If You Want More Productivity and Less Sick Days in Your Office, Employee Health in Winter is Critical
Freezing temperatures, short, gloomy days, endless banks of snow, cabin fever and contagious illnesses like the flu all conspire to make it challenging for Colorado employers to protect employee health in winter.
In Colorado Springs, this blustery season also sees higher mortality rates and increased health dangers from slip-and-fall accidents, snow shoveling, and motor vehicle accidents on icy roads.
Winter is also known to decrease energy and motivation and increase the risk of depression and “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), often referred to as the “winter blues.”
Unless you take affirmative steps to promote employee health in winter, more sick days, less productivity, and higher healthcare costs await your business.
Here are four easy ways to help your company and workforce stay safe, healthy and happy until the sunny days of spring:
Reduce Slip-and-Fall Dangers
Workplace slip, trip, and fall injuries cost American business owners billions yearly. According to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, employee falls cost businesses $11 billion in 2014 alone. That is almost 20 percent of the $60 billion companies lost to all workplace accidents that year.
Additionally, an employee injured in a slip and fall accident misses an average of 38 days of work, costing companies millions of dollars more in lost productivity and increased insurance premiums.
To promote employee health in winter, keep outdoor surfaces like sidewalks and parking lots free of snow and ice, and make sure your entrances have strong, moisture-absorbing floor mats, so employees don’t track moisture and debris into your facility.
Host On-Site Fitness Classes
Unless you are a skier or snowshoer, Colorado winters provide only a few opportunities for outdoor exercise that may be part of a routine during warmer months. Even employees who belong to gyms and fitness centers may rationalize not going during freezing temperatures or miserable road conditions.
You can help your employees by bringing fitness resources directly to them. You can invest in an on-site gym or fitness facility that allows your workforce to get a quick workout at their convenience.
Of course, only some companies have the money or space for such a facility. But you don’t need a host of treadmills, stationary bikes, or other machines to provide on-site exercise options to your workforce. One easy and cost-effective way to bring exercise and fitness directly to your employees is to host classes at your workplace.
You can quickly transform an empty conference room or common area into a temporary Pilates studio or space for an aerobics class. Hire a personal trainer or fitness instructor to lead classes and sessions before or after the workday or during the lunch hour. And if the weather cooperates, set a great example by going for a walk.
Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Another great way to improve employee health in winter is with proper nutrition. But in winter, people gravitate toward “comfort foods” to help lift their spirits. This can lead to weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, or other adverse health effects.
Don’t be part of the problem by stocking vending machines with empty calorie snacks. Similarly, if you have a cafeteria or supply break room snacks for your employees, try to focus on nutritious offerings such as fruits and vegetables instead of go-to’s such as donuts or cookies.
Encourage Sick Employees to Stay Home
Many employees come into the office even if they are sick because they are dedicated to their jobs, have used up their sick days, or are afraid of negative consequences if they don’t show up.
Not only are ill employees less productive, but their presence puts other employees at risk (i.e., one person may recover from the flu in two days but could infect someone in the office who has heart problems and takes two weeks and a hospitalization to recover.)
If employees are sick, encourage them to stay home. If they insist on putting some time in and are well enough to work from home, allow and facilitate the remote work.
Let Preferred Insurance Help You Protect Employee Health in Winter and All Year Long
Whether during the cold, gloomy days of winter or the warm, sunny weeks of summer, having a trusted partner to protect your workforce’s health is critical. Preferred Insurance, an experienced Colorado Springs group health insurance broker, works closely with companies of every size to develop and implement health insurance programs that make sense and make wellness a priority.
Our knowledgeable and accessible representatives are here to answer your questions and provide solutions to keep you and your workforce safe and healthy. We are a locally owned and operated group health insurance broker that offers free quotes in less than 48 hours.
Call Preferred Insurance today to schedule a free consultation about your small business health insurance needs.