Your ultimate guide to beating the Autumn blues

Are you feeling deflated by the end of summer, longer evenings, and colder weather. We look at the changes the autumn season could have on your employees (good and bad), and how to address them.

Employees are actually more productive

A study by Harvard Business School found that bad weather makes for more productive employees. Because they are not distracted by what they could be doing in the sun, their brain stays focused meaning it takes them less time to do tasks. Here are four tips to make the most of this productivity.

1. Avoid summer photos – The study found that if staff were reminded of summer days, their mind ran away with them again, so avoid them in power points, screen savers, posters and decorative pictures.

2. Take the time to complete less urgent tasks – If you’ve wanted staff to clean desks, sort folders or create better processes, now is your time to do it.

3. Set more ambitious goals – Create targets for staff that directly affect company success, ask how they think they can achieve them and set tactics to complete. Shorten the time frame to utilise their productivity.

4. Introduce flexible working – If an employee would rather an extra hour in bed when the mornings are dark, then they won’t mind staying longer in the evenings. This means extra efficiency as they are working when they are most productive.

Bad moods

When there is less sun, there’s less vitamin D, which can result in fewer good moods. Here’s how to combat the blues.

  • Encourage exercise – Exercise releases endorphins which lifts moods. Standing desks or discounted gym memberships can help.
  • Music – We know that office music is not always a good idea because some people can’t concentrate, but if it is plausible for the kind of work you do, you should allow staff to listen to their own music through headphones. Studies have shown that music can have significant mood boosting effects.
  • Flowers – A behavioural study found that people worry less, have lower anxiety and levels of depression when flowers are present.
  • Create a buzz with a competition – Nothing boosts people’s energy like a bit of healthy competition.
  • Improve or create communal areas – A study by Business Matters found that 3/4 of workers thought communal  areas were important for mental health. This is especially true during colder months when staff don’t want to go outside.

What makes a good communal area?

  • Uniqueness – The break room should offer employees an escape from the office where they can unwind even for a few minutes and remove themselves from the day-to-day. Don’t make it an extension of your office, make sure it stands out and there is a clear differentiation. Change the colour, furniture and layout, add pictures, motivational posters, or decorative objects to  provide a complete contrast.
  • Table and chairs – It sounds obvious but a table offers somewhere for employees to sit and eat their lunch. They create a good place for staff to engage and chat as opposed to just having a sofa.
  • Free fruit – This is a healthy way to curb hunger, promote concentration and productivity. It is also an inexpensive perk which employees will appreciate, demonstrating you care about their health and well-being. You can start with a small bowl and scale up in accordance to which fruits are most popular.
  • Television – Keep the volume low and have just four or five channels to avoid them becoming a distraction. Televisions provide employees something to do rather than just mindlessly scrolling through their phone. You could play the news as a steady stream of information to help staff feel more informed and involved with other things going on.
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee – Provide free, good quality coffee. Not only is it a nice perk of their job, but it improves mental capacity, attention spans, productivity and boosts energy…sounds like a no brainer to us.

Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 6th October 2017