Staying fit and healthy is difficult enough when you spend 40 hours a week sitting in an artificially lit room, often with very little fresh air and surrounded by other people. However, while it’s certainly challenging most of the year, in winter it’s almost impossible.
Adults catch an average of 2-3 colds a year and it takes at least a week for all the symptoms to subside. The flu, which is more serious than the common cold, is also particularly rife during the winter months and can take much longer to recover from. If your employees are off work due to illness, there is an inevitable cost to your business. However, with a few simple steps, it could be possible to reduce the impact and create a winter workplace where your employees can thrive.
- Encourage employees to wash their hands
We all know how winter bugs are spread. If someone coughs and sneezes without covering their mouths, the germs will sit on nearby surfaces for up to two hours. If they cover their mouths with their hands but do not wash them, they will leave a germ trail wherever they go, with potentially catastrophic consequences for your workforce.
To prevent the spread of germs, you should encourage your employees to wash their hands regularly. Trying to police the personal hygiene of staff will not be well-received; however, having hand sanitiser around the office and in washrooms may provide the impetus they need.
- Introduce more plants into the workplace
Plants are not just an excellent addition to the UK’s workplaces because they look the part. They can also have very real benefits for the health of your team. Office plants can reduce bacteria and dust levels, fight against mould, reduce levels of carbon dioxide and remove toxins from the air that’s produced by electrical office equipment, printing ink, paint and paper towels.
Exposure to mould, dust, bacteria, toxins and high levels of carbon dioxide can lead to a range of health complaints, including a sore throat, aches and pains, headaches, a runny nose, headaches and nausea. Simply adding a little greenery to the office can reduce your employees’ exposure to these everyday toxins.
- Invest in a supply of fresh fruit
Your diet can make a big difference to your health throughout the year. In the winter months, it’s particularly important to increase your intake of fruits. Citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C can boost your immune system and help in the battle against winter bugs. Fruit can also bring benefits in terms of the productivity and energy of your team.
That’s why employers are increasingly investing in baskets of fresh fruit in the workplace. Office fruit suppliers like Fruitful Office can deliver regular fruit baskets that help to keep staff away from vending machines and can give their immune systems a boost.
- Keep your office equipment clean
Germs can live on surfaces such as computer screens, keyboards, desks and chairs, light switches and door handles, so you must do your best to keep the office clean. Increasing the regularity of office cleaning during the winter months and leaving anti-bacterial sprays within easy reach can help you avoid a winter sickness epidemic.
What steps do you take to keep yourself healthy at work during the winter months? Please share your tips in the comments below.