staring at glaring computer monitors all day.
6. The Floor Also Matter
Keeping your head in the clouds helps you reach higher verticals in life. But, it is also essential to keep your feet on the ground for a stable footing. Likewise, brightening up your floors makes a huge difference in your quest to make your office brighter.
Here, we're talking about carpeting, colors, patterns, and materials that cover up your floor. However, concrete flooring is a surprisingly easy way to make things less dull. Professionally polished concrete floors can give your office a sleek touch. You can also add color, carpeting, or area rugs to make it pop.
Such concrete floors make your office brighter and airier during the winter. They also work for the hotter months as natural light bounces off and your office feels cooler.
7. Group Outings to Lift the Spirits
Winter outdoor activities pale in comparison to what you can do in the summer. That's why winter breaks are shorter, as most people focus on working hard to keep the heating on and their bellies full. However, the snow makes winter group activities just as memorable. Best of all, you don't need to be in your summertime body.
You can relive your childhood days by going ice-skating or sledding at the park after office hours. You don’t even need to go anywhere special to have some fun. For instance, you can schedule interdepartmental snow fights or snowman-building contests in your parking lot.
Sure, it gets dark early, and you'll feel the chill after a while. But, who says the fun should stop there? After outdoor activities, you can hit the coffee shop or the bar for some hot drinks. Aside from the bonding experiences, you can save these moments in pictures or videos. This way, you'll always cherish the memories that will keep your spirits high even after winter.
8. A Spot of Aromatherapy
Your olfactory senses can perk up your mood more than you may think. Please close your eyes and imagine the smell of your momma's homemade apple pie or the roast turkey she did this past thanksgiving. Doesn't that thought send warm tingles down your spine?
Well, you can use essential oils or incense sticks to infuse energizing scents into your office space. Use scented candles instead if you’re in the market for something more elegant. The following fragrances can help rejuvenate you while enhancing your sense of well-being:
Lemon or citrus
Myrrh + sage
However, a little goes a long way, so don't overdo it to avoid undesired allergic reactions. Also, watch for dripping candle wax and other potential fire hazards.
9. Try Adding Some Artwork to your Workspace
Art can help brighten up an otherwise dreary day, especially if you find yourself stuck inside too much. If finding the time or money for a big art purchase seems impossible, just print out some simple pictures from the internet and place them around your desk instead. A few images of nature will do nicely – maybe something with a tree or river or a sunny beach. You could also try a quote about happiness – a good one would probably match well with most office environments.
Some people spend their winters wondering when Miss. Sunshine and Mr. Blue sky will come and blow their cares away. Winter is the perfect time to work for some people as there are fewer distractions. These camps agree that winter can be a dull and demoralizing period.
But, as you can see, you can raise your spirits and keep them at an all-time high with a few minor office adjustments. You don't even have to spend that much. However, we forgot to mention the importance of coming together and remembering the less fortunate in society.
So, please remember to donate to a charity, visit the sick, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or do whatever you can to help the disadvantaged. Every bit counts. Have a happy holiday, and come back next year for more workplace insights.