Winter is coming. How is your team’s well-being?

Winter is coming. Which – as sure as Sean Bean playing a character who is doomed to an early grave – means that the UK is about to get much colder and darker for the next few months.

In turn, if you have a manufacturing or engineering managers job, this means your role is going to have some additional challenges in the months to come.

How do you keep your team’s level of well-being up and their productivity happy and high while everything becomes so dismal outside?

Not to worry. Here are a few things you can build into your team’s routine (as well as your own) to keep everyone at their best during the colder months:

Top team winter well-being actions

1) Get up earlier

Some people are night owls. Some are early birds. But the more you can do to encourage yourself and your team to get up early and benefit from the maximum amount of light during your day, the better you will feel.

If you’re in a position to do it, one end of this scale might involve shifting your working day to earlier hours. An extreme might be encouraging everyone on your team to shift their working hours too.

Even on your days off, you’ll find that getting up early to absorb that little bit of extra Vitamin D from whatever sunlight there happens to be will be worth it. Especially if you manage to get out and do something active even if you don’t need to commute.

2) Exercise more

Good mental health is often linked to good physical health. This doesn’t mean you and everyone on your team suddenly has to take up marathon running. But keeping active will almost always be a positive as far as your team’s and your personal well-being are concerned.

An especially good time to do this – if you can manage it – is in those extra well-lit morning hours you suddenly have available because you’re getting up earlier. Go for a jog. Go for a walk. Anything to get out of the house or get your blood pumping a little.

If you already do plenty of exercise, keep yourself motivated by mixing things up a bit. Try joining a new exercise class or setting yourself a new challenge.

One good way to motivate your team as a whole is agreeing on some sort of charity event or challenge to train for. Particularly if it’s a cause that you know some members of your team feel strongly about.

3) Build better working from home habits

If you or any members of your team are still working from home – or you’re going to be working from home at least part-time moving forward – it’s a good idea not to let things slide.

This is easy enough to do when things get darker and colder. You may well find that what you really want to do is stay wrapped up in bed, turn your camera off for meetings, and generally slob out rather than remain professional.

Good habits like doing more exercise and getting up earlier can help here. You might also want to try bookmarking your work hours by doing a “commute” (a.k.a. getting out of the house to go for a walk) to draw a line under the times when you’re working and the times when you’re not.

4) Talk about it

If your engineering or manufacturing job involves responsibility for your entire team, discussing – for example – how to overcome the challenges of working from home as well as the advantages can help everyone stay happy and productive.

You also need to have a systematic way to check in with each of your team members. You should ensure they know they can come to you with any issues and feel you are going to act on their behalf.

In general, making sure there is a steady stream of communication – not all of it necessarily strictly work-based – will ensure everyone feels engaged and active. The content of the communication doesn’t always matter. The fact that people are talking and being social is what’s important as far as everyone’s well-being is concerned.

5) Bring well-being into your workplace

One of the things you can do to improve your team’s well-being in the winter months is to make active physical changes to your workplace. You might want to:

  1. Try creating a quiet space – set aside an area that’s free for your team members to go and relieve some stress in. You might be surprised how helpful it can be to be away from the ever-present hum of computers or machinery even for a few minutes. It’s usually a good idea to make these spaces technology-free.
  2. Offer different food and snacks – do you offer coffee in the office? Caffeine can help get people up, but it can also make them jittery and on edge. Consider having some teas, herbal teas, and healthier snacks available.
  3. Let more natural light in – if getting up earlier in the morning to get more natural light in your day is worth it, you better believe that anything you can do to get more natural light into your office is too. If you physically can’t get more light in, consider replacing fluorescent bulbs with natural light bulbs.

Even the very act of updating the work environment itself can help break people out of unhappy habits and rote practices that make the colder, darker months feel like a long, repetitive grind.

How is your team’s well-being?

More than anything else, simply being aware of how the colder months can affect your team’s well-being – and how well-being has a direct effect on productivity – is the most important thing you can do.

There are many actions you can take to monitor and improve your team’s well-being. Even a small step taken now can make all the difference.

Interested in growing your team as well as caring for it?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist manufacturing and engineering recruitment agency. We regularly find the ideal candidates for employers all across the UK.

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