11 January 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Thirty-four per cent of office workers believe that winter affects their productivity, according to the results of a survey by workplace consultant Peldon Rose.
The findings also reveal that 50 per cent of workers say winter adversely affects their mood, 42 per cent believe it has a negative effect on their mental well-being, and 35 per cent actually identify themselves as suffering or having suffered from SAD - a mood disorder exhibited at the same time each year, most commonly in winter.
More than half (55 per cent) actually state that they feel like 'pulling a sickie'.
The workplace contributes to the 'depressed mood', according to Peldon Rose, with most employees (56 per cent) saying "they feel unappreciated or only sometimes appreciated by their company" and 31 per cent believe their office environment has a negative effect on their well-being - 54 per cent specifically stating that a cold office negatively affects their mood.
Peldon Rose suggests five key steps for businesses to follow to help their employees beat winter blues.
- Good heating: Some 96 per cent of employees consider a good heating system the most important factor in supporting their mental health and well-being at work. Shorter days (57 per cent), cold weather (57 per cent) and a cold office (54 per cent) are rated as the top three negative impacts on mood in the winter, so employers need to ensure that the office is at a temperature suitable for employees.
- Exposure to natural light: Nine out of 10 employees (94 per cent) say exposure to natural light is important to their well-being. But over a fifth of employees (22 per cent) said they are not exposed to natural light in the office. Wherever possible, businesses should introduce natural light into the workplace, remove obstacles obstructing light and reconfigure furniture to gain optimum natural light.
- Breakout spaces: Some 92 per cent of employees believe that social spaces are valuable to supporting healthy mental well-being. Workplaces that encourage bringing people together and building friendships will help improve employee well-being in the office.
- * Quiet settings: Although 87 per cent of workers say that quiet areas support their well-being at work, 44 per cent say they do not have these areas to retreat to. To ensure that everyone's needs are supported, businesses should create a range of spaces that staff can enjoy according to their personality type, mood and work.
- Open culture: An open and honest dialogue about mental health is valued by most respondents (87 per cent), yet half (50 per cent) do not feel that they can open up to their colleagues about this. Creating an open culture should start from the top down to encourage sharing and help improve employee well-being.
Jitesh Patel, chief executive at Peldon Rose, said: "Businesses should tailor the workplace and office environment around them and their identified needs. By doing this it will help improve wellbeing and mood and ultimately help boost productivity."