Most of us understands and acknowledges the many examples and situations on how weather and climate affects demand for products and services, locally, regionally and globally.
From a big snow storm causing a high demand for purchasing snow shovels & snow blowers, to high heat causing a high demand for electricity for air conditioning, to heavy rains causing people to stay home and not go shopping or to restaurants, to a draught causing a poor growing season of crops causing higher demand for imports and higher prices. The examples are numerous and global. But, how does weather and climate affect business and business management, psychologically and physically?
Hippocrates talked about and wrote about how the weather and climate affects humans and nations.Hippocrates lived about 2500 years ago, back in 460 to 370 BC.He is considered ‘The Father of Western Medicine’.He has written that he could observe how people living in other locations and cities are affected physically and with different illnesses by the weather and climate of that specific area.So, this subject of weather and climate affecting people does not seem to be a new revelation.
Studies and research differ about this subject but some stand out as fundamentals. Some studies indicate about 50% of humans seem to be significantly affected by weather and climate with emotional/behavioral/mental health and physical health But not all people. Why not more people or why not all people? Many people actively adjust their behavior and activities to counter or adjust to the weather conditions and climate. On cloudy, rainy, stormy, hot, and cold days, many people will seek out fun positive activities and social activities to counter the poor weather conditions and influences.
Weather does have an effect on people and especially on those with chronic ailments and pain related ailments and older people.
This is common knowledge. Just ask those with such ailments or ask medical professionals or ask older people. Such people commonly surround us so it is easy to ask and confirm this. The sun which is absorbed through eyes and the skin stimulate ‘serotonin’ which is a hormone that produces good feelings, good positive emotions, increasing abilities of memory, thinking and learning.
Lack of sun allows more ‘melatonin’ to be produced which is a hormone that stimulates people to feel tired, sleepy and depressed. The Pineal Gland in human brains is associated with producing and controlling these harmones. Some people think that the Pineal Gland in our brain is our ‘Third Eye’ that controls our soul, essence of a human being and cognitive thinking ability to depths. The sun also stimulates production of vitamin D in our body which is associated with more positive feelings and emotions and higher levels of cognitive thinking functions.
Birds with thin skin are sensitive to the amount of sun and start chirping as the sun starts to rise. Leaves on plants and trees are also sensitive to sun which cause springs’ new leaves to bloom and falls’ change of color and loss of leaves. So, maybe life and the degree of healthy life depends on the amount of sunlight. People living in geographic areas where there may be a lack of sunlight tend to have more feelings of depression and feeling tired.
There are many studies that have actually documented such facts. The condition of those people who are highly sensitive to the weather and climate with their emotions, mental health, behavioral health and physical health is referred to as ‘SAD’, ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’. Yes, it is a medical term. Studies indicate that higher temperatures do seem to have an affect with increasing aggression, violence, anxiety and negative emotions. Research and studies suggest that at temperatures about 70 to 75 F degrees, anxiety, crankiness temperament, aggression and violence ‘start’ to increase. This sharply increases at about 75 to 90 F degrees temperatures, approximately.
Above 85 to 90 F degrees approximately, anxiety, aggression, violence, cognitive thinking decreases significantly as well as mental and physical productivity decreasing. People seek to stay cooler in hot temperatures. Low colder temperatures cause the human body to put a lot more energy to stay warm. This causes the body to feel more tired and more energy is depleted causing the body system to be more weak and maybe more prone for illnesses.
(colds, flus & other illnesses). Some studies indicate that high humidity seems to do the same because the body is putting out effort and energy to keep cooler.
Socializing is a very high anti-depressant !
Psychologists often talk about how socializing is good for people and helps build relationships, good social health and good mental health. Socializing can be utilized to help improve the effects on people from poor weather & climate conditions.
Weather conditions and climates such as high heat, cold, rain, storms and other poor weather with the lack of sun can cause people not to socialize as often which can contribute to depression, tiredness, decrease in cognitive thinking and decrease of positive emotional stability. Many believe that life tries to find a way to survive & flourish, even in difficult times, conditions and situations.
The larger more important questions may be; With the negative physical and psychological effects from weather and climate in addition to the lack of inter-relations and lack of socialization due to the weather conditions, climate or possibly caused by specific culture/customs influences; Does this combination create issues and problems for business and business management and if so how can this be managed? Keeping business in mind, let’s think about how all of this affects business, business management, business productivity with employees, staff and business with customers; locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
Maybe, on dreary cloudy days should business offices and work environments play uplifting cheerful music in the workplace to help improve productivity? Maybe on dreary cloudy days should businesses encourage more socializing to counteract weather conditions to help improve productivity? Maybe, should businesses encourage outside luncheon areas and walking areas for employee and staff to get more outside sunlight to help improve productivity? Maybe, should businesses install more windows and roof skylights to bring in more sunlight to help improve productivity? Maybe, should businesses install windows and roof skylights in lunch rooms and break rooms to help bring more sunlight in to help improve productivity?
Maybe, should businesses install special natural lighting to improve effects of lighting and help improve productivity? Maybe, should businesses better manage the temperature in work areas to help improve productivity? Maybe, should businesses know the weather and climate where customers are located when interacting with them and adjust to such, to help improve business results?
Maybe, should business management and management staff try to manage the environment positively where they are personally doing business with customers to create a more positive atmosphere and environment; especially when the weather and climate may not be favorable? Yes, to help improve productivity and improve business results. Maybe, if customers are at remote locations and not in a weather and climate situation that has a more positive affect on people, should a business arrange for different time and day or different location with better weather for a more positive business meeting? Yes, to help improve business results. Maybe, with the business staff that have responsibilities and job duties that requires significant cognitive thinking, important decision making and highly interactive with others which requires good positive emotions to do an effective job, should they have offices with windows to get sunlight to help improve them cognitively and emotionally? Yes, to help improve business productivity and help grow the business
There are many other maybes. How about ‘the big maybe’ of; Should business executives and leaders, sales managers, marketing managers, customer service managers, supervisors and managers of all types and responsibilities in addition to personnel/human resources professionals, be trained in this and prepared to manage such with programs and procedures established to manage such situations of weather conditions? Yes, to help improve business productivity and help grow the business.
The simple objective of this short business article is to bring awareness to this subject; encourage businesses, business professionals and business leadership to do further investigation in such; and to possibly seek out specialized professional consultants and advisors than can help them manage this issue for the good of the business, business growth, staff, employees and the customers. Keep in mind that the work environment is only one part of improving business, work productivity and growing the business. For those of you who are business leaders and professional business individuals who want to improve on some of these things and other things related to improving productivity and motivation in the workplace and business;
I suggest seeking out Organizational and Industrial Psychologists who are educated, trained and experienced in such matters with how to improve productivity and help grow a business.
These are some possible resources for such professionals.
www.iaapsy.org Industrial Association of Applied Psychology, Division 1
www.siop.org Society of Industrial Organizational Psychology