January and February are two months known for having considerable amounts of sick leave taken by staff members due to colds, flu, and other conditions brought on by inclement weather and lack of sunlight during these winter months. As an employer, you can help protect yourself against lost productivity costs each month while helping your employees stay fit enough to function all season long with some simple strategies.
1. Have a Wellness Policy in Place
If you have not yet created a wellness policy for your workplace, now is the time to do so. Not only will this document outline expectations for employee health and fitness, but it can also provide information on resources that are available to them both in and outside of work. A good wellness policy should be tailored to fit your company’s specific needs and its employees.
2. Encourage Exercise
Even if your company does not have a wellness policy in place, you can still encourage employees to be more active. One way to do this is by providing on-site fitness facilities or subsidizing memberships to local gyms. If this is not feasible, simply organizing walks or other group activities during lunch or break times can help get people moving.
3. Provide Flu Shots
Flu shots are not just for the elderly; they can also help prevent younger employees from spreading flu viruses to each other. Because of this, you may want to consider organizing a clinic at your workplace around October or November that will provide free immunizations before flu season begins. Not only does this protect employees against getting sick, but it can also help to reduce the number of days they may end up taking off work if they do get the flu.
4. Stock Up on Hand Sanitizer
In the wintertime, hand sanitizers can be a lifesaver. By having them readily available in common areas such as break rooms and bathrooms, you can help your employees stay healthy by reducing their chances of coming into contact with germs.
5. Remind them of the Importance of dressing warmly
Even if your company is located in a warm climate, the winter months can still be chilly. Encourage employees to dress in layers and bring a coat or sweater to work with them. In addition, remind them that it is important to avoid going outside without proper clothing when the weather is bad. This includes wearing hats, scarves, and gloves to keep their extremities warm.
6. Educate Them on the Importance of Vitamin D
During the winter months, it is not uncommon for employees to experience decreased energy levels. One reason for this may be that they are not getting enough vitamin D. This essential nutrient is absorbed through sunlight, and since there is usually less daylight during the winter, many people do not get enough of it. You can help by educating your team on the importance of getting enough vitamin D and providing them with information on how to get it through food sources or supplements.
7. Encourage Them to Quit Smoking
Smoking not only causes individuals to have a harder time breathing, but it can also increase their risk of developing respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. Sensitizing them to quit this unhealthy habit improves their health and productivity as well.