Three Steps to Getting the Most out of the Shortest Day of the Year

Naomi Hamlin |

Since June 20, the days have been shorter and shorter and now it feels like we barely see the daylight at all. So, on the 21 December, we will give a warm welcome to the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight and the longest night of the year. The specific amount of daytime that you’ll see will vary depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. For instance, Glasgow will see around seven hours of daylight, whereas Fairbanks, Alaska will experience just four hours and Barrow, Alaska will have no daylight at all!

But how does a lack of daylight affect us?

The most recognisable example is Seasonal Affective Disorder, the mood-changing condition that’s also known as the “winter depression”. It can lead to low mood, a loss of interest in everyday activities as well as feeling lethargic. On top of this, we tend to see a slight deficit in the production of vitamin D due to reduced daylight. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight and has numerous health benefits and helps fight off serious illnesses.

It’s easy to believe that the days get shorter throughout Winter but in fact, Winter Solstice and the first day of Winter fall on the same day, after which the days get progressively longer. Longer days mean we can start to look forward to improved moods, longer evenings and warmer days.

We can spend this time between now and summer to get organised, whether that be through a spring clean, a wardrobe clear out or setting achievable goals. It’s also important to consider how this can be translated to the workplace and look to the season ahead to review and define goals that set your business up perfectly for the new year.

Step One: Out with the Old, In with the New

A good place to start is to gather your spend data for the year, which can be daunting if your reporting isn’t automated. In order to get prepared for the year ahead, take a look at your existing expense reports and check if they are still meeting your business needs or if you need to change them in order to get the visibility of cashflow that you require.

SAP Concur tools enable you to seamlessly connect to your Concur Travel, Expense and Invoice Data in order to gain a single, clear view of spend. Business Intelligence allows you to modify existing reports or create your own custom reports that meet your requirements.

Consultative Intelligence gives you the right reports to help you make the right decisions. You’ll have access to more than 200 standard high-level reports while being supported by SAP Concur experts who will guide your reporting strategy through every stage of the company’s growth.

Step Two: Prepare Your Business for Longer Days

Increasing productivity and spending time on value-adding activities is a top priority for most businesses but doing this effectively often means processes and policies need optimising. Before you can optimise, you must first gain full visibility over spend to know which parts of your policies need to change.

Concur Detect by Oversight uses AI to analyse your transactions from expense reports, receipts and bank card data and highlights any activity that doesn’t adhere to policy. You can track errors and incidents of fraud closely so you can work out which transactions are intentional misuse and which are accidents. If there is non-compliant spend happening in a certain part of your business, it may be time to re-look at your policy or give training to employees.

Step Three: Set Achievable Business Goals

As we bring in the new year, we set ourselves new resolutions, whether that’s cutting down on caffeine or becoming more active. More often than not, these goals can become overwhelming and unachievable, but by splitting up these resolutions into achievable goals, sticking to them becomes more realistic.

The same can be said with starting a new working year. Setting personal goals can seem daunting, but if you choose a few micro-goals to practice every day, these can quickly turn into habits that can improve productivity on a daily basis. In order to make these goals become habit, do them at the same time as a daily task so they quickly become routine.

If you focus on optimising the way your business works, setting realistic goals and harnessing the power of automation to save time and money now, you can spend more time enjoying the longer days by the time the Summer Solstice comes around.

To find out about how to prepare your business to be more agile and resilient please take a look at two useful assets: eBook Seven Steps to Build a More Resilient and Adaptable Enterprise and a Whitepaper Three Ways to Future-Proof Your Business.