Sickness absence rates in the workplace tend to more than double during the winter compared to the summer months. Given the icy roads, longer-feeling months and colder days, employees often find themselves feeling less than their best. Consequently, employees become more susceptible to health concerns in the winter, including colds, flu and conditions such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a clinical diagnosis directly linked to the shortening of daylight hours.
Understanding and planning for these trends will enable companies to be more proactive during these times and alleviate some of the pressures created by these winter woes. To address these challenges effectively, we have developed a comprehensive set of strategies aimed at minimising sick days, promoting employee wellbeing, and leveraging innovative solutions such as health screening.
Promote mental health awareness and support
During the winter season, the shorter daylight hours and reduced exposure to natural sunlight can challenge employees’ mental health. Recognising that mental health is a fundamental component of overall wellbeing, employers can play a pivotal role in supporting their employees’ mental health. To achieve this, businesses can provide valuable resources and support for employees facing mental health challenges. This may include offering counselling services or mental health days, along with creating a stigma-free environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health concerns with their managers or colleagues.
Support employees in checking their vitamin D
In the winter months, people in the UK are often deficient in vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight. Since vitamin D can significantly impact mood and mental health, it’s essential to encourage employees to address this deficiency. A quick and easy finger-prick blood test, such as the DocHQ Essential Vitamins Check, reveals deficiencies, including vitamin D, folic acid, and vitamin B12 levels. If an employee is found to have a vitamin D deficiency, their physician can recommend appropriate treatment plans
Encourage employees to get vaccinated against the flu
Encouraging employees to get vaccinated against the flu is crucial during the winter months. You can offer on-site flu vaccines for your employees or free vaccinations as part of your employee wellbeing package. Promoting the flu shot can significantly reduce the chances of employees falling ill and, if your employees do fall ill, it’s important to support them in taking the time they need to recover – this ensures a faster recovery and prevents others from picking up the virus. Should employees feel well enough to work but are presenting symptoms, implementing appropriate work-from-home measures for every employee will help to safeguard the entire workforce from falling sick.
Stress the importance of hygiene
Increased awareness about the importance of hygiene during the winter season is essential. To reduce the spread of germs that cause colds, flu and other illnesses, provide hand sanitisers, tissues and educational posters promoting proper handwashing techniques in the workplace.
Offer health tests
It’s crucial to encourage employees not to neglect their health during the winter season and to get regular health checks. You can facilitate this by providing employees with convenient at-home testing. DocHQ at-home health tests offer a range of assessments, including diabetes, vitamin, thyroid, cholesterol, menopause and menobalance. Such preventative measures help employees identify potential health issues early and take necessary steps.
Provide access to virtual physiotherapy
Winter can be challenging for employees experiencing bone and joint-related problems, pain, fatigue and other common symptoms. These issues can become more difficult to manage in the cold weather. Employers can partner with DocHQ to make physiotherapy consultations readily available. DocHQ’s AI technology provides real-time guidance and corrective feedback on employees’ movements by tracking 111 data points on the body as they perform their rehab exercises. This can be especially beneficial for employees who engage in winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding or ice-skating, which all carry a high risk of injury.
Promote customised fitness programmes
Offering personalised fitness plans encourages employees to stay active and establish an exercise routine even during the winter months. DocHQ Fitness provides tailored fitness programmes designed to meet individuals’ unique needs and goals. By providing access to remote personal trainers and workouts, employers empower their employees to embark on a fitness journey that enhances both physical and mental wellbeing. Customised workouts can reduce stress, improve mood, increase energy levels and boost overall mental clarity.
Encourage healthy eating
During the holiday season, there’s often a tendency to indulge in excessive drinking and unhealthy eating habits. Employers can launch a nutrition awareness campaign that emphasises the importance of a balanced diet to boost the immune system. Alternatively, they can partner with professional nutritionists to provide guidance and tips to employees on making healthy food choices.
Implementing these strategies will help businesses maintain a healthy, productive and motivated workforce during the colder months. If you’re interested in creating a customised wellness plan tailored to your employees’ needs, contact email@example.com to explore the possibilities and get started.