Decreased productivity and lowered employee morale linked to winter’s lack of sunlight!
A study conducted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine has shown that a lack of sunlight is linked to feelings of sluggishness and mood changes – meaning winter’s shorter days may lead to decreased productivity and lowered employee morale. As a result, employer’s need to know how to avoid this negative impact on employee’s and their business’ operations – use the methods outlined below to boost your workforce’s morale!
1 – Lighten up the office environment
This is particularly important due to the main reason for lowered morale during the winter months being a result of a lack of sunlight. Through brightening up the office environment, employees will feel more upbeat and positive. Ways to do this can include:
- Opening the blinds
- Turn the lights on!
- Use festive decorations such as a Christmas tree with fairy lights and baubles
- Introduce office plants – place bright potted plants in different areas of the office
2 – Introduce flexible scheduling
Employees are unlikely to enjoy their journey home at rush hour as it is, however it can be even more horrible when you are leaving the office at gone 5 and it being dark! Through introducing flexible scheduling it can allows employees to leave an hour early on a rota basis and make up the time by arriving an hour earlier. This method would definitely be favoured by your employees!
3 – Let your employees know how they’re performing
If you don’t already conduct appraisals, a good time to have them is during the winter month’s. This allows you to praise your employees when they are feeling the least productive and unappreciated. The winter months therefore provide the perfect opportunity to remind your workforce what they do great and the successes they have had throughout the year – leaving everyone feeling positive and productive!
4 – Encourage your employee’s to step outside on their lunch break
Although it might still be dull during the daytime, exposure to natural sunlight can help lift moods through increased production of Vitamin D. Research conducted by Baker Heart Research Institute in Melbourne showed that the more sunlight participants were exposed to resulted in a better mood; whereas less sunlight lead to symptoms of depression.
5 – Offer healthy food choices
Healthfinder.gov reports that staying hydrated and eating more fruits and vegetables can battle the winter blues. Why not introduce a fruit bowl, fresh water dispenser and if not already, free hot drinks for your employee’s to ensure they remain hydrated throughout the working day. This can be encouraged by placing, for example the fruit bowl, in a prominent area of the office kitchen or office itself to ensure your employee’s don’t forget about it!
6 – Onsite health checks
Through arranging onsite health screenings staff will feel their well-being is being considered, while serious cases of SAD could also be identified during these health checks.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons — beginning and ending at about the same times every year. Most commonly people who suffer from SAD have their symptoms prevail at the start of autumn, continuing into the winter months. The effect the disorder can have on a sufferer include:
- Loss of interest in work
- Social withdrawal
- Increased ‘moodiness’
- Decrease in energy and motivation
The most important thing to remember is, that as a Manager or Owner of a business you have a huge influence on your employees emotions – the more positive and upbeat you can make the environment within which you work the more likely your employee’s will remain happy and productive, which will in turn heighten your workforce’s morale!
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