Temperatures Drop - Spirits Don’t Have To

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis

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12 Nov 2019

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The end of daylight saving time means winter is well on the way. The seasonal shift and colder weather can leave staff feeling less motivated. But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

You can ensure spirits and productivity levels remain high with a few simple steps—even as the temperature drops.

Maintaining morale in the winter months

Hello darkness…

As the days become shorter, the morning commute will be darker. This can make employees less alert as they come into work, meaning they need longer to get into their stride. Avoid planning any prolonged or arduous activities at the beginning of the day to tackle this.

For example, postpone the usual Monday morning team meeting to ensure all attendees can focus.  Alternatively, change the meeting into a brief and concise ‘buzz meeting.’ Focus solely on essential information.

All going on a summer holidays

It’s not uncommon for employees to use a large amount of paid annual leave during the summer months. This leaves them with little left to take at this time of year, which can be demoralising.

Consider offering additional unpaid leave to help resolve this situation. Alternatively, introduce performance targets and provide inexpensive perks as rewards. This can offer a welcome break from the standard working routine, helping to motivate staff and increase productivity.

The weather outside is frightful

Unfortunately, cold weather creates significant health issues and worsens existing ones. Listen to any employee complaints regarding temperature. Ensure central heating remains operational and temperatures are reasonable at all times.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 states workplace temperatures must be at least 16 degrees—13 degrees if the work involves significant physical effort.

Watch out for employees who may be adversely affected by the low temperature. You might need to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate some individuals. Staff members who are pregnant or suffer from a disability may be at risk.

Working 9 to 5

With the weather becoming less welcoming, full-time staff will likely avoid going out of the building to eat lunch. Employers should make sure that staff rooms and kitchens are up to scratch and fit for purpose.

Having a clean, relaxing, and warm environment to enjoy lunch will helps employees make the most of their breaks. This also prevents the unhealthy practice of ‘working through lunch’.

It’s important to be willing to communicate with staff and remain sympathetic towards issues affecting morale. After all, a happy workplace is often a more productive workplace. So it pays to keep morale high and help staff adapt to the change in season.

Expert support

If you’ve noticed a dip in spirits among staff, some chilly responses to your questions, or dark glances across the office, speak to a Croner expert on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.

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