This time of the year can put a damper on creativity levels. Many of the days are still cloudy and cool, limiting the ability to get outdoors and soak in the fresh sun and air. Aside from a vacation (if you take one), there’s not much else to break up the weeks in the working world. It can feel like time is dragging, interfering with inspiration levels.

If your agency has been in a rut lately, it’s time to get things back in gear. Fortunately, there are ways to keep agency morale and motivation up for artists, makers and other creative professionals. Let’s check them out and see how they can be applied to your workplace.

Identify Your Strengths – and Embrace Them

Understanding and utilizing your best strengths improves happiness, well-being and overall job satisfaction. Encourage employees to identify their positive traits and how they can be applied to their creative profession. Who is best at perspective? Who has talent when choosing color?

Also identify the strengths of your agency as a whole. What sets you apart from others? Do you have a young pool of talent? Do you work with local businesses and have a unique understanding of their target audience?

Create an Environment Conducive to Creativity

It’s difficult to be original when you sit in the same spot every day, surrounded by gray walls, gray carpet and gray desks. An agency that depends on innovative thinking needs to have a diversified space, with areas for brainstorming, collaboration and execution.

Consider painting your workspace in a cool, relaxing color like green or blue. Hang up pictures of original artwork, arrange tables and comfy chairs for a change of scenery and give workers plenty of short breaks throughout the day.

Set a Schedule with Deadlines

Though there is no one-size-fits-all schedule, it’s important to have an outline of when you expect certain projects to be complete. To help workers stay on task, break down large projects into smaller parts. This way, everyone knows their contribution and when the rest of the team expects it to be complete.

When creating  the schedule, keep due dates reasonable and realistic. Also make sure that everyone has access to the schedule, whether it be through a public document like Google docs or an app like Trello.

Give Workers a Change of Scenery

One of the best ways to fuel creativity is to move outside your comfort zone. What are some of the ways that you can challenge people in the workplace to do this?

It may involve tackling a new project with a local business, partnering with a non profit or rotating roles among employees. You may also benefit from taking a retreat over the weekend or closing the office early on a Friday afternoon to engage in team-building. Anything that puts people in a different role can encourage them to have a new perspective.

Create a Reward System

We can’t forget the importance of a reward system. Encourage employees to get the easiest tasks done first so that they become more motivated as they progress. Have incentives for some of the harder milestones, such as a paid day off work or catered lunch. Reward systems require very little from the company itself but pays huge dividends to workers. Not to mention, enjoying a reward after a job well done is the perfect way to instill motivation.

Don’t let this time of year turn your creative energy stale. Keep morale and motivation high by tackling projects in an organized fashion, creating an environment that fosters originality and celebrating every win.