Productivity in the working environment has a tendency to slow down as we move into the winter months and often doesn’t pick up again until the next year’s spring. There are a few reasons this could be the result of, from employee’s excitement for upcoming festivities or the stress of organising and funding festive celebrations to the lack of normal daylight as days become shorter and the nights are longer, and the temperatures soon drop close to zero.
Some companies start to feel frustrated by this lower productivity and make changes that contribute to a negative working environment which only stands to increase employee turnover and have the opposite effect on how productive your employees are. For instance, increasing working hours to accommodate lower productivity levels is only going to cause employee motivation to plummet rather than encourage them to work harder.
Here are a few ways to increase employee productivity, specifically to accommodate changes in the winter season.
Monitor Internal Temperatures
If the office is too cold, employees are more focused on keeping themselves warm rather than putting effort into their work and on the opposite scale, employees that are too hot will also see productivity levels drop. Find a happy medium that keeps the majority of staff satisfied, moving those who feel the cold more towards heaters and radiators and allowing them to wear jumpers.
It’s always better to have a few individuals that can wear an extra layer or two to warm up, then cause anyone to overheat which is harder to overcome.
Focus on Lighting
Darker days overcast skies and the early setting sun can play havoc on the human body’s rhythm and providing staff with sufficient lighting is an advantageous way to improve productivity without creating too much expense. Don’t go crazy, our eyes can only take so much before moving into migraine and headache territory and where possible you want to give employee’s the option to add more light to their working environment, rather than leaving them restricted to ultra-harsh lights.
Alternatively, offering adjusted core hours to accommodate the shorter amount of daylight gives your employee’s opportunity for a bit more control over their working day which has an excellent contribution to increased productivity.
Improve Break Areas
Does your working environment have areas for employees to relax for a few minutes? Or activities for them to take part in over their break or lunch period? If your business breakout areas are looking tired or a bit drab, consider brightening up the area and making it more comfortable with soft furnishings including bean bags or sofas.
You could also consider investing in a source of entertainment for example a pool table or games console. Artificial lawn is an excellent, cost-effective way to instantly change up a breakout area and introduces the colour green which is recognised as encouraging feelings of calm and positivity.
While you can opt to have decorating or installation carried out by specialists or professional artificial grass installers, you can save money by carrying out changes yourself or getting your team involved.
Exercise has been shown to have plenty of health benefits, even as little as 20 minutes walking a day can have a positive effect on productivity levels and staff moods.
Consider adding a short morning or afternoon break where the whole office gets moving, promoting increased circulation, keeping staff warm and reducing stress levels through activity. Whether this is marching on the spot, a walk around the block or a handful of star jumps, ask your staff what sort of activity they’d prefer and if they believe an opportunity to get moving would contribute towards their productivity and efficiency levels.
Don’t be the business that slogs along this winter, talk to your staff, find out what slows them down in the colder, darker months and help make changes to increase productivity and by extension improve moods across your working environment.