How to combat the symptoms of SAD

11 January 2017. Feature.

Peldon Rose recently conducted the Happy Office Winter Survey and results show the range of negative effects the winter has on employees and the ways their working environments are failing to support them. Of the employees surveyed, 44% say winter has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing and 30% state winter affects their productivity. The survey paints a gloomy picture for employers hoping for a refreshed and revitalised workforce following the Christmas break as the longer, darker days of January continue to affect employees’ wellbeing and productivity well into the New Year.

Over a third of respondents (35%) believe they have suffered or are suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - a form of depression that is made worse by the winter months - and 76% have experienced or are currently experiencing stress in the workplace. To address these findings we look at the 4 essential workplace improvements that we think will support businesses in helping their employees to beat the winter blues:

Social spaces: Create comfortable, less formal areas throughout the office by introducing soft seating and relaxing spaces that invite staff to interact with each other while taking a break or eating lunch. Social spaces like the kitchen or tea point can provide a great platform for a more connected office.

Natural lighting:  Bringing natural light into the office has a range of health benefits for staff as well as increasing their productivity. Workplaces are currently failing the 90% of staff that consider natural light as important to supporting their wellbeing at work, as only 63% currently have natural light in their workplace.

Bring people together: Include everyone in decisions being made about the workplace; greater employee involvement will have a positive impact on staff productivity (70%) and mental wellbeing (56%). If staff feel it is their office, then they are far more likely to have a sense of belonging and happiness.

Quiet, private space: Only 40% of people have quiet areas to retreat to in their workplace but 76% of workers say that these areas support their wellbeing at work. To ensure everyone’s needs are supported in the office, create a range of multipurpose spaces which staff can choose according to their mood and their work.

Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive, Peldon Rose said, “Thousands of office workers are struggling with their mental health, motivation and productivity this winter, but our survey reveals that there are steps businesses can take to try prevent SAD and the winter blues developing in the first place. The first step is businesses engaging with their staff via change management and getting them more involvement in decisions on their workplace environment. By doing this it will boost their motivation, mood and productivity.

If you are interested in creating a more vibrant and engaging work environment for your people, get in touch with our team of specialist office designers to discover how we can build an inspiring office for your business.

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