How to keep staff happy and healthy through winter

Healthy Staff

It’s cold, it’s dark, we’re more susceptible to colds, it’s difficult to get motivated and we’re still trying to recover from Christmas. The beginning of the year is a difficult time for everyone and it’s particularly challenging for employees to keep their staff motivated throughout the depths of winter.

If this sounds like something you struggle with year in and year out, below are some great ideas for how you can keep staff happy and healthy during the cold months.

Get your staff moving 

Unsurprisingly, the majority of weight gain happens over Christmas and New Year. Although we always begin the year with the best of intentions, it really is hard to get going again. As well as over-indulging during the festive season, we’re more likely to put on weight during winter anyway because we’re less likely to be active compared to when the weather is warmer.

To try and get employees fit and active once again, you can encourage them to participate in outdoor activities, sports and the gym. You can offer prizes as an incentive or find a group activity that everyone can get involved with. A lot of gyms offer corporate discounts and offering this not only encourages staff to get moving but it’s also a great perk of working for you.

If you can afford to get all your staff a FitBit or pedometer, this really is a brilliant way of getting people moving because it encourages healthy competition. You could even run a competition between different teams or departments to see who can clock up the most steps and the winners get a prize.

Beat colds and flu

December-February is the most common period for employees to call in sick because unfortunately, our immune system is weakened during the cold season. Although staff sickness is to be expected, it costs the average company nearly £70,000 each year.

Encourage your team to stay fit over the winter no matter how much more tempting it is to stay huddled under the duvet. Exercise helps to give the immune system a boost and even simple changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift can help.

Encourage a healthy diet

Even without the bad habits we adopt at Christmas, we’re still far more likely to turn to comfort food when it’s cold outside. Not only does this lead to weight gain which makes us feel lethargic and bad about ourselves, not eating properly also has a huge impact on our immune system and even our sleeping patterns.

Of course you cannot control what your staff eat but there are a number of things you can do to encourage better eating habits. If you have a staff canteen that serves or sells food, make sure there are plenty of healthy options available. If you’re trying to think of a creative staff perk, see if a local food outlet will give your staff discount – just make sure there are nutritious options available and it’s not temping junk food. You can even put out a fruit bowl and have other tasty but healthy snacks to give out.

You may think that employees are perfectly capable of choosing what to eat but an incredible 70% of staff say that they wish their company had a healthier cafeteria and vending machine options so believe it or not, it will be appreciated.

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