Gone are the vibrant leaves of fall and the anticipation of cool breezes. As the wind turns bitter cold and the shortened days keep closing in, the winter blues come calling too. The routine remains the same but changes in the season mean arriving to and leaving work in the dark, thus missing out on sunlight, outdoor enjoyment and the optimism of summer.
Don’t let it darken the mood and moral in the office when simply adding some greenery here and a bit of outdoor patio furniture there will do the trick. Why give in to the grim when there are alternatives that will liven up the workplace? Chase away the gloom with these cheap and cheerful outdoor décor tips to brighten up that break room so your employees can somehow see the light of day.
Paint It White
No one wants to see old wood paneling or dirty gray walls any time of year, so lighten the mood first and foremost with a fresh coat of paint. White will do the job perfectly but it wouldn’t hurt to let the sun in a little more by transforming a boring chair or two to a vibrant yellow. Throw some outdoor patio cushions on them for good measure. Spray paint some old, empty frames a summer shade for simple décor and an extra pop of color.
Turning the office scene green will literally bring some life to the room. Transfer the outdoors inside with some easy-to-maintain plants like ferns and cactuses. A raised bed garden full of herbs will spark culinary conversations and possibly influence employees to join in on the plant-nurturing fun. Whether you’re hanging your plants in Mason jars or potting them inside coffee mugs, do something that will add extra quirk and maybe get the creative juices flowing back in the office.
When the sun is gone, so are those vitamins and good vibrations, but all is not lost now that sun lamps have arrived to save the day. It’s easier now to have some simulated sunshine with sun lamps that can fit perfectly right on your desk. The therapeutic benefits are proven to be great, but if you’re a skeptic, even a string of white Christmas lights or Chinese lanterns can add the whimsical charm of a warm patio in Spring.
Let ’em Lounge
Patio furniture isn’t merely for the outdoors anymore. You can bring the sunshine back by bringing inside everything from the lounge chairs to the outdoor pillows. Turn the break room into a poolside paradise, and let your hard-working team kick their feet up and realize they’ve got it good. If you don’t have the outdoor furniture, keep the colors bright by finding some tropical patio cushions or red gingham picnic tablecloths to refashion and liven up your current chairs and tables. Add a pink flamingo to the mix for extra flair.
Possibly the easiest way to have a positive effect on any ol’ place is to present it with fresh flowers. Get creative by using an antique teapot for a vase, or take a bunch of old Coke or wine bottles and paint them a refreshing shade that’s reminiscent of blue skies. You could also simply wrap some burlap, ribbon or cool fabric around a plain glass or can before filling it with a seasonal bouquet. Line up the unique vessels on a windowsill or place them in the center of a table, and watch the moods lift before your eyes.
This is where it all comes together. Use some basil or mint from your herb garden to serve summer cocktails on the occasional Friday at five. An umbrella-ed drink with a pink flamingo straw will go nicely with an employee lounged on floral patio cushions, soaking in the rays of the sunlamp. The reality of winter may await outside but keeping the atmosphere within lighthearted and laid back is all you need to keep your business working favorably until the heat of summer returns.
Let ’em Leave
This would not only be a truly appreciated move, but a worthwhile one. As great as your new break room is, nothing beats real-life daytime. Whether it’s an hour or half a day, an early-out every once in a while will let your employees enjoy some daylight during the week. Even an extra-long lunch break would go a long way toward helping to beat the winter blues.
If anything, winter is a great chance to get creative while you wait for brighter days. Some regions have longer waits than others, but all is not lost if you add a little vibrancy to the situation to keep the wheels turning. Hopefully these tips will see you through until brighter days come your way.
What’s your wintertime work morale like?
Chris Long has been working as a Home Depot associate for over 12 years and has built up a wealth of knowledge on DIY projects and décor. Chris not only contributes to the company blog but also like to share his tips on all sorts of topics ranging from what colors are best for the office to what types of flower seeds grow best indoors.