As every business owner knows, winter is the season of sickness, reduced productivity, and low morale. The change in the weather, the short daytime hours, and swirling viruses all contribute to bringing the general mode of the workforce down. This is not an inevitable outcome, though. As a manager, you can introduce subtle changes to the company culture that would have impressive effects on the team.
Managers are notoriously obsessed with the bottom line. Whether it’s a startup or an established business, every person with a vested interest in the company will demand more profits no matter what the season is. So it’s up to the manager to navigate its team through the cold season and keep them healthy and productive to make the shareholders happy.
Regulations and Precautions Got your Back
Every winter, the government issues guidelines and regulations to help people avoid the worst the winter has in store for us. While some of these guidelines don’t change, new regulations often pop up that reflect new medical research results or prevalent virus strains. As a manager, you should go through these guidelines and make sure that the team is well aware of them.
As much as you, as an entrepreneur, like to keep track of your resources, raw materials, and finished products with inventory management, your employees are your ultimate resources. They have priority when it comes to protecting them against viral diseases and keeping them healthy. They should have access to hand sanitizers and wash their hands repeatedly throughout the day to reduce bacteria and pathogen transmissions. Water and soap are their best friends to fight off various illnesses, from the flu to gastronomical ailments.
Flu vaccines are the first line of defense both for you and your team against winter-variety health conditions. With thousands of flu viruses invading the office space every winter, taking the flu shot can help reduce the downtime of the staff and prevent the spread of these highly transmissible flu strains. Fortunately, most of these flu vaccines have little to no side effects and are quite effective for all ages. They might not stop the flu, but they will make the symptoms much milder and speed up the recovery of the infected staff.
Despite all of these precautions, people do get sick. The problem with winter sickness is that it is contagious. So, rather than forcing an ill team member to still come to work and put the rest of the team at risk, you should encourage people who are not feeling too well to stay at home. These days, technology has made it easier for teammates to communicate and perform their work remotely. Even if they can’t work from home, taking time off until they get better is in the best interests of the worker as well as the company as a whole.
Health and Mood Boosters
Besides these precautions, the staff needs to be proactive in their approach to combat winter health problems. Unfortunately, the human body cannot create vitamin D and needs sun exposure for the skin to manufacture this important vitamin. However, with people spending more time indoors and the daytime getting shorter in the winter, they suffer from vitamin D deficiency quite regularly. Vitamin D supplements are recommended during the winter on daily doses of 10 micrograms per person. Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the bones and teeth in good condition and improving the immune system as it fights an onslaught of viruses and pathogens in the winter months.
Speaking of the immune system, it tends to drop when the human body is exposed to cold temperatures. While you can keep the office temperature above 60 degrees, the employees need to take steps to keep their body warm as well. One of these steps is to exercise regularly. This is not easy in the cold months when one’s first instinct is to bundle up and stay under the blanket at home. But research showed that even light exercise can increase the body’s core temperature, especially when the air temperature is way down.
Rather than wearing heavy clothes, encourage your team to wear multiple layers of thin clothes. They do a better job of keeping the body warm and trapping the heat. Regular intake of warm foods and drinks can also regulate the body temperature and reduce the risk of falling ill. Encourage your team to snack on hot cocoa and chocolate drinks throughout the day as an efficient way to stay warm and improve their moods as well.
When the winter comes knocking, the workplace can turn into a Petri dish of pathogens and viral infections. This, coupled with low moods, can reduce productivity and increase the downtime of the workforce. As a manager, you can introduce a few changes to the company culture to fight off the health issues often associated with the winter. By encouraging the staff to wash their hands with soap and water repeatedly, take the flu vaccines, and stock up on vitamin D, they can go through the winter without falling seriously sick. Staying warm, exercising regularly, and snacking on hot meals and drinks are all effective ways to keep the staff healthy and in high spirits even when it’s chilly and overcast outside.