Seasonal affective disorder, also known as the winter blues, refers to a condition in which people commonly feel sluggish, depressed, and experience levels of low energy during certain seasons. This condition may also be characterized by difficulty sleeping, weight gain, and even trouble concentrating. Such symptoms can frequently cause staff to feel unengaged and less productive. Although trying to beat the winter blues and avoid seasonal slumps can seem like a challenging task, there are some things employers can do to assist their employees in feeling better and more productive.
First, it’s important to understand exactly what Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is and why some people seem to suffer from it. Many experts believe that SAD is the result of a lack of sunlight. This lack of sunlight results in hormonal changes and throw off the body’s natural rhythm. Additionally, people who suffer from this disorder may experience a decrease in serotonin production. This is the chemical in the brain responsible for promoting a good mood and plenty of energy.
Steps Employers Can Take to Battle the Winter Blues and Boost Employee Productivity
There are actually many steps that employers can take to assist their employees in feeling better during the winter months. Employers should set the right tone from the beginning by ensuring they understand how to inspire a motivated workplace. The course Employee Motivation can help management do just that.
Changing the Work Environment
Making a few changes to your staff’s immediate work environment can make a difference in how your employees feel. You might be surprised to discover that just a few simple changes can actually help your employees feel more proactive and energized.
A light, bright color scheme combined with a bright and airy setting is ideal, particularly during times when access to natural sunlight is limited. Employers might also wish to consider giving employees time to take a walk outdoors. Even a few minutes of access to fresh air and sunlight can be enough to help employees feel refreshed and invigorated.
When it’s necessary to hold meetings, consider carefully where those meetings are held. The ideal location is in a bright room with a lot of windows and natural sunlight. Doing so can help to increase attention and concentration levels. In situations in which natural light is limited, the next best thing is fluorescent lighting. Some employers have even introduced sun lamps in order to ensure employees have access to light therapy to battle seasonal slumps.
Offer a Wellness Initiative
Offering a wellness initiative is a great way to assist employees in making lifestyle changes that will encourage them to make healthier choices. Making just a few changes may be all your employees need to avoid seasonal slumps and boost their efficiency in the workplace.
Encourage Healthy Eating
The effects of the winter blues can be even more complex if your workforce is not taking the time to eat properly. A great way to encourage and even model healthy eating for employees is to provide them with access to fresh, healthy foods. It can be as simple as placing a bowl of oranges in the staff break room.
Employees will certainly appreciate such a thoughtful gesture, and access to a healthy dose of vitamin C can help them feel more energized. Your company might also consider replacing vending machines, which are often laden with unhealthy food choices, with foods that are healthier and fresher.
Give Employees a Daily Mental Health Break
When employees are already feeling stressed because of the winter blues, they need additional opportunities to manage that stress. Giving them the opportunity to dedicate a few minutes each day to journaling or writing is a great way to help them feel more confident, rejuvenated, and ready to work.
You might also wish to consider offering your employees the option to take an online course, such as Time and Stress Management. This course teaches your employees how to achieve a balanced life with time for work as well as relaxation, relationships, and fun.
Encourage Employees to Have a Healthy Balance Between Work and Life
It’s vital to employee productivity and morale that staff members feel as though they have a good balance between work and life. Unfortunately, management often thinks this kind of balance is ultimately up to employees, when in reality, it is the responsibility of management to encourage staff to create a healthy balance.
A few ways to do this include offering options like telecommuting, flexible working hours, and child care services. These options ensure that employees have ample time to enjoy their free time. The course Work Life Balance helps employees explore motivation and priorities.
Encourage Employees to Get Out of the Rut
This is actually a great time to try and shake things up a little and get people thinking about doing things differently. There is no reason to continue doing things the same old way, particularly if they are not producing results. Consider encouraging teamwork among your employees to come with solutions that will boost productivity and morale.
To some degree, feeling a bit of the winter blues is inevitable, but there is no need for it to interfere with employee productivity. Take a proactive approach can help management assist their employees in getting back on track.