How to Ready Your Office for the Coming Colder Weather

As the leaves start to fall and the breeze gets cooler, it’s time to say farewell to summer. Along with the season, your wardrobe and favorite beverage may change, too. So much depends on the temperature around you. Adapting your environment according to the weather lets you remain comfortable, whether at home or at work.

Winterizing your home is relatively easy, as you can make adjustments according to your own notions of comfort. Preparing the office is a whole new ball game, as it involves multiple people who may have different predilections. The secret to success is to learn your employees’ preferences and follow the consensus. Here are five tips to prep the office so your employees can work comfortably. 

1. Amp Up the Heat

There’s nothing worse than stepping into a freezing office on a chilly morning. To ensure your office remains warm and inviting, it’s crucial to have a well-functioning furnace. Schedule a maintenance visit with a professional technician to replace filters and inspect the furnace before it gets really cold. This proactive step will keep your HVAC system in good shape and prevent breakdowns when you need it the most.

Drafts and leaks can be your worst enemies during winter. They allow the cold to sneak into the space and make your heating system work overtime, resulting in higher energy bills. Inspect all windows and doors for gaps, then seal them with weatherstripping or caulk. Don’t forget to check for drafts around electrical outlets and plumbing penetrations as well. If you are considering window insulation, choose a film that doesn’t reduce the incoming light. 

2. Brighten Up the Space and the Mood

As the days get shorter, fewer hours of daylight can affect everyone’s mood. Replace cool-toned light bulbs for warmer ones to mimic the glow of natural sunlight. Bring out desk or floor lamps to offer individual workspaces more illumination and an extra dose of warmth.

Embrace the season by embellishing your office with seasonal decor.  If you have the budget, you can engage design professionals to come in and transform the space. Or you could encourage interested employees to participate in this task. Try to be inclusive and include all seasonal holidays, or you could stick to a neutral winter wonderland theme. That way employees who don’t belong to the dominant faith will not feel left out. 

3. Keep the Office Comfy and Clean

Although the weather may not be exactly cheerful, you need to keep your employees motivated. They may not be going out for lunch as frequently because of the cold, so make the break room cozier. Provide a steady supply of hot beverages, like tea, coffee, and hot chocolate, to keep them warm — and awake. 

Winter often brings with it an influx of dirt and moisture from wet shoes and clothing. Place sturdy doormats at the entrance to reduce damage from muddy shoes and provide a coat rack and umbrella holder. The objective is to encourage employees to remove wet and muddy outerwear before they reach their desk. Some mud will inevitably enter the main area, so schedule more frequent professional cleanings. Keep carpets and upholstery fresh and free from dirt and germs as much as possible. 

4. Focus on Staying Healthy

The pandemic might be on the wane, but viruses remain. Don’t forget the lessons you learned during the height of COVID, especially the importance of hygiene and cough etiquette. Place hand sanitizer and tissue boxes at all workstations as a reminder. It’s also a good idea to allow remote work if someone’s sick or the weather is making the commute difficult. Such employee-centric policies boost employee morale and build stronger teams.

Seasonal depression is an established phenomenon, so do your part to keep your office safe from the winter blues. Make light therapy lamps available, and plan some indoor activities like Trivia Day to help co-workers unwind. The unpredictability of the weather can also add to the stress. Send out timely alerts during winter weather events, especially if you’re canceling appointments or closing early. 

5. Prevent Slips and Trips  

Indoor slips and trips in the winter are commonly due to water brought in by wet shoes. Place anti-slip doormats near entrances and post signs if the floor is wet. Dim lighting also causes accidents, so make sure all premises are well lit, both inside and outside. And don’t neglect to check that all handrails near outdoor steps are in good repair. 

If you own your building, maintaining the outside entrance and employee parking lot is your responsibility. Ice and snow should be cleared before employees start coming in. Use ice melt or sand to make sure the walkways outside the office are safe for team members and visiting clients. 

Plan B at the Ready

Winter storms are notorious for causing power outages. Make sure your office has alternative solutions like portable power stations to keep essential equipment running. There may even be times when a return commute becomes impossible due to the weather. Stock emergency supplies in case your employees need to stay overnight.

As a business owner or manager, your commitment toward your employees’ comfort and safety should be evident through your efforts. This creates a sense of belonging and strengthens the relationship the employee has with the organization. Winterizing your office is a long-term investment for your building, your team, and your business.

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Lee Clarke
Lee Clarke
Business And Features Writer


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