Summer is pretty much done and dusted, the nights are drawing in and it’s generally darker, colder and a little bit more miserable than it was a few weeks ago. You may not have considered it but these seasonal changes can actually affect your business. The weather, temperature, light and time of year can all impact staff motivation, happiness and well-being. And that’s before we start thinking about business interruptions due to bad weather and a whole host of winter bugs and ailments. But is there anything you can do to counter mother nature and maintain productivity levels throughout Autumn and Winter? Of course! Check out our key tips for keeping up morale as the temperature drops.

Make Lighting a Priority

Human beings are incredibly sensitive to light. It has since ancient times regulated the way we work, rest and play. You’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where sufferers are deeply affected by reduced light in the cooler months causing anxiety, depression and stress. Whilst most of us are lucky enough to avoid the debilitating effects of SAD we all tend to feel more sluggish when the days are shorter due to a change in melatonin production and a reduction in natural light. To counter these feelings of tiredness, take as much advantage of limited natural light as possible. Try to organise working space around a natural light source and resist the temptation to keep windows covered by blinds or curtains. In terms of office lighting, blue enriched lighting has been found to increase energy and productivity and should be considered in active working zones. However, choose warmer lighting in lunch and relaxation areas to allow workers to switch off and recharge for the rest of the day.

Encourage Exercise

On rainy, cold days it’s often hard to motivate ourselves to get out and walk, run or explore during our lunch breaks. This is a real shame as shorter, darker days are actually the times when we need exercise the most. It releases endorphins, the feel good hormone, causing us to feel more energetic and positive on the dullest of days. One way to encourage staff to take up more exercise through the cooler months is to investigate staff deals or subsidies at a local gym. A bargain is always great motivation to hit the treadmill at lunchtime and will leave you with happy and productive staff for the rest of the day.

Curb the Caffeine

Coffee is often our go to beverage in the winter months and you probably see your staff reaching for a steaming mug as soon as the air starts to cool. It’s especially tempting as your energy levels naturally drop off with the shortening days. The problem with relying on a caffeine as your winter pick me up is the negative effects it has on the body. There is an initial caffeine high which will boost energy and likely productivity for a short period of time but with this comes the dreaded caffeine slump, a feeling of lethargy and general unpleasantness which is not conducive to producing great work. Encourage caffeine free alternatives by providing a wide selection of fruit and herbal teas that provide a shot of heat without the side effects,

A change in employee (and your own) behaviour is pretty inevitable at this time of year. But being aware of these changes and arranging office time and facilities accordingly can put you back in control. So beat the Autumn and Winter blues in 2016 with clever office management.

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