The winter months can be difficult for many, regardless of where they live. Shorter days often mean leaving for work while it’s dark, and returning home in the same way. Spending most of the daylight hours indoors can lead to feelings of constant fatigue and depression. This seasonal-specific condition is known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Psychology Today estimates that about 10 MILLION people in the U.S. suffer from this condition, which is actually categorized as a form of depression. The severity of symptoms can differ from person to person, but the most common include:
- Mood swings
- Ongoing fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
While there are many resources that discuss how individuals can deal with SAD, what do you do when you’re worried about your workforce as a whole? Wellness in the workplace needs to incorporate mental wellness into ongoing employee programs. Most of the common suggestions can apply to the workplace, too. Modifying them to accommodate the workday isn’t difficult, and it will help boost the morale – and well-being – of employees.
Encourage employees to get outside for a walk, lunch break, or to get a coffee. Just being outdoors will boost spirits and increase energy.
Allow for natural sources of light, where possible. Open blinds and curtains to let the natural light inside. Consider options such as floating desks, for those employees who tend to be tucked away from the natural light sources.
Offer Flexible Work Options
When possible, allow employees to alternate coming in and leaving early. This can allow for employees to enjoy daylight hours before or after work, increasing mood and well-being, which equals increased productivity.
Provide Healthy Food & Drink Options
If coffee is available to employees, consider offering a variety of herbal teas as well. Make fresh fruit available, or other healthy options. You don’t have to take away coffee and pizza Fridays, just make additional options available!
While the symptoms of SAD usually begin to diminish as the days get longer and the temperature warms, those with more constant and severe symptoms should see their healthcare provider for additional treatment options.
How do you keep morale up and employees engaged during the winter months? Share!