Who knew that the cold weather could cost your company?
As the wintery months draw in, with the nights getting darker and the weather getting colder, you will notice your staff sick leave rates are getting higher. Not only this, but the pre- and post-Christmas rush will certainly have an effect on your employee’s health and wellbeing too.
Based on the average UK salary, the average rate of sick pay in the UK, and the average of 4.3 sick days being used, it would cost £473.76 for each individual every year. With more than one employee sick at a time, this all adds up very quickly.
How illness spreads through the office
The cold and flu are no joke, not like some of the excuses you may usually hear when it comes to granting sick days. They aren’t messing around when they are spreading through the workspace, surviving on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours!
Contaminated surfaces together with inadequate cleaning is a recipe for disaster, particularly in shared spaces. Even areas that you think would be clean and germ-free, like the soap dispenser or the hot tap, contain thousands of bacterial organisms.
All of these different surfaces are normally contaminated from coughing and sneezing. The power behind a cough or a sneeze can launch thousands of droplets of bacteria-spreading moisture into the air and onto every surface. By sneezing or coughing into your hand then touching other objects before sanitising, the spread is inevitable. Always use a tissue!
How to prevent staff sick leave in winter
There are a number of preventative methods you can take as an employer to reduce the number of absentees during the winter period. Of course, it is your employees’ responsibility too, but a helping hand is always appreciated.
This is one of the most important rules to live by, not only when you’re ill but in your everyday life. It is essential that you stay hydrated as there are so many benefits that can help keep your body, and brain, healthy.
By drinking lots of filtered water, oxygen will constantly be delivered around the body, your body temperature will be regulated, and your airways and blood pressure will be maintained. Unlike the common myth that caffeine dehydrates you, coffee can also keep you hydrated, so you won’t have to lose your caffeine fix at work in order to stay protected from illness.
Encouraging healthy diets
A healthy diet is just as significant as a good night’s sleep and regular exercising. In fact, they all interlink into maintaining a healthy lifestyle; healthy foods strengthen your immune system against winter illnesses. If you are wondering how you can encourage healthy eating at work, there are many ways you can do this.
If you have a canteen available for your staff to get their lunch from, make sure it is stocked with healthy options they can choose from. Or, how about a free fruit bowl in the kitchen or ensuring your vending machines are filled with healthy alternatives? Another option is to have lunch together and choose a health-filled meal.
Regular & thorough cleaning
As mentioned above, contaminated surfaces are the lead cause of spreading illness around the office. So, you need to make sure that there are regular deep cleaning regimes implemented into your employees’ work day.
Keeping cleaning products situated near everyone’s desks and in the kitchen and bathroom areas will encourage people to clean as they go. This also includes anti-bacterial hand gels and sanitisers, so they can clean their hands immediately after coughing or sneezing.
Promote health & wellbeing
Finally, employers can have more of an impact on employee health and wellbeing than they think. The support they can offer can help improve the health and satisfaction of employees.
This, ultimately, has an impact on their immune system, leaving them less vulnerable to the common cold or infectious flu. By promoting helpful and healthy daily regimes, stress management and positive lifestyles, you can aid your staff both physically and mentally.
Keep staff sick days down
If you think about it, this isn’t a tedious list of things to do for your team. You will also be helping yourself by implementing these sick leave ideas into your work life and they sure will cost you less in the long run.
Keep your team happy and healthy this winter!