Employees fail to see the bright side of winter gloom

According to a survey, 1.5m of us don't see any daylight during winter. Which is a bit of a gloomy outlook, isn't it?

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 01 Nov 2010
The British workforce isn’t, on the whole, known as one that displays many of the signs of a Vitamin D-rich lifestyle – but it turns out that (during the winter, at least), that’s not necessarily our fault. According to a new survey by Kellogg’s, when the nights draw in, 1.5m of us don’t get any natural light during the working week – which is leaving the nation’s employees pasty, surly, and under-motivated. Now the company is calling on businesses to do something about it, assuring them that productivity will rise as a result.

The statistics do speak for themselves somewhat: apparently, one in three workers sees less than half an hour of natural light a day (the average amount of time we get to see daylight being 86 minutes), while 16% of workers say they’ve gone without seeing the sun for two consecutive working days – and 6% say they’ve gone without for five days. Miserable stuff.

And it’s not doing businesses not good, either: a fifth of workers report a drop in productivity levels (apparently, the average amount of productivity lost per worker is about a third) while two-fifths say their motivation drops. And apparently, the younger the team member, the more their productivity levels drop. (Young ‘uns these days don’t know how easy they’ve got it. In our day we would’ve been down t’pit from dusk til dawn, etc etc…).

But while, at just over 1,000, the sample size of the survey was relatively small, Kellogg’s assures us it was ‘representative of the working population as a whole’ (rather than, we assume, made up of dungeon-dwelling trolls or prisoners in solitary confinement) – we’re a bit sceptical that that many people work in windowless rooms. Still, for those who do, Kellogg’s says it is launching an initiative to encourage businesses to allow their employees to come into work an hour later or let them out an hour earlier. The easier thing to do, of course, would probably just be to make sure they get out during lunch hour. Although when the weather deteriorates, they might be grateful to stay inside...

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