Posted by James Ranson on Thursday, December 18, 2014 - 09:58
Recognize this December scenario? Someone comes into your office, not feeling well. “It’s only a little cold,” they say. Or “My throat’s a bit scratchy.” Next thing you know, your staff’s joyful holiday spirit is lost amid widespread sneezing, coughing and aching.
This year, apply these five tips to help everyone stay healthy through December and beyond:
1. Give yourself a (clean) hand
Hands are one of the most germ-laden areas of our bodies. So remind your staff to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water. A little rinse won’t do: They’ll need to wash and rub their hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds — and remind them to wash their fingertips, areas missed by most people. You might also encourage them to keep hand sanitizer handy in purses or desks. The public places people touch frequently also need to be kept clean, for example, by using disinfectant wipes on doorknobs and conference room tables.
2. Take appropriate precautions
There are other simple steps that can help prevent illness, but we don’t always think ahead. This year, remind employees they may want to get a flu shot before flu season begins. Some people may be more susceptible than others to infection. By using a general staff-wide memo about healthcare, you can make recommendations and set guidelines, without intruding into anyone’s private health concerns.
3. Manage stress
Stressed bodies are more susceptible to getting sick than well-rested ones, and the holidays can be a busy, stressful time for many people. It’s common practice to postpone stress relief for “when we go on vacation ” or “after we finish the Q4 projects” or even “next year.” Instead, make sure you and your staff focus on work-life balance , and build in some time to hit the pause button. Encourage everyone to prioritize adequate rest, sleep, relaxation, hobbies, exercise and fun. Stress-relief strategies may require a bit of extra time, but they pay off, sometimes even immediately.
4. Practice general wellness
Team members who take good care of themselves all the time are less likely to get sick, whether it's the holiday season or high summer. Encourage everyone to exercise , drink plenty of water, eat nutritious food , limit sugar — a particular temptation during the holidays — and get up from their chairs to move regularly. Promoting these good habits around the holidays will help employees maintain them throughout the year.
5. Protect everyone in the office
If the worst happens, and members of your team do get sick , take steps to protect your healthy employees. Encourage staff members who aren’t feeling well to work from home for a few days — or take sick leave if they’re more seriously ill. Getting all the work done can be a challenge in those conditions, but doing whatever you can to preserve everyone's health will be well worth the effort.
Keeping your employees in tip-top shape can help everyone — including you — have a more joyful, productive holiday season. Start decking your halls with the gift of good health today.
What health maintenance tips have kept your staff going strong throughout the holidays? Share your favorite suggestions in comments below.