Home   Business   Article

Subscribe Now

SAD: How to combat it in the workplace

Every winter, we’re faced with many days of darkness.

SAD can affect productivity in the workplace (29738992)
SAD can affect productivity in the workplace (29738992)

For many, the lack of sunlight, darker days, and colder temperatures certainly affect our mood and motivation. However, when winter arrives each year, so too does seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Research has found that as many as one in three Brits display symptoms of it each year. But what exactly is it, what are the symptoms, and how can we combat it in our workplace? Here, Pharma Nord, a stockist of health supplements, including magnesium supplements, take a look:

What is SAD?

SAD is a depression caused by the dark days and lack of sunlight. It is associated with the late autumn and winter months. This occurs when your body’s internal clock and your brain and body’s chemicals all change. Some people class it as ‘the winter blues’ and it’s most common between 18–30-year-olds. Females are also most likely to be affected, but anyone of any gender or age can suffer from the disorder.

What symptoms does SAD have?

Symptoms can include:

  • Sleep issues - normally oversleeping and struggling to stay awake
  • Overeating - particularly carbohydrates and sweet foods
  • A persistent low mood
  • Loss of motivation
  • Being lethargic
  • Lack of interest in activities which were previously enjoyable
  • Depression
  • Increased anxiety
  • Weakened immune system
  • Social issues, including withdrawal from social situations

How can it affect us at work?

Not a winter person? (29739039)
Not a winter person? (29739039)

We’re certainly a nation of complainers, no matter the month. Research has found that the public misses the idea of ‘having a job for life’ and four in 10 of us feel they have a poor work/life balance. Although we do complain all-year round, we tend to take more sickness leave in the winter months. Brits have claimed to feel under the weather in two out of every five days during the winter months.

A survey by software firm, CharlieHR, reported that January has the most sick days of the year. Staggeringly, the number of sick days recorded in the first month of the year is 53 per cent above the average of the other 11 months. The Office for National Statistics says that the main causes include coughs, colds, stress, depression, and anxiety. A lot of this could be assigned to the impact of seasonal affective disorder.

There’s more to SAD than sick days. Research has found that more than half of British workers are significantly less productive during the winter months. Aspects such as darker and gloomy night making it harder to concentrate and the view from the office being less inspiring when it’s dark outside have been blamed for the lack of motivation.

Battling SAD in the workplace

Together, we can combat SAD by employers and staff alike. Laurence Olins, former chairman of British Fruits, previously stated that companies should provide more fruit for their workers.

He said: “More employers could encourage their staff to adopt a healthier diet, providing greater access to fruit in the office to prevent people reaching for sugary confectionery, particularly in these cold winter months. Eating healthily shouldn't feel like a chore and snacking on fruits like berries can help with food cravings during the day due to their natural sweetness.”

Providing the option of supplements can help those suffering from SAD during work.

One in five of us lack vitamin D3 (29739008)
One in five of us lack vitamin D3 (29739008)

Pharma Nord’s senior nutritionist, Frankie Brogan, insists that supplements will improve productivity and morale. “Supplements are a great way to boost your team’s health and nutrition, which will in turn enhance their performance. By offering supplements to your colleagues, they will also benefit from the knowledge that you care for their well-being.”

In the UK, statistics show that one in five of us suffer from lacking vitamin D3 in our diet, a figure that rises during winter. By upping vitamin intake, employees will benefit from the reduced risk of a faltering immune system during the winter months.

“Vitamin D does an excellent job of supporting our immune systems, making supplements an important consideration,” added Brogan.

Flexible working hours and the option to work at home can help support those suffering from SAD. With December and January in the UK average just eight hours of daylight - the same time period as the usual working day - many find themselves commuting to and from work in darkness. By offering flexible shifts or remote working, people may benefit from being able to get out when it is still light.

Take measures to improve the workplace during winter. This will not only help those suffering SAD but can even increase productivity.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More