Working with Seasonal Changes
As summer begins to fade, we start to shift towards thoughts of changing leaves and cooler breezes. The arrival of fall means changes both outside and inside the office, and with simple adaptations you can increase worker productivity and morale while enjoying the season.
The long days of summer are shortening and soon we will be getting to and leaving work in the dark again. With shorter days and less sun, natural light will be harder to come by at the end of the year which threatens increased seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder can occur in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year and can manifest as fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. Take efforts to open windows, blinds, or curtains to let in as much daylight as possible. Consider rearranging furniture in the office that may block new sun angle patterns by shortening stacked file cabinets or moving taller furniture like bookcases into the central core away from exterior windows. Additional task light fixtures may be needed to compensate for the changes, especially in open offices that would normally rely on light diffusion from surrounding areas.
In addition to rearranging furniture to let more light in, consider rearranging cubicles or overall office layouts to position employees closer to natural light or simply refresh the office. A change of scenery or sitting next to new people can help recharge employees and increase office connectivity.
A bit more time-intensive than rearranging furniture, repainting a room can also freshen up the space visually and mentally for employees and clients. Whether you’re updating the color or simply recoating the same one, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders.
The temperatures outside are starting to drop and the air conditioning will switch over to heating in no time. Make sure the office is at an overall comfortable level, but keep in mind that no two people are alike, and someone will always be too cold and someone else too hot. Provide or recommend personal heaters/fans to employees, or if possible, seat people with similar temperature needs nearby. Be cognizant of air diffusers, vents, vestibules, windows, and high traffic areas that may cause cooler air circulation as well as the number of personal heaters on one circuit.
Cold and Flu Season
This season has always been notorious for the cold and flu, but now you must also take COVID-19 precautions into consideration. Provide plenty of PPE items such as masks, hand sanitizer, and various cleaning products as well as the typical tissues. Encourage employees to keep their workstations cleaned and to remain at home if they aren’t feeling well. Spread out workstations if possible and provide screens or partitions if they are not already present. Check product specifications for what type of cleaners are appropriate on different surfaces and test on inconspicuous spaces so that you don’t take off finishes or nullify warranties.
Authors: Katie Haines & Mandy Campbell