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Want to thrive this winter? Try this total employee well-being strategy

Published by: LifeWorks,

Your office is full of sneezing, coughing employees. On top of that, you’re trying to survive the rush of the holiday season and prepare for the inevitable holiday blues.

Winter is in full swing. With the beautiful snow and chilly nights comes several hazards threatening employee well-being. While addressing physical health is important, you also need to look at other aspects of well-being to keep your staff healthy during the winter months.

Surviving the winter requires this total well-being strategy:

Physical well-being

Between flu season and allergies, wintertime can be tough for employees. Some of the most common health problems in the winter — aside from viruses like the flu — are weight gain and asthma attacks.

Your employees need to keep active and eat right during the winter months. Exercise is especially important because it strengthens the immune system. According to a 2017 study published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, even just 20 minutes of exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.

Tips: Host a healthy winter cooking demonstration with nutritionists to show employees various meals to eat during the winter months to stay healthy (and warm).

Additionally, instead of making employees feel chained to their desks, host ‘sweat sessions’ during the workday. These short, 20-minute breaks are the perfect time for employees to exercise.

Financial well-being

With winter comes holiday season, and that means gift shopping. According to research from the American Research Group, U.S. shoppers anticipated spending an average of $929 before the 2016 holiday season

This season of giving can quickly turn into a season of stress as employees see their credit card debt climb and make careless financial mistakes. When you help your employees manage and recover from lavish holiday spending, you can make a real impact on overall employee well-being.

Tips: Offer a spending plan class to help employees set financial limits for themselves during and after the holidays. This way, they can adjust their lifestyles and learn how to budget comfortably.

The best way to recover from the holiday spending hangover is to establish a responsible saving plan. Provide coaching sessions so employees can start the new year off with responsible debt consolidation and learn how to break bad spending habits.

Emotional well-being

During the holiday season, family comes into town and stirs up mixed emotions. Maybe you’re missing a lost loved one or experiencing painful feelings toward someone who wronged you.

On top of that, your mood might be altered from the winter blues or to a greater extent by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The lack of sunlight during the winter season can disrupt your circadian rhythm. It can also drop your serotonin and melatonin levels, both of which impact mood.

Tips: Educate employees on the symptoms of the winter blues. These include insomnia, depression, anxiety, and low energy.

Teach them how to identify their mood patterns and negative thinking. When they take notice, they can pull out of these cycles with reflective exercises and relaxation practices, such as meditation and journaling.

As your staff makes these exercises a habit, it becomes a routine they can follow every day. These routines can improve employee well-being and teach them emotional intelligence skills.

Professional well-being

Wintertime marks the end of one year and the start of another, giving employees an opportunity to evaluate their professional goals and aspirations. As they reflect at the start of the new year, they may realise they’re not moving at the pace they want to be or need a change in their career.

Play an active role in employees’ professional development and help them understand their goals. Otherwise, they might disengage and stagnate at work.

Tips: Provide a professional well-being assessment program where employees can reflect on their previous year and set objectives for the next 12 months. Then, team them up with professional development coordinators to create an action plan.

As they progress through their professional development program, they can learn new skills and gain knowledge. Team employees up with mentors in the company who have a similar career they aspire for. This way, they’re held accountable and fully engaged in pursuing their professional goals.

Employee well-being is bound to suffer in the winter if you ignore any aspects of their health. On the other hand, if you’re proactive and keep them engaged in these well-being activities, they’re bound to be happier and healthier.

Make your employees feel loved