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Weather and its Impact on Productivity
While many occupations are driven by weather, such as home construction, road work and bridge building, not every job requires ideal weather conditions to be completed. These types of jobs (weather dependent) nearly always suffer lower productivity in times of bad weather. However, this does not explain the reason why productivity in offices, factories or other settings where weather is not a factor may be impacted.
Several studies have been conducted about how the weather affects work productivity, and how it impacts certain people. Most of the studies offer conflicting information. For example, a study conducted by Careers.com shows that people do seem more productive in good weather, while studies conducted in Berlin show that the weather has no negative impact on work productivity. Each individual handles weather changes differently, some are negatively impacted by rain, while others find that a bright sunny day leads to lower productivity since they would prefer to be outside enjoying the day.
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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
One well known disorder that shows how weather affects work productivity is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a form of depression. SAD is a form of depression that negatively impacts how people react to weather. Studies have shown that those who are impacted by SAD tend to be less productive during the annual changing of the seasons, when it is raining or when there is a lack of sun. These factors can all have an impact on work productivity for those who are affected with SAD. However, people who are not suffering from SAD can still find that certain weather conditions can result in different degrees of productivity. For example:
Rainy days - many people are negatively impacted by rainy days. Gloomy weather generally seems to have a negative impact on our moods. We feel less motivated, we do not want to get up out of bed and, therefore, the weather would affect work productivity negatively. It is not possible to be one hundred percent productive when we are feeling gloomy.
Sunny days - for many people, a bright and sunny day means they tend to be more productive. This is because the sunlight tends to have a positive impact on our outlook and results in being able to approach tasks with a more positive outlook. For some, a bright sunny day results in higher productivity than a gloomy day.
Bad weather - there is little doubt that people do not like driving in bad weather. A snowy or icy day almost often results in an increase in people calling into work sick or simply taking a personal day. While this is generally because they are concerned about their safety, it will always have a negative impact on productivity.
Not everyone who finds themselves less productive on gloomy days has Seasonal Affective Disorder. This does not mean that overall bad weather does not impact productivity. Nearly everyone has some form of reaction to the weather; impact on work productivity varies from person to person.
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Gloomy weather may cause you to feel less like working. The less a person works, the more negative impact the weather has on work productivity. Gloomy weather is not the only culprit however, people who enjoy being outdoors may find themselves clock watching on a beautiful sunny day as they find themselves wishing they were outside. Winter storms and summer sun all have an impact on how we view our days. Regardless of our individual reactions to the weather, nearly all of us finds we are more productive on some days than on other days.
One of the many ways that work productivity can be improved is by surroundings. It has been proven countless times that the color of work areas can have a positive impact on work productivity. Companies who are concerned about productivity in bad weather can make changes that include painting the facility in colors that boost productivity, offering a meal or other "social" time during storms or other incentives to help keep productivity steady in bad weather.
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Sources and Image Credits
- Phych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/11/09/weather-can-change-your-mood/
- Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/balance/news/20081016/how-the-weather-affects-our-moods
- Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sad/MY00371
- Chiropractic Economics: http://www.chiroeco.com/news/2007/April/Productivity.php