Winter is a time for enjoying the holidays, cold weather activities and, of course, hockey. But it is also a time for colds, coughs and the dreaded flu. Many experts agree that as the temperature falls, so does the body’s ability to fight the common illness.
The average adult will get three colds this year, but these employee wellness ideas can help improve the body’s immune system.
- Encourage annual flu shots: The Government of Canada says an annual flu shot is the No. 1 safeguard against the virus. Promote wellness in the workplace by hosting a flu vaccination clinic or partnering with an area clinic or pharmacy to offer flu vaccination services. The Canadian government offers an online toolkit for interested businesses. Thank those who take advantage of your clinic with a free Spray Sanitizer or entry into a prize draw for a logo’d sports bottle or tea tumbler.
- Promote sick days: Yes, you heard us right. Employees should be encouraged to stay home when ill, not chastised for it. Not only does a sick employee risk infecting healthy ones, sick employees are far less productive, too. If your policy allows, be generous to those who are ill—permit them to telecommute or take a day of rest. They’ll likely bounce back sooner.
- Push clean hands and work areas: Make plenty of tissues available to help contain sneezes and coughs and stock up on alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When used properly, it’s an effective alternative to soap and water and helps prevent the spread of cold and flu bugs. Assign an employee to wipe down desks, phones and other common areas at the end of the day for ultimate wellness in the workplace.
- Boost healthy eating: Certain foods can help prevent illness. Greek yogurt, for instance, can reduce the risk of catching certain bugs by 27 percent. Ingredients in green tea are thought to prevent certain bacteria and viruses from entering the body. And foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus, leafy greens, berries and broccoli, can help fight off colds and the flu. If the budget allows, stock employee refrigerators and pantries with these flu-fighting edibles to keep energy levels up and flu bugs down.
By promoting flu vaccinations, encouraging clean hands and bulking up on foods known to help prevent colds and flu, you can help keep staff healthy this winter!