Keeping Your Team Motivated over Winter

Winter Team Building

The holiday season can be a truly magical time…unless you are an employer. Countless vacation days and holiday euphoria can leave your employees less than motivated from Thanksgiving through the New Year.  On top of that, “many businesses are in the process of wrapping up projects and racing to meet deadlines before year-end,” says Ben Walker, Forbes. “Personal obligations along with work can pile up on your employees’ plates. With so much going on, employees can lose focus on work.”

However, there are several ways you can keep your team engaged and motivated all year long.

Redefining the Holiday Spirit

“Keeping the productivity of employees at a high level can be challenging,” says Stefan Lewinger, co-founder and CEO of Sock Fancy, LLC. “As owners and managers, we should be proactive in keeping them motivated to do the job they need to do. Caring, motivating and keeping your employees engaged will, in turn, help them continue to work hard throughout the year.”

Below are several ways to do just that.

Open & Honest Communication

“Communication is key throughout the year,” says Walker. “During these next couple of month, it is even more important.”

Your employees want to hear from you. They want to know what’s going on: what projects are due, who is going to be out of town, and who is expected to pick up the slack. It is important to keep the lines of communication open, and set expectations. Let your employees know what you expect from them during the holiday season.

“Speaking with employees individually is another effective way to maintain communication,” says Walker. “Check in with them frequently to see how things are coming along.”

‘Tis the Season of Giving…Rewards

One tried and true way to keep your employees motivated is to offer them rewards. After all, who doesn’t love a nice holiday bonus? However, not all rewards are monetary.

“Giving your employees a big project during the holiday season may seem like a bad idea,” says Walker, but most employees crave that extra responsibility. It shows them that you believe in them and you think they are ready to advance in their career. Just be sure to set realistic expectations. “Setting expectations too high can cause even more stress for both you and your employees,” warns Walker.

The holiday season is also a great time to recognize employee accomplishments. Sit down with employees individually and let them know how they are doing and don’t be afraid to express your gratitude over a job well done (include specifics).

“The perfect time to recognize your employees is near the holidays,” says Lewinger. “A simple thank-you card, words of encouragement or any gesture that recognizes the work that your employee does day-to-day will go a long way.”

Goal Setting

A nice way to refocus your employees is to use December to set goals for the New Year.

“As critical projects that were established at the beginning of the year are completed, employees are waiting to move on to next year’s goals,” says Lewinger. “Start setting goals now to keep your employees committed, focused and productive throughout the year.”

It is also incredibly rewarding for employees to be involved in the goal setting process. Listen to your workers and take their thoughts and feelings into consideration. What do they think is important in the coming year? Do their views align with yours?

Make Work Fun

One way to keep your employees on task is to turn work into a game. It’s called gamification.

“To do this, let your employees know about hourly or daily targets you’d like to hit,” says Kyra Kuik, Planday. “For example, if you run a restaurant and you would like to see dessert sales increase, you might tell the wait staff that the first person to sell five desserts can pick his or her shift for the next day.”

It’s all about making work fun!

Indoor Team Building

“With holiday preparations, the end of the year is often a stressful time,” says Lewinger. “There are many ways you and your team can come together as a group to blow off some steam and relax.” However, the very few activities allow you to do this in a meaningful way that translates back to the office.

The answer is team building…indoor team building to be specific. Through the use of games and exercises, your team can come together in ways that are fun and meaningful.  Done right, facilitators help your staff make the connection between the exercise and what happens at work.

“When done well, team-building activities can…help build better relationships and increase communication among your team members,” says Lynn Flinn, CPA, president and managing partner of The Rowland Group of Staffing Companies. However, in order to be “done well,” team building programs need to be customized for their audience. This is where Terrapin Adventures can help.

Custom Team Building with Terrapin Adventures

When the weather outside is frightful, team building indoors can be so delightful.

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures can accommodate up to 200 people in a comfortable indoor setting. However, some people are hesitant to let their guard down and open up in a strange setting. Don’t worry! We can come to you. Sometimes a familiar location can work wonders, and even enhance a team building program. Our experienced facilitators can travel off-site to your office, or any number of other indoor facilities, including hotels, conference centers, gymnasiums, etc. As much as we love our ropes course, sometimes indoor team building activities are best, especially during cold or inclement weather.

Indoor or outdoor, on-site or off, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program to help improve several aspects of your team: leadership, communication, teamwork, trust, and so much more. After each exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

Schedule Your Custom Team Building Program!

Team building can be done year round as Terrapin Adventures has team building suites where we use our portable equipment and creativity to engage with teams on fun and meaningful exercises.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at to learn more.


  1. Kuik, Kyra. “How to Motivate Your Staff during the Holidays.” Planday, 7 Sept. 2017,
  2. Lewinger, Stefan. “5 Tips for Increasing Employee Engagement During the Holiday Months.”, 22 Nov. 2017,
  3. Walker, Ben. Keeping Your Employees Focused Through The Holiday Season. Forbes Magazine, 30 Oct. 2017,
This entry was posted on Monday, November 26th, 2018 at 2:19 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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