According to a report by Epson, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) could affect almost 20% of office workers. And it appears employers are hit with a double whammy – not only do they have to suffer the cost to the business of employee absence but employee motivation can plummet too leading to lower productivity amongst those staff who do make it into work. The results of the survey highlighted the ways in which the winter months impact UK office workers, with almost half of workers rarely or never seeing sunlight on the way to work during the winter months which can cause depression, low energy levels and fatigue. Add to this the usual winter flu’ bugs and other viruses that are prevalent at this time of the year and the cost of labour to businesses is at its highest.
How do you know when an employee is suffering from SAD? If you monitor and track employee absence with a workforce management solution it would be easy to identify employees who tend to have sick days at this time of the year and managers may notice a drop in productivity and engagement at work. The ‘winter blues’ may well be more serious than just feeling a bit low; it is possible that the immune system of sufferers can be compromised. But the good news is that there are things that can be done to help affected employees. Here are 3 simple solutions that you may like to consider:
- Improve lighting and perhaps supply special daylight lamps for employees who suffer from the disorder to use at work
- Make workspaces brighter and more colourful and introduce creative visuals into the workplace
- Encourage staff to get out into the fresh air at lunch and break- times to make better use of daylight and any winter sun that may be around perhaps starting a ‘winter-walking’ group
So if the cost of absence makes you a little SAD and you want to promote health and well-being in the office this winter, why not try introducing these simple measures and see what happens?