Have you heard the chorus of sniffles and spluttering getting louder and louder over the last few weeks? The bitter winter chill is no stranger to us, and yet it seems to catch us off-guard every year. Around this time, you can expect the office phone to start ringing at 9am because yet another employee is laid up in bed with the flu. That’s the problem with these viruses, once one person catches it the whole office gets it! Unless that is, you have a winter wellness programme in place…
We’re not going to claim to have the magical cure for the common cold that has alluded doctors for centuries, but we do have a strategic plan that will reduce absenteeism in your office over the winter season. Instead of submitting to months of low productivity, you can tackle nasty Jack Frost head-on with this winter wellness programme.
A winter wellness programme for your office
1. Organise a flu jab campaign
It takes two weeks for the effects of the flu jab to work, so right now is the perfect time to organise a flu jab campaign at your office. During the cold snap in February of this year, the HSE stated that the number of people attending hospitals for flu-like symptoms had been the highest since 2010.
Granted those who are most at risk will already have underlying problems and will tend to be over the age of 65, but that doesn’t minimise the horrible effects the flu can have on the average employee. The flu jab blocks three strains of the flu virus that you are most likely to encounter, and because it doesn’t contain a live virus, you don’t have to worry about experiencing any flu-like symptoms.
2. Arm your office against germs
Sometimes “Cover your mouth!” and “Bless you!” are just not enough to fend off the cold. Apart from direct contact with an infected person, colds and flus also spread via airborne germs and contaminated surfaces. If you’re serious about keeping your office healthy, then it’s time to bring in the reinforcements!
Take a tip from your local hospital and introduce hand sanitisers to your office. Wall mounted dispensers in the kitchen and by the toilet and exit doors are prime locations for catching those pesky germs. Step up your defences by installing UVC hand dryers in the toilets. You’ll have noticed these handy devices (excuse the pun) in many restaurants and bars. The blue light emitted along with the warm air is ultraviolet rays, which eliminate microbial organisms that grow on wet surfaces. Germs be gone!
3. Start a healthy eating scheme
We have this one covered! We all know eating fruit is a fantastic way to build up your immune system. Citrus fruits in particular are rich in vitamin C, which boosts your natural defences. The great thing about oranges, strawberries and kiwis is that vitamin C in this form is much more easily absorbed than supplements. A clever way of getting people to consume vitamin C is by offering segments of lemon and orange by your office water fountain. Why not order one of our fruit boxes to be delivered straight to your door weekly? 😊
Also, did you know that as a nation Irish people are chronically deficient in vitamin D? All that overcast weather steals our sunlight which is the primary way our body absorbs vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for strong bones, but it also strengthens your immune system. Therefore, it is a good idea to stock up on vitamin D rich food such as fatty fish or, for a more office-friendly supplement, fortified milk.
4. The winter blues are a real thing
SAD stands for Seasonally Adjusted Depression and it is a type of depression directly associated with the darker months of the year. Waking up in darkness and heading home from work in darkness can take its toll. It’s easy for your body clock to get distorted which affects your sleeping patterns and, consequently, your energy levels and overall mood. Of course, the drop in temperature doesn’t help matters either, making it more likely to catch an illness which is bound to bring anyone down.
Science says that we should ideally have at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day so that the mood balancing chemicals in our brain are stimulated. Introduce light therapy to your office by buying a SAD lamp. These nifty gadgets release UV light to brighten up your day and beat the winter blues. You could also capitalise on those few hours of sunlight during the day; encourage people to get outside on their lunch break by organising a walking/running group.
Remember, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of lovely aspects of winter as well, such as snuggly socks, hot cocoa, ugly Christmas jumpers, ice-skating and after work hot toddies. But unfortunately, there is no denying that illness is on the rise during these colder months, so get prepared now with a winter wellness programme! If you like, you can take your first step by ordering a FREE trial of our yummy fruit box to your office.