5 Tips for Keeping Your Employees Healthy This Winter
Now that winter is fast approaching, many employers are worried about having a short-handed staff. This is the season when employee absenteeism is the highest, mainly because people are away from work, fighting colds, coughs, influenza and other common winter ailments. In fact, last January, 4.2 million employees were absent from work because of illness. Sometimes, employees must miss work because their children are sick. As an employer, you can make a significant difference in keeping your employees both physically and emotionally healthier. Here are seven basic tips on how to keep your employees healthy and happy during winter.
1. Stock Your Break Room with Healthy Snacks and Foods
Do you have a vending machine filled with sugary, high-carb foods? If so, then replace it with one containing hot drinks and healthy snacks packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Another healthy suggestion is to have a basket of fresh fruit on your break table. Rather than a soda machine, offer bottled water and install a water fountain.
2. Caution Your Employees to Not Ignore Signs of Illness
Emphasize to your employees about how they need to listen to their bodies. This means being aware of common symptoms suggesting sickness and the need to stay home and recuperate. In addition to affecting productivity, going to work sick spreads germs.
3. Consider Telecommuting
If it’s possible, allow your employees to telecommute or work from home when they’re sick or when the weather is too dangerous to drive. Telecommuting can be especially helpful for parents with sick kids at home. Although this may initially involve having to buy special equipment, it can be worth the investment later on.
4. Encourage Employees to Take Walking Breaks
When people sit for most of the day, their health can be compromised as they can develop problems, such as obesity, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Thus, you need to encourage your employees to get up and move regularly. Just a five or ten-minute walking break can not only help blood to circulate better, but it can also improve morale and increase productivity.
5. Promote the Health Benefits of Wearing a Fitness Tracker
If you don’t already use a fitness tracker, why not join the millions of people who are wearing these devices. Besides tracking the number of steps you take in a day, fitness trackers, also known as activity trackers, also monitor heart rate, calories burned and sleep patterns.
Some trackers have an alert for reminding walkers to keep walking. Another benefit of a fitness device is that you can connect and compete with other users, which can make walking more enjoyable and effective since competition can be an ideal motivator.
Other Tips and Warnings
- Stress the importance of getting annual flu and pneumonia shots as well as offer on-site vaccinations and health screenings.
- Discuss what’s involved in good hygiene, such as washing your hands.
- Have sanitizers available throughout your office.
- Include anti-fatigue mats for standing when doing work.
- Even if your employees don’t think they can’t exercise at work because of all the emails, reports, phone calls and meetings that consume their time, they can still do some simple exercises and stretches at their desks.
- Encourage your employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Hand out fitness trackers.
By implementing these basic guidelines, you can have lower absenteeism, along with a better productivity. What’s more, you can reduce the cost of health care and maybe even minimize the impact of workers’ compensation claims.
By Zara Martirosyan
CEO & Founder of inKin Social Fitness Platform
inKin is a digital platform that allows users to start taking care of their most crucial asset – their health through tracking their fitness and health parameters and getting more active on a daily basis through online challenges and competitions. It’s also a tool for launching corporate wellness programs.