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Office Sad

There is a scene at the start of the '90s movie "Joe versus the Volcano" where we are introduced to the character Joe Banks as he heads into his dreary looking workplace where his office is located at the bottom of a factory. The only lighting in the place is artificial florescent lights that buzz annoyingly and make him squint. The colors are drab, and the skin color of the people working there is a pasty white.

This scene reminds me of a very real disorder that affects many people in the workplace. It's called "Office SAD". Serotonin levels are known to be affected throughout the fall and winter months and with that it's common to find people's moods dip. It also occurs when people are working in offices with no natural light.

The lack of real lighting can have a serious effect on our moods. It can also be an entry point into the stress spiral, making it harder for people to rebound from and cope with stress.

In fact, I had a client who relayed a story that was eerily similar to the Joe and the Volcano scene. Their entire department was moved from their upper level office to basement to make room. The basement had no windows and so they were forced to use unnatural florescent lights. Over the course of a few months, the moral of the place shifted drastically. There was much more tension, co-worker conflict and absenteeism than when they were on the upper floor.

The point here is that lighting has a tremendous impact on our serotonin levels, which produces changes in our moods and can result in the level of stress we feel.

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