Help Employees Manage Back-To-School Stress

School is back in session for many and this means your employees are readjusting their family routines. The school year brings hectic morning schedules, rushing to get children on the bus and busy nights helping with homework, carpooling to sports practice or attending extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to establish new wellness routines during this transition period to keep the whole family happier and healthier.

Back to school time creates stress on parents and kids as they try to juggle work, school and home life. These stressors for your employees are often brought to the office with them. Offer programs to decrease stress and help employees connect with their families. Our Quest to Stress Less turnkey program, found on the members-only online resource center, can help employees manage the school year stress.

On a similar note, consider implementing sleep programming. Help your employees get a better night’s sleep and feel more rested, so they can be more productive during the workday.

Back to school time also means children may be bringing home pesky germs. Employers should promote good hygiene such as hand washing, keeping workstations clean and knowing when to stay home when sick.

At the same time, promote healthy nutrition. Distribute healthy lunch or dinner recipes, so busy parents can make meals on the fly that are delicious and nutritious. Concentrate on higher protein and fiber packed meals that will leave employees and their families energized and focused.

Finally, just as children are tempted to unwind in front of the TV for hours after school, your employees need to take screen-time breaks as well. Encourage frequent breaks throughout the day in which employees get up from their desks to take a short walk, stretch or eat a healthy snack.

If you need more ideas for how to foster healthy employee routines for back to school time, visit our online resource page and its 122 low-cost or no-cost ideas for worksite wellness. Contact the Wellness Helpline at (317) 264-2168 with questions.

Unexpected Germ Nightmare: The Office

You might think that because your office is professionally cleaned, dusted and swept regularly that it’s one of the cleanest places you could spend your day (that’s more cleaning than happens in my house, for instance, on a weekly basis…).

But, it’s not. It’s really, really gross.

Ragan Communications has posted an infographic from MASTER Cleaners Ltd, which points to just how dirty our desks, phones, and other work surfaces are – and no, I’m not talking about clutter on your desk, or even the pile of shoes under your desk (shoe graveyard, as I’ve affectionately called mine).

Be prepared: You’ll want to have your anti-bacterial wipes ready.

The dirty details:

  • Office phones have about 25,000 germs per square inch.
  • Cold and flu viruses can survive for up to 18 hours on hard surfaces; and bacteria actually increase by up to 31% per day on surfaces that aren’t regularly disinfected. If you’re sick, this just proves that you should stay at home until you are better.
  • Wash your hands – and then use antibacterial gel when you get back to your desk, because 75% of office tap handles are considered a serious risk for illness transmission.
  • I’ve saved this one for last: office desks have been found to be more than 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. On average, about 10,000 bacteria reside around the area where your hands rest. Most keyboards contain 70% more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Alright, now that you are thoroughly disgusted, here are a few simple ways you can combat office germs as we head straight into cold and flu season:

  • I’ll say it again: Wash your hands. The same lesson that applied as children still applies now (though, as I witnessed a woman leave a library bathroom without washing her hands the other day, some people still don’t get this simple message).
  • Clean your stuff – disinfecting your phone, desk, door handles and other hard surfaces regularly and often will help keep bacteria at bay.
  • Take an actual lunch break and eat somewhere else – if you must eat in the office, absolutely don’t place the food straight onto the solid surfaces of your desk.
  • Do your coworkers a favor and stay home if you’re ill – there’s just no good excuse to come in to work if you’re infectious.

Of course, you can’t live life in a bubble. Germs and sickness are a part of life; but remember that there are a few easy things you can do to keep yourself and others around you healthy. We’re all in it together!