Many employees admit that winter has a negative effect on their mental wellbeing. Of course one can’t fight against winter for the employees at office, there are certainly ways in which you can turn your workspace more ‘winter-friendly’.
Co-working space providers have an advantage when it comes to keeping their members motivated during the winter time, as they already offer a community of start ups and many companies working together.
Winter has a noticeable impact on the mental health and wellbeing of some workers, as reported by studies conducted by workplace consultants. Some believe it adversely affects their mood and mane even think winter affects their productivity.
There are many workers who are suffering or having suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of depression that becomes more considerably severe in the winter. This further means they have experienced or are currently experiencing stress in their workplace.
The good news is that there are ways that businesses can make a difference. It is an undeniable fact that the office environment in particular plays a major role in helping to tackle the gloomy winter blues. Office space based factors such as exposure to natural light, quiet and private areas and social and collaborative workspaces all rated as significant in extending mental support. These are way more impactful than traditional and tailored workplace benefits, for example health insurance and gym memberships.
Yet, with only 29% of people saying yes, they feel the company values their opinion in the workplace environment and only 26% believing their workplace has a positive effect on their mental health, there is clearly more businesses can do. Reviewing the office environment and engaging with staff is an important first step for employers seeking to boost the wellbeing of their workforce.
Factors that have a positive impact on mental state at work and are rated most important in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the workplace
- Supportive line management (93%),
- exposure to natural light (90%),
- open culture (81%),
- quiet and private workspaces (76%)
- social and collaborative workspaces (75%)
One more factor that contributes in improving the mental health of the employees is Collaboration. Researches reveal that greater involvement in decisions about their workplace has a positive impact, leads to motivation, better mood (70%), efficiency and productivity (70%) along with overall mental wellbeing (56%).
Here are some ideas to implement workplace improvements that will support businesses to help their employees to fight winter blues:
Tackling the symptoms of SAD:
Natural lighting: Nine in ten workers consider exposure to natural light to be very important in supporting their mental health and wellbeing at work. Wherever possible, let there be a source of more natural lighting for the office, try to reconfigure seating arrangements if required. Also remove any obstacles preventing sunlight from entering the workplace
Create a bespoke quiet area at the workplace for your employees. Try re-thinking how space is currently used, designate a part of the office as a quiet area. You can also reallocate a specific meeting room as the ‘quiet zone’ of your office.
Social and communal areas:
You can build social areas by making existing communal areas like the kitchen or pantry more welcoming with comfortble seating and a relaxed, homely design.
Include everyone in the decision making processes at workplace. Greater employee involvement will have a positive impact on staff productivity.