January is on record as being the most depressing month of the year. Everywhere you look, people are coughing, sneezing, battling the horrors of being too hot and too cold at the same time. In the office, colleagues are dropping like flies, chocolate wrappers have been swapped for tissues. Christmas cheer is a long lost relative, the sort of which could license its own documentary series. As the old adage goes however, the new year means time for a fresh start. So how can you make sure you can protect your employees’ health this winter?
As we usher in a new decade, it stands to reason that we must inadvertently also usher in the season for colds and new ailments. If you are one of the lucky few who managed not to get ill this Christmas – or take your illness into the new year – be not surprised if you are heralded a wonder and recruited by the scientific community for research.
New data in fact, published in January last year, shows that workers take on average 53% more sick days in January than any other month of the year.
According to research from CharlieHR (HR software for small businesses) the number of sick days taken in January 2017 equalled 1,248 – with January followed by February and then March in terms of the number of sick days taken.
The main causes for these, according to a 2018 report published by the Office for National Statistics, are minor illnesses such as coughs and colds.
In 2017, more than 34 million working days were lost as a result.
Illnesses such as colds and flu however can be avoided. They can also easily spread through the air and by close personal contact (through a handshake, sharing a phone, touching a doorknob) – meaning they can rapidly spread in the workplace.
How can you protect your employees?
Making sure you wash your hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and getting a flu jab can all help you keep you safe during the cold winter days, where colds are known to run wanton.
If you find yourself a subject of the infamous trilogy of symptoms caused by the common cold (runny nose, sore throat, coughing), you may also find comfort in getting plenty of rest and sleep and drinking plenty of fluids.
Short-term sickness absence at work, however, are often unavoidable – in fact, illnesses and medical appointment are the most commonly reported reasons for missing work.
During the cold and flu season especially, there is a dramatic spike in absenteeism rates.
So how can you help to keep your employees’ health in check and keep company downtime to a minimum?
On-site company doctor
At Doctorcall, we provide a range of fast, affordable private GP services designed to target this.
Our company doctor service – provided in-house – is a popular way of providing employees with access to regular GP consultations at work.
This means that staff can be seen on-site without having to carve out time to see their doctor outside of the office – helping them to gain access to quick, quality private healthcare while minimising time spent away from work.
Not only do we help set up a consulting room at your office, but our easy online booking process for staff also makes it easier for them to make their own appointments.
They can benefit from access to on-site company doctor sessions as often as you like – with access to confidential, regular health checks.
Reducing Absenteeism with unlimited appointments
For smaller companies, our private GP membership scheme – a popular staff benefit – can provide a more cost-effective route to help reduce absenteeism in the workplace.
It provides as a less expensive and more popular alternative to Private Medical Insurance (PMI)
Since arrangements are made at a local clinic and same day appointments are generally available, it provides a way of securing rapid treatment with minimal disruption to work.
By reducing time taken off work by staff to see their own GP, our membership scheme can help maintain business continuity and productivity – while making sure employees can stay happy and healthy.
A popular benefit for employees
Our GP Clinic Membership scheme offers staff access to quality medical treatment at a conveniently located private clinic for as little as £2.79 per week.
Members receive access to unlimited private GP consultations and a range of exclusive benefits.
Come talk to us
Many across the UK and worldwide will use the new year to mark a fresh start, putting health at the top of the priority list. If you want to find out how to keep your employees healthy this winter, take a look at how you can benefit from our unique private services – including access to our exclusive membership scheme and on-site company doctor.