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Top 6 Tips to Help Your Employees Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is a frantic time of year and it coincides with cold and flu season - add on top of that employees stretched thin due to work and family responsibilities, and self-care, like exercise, good nutrition, and sleep can fall by the wayside. This puts employee engagement at risk.

According to Forbes, healthy employees are essential to a high-functioning organization. Employees’ general awareness is directly related to success in the workplace, and sick employees (whether acutely ill or chronically ill) cannot focus as well on their work as healthy ones. Healthy employees who are aware of their responsibilities and can keep a clear head are better able to stay organized and to manage their stress. Encouraging and managing self-care to promote overall wellness culture in the workplace should be a primary objective, and your organization can promote a lifestyle that leads the way to better health for employees.

Here are some tips to take into consideration, and share with your team, to keep your organization happy and healthy this holiday season: 

  1. Make it easy for employees to keep their hands clean: Keeping hands clean is the number one way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Make sure bathroom (and kitchen, if you have one) soap is always full so employees can wash their hands after using the bathroom, before eating, and after touching items in communal areas. In addition, place hand sanitizer dispensers around the office as a reminder to keep hands clean!
  2. Discourage sick employees from coming to work: People love to tough through sickness and continue showing up for work to prove that they are dedicated to their job – this is dangerous for everyone they work with. Even if everyone is washing their hands, sick employees can still transmit their illness to others, putting even more workers out of commission. Let all your employees know that they do not need to come to work, and shouldn’t, when they are sick. Also, be sure all covered employees are aware of their benefits and seek medical help when necessary.
  3. Healthy snacks in the office: Encourage employees to bring in healthy snacks instead of traditional baked goods and candy, and bring in some healthy snacks yourself to set a good example. Unsalted nuts, fruit trays, pretzels and hummus – options are endless! These snacks may not put people in the holiday spirit, but a healthy diet can increase concentration and energy. Holiday decorations are festive enough! In addition, encourage a healthy diet outside the office by sharing information about swapping out traditionally unhealthy holiday dishes for lighter options.
  4. Help employees stay active: Exercising in the early or evening hours during the winter can be terrible – lack of sunshine makes cold weather seem even worse, and leaving the gym sweaty or getting sweaty when it’s cold is torture for many people, not to mention running or driving through snow and ice. Couple holiday eating tips with reminders to stay active even during the cold, dark months of winter. You could even go as far as encouraging employees to go exercise on their lunch break and allow a little extra lunch time as an incentive for people to go work out. Employee fitness challenges are another great way to encourage exercise.
  5. Managing stress: Stress can contribute to fatigue and, just like the cold, depression of a person’s immune system. Employees can manage stress by practicing meditation or good time management skills in this hectic time of holiday parties, preparation, and celebration. Practicing good self-care can reduce the overall effect of everyday stressors. Incorporate the previous tips and be sure to get ample rest.
  6. Education and maintenance: It’s also important to educate all employees so they understand their options and coverage so they can utilize alternative and complimentary health benefits during this hectic time of year for self-care. Furthermore, be sure to encourage employees to schedule their ACA covered preventative annual check-ups including physical and ancillary (dental, vision, etc).

Even if your workplace doesn’t have a formal in-place company wellness program, these suggestions can help promote a healthy workplace this holiday season!

The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. This communication does not constitute a legal opinion and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended educational purpose.

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