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It’s mid-November and everyone’s hurting. The reality of summer’s retreat is hard to ignore and the cold weather’s got you by the wrists. The days are short, the skies are grey and you look like a dork in your toque. Worse, work sucks because the same cheerless gloom from the outside has permeated the in.

Herewith, a dozen tips for busting up winter at work.

  1. Work it out. Everyone knows exercise lifts your spirits. Post a notice on the breakroom bulletin board suggesting a Winter Wednesday Walk, and institute a weekly trek around the natural surroundings of your workplace.
  2. Hold off-site meetings. Mix up the mundane by shifting your regular Tuesday gabfest to a pub or a coffee shop. The boardroom will be there when you get back.
  3. Launch a holiday advent campaign that puts a twist on the Secret Santa monotony. Get your most eager office elf to spreadsheet an elaborate plan that sees every staffer variously giving and getting over the month of December.
  4. Pick a dreary Thursday afternoon to hold an office-decluttering Desk mess can distract and steal energy—something that’s already in short supply at this time of year. Blast music through the sound system to energize the effort. Offer prizes for the most organized desk!
  5. Introduce a cookie exchange every Monday between now and the new year. There’s nothing like the promise of baked goods to lighten Monday’s load.
  6. Shorten the work day. Consider lopping the last hour off every weekday so no one has to drive home in the dark. Make arrangements for employees to pick up the work at home, either during the evenings or weekends.
  7. Get the boss to fork over dosh for a seasonal snack Stock the kitchen with oranges, nuts and Ringolos. Up the ante in the coffee pot, too, for this stretch, with peppermint-flavoured caffeine.
  8. Sponsor a child. Have the whole office get in on picking a child to support financially, and launch the initiative with a Christmas gift and a group welcome letter. There’s nothing like charity for others to lift your own spirit.
  9. Turn up the lights. The darkness that engulfs us at this time of year has much to answer for. Don’t waste even a ray of the winter sunlight. Open your blinds and rearrange the furniture if there’s a way to secure more sunshine for the staff.
  10. Ask employees to each make three song requests for an office playlist, and then pick an hour or two of every work week to pump music through the place.
  11. Remind your office of summer with office greenery. Having plants on site, says loads of research, reduces both psychological and physiological stress.
  12. Blow through some vacation time by clipping a bunch of Friday and Monday holidays to the winter weekends. Yes, you’ll deprive yourself of summer breaktime, but could be long-weekend winter days will do more for your spirit anyway.

There’s no question that, for most of us, working in winter is work. More than half of Canadian professionals say the season has a negative impact on their mood at work, and about three percent of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder, as well.

Sad. But true.

Also true? There ain’t a thing we can do about the weather. So we might as well all lean into the stuff and show it who’s boss.