Don’t let the cold weather keep your employees from staying healthy.
It’s not easy feeling motivated in the depths of winter, when it perpetually feels like dusk and all you want to do is hibernate. Many of your employees may be feeling exhausted, stressed out, and possibly even depressed now that the festive season is behind us. Unfortunately, fatigue, stress, and depression are notorious precursors for physical illness, which means your staff is particularly vulnerable around this time of year. Here are some ways you can help them stay healthy through the remaining winter months.
- Keep the water cooler full. The air is noticeably much drier in the winter, making it extra important for employees to stay hydrated. Help them beat the dryness by providing easy access to clean drinking water. You may even consider getting a humidifier to make their workspace more comfortable for them.
- Encourage frequent and proper hand washing. This one might seem obvious, but it’s flu season, so you can never be too careful. Post signage in bathrooms and make hand sanitizer readily available so employees can be proactive about not spreading germs.
- Suggest they get the flu shot. In conjunction with the point above, it’s a good idea to have as many staff members vaccinated as possible. Share resources that let your employees know the benefits of getting inoculated, where they can find clinics, etc.
- Prioritize movement. People tend to go outside less around this time of year, which means our already sedentary habits only get worse. Help your employees incorporate more movement into their lives by encouraging them to do simple exercises or go to the gym during lunch.
- Let your employees take more breaks. It used to be that employees would be looked down upon for seeking respite on the job, but research has uncovered an increasing number of benefits to taking breaks at work. Our brains aren’t designed to focus on a singular task for hours on end; our naturally limited attention spans dictate that, depending on the activity, we can’t concentrate for more than about 20-30 minutes. Your employees should know that it’s perfectly okay to go for a walk, grab a coffee, meditate or do whatever else will help them stay alert and productive throughout the day.
- Stress the importance of sleep. Many people struggle to adjust to a proper sleep schedule during the winter because the sun rises later and sets earlier. As such, your employees might not be getting adequate sleep in terms of quality, quantity, or both. This can have immediate and lasting effects not only on their work performance, but on their physical and mental health, too. Here are some ways you can help your staff get better sleep.
- Relax their working hours. Another way to support employees is by creating more flexible schedules so they don’t have to commute to and from work in the dark. It will help them sleep better, reduce their stress, and demonstrate that you trust them to get their work done on their own terms.
- Offer nutritious snacks. If you have a lunchroom or cafeteria, make sure it’s stocked with healthy fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is especially important for staving off colds, so be sure to make citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits available. Herbal teas containing lemon, ginger, etc are also recommended.
- Kill the winter blues with a social activity. It’s not uncommon for people to feel isolated and lonely at this time. These emotions can gradually have a profound effect on our physical and mental health. To raise your staff’s spirits, try organizing a simple social activity like going out for lunch or playing board games. It will help everyone come out of their shells and remind them they are part of a team.
More ways to help your employees thrive
In all honesty, you should pursue each of the aforementioned points year-round if you want to ensure lasting health for your staff. We also offer a comprehensive employee well-being platform that addresses hundreds of topics, from preventative health, nutrition, mental health, and exercise, to financial advice, relationship tips, and professional development resources. To learn more about how we can assist your employees, book a free demo today.
Also published on Medium.