Small businesses are most successful when the whole team is motivated by each other, gets along at work, and knows how to have a little bit of fun at the same time. So imagine, you’re a small business owner and your company is plagued by what seems to be never-ending snowstorms. It’s the middle of winter and employees come to work upset that they had to dig their cars out at 6:30am. They arrive to work late, and worry all day about the effects of the snowstorm on their personal lives. How do small business owners maintain employee morale during the dark, snowy days of winter? Use this time of year as an opportunity to motivate your best kept assets (your employees)! Is there anything wrong with conducting team-building initiatives while on the clock?

Human resource professionals suggest that performance-based compensation is the most useful way to motivate employees, and studies do indicate that to be the most effective technique. Keeping that in mind, are there other ways to motivate your employees when the thermometer reads below freezing?

How about having a fun and friendly competition, “who can wear the most unique pair of snow boots to work?” At lunchtime, take a vote. The top winner gets their car cleaned off by the highest level executive before they leave to go home. Or better yet, we all remember how fun it used to be to have a “snow day”. If your company is able to work from home, let them! Let your workforce know that you value their safety in addition to caring about the productivity of the company. Be careful, there are those employees amongst us who when given an inch, can take a mile. Still, it can be a nice experience to let your employees work from the warm comforts of their own home. “Did someone say for lunch today we are meeting in the parking lot to build the company snowman?” Let your employees arrange in teams by department, and take a half hour out of lunch to build a company snowman. Then, with the half hour remaining, meet in the conference room for hot chocolate and awards. The winning “team” each receives small gift cards to the local store.

The winter months can cause headaches and frustration amongst all of us who have to travel to work in the arctic atmosphere. Use this as an opportunity to maintain and even build upon your employee morale! At the end of the day, the greatest asset your small business has is the employees that represent and produce the results for the organization. Shake it up, promote the word T-E-A-M in a new way.