Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but it can last as long as May. Because the flu spreads quickly between people who work in close quarters, you really need to understand flu prevention tips as you protect yourself and your coworkers this flu season.
The flu shot is one of the best preventative measures you can take since it combats the season’s main flu virus that is expected to affect the most people. Although the vaccine’s antibodies won’t begin protecting you for two weeks, get yours today, and encourage your coworkers to get their flu shots, too.
Stay Home if You’re Sick
Of course, your job is essential, but going to work when you’re sick only infects everyone else. Stay home, focus on getting better and remind your coworkers to stay home if they’re sick.
Disinfect Office Surfaces
Disinfectant spray and wipes will be your best friends this flu season. Use them to clean germs off your computer keyboard, printer key pad, phone, pens and pencils, doorknobs, drawer pulls and anything else you and your coworkers touch regularly.
Cover Your Nose and Mouth
Sneeze or cough into a disposable tissue to prevent your germs from spreading to others.
Wash Your Hands
As frequently as possible, wash your hands in hot, soapy water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes also kill germs, but use them only when soap and water are unavailable.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Flu germs on your hands spread quickly when you touch your face, so protect yourself by keeping your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.
Go to Bed
Enough rest increases your immunity and ability to fight germs. Your chances of staying healthy increases when you grab a few a few extra minutes of sleep every night.
Eat and Drink a Healthy Diet
From loading up on fruits and veggies to drinking water, your body will stay strong when you fuel it with healthy foods.
Are you ready to stay healthy this flu season, especially with the current Coronavirus outbreak? Follow these tips and talk to your doctor about additional ways you and your coworkers can stay healthy this year.
February marks National Time Management Month. Use this celebration to encourage your employees to rethink their time organization and make changes that improve productivity and satisfaction. Here are some tips you can implement this month.
Identify Time Wasters
Time-tracking software helps you determine exactly how much time you spend doing various tasks throughout the day. Use the data to make tweaks to your schedule.
You decide how to spend your hours at work, so create at least one time management goal this month. It should be SMART:
Schedule your Day
Always create a schedule either on paper or online as you organize your day. Plan your day or it will plan you.
Remember to prioritize important tasks that must get done today. Otherwise, urgent tasks will take over your time, leaving important tasks unfinished.
Set a Timer
Racing the clock to finish a task within a certain amount of time can encourage you to work harder and smarter. A timer can also remind you to take breaks, which are proven to improve productivity, focus and creativity.
Respect your Energy
Like you have limited hours in a day, your energy has limits. Schedule important or tough tasks for high-energy times, and use low-energy times for easy or mundane jobs.
Every interruption affects your focus and wastes valuable time. Close your office door, turn on soft music or wear noise-canceling headphones as you limit distractions and solely focus on each task.
You’re in charge of your time. Learn to say no to tasks that don’t fit into your schedule. You may also need to learn how to advocate for yourself if your boss assigns too many tasks.
Allow Extra Time
After you calculate how much time a task will take, add a few minutes. This extra time serves as a buffer in case you encounter a delay or other issue.
Consider which tasks on your to-do list you can give to someone else. Delegating frees you to focus solely on the projects you alone can do.
Organize your Office
Looking for a misplaced paper or file wastes valuable time. Keep your desk and office area tidy so you everything you need is within easy reach.
Before you schedule a meeting, decide its agenda and invite only essential personnel. Enforce time limits on meetings, too.
Give employees a reward when they achieve their time management goals. A leather planner, clock or timer promotes ongoing efficiency.
Managing time is one way to improve productivity and job satisfaction. Encourage your employees to implement these time management tips this month.
Businesses are shrinking or expanding constantly. Start your renewal process today by comparing your policy estimated payrolls with the summary W-2 sheet produced by your accounting department (must be completed by February 1).
Review the 1099s and check these recipients against your files to assure certificate compliance and proper risk transfer techniques.
After reassessing your payroll exposures for the coming year, estimate your current premium. Talk to your agent about optional markets at that premium level, insurance companies have different appetites for different size risks. Find several appropriate insurers.
Many insurers now demand loss control inspections prior to commitment to offering any quote. Get your reports in order. Make sure loss control measures are in place and working. Order loss runs from your current carrier to have on hand.
