Cold rainy days, longer nights, and shorter days mean the winter months have a significant impact on productivity in the workplace, and common colds and bugs along with covid-19 can cause numerous absences within workplaces. Due to lack of sunlight too, employees moods can drop during Winter time and therefore looking after health and wellbeing at this time of year, is vitally important.
Now, that people are finally taking steps towards normality again workers are slowly returning to the workplace however, with an increased consciousness of hygiene in mind. In fact, employees may even correlate how seriously you take hygiene with how much you care for their health and wellbeing. Wellbeing can come in many forms though and this guide is designed to present some simple tips and initiatives you could introduce in the workplace to improve wellbeing at this time of year.
Key Benefits of Enhancing Workplace Wellbeing
Putting your employee’s well-being first not only in winter but 365 days a year comes with many benefits. In recent studies, results have revealed that if employees report higher well-being in year one, this leads to higher engagement and a positive change in well-being in year two. However, if well-being is not prioritized then this can have the opposite effect on the company culture, workplace environment and have a knock-on effect on other team members.
- Showing your employees you care about their health and wellbeing can lead to increased employee engagement, morale and reduce staff turnover.
- Through ensuring your workplace is a healthy and safe environment, you can save costs on repairs and maintenance while maintain organizational reputation.
- Healthy employees can lead to higher engagement and productivity.
- High employee morale can be built and sustained.
- Most importantly, you can maintain an organized and timely workflow by reducing staff sickness and absences.
14 Wellness Initiatives for Your Workplace
Promote Company Sickness Policies
Remind your staff of the companies’ sickness policies should they fall sick. This will allow your staff members to ensure they follow the policies and they do not break company rules. A reminder of sickness policies will protect your valued staff members and ensure that illness does not transmit to other members of the team too.
Allow for Flexible Working
We live in a world where flexible working has become the norm. Take advantage of this and offer flexible working options to your staff. This will allow your staff members the option to work from home if they’re feeling under the weather and prevent the spread of germs to other team members.
Improve Air Care to Combat Winter Allergies & Illnesses
One of the smartest ways to protect your staff is by improving the quality of air in the office. On a daily basis, we consume 40lbs worth of air, however in comparison to hand washing and other hygiene practices, it often gets overlooked in terms of the power it has to reduce infection transmission. Investing in commercial air purifiers can treat the air in the workplace to remove bacteria and viruses and other microbes that could be deemed harmful. During Winter, it can also help employees who may suffer from Winter allergies and reduce associated symptoms that may include coughing, runny noses and itchy eyes, all of which can lead to reduced productivity and low mood.
Encouraging employees to stay active during the Winter season can boost positivity and mood, and therefore lead to more engaged and productive employees. Research has shown that even a 20-minute walk a day can change your brain, releasing endorphins and improving overall cognitive functions. While it may be hard for your employees to get outside and do as much as exercise during the Winter, it’s really important for it to be encouraged. Think about how you can do this whether you promote walking during lunch breaks or let people start that little bit later so they can hit the gym before they start work for the day. Another way to promote activity can be to introduce fitness clubs that your staff can take part in, or bring in external companies that can put on classes or events.
Encourage Your Staff to Talk To Each other
Encourage openness and conversation to allow employees to get additional support as required. Winter can be a tough time for people for many reasons and, if an employee’s mood changes, this can have a detrimental effect on performance. Making sure employees know who to turn to if they do have a problem will allow your business to proactively manage their wellbeing and support where necessary.
Introduce a Buddy System
Establishing a buddy system can be a smart way to gain trust and help build relationships between employees. This can allow team members to have relaxed conversations about how they are doing outside and inside work with their buddy, and address any issues if they arise.
Replace Festive Treats with Healthy Snacks
With Christmas falling in the winter season, festive snacks such as chocolate and mince pies are tempting. While festive treats can provide a short burst of energy, they can also lead to a dip later on in the day. Providing more ‘healthy’ snacks such as fruit or protein bars to fuel energy can ensure team members avoid the 3pm slump and stay productive throughout the day.
Revisit Company Washroom Hygiene Standards
Examining your current facilities over the Winter season is beneficial so you can identify areas where infection could spread. The importance of maintaining good hygiene throughout the year should not be overlooked during the Winter. Washrooms can be a common place for illness to spread as they are shared amongst all your team members.
Take the time to review your current washroom hygiene provisions. Is there stocked hand soap in sealed cartridge dispensers, working and efficient hand dryers that allow for complete hand hygiene and menstrual hygiene disposal bins that allow for the safe disposal of waste? Reminding people of best practices through signage can further improve hygiene within the workplace too. Talk to an experienced hygiene services provider as they will be able to identify any areas of opportunity within your washroom too.
Enhance Cleaning and Disinfection Routines
Increasing numbers of businesses are embracing hybrid working arrangements. As a result, employees may be hot-desking, which is the practice of sharing desks. The next team member should clean and wipe down the desk area before using it. To ensure that team members can wipe down the desk space area after using it, ensure that you provide hand sanitizer and wipes for employees to use.
As an additional measure, you may want to invest in professional disinfection services at this time of year. While cleaning surfaces and equipment can get rid of germs, disinfection can provide a further layer of protection and show your employees you take health and safety seriously.
Check Your Office Lighting to Boost Mood
Often overlooked, reviewing the lighting in your workplace during Winter can help to boost mood and productivity. Winter brings less sunlight hours which can have a detrimental impact on mood, morale, and productivity. Many employees may also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), that can be brought on due to consuming less sunlight. Switching lights to UV lights in the workplace can mimic the effects of outdoor, natural light and therefore boost mood, concentration, and energy levels.
Encourage Additional Breaks for Fresh Air
Fresh air is important for your staff members especially as days are shorter and nights are longer. Allow your staff to take longer breaks in the daytime as this will help with motivation and productivity.
Invest in Plants For Your Workplace
How green is your office? Did you know by adding plants to your workplace it can help to boost staff satisfaction and concentration levels? Research has shown that plants have many benefits from circulating oxygen to reducing stress levels, increasing productivity, encouraging cleaner air, reducing noise levels, and boosting creativity.
Recognize & Reward Your Staff Members
Showing recognition to your employees can make all the difference to their mood, motivation, and morale. If your employees know and feel that they are valued, it can also increase productivity and employee retention, which has a positive impact on your bottom line too. During the cold winter season, take the time to review what systems you have in place to recognize employees for good work.
Avoid Accidents and Trips
There are more chances of slips and trips during the Winter season as staff members could be traveling in poor weather conditions such as sleet, rain, and snow. Your staff members could walk into your premises with muddy or wet shoes, which can be a potential hazard that leads to accidents such as slips and trips and result in people needing to take time off work. Review what matting you have down during Winter to prevent any accidents from happening,
Find Out How Citron Hygiene Can Help Your Workplace Stay Safer During Winter
Citron Hygiene has helped to build healthy spaces in businesses for over 45 years providing every customer with the care and attention they deserve. We have a wide range of solutions that can complement your workplace health and wellbeing initiatives. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out how our solutions can positively impact your business and its employees.