Behavior Change, Corporate Wellness | By | 01/31/20 | 3 Minute Read

3 New Workplace Activity Ideas to Beat the Winter Cold

January doldrums are real. With shorter days and lower temperatures, staying positive and motivated in the winter months is hard. A little creativity from managers and HR leaders can go a long way in keeping team morale upbeat and optimistic.  

Rather than waiting it out until springtime like a hibernating bear, try these three workplace activity ideas to keep the team from struggling with the wintertime blues.

Celebrate lesser-known holidays with activity challenges

You can help beat the gloomy months by incorporating celebrations into your office activity challenges. Consider having competition centered around a holiday by creating step, distance, or active minutes challenges, and use holiday-themed prizes as incentives for the winners. For example, Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans start January 25. Launch a six-week Big Easy Challenge that begins on that date, with the winner getting travel vouchers to NOLA or maybe a restaurant gift card for a favorite local Southern fare diner. 

Super Bowl Sunday (February 2) is a popular day for local 5K and 10K running events, so pick a local event and generate interest among employees to represent your corporate team. And don’t forget before Super Bowl LIV to remind employees how watching football affects their step count and share a few tips on how they can make up for lost yardage.  

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to educate your employees about the three types of activities that boost heart health. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, those include: aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching, flexibility, and balance. Consider focusing on one each week and offer specific Valentine’s Day Healthy Heart classes at your gym or a nearby fitness center. 

Help your employees stay active by encouraging indoor fitness activities

Inclement weather usually means lots of time spent indoors and at home, and by late January keeping those New Year’s resolutions can be difficult. Planning some workday and after-work activities can help your employees stay active.

Companies with onsite gyms can plan weekly team workouts. If a gym isn’t available, plan in-building walks. Stairs and hallways are perfect for 30-minute walks, and you can place a few unexpected prizes (such as a water bottle, foam roller, or Fitbit gift card) along the way to keep everyone engaged.

Outside the office, offer free or discounted workout classes to the teams. You can even make it a team-building experience with collaborative activities such as rock climbing, competitive axe throwing, or one of the latest crazes, pickleball. Mix in options like yoga, dance, and martial arts to appeal to a variety of interests.

Organize a volunteer activity

Volunteerism and activism have definitely been on the rise during the last few years, especially among younger employees. In recent studies, millennials are cited as top participants in corporate volunteering activities, ones that provide meaningful tasks and connections and contribute to work/life balance.

Volunteering activities can run the gamut in activity levels, so consider organizing ones that keep employees active. Whether it’s a one-time opportunity or a monthly recurrence, volunteering helps employees know each other better while supporting the community.

Be sure to propose volunteering opportunities that will appeal to the entire team: cleaning up the local park or highway, or walking dogs at the animal shelter. You may want to survey your employees for ideas. Many may already be connected to an organization, and they will have a set of ready contacts to help organize the activity.

Creating and promoting a social workplace where employees make social connections has lots of unexpected benefits. Studies show it has an impact on company profit, safety incidents, and employee health. Read the white paper, “Social Connectedness: The Secret to Employee Health and Happiness” for tips on developing wellness programs and improving social engagement.

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Want to learn more about activity challenges that go beyond steps? Download our guidebook, “4 Challenges to Take Employees Beyond Steps.”


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