When the clocks went back over the weekend as part of daylight saving, we all enjoyed an extra hour in bed. But with this comes shorter days and darker mornings which can have a significant impact on employee’s mood and morale.
It takes time for our body’s Circadian rhythm to re-adjust to the new cycle. It might take us longer to get to sleep at night initially as our body clocks adjust to the time difference. This can have an impact on our health and wellbeing, but also impacts the business through the loss of productivity, engagement, attendance and absence and fitness of their employees.
With many employees leaving for work and returning home in darkness, the limited hours of daylight can also have an impact. Here HCML offer five top tips for employers on how to best look after employee wellbeing during the winter months:
- Take regular breaks during the day: During the winter months it’s even more important to get outside during the day. People don’t always head outside during their lunchbreak, encourage this by organising lunchtime walks in teams or having space outside for people to sit and eat their lunch.
- Eat well: A well-fed workforce is a productive one. Encourage eating a healthy balance of wholesome foods to keep employees well nourished. Think about the snacks offered in the workplace and whether these are protein rich, perfect for keeping energy levels going.
- Sleep well: Encourage employees to keep a regular bedtime routine, and aim for 7-9 hours of good quality of sleep each night, even over the weekends.
- Put phones and laptops away: Encourage employees to reduce the level of artificial light from phones/tablets/computer screens in the evening. The blue light from these devices suppresses the release of melatonin, which helps us sleep.
- Team building:The dark, cold winter months can have a real impact on the mood of some employees. Keep team morale up by organising regular activities that bring people together. Activities such as socials, team building, healthy competitions between teams. Anything that helps keep people motivated and brings teams together can be a real mood booster.
Victoria Davidson, Director of Wellbeing, healthcare rm, part of HCML, commented:
Employers have a duty of care to protect and support their employees wellbeing all year round. This doesn’t have to take a lot, but encouraging some small and simple changes into everyday routines can have a significant and positive effect. Sleeping well and keeping well-nourished can have a big difference on how well our body’s function. This can help keep us motivated and feel more positive. With shorter days, it’s important to get outside during the daylight hours.
Victoria Davidson, Director of Wellbeing, healthcare rm, part of HCML
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.