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Rain, rain, go away! Waking to bad weather makes people feel tired and 'unsatisfied' with their job, study suggests

Alexandra Thompson
·3-min read
Waking to bad weather could leave us feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)
Waking to bad weather could leave us feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

Opening the curtains to drizzle makes many groan and research now suggests waking to bad weather affects people’s energy levels and even how satisfied they feel at work.

Scientists from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany were motivated to study how weather affects a person’s mood after a morning meeting on a miserable day left them feeling sluggish.

To better understand the impact weather can have, the team asked 115 people to keep a diary at the start and end of the day for one month.

Results revealed waking to good weather left the participants feeling more energised and enthusiastic about their job.

Read more: Wanderlust is good for you

When the weather was bad, however, they became fatigued and unsatisfied career-wise.

tired Asian woman sleepy taking a nap at work sitting at office desk
Rainy mornings may even reduce our job satisfaction. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

“The idea for this study came spontaneously during a team meeting on a bad weather day,” study author Dr Laura Venz told MedicalXpress.

“Everyone was sluggish and talking about the weather.

“Usually, we research how factors at work, such as conflict, high workload or support, relate to how employees feel.

“That day brought the crazy idea that seemingly irrelevant factors, like the weather, might indeed play a role as well.”

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The scientists had 115 employed people make a note of their mood every day, once in the morning before work and again in the evening during April – one of Germany’s most variable months for weather.

The participants also made a note of the day’s weather by ticking relevant icons, like a sun behind a cloud.

“Participants simply chose the icon that presented the current weather,” said Dr Venz.

“After work, they answered questions that measured their current wellbeing (i.e. satisfaction, vigour, burnout, negative affect [generally defined as ‘emotional distress’]).

“This allowed us to relate morning weather to same day wellbeing after work.”

The results suggest waking up to good weather makes a person more energised and satisfied at work, while the reverse is true when the mornings are rainy.

No link was found between the weather and “more negative wellbeing indicators”, like burnout and stress.

From a workplace satisfaction perspective, the results may prompt employers to encourage staff to go for a walk on a nice day or introduce energising activities when the weather is poor, according to the scientists.

Read more: One in five women in England has 'possible eating disorder'

“We acknowledge the weather is beyond the scope of managerial action,” said Dr Venz.

“Nevertheless, we deem it important to realise aspects beyond job design affect employees' wellbeing at work.”

The scientists plan to investigate how good weather boosts an employee’s mood.

“It might, for example, be that employees behave differently on good weather days (e.g. are more likely to provide support to their coworkers) and this in turn makes them more satisfied and energised.”

Watch: How to achieve job satisfaction