With the cooler weather upon us, the winter bugs have arrived. This can mean staff absences and a risk to your business productivity.

Naturally we want our staff to stay healthy and should they fall sick, to have the time they need to recover before returning to work.

With that in mind, there are some preventative and common sense measures that we can take to keep our staff (and our business) healthy.

First and foremost, however, if you or a staff member is sick, then stay home.

Better to keep your bugs to yourself than come into the office and risk infecting others.

And better to take the time you need to fully recover before returning to work.

Here are six tips to staying healthy this winter:

  1. Vaccinate against the flu: A flu vaccination is a good preventive measure and you might want to consider paying for your staff to be vaccinated as part of your staff wellbeing program.
  2. Stay hydrated: We all know that drinking water is essential for good health, and this is important when the office heating is turned up. Consider having water coolers and encourage staff to stay hydrated.
  3. Clean hands: Encourage your staff to wash and dry their hands often to stop bugs spreading. You may want to have hand sanitiser gels around the office.
  4. Keep fit: Fitter people get sick less often. You might want to consider subsidising fitness activities for your staff or organising staff health challenges, such as fun runs, walking challenges or social sports teams.
  5. Eat well: Encourage staff to eat healthily at work to give their immune systems a boost. Think about having a communal fruit bowl and offering healthy snacks at work drinks and functions.
  6. Get outside: Exposure to sun for even short periods every day boosts vitamin D levels, which is important for immunity. If you’re office-based, encourage lunchtime walks in the sun.

For more information on workplace wellness over winter, check out this article at MBIE. There’s some information there too on the rules around sick leave.