The long-awaited arrival of spring is finally here. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and it is perfect weather to be outside, soaking up the sun. South Africa has felt one of its coldest winters yet, but now everyone is experiencing spring fever because seasons affect how people feel, what they do, but most importantly, how they work.

So can we expect our employees to be more productive with increased daylight hours and warmer temperatures? In fact, if managers account for seasonal changes in their workplace, it will without a doubt create a more comfortable working environment where the whole team can continue to perform at their peak.

Avoid excessive light: Glare and heat can distract employees from their tasks. It doesn’t bother everyone, but it can be problematic for those with light sensitivities and those who work with visual content that involves important details like colour. Hot, musty offices can make employees uncomfortable and affect their productivity levels.

Open the windows: It might sound insane, but quality and quantity windows in an office can make a significant difference. It regulates temperature and can keep the team cool without using too much energy. Using blinds will also add to our previous point to control both heat and light entering the workspace.

Hydration: Small investments can go a long way. Help your employees maintain comfort through ice-cold water, coffee and perhaps some fruit to enjoy during the day. Celebrate big, or minor, achievements with a lunch that’ll encourage colleagues to bond and share ideas. You’d be surprised how this boost culture levels too.

Bring in the fun: Employee engagement can suffer from bad workplace habits such as a competitive culture that involves working through lunches, staying late and continuing to work out of the office. However, you can make it more fun by bringing in a braai or outdoor meetings. It’s crucial to ask your staff for input because this way you’ll know what’s important to them.

Spring clean bad working habits: Banish bad habits to lead to a more productive office, especially if your employees are guilty of checking their work emails outside working hours, eating their lunch at their desks, and constantly working overtime. Here’s how to tackle these unnecessary habits resulting in a more engaged workforce:

  • Leave the emails after work: How would you encourage employees not to respond to emails sent half-past eight in the evening? If you don’t, how does your staff switch off from work and maintain a work-life balance? This all comes back to company culture.

    Communicate clearly that there is an expectation to work more out of the office or provide reasons not to feel obliged to check emails, feeling burnt-out and enjoy a healthy work-life balance. Not everyone will stop as technology sits at the palm of our hands, but it’s beneficial to everyone’s mental health.

  • Encourage social interactions: Social interactions for all human beings are crucial to our overall wellbeing. It could actually be more productive because colleagues learn to know each other, reducing stress and blood sugar levels.

    We all feel that we’re ‘saving time’ eating lunch at our desks and carry on with work afterwards; however, encouraging employees to break away from the office will leave them feeling more recharged and productive upon returning.

  • Working longer doesn’t equal productivity: Spending longer hours at work or home worsens employee output. The human brain can only concentrate for 13 hours after waking up, and after that, we might as well drive drunk.

    Working overtime holds serious health repercussions – those extra three or more hours could potentially cause fatal damage to a person’s heart. Of course, some events require more attention, and overtime is necessary, but the expectation to consistently work extra hours needs to be cut out for all parties’ sake.

Adapting to seasonal changes can be challenging, but if done correctly, you can create a comfortable workplace, inspire productivity, and take full advantage of what the weather has to offer.