Winter is here – how to stay productive at work
Winter is firmly here and with it, it has brought shorter days and colder weather. With the average working day ranging from anywhere between 6 AM and 8 PM, it means many of us will be going to work and coming home in the dark.
This lack of direct sunlight during the day, the dramatic dip in temperatures and change in atmosphere can have an affect on our working routine and our overall mood.
During the winter months, it is important to focus on the way you are working and find a routine that fits your needs. This will help keep your workflow moving steadily along and help prevent a drop in productivity and mood.
How to prepare for the day ahead
One of the best ways to develop a healthy and productive daily winter working routine is to get the right start. Your morning routine is integral to boosting motivation and energy and sets you up to tackle the challenges of the busy day ahead.
US organisation, the National Sleep Foundation, recommends adults between the ages of 26 and 64 need to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. A lack of sleep is proven to have both short and long-term effects on our bodies and mental health, with high blood pressure and anxiety being some of the side effects. Going to bed at a regular time each night and switching off back-lit devices such as your phone are small ways to prepare for a good night’s sleep.
Your morning routine is also important. Along with the usual activities of breakfast and brushing your teeth many successful CEOs cite advanced planning as an equally integral part of their morning ritual. Visualising your day helps put your brain into work mode and allows you to plan for what lies ahead in the office. Taking five minutes in the morning to go over your ‘task- list’ can help boost morning motivation and productivity.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression specifically related to changes in seasons. A combination of reduced natural daylight, hectic lifestyles, and poor weather can affect our circadian rhythms. The symptoms for those who suffer with SAD commonly begin in autumn and continue into the winter months, with most people experiencing a decrease in energy level and a change in mood.
In Ireland, we are more susceptible to SAD due to our location in the Northern Hemisphere. According to Mental Health Ireland, approximately one in every 15 people in Ireland will suffer from the disorder between September and April. This can be in its most disabling form, or a milder version call sub-syndromal SAD or ‘winter blues’.
It is important that those suffering from the disorder seek help and try to come up with ways to combat seasonal distress. Maximising exposure to daylight, engaging in activities you enjoy, and practicing healthy habits such as maintaining a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are simple ways to help reduce the symptoms of SAD.
Another recommendation to consider is light therapy. Exposure to artificial light is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, which can ease SAD symptoms. There are multiple devices available from battery-powered visors, portable light boxes and special light bulbs. These can be easily implemented into your office and can be beneficial for the whole team.
Although these routines and methods can help combat SAD it is also important those suffering with the disorder speak to their GP or a mental health professional that can guide you to the best treatment.
Mixing up your usual routine
Everyday routines are comfortable and usually productive. However, during the winter months, there can be benefits to mixing things up. Any time you force yourself to make a change to your workflow, you encourage your brain to make new connections, forcing your brain to pay attention and learn. This is known as neuroplasticity.
Changing your working location is a simple, cheap and effective way to change your working routine and boost productivity. Flexible office space providers, such as Glandore, offer a number of options that can accommodate the needs of freelancers, SMEs or larger businesses.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of businesses introducing hot desking to their working environment. This is an office system whereby one workstation is used by multiple employees during different time periods. Usually, employees work different shifts or have flexible schedules. This allows a number of employees to benefit from a change in location at different times during the winter months.
In an effort to boost employee wellbeing and mental health, many businesses and flexible workspace providers have begun introducing workplace wellness programmes for their employees. Whether it is a lunch-time mindfulness seminar or morning Pilates class, it can be useful to take advantage of your company’s wellbeing programme, especially during the winter months.
At Glandore, we believe that every business needs the right environment to achieve their full potential. We support the growth of the companies and individuals we house with our very own complimentary wellness programme. Through monthly webinars, onsite seminars, exercise classes and pamper days, we seek to create a happier and healthier workplace.
If you would like to learn more about Glandore and our flexible workspace and coworking in Dublin, Belfast and Cork, get in touch here.