Winter takes its toll on the workplace

Seasonal affective disorder lowers concentration and impedes performance
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/06/2005

As the days get shorter and colder our natural impulse, just like other animals, is to hibernate until spring. While most people are able to overcome this compulsion and continue with their daily activities through the winter months, more than one million Canadians suffer much more severe symptoms that can affect their jobs and their relationships.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects from three to 30 per cent of Canadians in varying intensity. About 80 per cent of sufferers are women between the ages of 20 and 40. It’s a form of major depression that is cyclic, with symptoms starting in late fall and disappearing in early spring.

“The shorter the day, the less light, the worse the symptoms are,” says Estelle Morrison, director, LifeWorks Strategic Solutions at Ceridian Canada, an employee assistance program provider.