With the temperature starting to drop and the nights drawing in, you might be starting to think about getting your office Autumn-ready. In this blog post we share our hints and tips to get more out of your office this season.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) affects around 2 million people in the UK and more than 12 million people across northern Europe. This makes it highly likely that some of your team will be starting to feel the effects of SAD as we head into Autumn.
The exact cause of SAD is not fully understood, but it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the Winter months. To support staff with SAD, design your office to bring in as much light as possible. A great first step is to open curtains and blinds and clear windowsills of clutter. If windows are blocked by large objects, such as furniture, have a rejig. Natural light is important to health and wellbeing at any time of year but should be made a priority in Autumn when it’s in shorter supply.
If your office isn’t blessed with much (or any) natural light, don’t worry. There are lighting systems out there that provide a similar amount of light to daylight. They are also less harsh than fluorescent bulbs. You could also consider some clever office design tricks to give the appearance of more light. These included lighter wall colours and mirrors to bounce light round the room.
Bugs circulate at all times of the year – but the during the Winter months they seem to be everywhere. Cold weather lowers our immune system making us more susceptible to picking up germs and becoming unwell. This can have a huge impact on business operations as more staff need to take sick leave. In fact, research suggests that employee absence rates can more than double in Winter than during the Summer months. By making just a few simple changes to your office you can keep your operations flowing and protect the health of your teams.
Firstly, encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly. Hand sanitisation stations throughout the office remind teams to do this or you could provide hand sanitisers on each desk. Putting posters up around the office can serve as an extra reminder if needed.
Next up, make sure that shared surfaces and equipment are wiped down after use. This is particularly important if you work in a hot-desking environment where keyboards and computer mice are shared. Place disinfectant wipes and sprays in readily available places from employees to take as needed.
Finally, while you can encourage your staff to help stop the spread of germs in an office, hiring an office cleaning company will guarantee the job is done well. They’ll be able to cover areas your teams might not think about too, like doorknobs, light switches and kitchen appliances.
Autumn weather can be unpredictable. One minute you’re enjoying the sunshine, the next minute the rain is pouring and it’s blowing a gale. Don’t get caught out and make sure your prepared for anything!
Unfortunately, the risk of slips, trips and falls greatly increases at this time of year, so pay particular attention to the paths into your office. Clear those within your control of snow, ice and other debris (hello fallen leaves!) and grit if you need to. Provide suitable entrance mats in doorways so shoes can be wiped to prevent slips inside.
Another headache for staff is where to put wet clothes on arrival at the office. Where you can, provide storage for coats, umbrellas and boots so employees can dry them out ready for the journey home. It is also handy to have spare coats and umbrellas available for if the weather changes during the days and people are caught out.
Autumn is famed for its colours. Reds, oranges, yellows and greens are all around us. Take some inspiration from the season and bring some Autumn colours into your office design. Go big with a complete Autumn makeover and paint walls in warm, golden hues. Or go for simplicity with colourful soft furnishings that you can easily swap out in Spring.
Another great way to introduce the colours of Autumn into your office is to bring nature indoors. Autumnal wreaths with seasonal foliage, colourful flower arrangements or even a bowl of pinecones can all add help create the look. This will also have added health and wellbeing benefits for your teams.
Finally, another great way to celebrate the season is to arrange a staff party. Autumn can be a difficult season for some people, especially those that are affected by SAD. Help your employees through the shorter days with a focus on the positive. An Autumn themed party will lift moods, enhance office culture and can be a more cost-effective alternative to a traditional Christmas do.
If you’d like to get your office Autumn-ready, get in touch. Our design and fitout service can help you better prepare your office and support your teams through the months ahead.