One-In-Ten Workers Are Less Productive During Gloomy Weather,'s Survey Reveals
--21 percent have called in sick because of not wanting to travel in inclement weather --

April showers may eventually bring May flowers, but what does it mean for the workplace? According to a survey of more than 6,000 workers, one-in-ten workers (10 percent) say they tend to be less productive on days when there is gloomy weather with rain cited as the weather attribute that most negatively impacts their demeanor (21 percent).

In addition to productivity, weather can impact employee moods and, ultimately, how they interact with their co-workers. Thirty-two percent of workers say they tend to have a happier disposition when it's sunny or warm outside while 12 percent tend to be sadder or angrier on gloomy days. Comparing regions, 16 percent of workers in the Northeast say they tend to be sadder or angrier on dreary days, compared to an average of 11 percent for the other regions.

Inclement weather can also result in higher absences. One-in-five workers (21 percent) have called in sick because of not wanting to travel to work in bad weather. Workers in the Northeast were the most likely to call in sick due to bad weather (32 percent) compared to the South (21 percent), Midwest (20 percent) and West (13 percent).

Comparing genders, women were more likely to report feeling less motivated when the weather is gloomy and more likely to call in sick due to bad weather conditions. Twelve percent of women report their productivity tends to drop on dismal days, compared to 8 percent of men. Twenty-five percent of women admitted to calling in sick because they didn't want to travel to work in bad weather compared to 18 percent of men.

When asked which weather attribute most affects their mood or productivity negatively, workers pointed to:

  --  Rain (21 percent)
  --  Cold (14 percent)
  --  Hot (13 percent)
  --  Dark (9 percent)
  --  Snow (9 percent)

"Nearly one-third of workers say they tend to be in a happier mood when it's sunny or warm outside," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for "If you're in a happy mood, you're typically more motivated and have more pleasant interactions with co-workers. Employers -- especially those in areas where the weather can get particularly gloomy for days on end -- could benefit in terms of better productivity and office relations by finding ways to lighten the mood."

Haefner suggests the following ideas to improve employee morale during the rainy season:

  1.  There's a reason why it's called "comfort food" -- Order a hot lunch
      for your staff so that they don't have to venture outside into stormy
  2.  Laughter is the best medicine -- Play DVDs of popular sitcoms that
      relate to your industry such as "The Office" or "Scrubs" in the
      employee lunch room.
  3.  Rainy day recess isn't just for kids anymore - As we learned when we
      were kids, playtime can be both fun and educational.  Take some time
      out to play a fun and engaging team-building activity with your staff.

  Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 6,169 workers (employed full-time; not self employed), ages 18 and over within the United States between November 17 and December 11, 2006. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 6,169, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1 percentage points, respectively. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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