British Weather Keeps Workers in the Office for LongerJanuary 4th, 2013 | by PaulM
During the dark nights and cold temperatures, it seems that heated office space is just as adept at keeping Jack Frost at bay as it is at keeping employees chained to their desk.
According to research from officebroker.com, the cold snap of winter encourages more workers to stay inside the office, rather than venture outside for their lunch hour or cigarette break. Chilly days see workers spending more than half an hour longer behind their desks each day – 38 minutes to be exact – which could equate to an extra 3 hours per week or 12 hours per month.
While on the surface employers might seem to benefit from these extra working hours, the research went on to identify that 71% of employees admitted feeling their productivity drop as soon as the dark nights started drawing in.
Commenting on the findings, an officebroker.com spokesperson said: “Winter weather is causing employees across the UK to spend more time at work each day – which sounds great, particularly if it helps businesses achieve their end of year targets. However, delve a little deeper and the thought process appears to be centred around what is best for the employee rather than the employer.”
“Whether it be to keep utility costs down, avoid winter traffic, stay out of the cold or impress ahead of an end of year appraisal, most workers were found to be putting in the extra time to benefit themselves. People may be staying longer at work in the evening, however due to energy levels dropping after dark it could make little difference to overall productivity.”
Countless research studies have shown that when workers start skipping breaks – be it because of bad weather, dark nights or high workloads – tiredness can quickly creep in and motivation can become a serious problem. With that, productivity falls and stress levels begin to rise. It becomes a vicious circle.
We happily curse the British weather at every given opportunity, but when it starts to affect employees’ productivity levels and the knock-on effect this can have on the business, it becomes a critical issue.
Employers can deal with this problem in different ways. Of course there’s no solution to the British weather, but providing comfortable interior break-out areas can go a long way towards encouraging staff to take necessary breaks throughout the day. Most serviced offices provide break-out areas within the building, many of which offer basic facilities such as chairs and sofas, while others provide a more sophisticated environment including televisions, computer games, pool tables and Wi-Fi access.
This might sound excessive. But if providing computer games encourages your employees to take a break, thereby coming back to work motivated and fully refreshed, the results will soon start to speak for themselves.