11 Dec Maintaining health (and productivity) during the Festive Season
It seemingly becomes longer every year and with the festive season well underway, have you maintained your healthy habits or are you slipping closer and closer to the Naughty list? Have those in the office around you been sharing their tales of late night Christmas Cheer while clutching to their 3rd coffee for the morning or did they simply call in sick, unable to face the light of day. If this sounds too familiar, both your health and productivity in the workplace are taking a hit. For Australia, a pattern of hangovers and sick leave in the workplace during the festive season will cost up to A$2bn ($1.6bn) in lost productivity in the last two weeks of the year, with some 10% of the workers polled planning to take up to three sick days off to recover from their celebrations, according to a survey of 1,000 workers. Of those who did make it to work the day after an office Christmas party, more than a quarter conceded they were functioning at only 50% productivity (BBC – The Real Cost of Hangovers http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20150102-the-real-cost-of-hangovers)
Health and productivity in the workplace are undoubtedly linked. When you have sick employees (or a sick workplace) there are both direct and indirect costs to your business. So, while you’re out enjoying the additional celebrations, lunches and post-work functions, it is important you consider a few guidelines on how to maintain your health (and productivity) this festive season.
- It is recommended that an individual participate in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five times per week. However, who wants to get up early to do weights at the gym when everyone else is sleeping off their festive hangovers. During the festive season, it is wise to change your exercise goals. Swap your regular gym session for exercise that you enjoy doing. Play a game of street cricket with the kids, swim at the beach, bike ride or go hiking.
- Don’t put your fitness goals on hold. We all know the more time you spend out of your regular routine the harder it will be to restart the regime in the new year. Create a plan ahead of time incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. If you plan ahead you can fit everything in.
- Just one more! Take a positive twist on this phrase and encourage one of your colleagues to exercise with you. It will be easier if you have an exercise partner or buddy who will help support your healthy behaviours.
- Take opportunities throughout the day to exercise. Don’t search for the closest parking space, take a spot further away from the shop entrance and take advantage of the walk you will get and whenever possible, take the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Alcohol is a diuretic; heavy consumption can lead to dehydration and headaches. To avoid this, ensure you drink plenty of water before your celebration and have water in-between alcoholic beverages.
- Christmas can be a stressful time. Taking time out for yourself, getting plenty of rest and adequate sleep will ensure you remain relaxed over the festive season. Taking a yoga or Pilates class is also a great way to relax whilst also keeping up with an active lifestyle.
- Make smarter choices! If you are enjoying an extra day or two drinking alcohol and eating out, be conscious of your choices and swap soft-drinks for water, swap sides like fries for salads and wine for vodka-soda. It’s not about avoiding the festive season, but making healthier decisions along the way will have an impact in the end.
- Most importantly Christmas is a time for celebration – just find a balance that works for you and enjoy it in moderation.
So, are you ready to make a stand this festive season? Why not consider a Wellness Initiative to incorporate the elements above and challenge your team to stay focussed this Festive Season? Altius Group can provide baseline Workplace Health Screening and then partner with you to develop a tailored Wellness Initiative to support your team in maintaining their health and ultimately increase productivity in the workplace. Providing education and raising awareness to the personal and commercial costs of the festive season is within your control. Take action and as a result, Santa may just put you on the ‘Nice’ list after-all.
Altius Group provide expertise in people risk services including prevention and management of physical and psychological injuries. Altius Group consists of specialised businesses which cover a broad spectrum of individual health, wellbeing and rehabilitation interventions to ensure your organisation can realise the financial and commercial potential of a healthy, engaged team.
Subscribe for the best of HR Management direct to your inbox: