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Does the weather affect our productivity?

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Does the weather affect our productivity?

This month marks the first of the long-awaited daylight savings season.

Unsurprisingly, the weather forecast for the next few weeks is 'more settled but rather chilly' according to the Met Office (although - let's be honest, this is applicable to the UK for at least 10 months out of the whole year).

However, we are waking up to brighter skies and the days are getting longer.

As we desperately scratch away the days until summer, getting up in the morning becomes slightly easier and we can finally plan our downtime activities for warmer weather.

Many of us tune into the weather to help dictate how we'll go about our day. That's because the weather affects our body clock, our mood and therefore - our productivity.

When it comes to productivity, there are a range of different factors that will affect it. Believe it or not, the weather is one of them.

And seeing as mentioning the weather in the UK is as habitual as drinking water, let's go down the rabbit hole into everyone's favourite topic of small talk.

Do longer days mean better productivity?

We've all been there. Those cold winter mornings when the dark room feels the same as it did when you fell asleep. When you're cocooned in a duvet, and every cell in your body wants to stay wrapped up in a burrito of cosy blankets.

It can make getting up feel difficult. When we start and end the day with the same gloomy skies, bashing out a heavy workload can feel like pushing a boulder uphill.

But as we ebb into spring (and hopefully some form of summer,) the difference in environment can feel quite dramatic.

We awake to sunnier starts, warmer weather, and the holiday you booked on that dreary January day is getting closer and closer. Increased sunlight boosts our serotonin levels, and makes us feel that little bit lighter.

Productivity is dependent on a whole lot of things, all ranging from personal health, to workplace environment. Our exposure to our environment really does affect our cognitive function and productivity. But it's all about knowing ourselves, and how we work.

So what does the changing weather mean for productivity and planning a workflow?

How can you use the weather to optimise productivity?

Countless studies have shown that we're more productive when we're exposed to more sunlight.  With more energy at our disposal, we're more willing to taking on additional tasks or approaching challenges. It's like having extra fuel in our mental tanks.

That doesn't always mean that bad weather equals doom and gloom for productivity. It's all about knowing how we work best, and working with the seasons.

So, how can you take advantage of seasonal working patterns/behaviours to maximise productivity?

  • Set seasonal goals
  • Optimise how you work best
  • Flexible working options
  • Adapt your working environment
  • Be outside
  • Spring clean your processes

Set seasonal goals

Goals and targets can be set seasonally, aligning with the known productivity patterns of different times of the year.

Optimise how you work best

One of the most obvious perks of longer daylight hours is feeling less tired overall. This reduction in tiredness can have a profound impact on how we plan and manage our workloads. That might mean you set your bigger projects for spring/summer seasons, where productivity tends to be higher.

Flexible working options

We all work differently. Optimise how you work best, and provide flexible working options for your employees. Some of us work better at night, and some of us work better at the crack of dawn.

Perhaps the longer daylight hours allows for scheduling meetings later on in the day. 4pm in the winter feels the polar opposite to 4pm in the middle of summer. Harness these differences and give everyone the freedom to adjust their schedule.

Encouraging your employees to work at times that suit them better, or provide a work window where staff can choose their hours.

Adapt your environment

The design of our workspaces can have such a huge affect on our workflows. Take into account the effect of natural light and temperature on productivity.

Take advantage of the longer daylight hours by getting natural light exposure, and reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Be outside

We aren't designed to be cooped up inside all day. Getting outside can be medicinal and endorphin-inducing. Whether that's just taking the dog for a walk during your lunch break, or sitting outside to work in warmer weather, it can have multiple benefits for your performance output.

Spring clean your processes

Spring is always a good time to have a good clean out. Not just for the cobwebs in the attic, but it's a good time to have a rethink about any processes that aren't serving your business anymore.

Declutter your space, and refresh any goals shuffle your priorities. Make room for some newness, so that your business can grow.

Working with the seasons will help to nourish your overall well-being

While we cannot change the weather, we can certainly adjust our behaviours and environments to draw the best out of the seasons.

Of course, the weather isn't the biggest catalyst for our productivity - but it certainly adds to our working environment, our energy levels and our mindsets.

And, nourishing your mindset = nourishing your business.

Considering the weather in your business planning might seem dramatic, but for some of us the weather really can be quite a leading factor in dictating our mood and work output.

By observing patterns and understanding the psychological effects the weather can have on us, we can create flexible, adapt plans to optimise our productivity regardless of whether the sun shines bright or it's going to chuck it down with rain. 

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