Keeping Employees Healthy and Productive This Winter

Polar vortex or no, the deepest weeks of a brutal winter can leave anyone feeling lethargic. And that’s not even including the colds and flus afflicting nearly everyone you know. A little preventive work around the winter blahs can save some serious green come Spring. Workplace absences cost employers more than $40 billion a year nationwide  – and U.S. employees miss more than a half billion days of work each year. Lost productivity is a huge factor in that number.

Here are five simple tips you can use to help boost wellness in the workplace during those nasty remaining winter weeks:

  1. Encourage hand washing: Sounds simple, but colds can whip through a workplace faster than a cold front if your employees don’t consciously wash their hands regularly, particularly after touching objects in high-traffic areas.
  2. Encourage employees with flu-like symptoms to stay home: If your employees are experiencing a fever, sever cough or sore throat, and body aches, staying home until the fever is gone may help save others from getting sick. Plus, the rest may help ensure that sick employees make it back to work sooner.
  3. Place tissue in high-traffic areas: You never know when that sneeze or cough will come on, and having a tissue on hand increases the likelihood that viruses will end up in them, and then in the trash.
  4. Offer non-caffeinated drinks:  You may need that morning jolt of caffeine, but regularly drinking more than two cups of coffee a day can cause insomnia and irritability and may even lower your immunity to viruses. Mixing up what’s available to employees in the workplace could help them get and stay well over the long term.
  5. Train employees on relaxation techniques: Life can be stressful, but too much stress over too long a period of time and your immune system can suffer along with productivity. Teaching a few simple techniques on meditation, focused breathing, or taking short breaks to clear the mind can help manage even the most stressful day and keep your employees focused on the job at hand.