Fast Lane: The winter business blues

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We’ve been shivering our way through winter at the SmartCompany office with the temperature in Melbourne a chilly 1.9 degrees this morning.

And we’re not alone in Victoria feeling the chill, with snow last week in Queensland and a scarily named “arctic vortex” hitting New South Wales.   

Unsurprisingly coat, scarf and heating sales are on the up.

But if your business doesn’t operate in one of these niche areas it’s likely the impact of this freezing weather on your bottom line is going to be decidedly negative.

As the temperature falls, productivity also plummets.

Research by McCrindle released today shows one in three Australian employees admit their performance at work suffers during winter.

McCrindle’s survey of 1000 Australians found 27% say they are less efficient in their role during these colder months.

And that’s if your workforce even shows up.

Winter is also the season for sniffles, colds and nasty bouts of the flu. 

McCrindle found one in three Australian employees take increased time off in winter because of sickness, with 8% indicating this occurs much more during winter.

The research backs up last year’s Absence Management Survey, which found employee absenteeism spikes in winter.

The survey of 103 Australian businesses by Direct Health Solutions found employees are absent from work for an average of 9.5 days each year.

Direct Health Solutions estimates the daily cost to businesses of an absent employee is at least $340, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data which puts the average daily wage for a full-time employee at $303.20.

The company estimates 92 million working days are lost in Australia per annum, meaning the cost to the economy is approximately $33 billion per annum.

So if your business is struggling a bit at the moment you could blame the weather. 

Unfortunately, there’s more of this to come.

Melbourne is reportedly on track for its coldest July in 20 years.

Pass the cold and flu tablets.

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Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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