A business is only as strong as its people. That’s why it’s incredibly important to encourage good health among your team year-round, but especially in the fall and winter months when illness can run rampant. Here are some steps you can take to foster a healthy office environment:

Clean Hands Save Lives.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ran a marketing campaign that promoted hand hygiene as the number one way to prevent the spread of illness. You can foster clean hands by placing hand sanitizer throughout the office, germ wipes around frequently used office equipment, and having your maintenance team provide thorough disinfection cleaning each and every time your office is serviced.

Offer Sick Days.

When things are busy, it’s really hard to have someone missing from the team due to being sick. However, asking that employee with the hacking cough to stay home is better for the health of your entire team. Begin the season by reminding employees of your sick time policy and encourage them to utilize those sick days not just for themselves, but the entire office. Sick employees can spread germs like wildfire at the copier, coffee pot, shared computer or conference room.

Don’t Forget Personal/Mental Health Days.

Like sick days, personal or mental health days should be included in your company’s employee leave policy. Life happens and your employees need to know that they have available time to attend funerals, care for a sick family member, attend to personal matters at home and the like. This out of office time is a necessary function and is incredibly appreciated by employees.

Reward Employees Who Make Healthy Choices.

Health insurance rates continue to increase every year for employers in part because of the declining overall health status of Americans as a whole. It’s becoming commonplace for employers to offer incentives to employees who choose to make healthy choices such as quitting smoking or losing weight. Other practices becoming common include on-site workout equipment, offering healthy snack alternatives in the breakroom, reducing the employee’s health insurance contribution if certain health goals are achieved and making preventive health services like staff flu vaccination clinics at the office available.

Generally, employers who make a conscious effort to keep their teams healthy have a more productive fall and winter. Inc. Magazine offers numerous other healthy office tips online at this link.