Are your employee’s SAD?
A recent study, by employee health risk specialist ‘Willis PMI Group’, has revealed that nearly a quarter of UK employers have encountered Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the workplace.
“SAD is a medically recognised condition, believed to be caused by reduced sunlight levels affecting hormone production, that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern and is sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ because symptoms tend to be more severe during winter” said Mike Blake, Director at Willis PMI Group.
The study also uncovered that 23% of UK Human Resource (HR) professionals had received reports from employees suffering from the condition. However, almost one in five (18%) believe that SAD is an unnecessary label used to explain natural, seasonal changes in mood.
Almost three-quarters (74%) of the HR professionals surveyed noticed a downturn in mood among staff during the dark winter months. Furthermore, 43 % said they also noticed a downturn in staff productivity during winter.
Shockingly 21% of HR professionals surveyed failed to recognize SAD effects on employees’ mood and productivity.
“There is clearly a lack of understanding on how to handle the issue of SAD amongst employers,” added Blake. Lifestyle measures, including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing stress levels, as well as light and talking therapies can have a significant impact in reducing symptoms.”
Employers should consider changing the office layout so staff capture natural daylight. Alternatively if natural light is a problem encourage outside meetings, a walking club at lunch or office yoga.
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