Most important: leave enough lead time for the inspections to occur. At least ninety days, so new insurers can inspect your operations.
The insurance markets retool every few years and create new identities, new brands within the industry. Currently, insurance companies are deciding what size accounts they will seek, single lines like workers’ compensation or general liability, or supporting lines requirements: like workers’ compensation, general liability or automobile liability. Ask your agent what the current view is among their companies.
The key to having choices is starting early now. Don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the renewal carrier.
While your reassessing your policies, rethink your program as well. Your program consists of the risk management decisions that have subtle but important impacts on your insurance costs. For example: what is your best expiration date? In the construction industry, January first or April first are popular choices in a well-managed risk management program.
One secret within the insurance industry: rates tend to change on calendar quarters. If rates are increasing on April first, you can always renew on March thirty-first if you have enough lead time. But you need to know in advance and have friendly underwriters, and proactive agents.
Calendar quarters allow for government filings to be used as a basis for the insurance auditors, and audits go smoother. Corporate financial years can be good, especially if they fall on calendar quarters. Decide your best expiration date (and you want all liability lines to share that date)and begin 120 days in advance gathering quote information and loss data. Shop early.
One in five people resolve to lose weight or get healthier every January. If you choose to adopt this resolution in 2018, you could live longer. Several additional New Year’s resolutions can also prolong your life, so consider adding them to your resolution list this year.
Eat Fewer Calories
Food fuels your body, but when you eat fewer calories, you lose weight and reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Choose a smaller plate, chew each bite carefully and stop eating when you start to feel full to eat fewer calories and prolong your life.
Add Brain Foods to Your Diet
Certain foods help your brain and body function properly. Plan to add these brain foods to your diet as you live a healthier lifestyle this year.
- Nuts and seeds
- Pomegranate juice
- Whole grains
- Wild salmon
Meditation reduces stress and anxiety, improves your mood and boosts your brain’s grey matter, which helps to regulate your sensory perception, muscle control, decision making and self-control. Listen to a meditative CD or simply sit still and relax as you add this practice to your daily routine and gain its benefits.
Learn Something New
When you learn a new skill, you stretch your brain and improve your memory. Resolve to take a college class, learn to edit photos or watch TED talks that enrich your life and your brain with new thoughts, ideas and lessons.
Move Every Day
Regular movement helps you stay fit, improves your overall body function and reduces stress and depression. As a bonus, moving outdoors in nature could lower your blood pressure and boost your immunity. Whether you take a walk, sign up for a dance class or join a sports team, aim to move at least 10,000 steps per day and live longer.
Start a New Hobby
Hobbies like gardening, cooking and reading improve your quality of life. Many hobbies also reduce your stress levels, improve your focus and boost your brainpower. Start a hobby or two, and you increase your enjoyment of life and life expectancy this year.
Play helps kids develop properly and learn essential skills, and play gives adults important benefits, too. Relax your body and stimulate your mind when you put together up a jigsaw puzzle, join a bowling league, shoot hoops during work breaks and play more in 2018.
Get a Physical
During your annual physical, you and your doctor review your current health and address any ongoing health issues. Prioritize this visit to stay healthy now and into the future.
Resolve in 2018 to live longer thanks to these resolutions. They improve your life and your health.
Because of the midweek nature of Christmas and New Years this year, many folks will have a longer than usual time off.
Winter holidays give your company an opportunity to host celebratory parties and have fun. You could be liable, though, if you celebrate the holidays in a way that discriminates against employees. Be sure your holiday festivities celebrate diversity and avoid religious discrimination.
Granting Holidays Off
According to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act, you cannot discriminate against your employees based on religion. Also, you must accommodate “sincerely held religious practices” unless doing so would cause undue hardship for you. These guidelines prevent you from firing employees whose religious practices require a Sabbath day of rest. However, you are not required to give an employee the entire week of Diwali, Christmas or Hanukkah off if doing so would:
- Be costly.
- Decrease efficiency.
- Burden other employees.
- Threaten safety.
- Violate employee rights.
As a company, you can accommodate all your employees during the holidays in several ways. These actions ensure your company remains compliant with the law and respectful of your employees.
- Include floating holidays in the benefits package.
- Allow employees to take a vacation, sick, personal, or unpaid day off for holiday celebrations.
- Let employees work a different schedule or swap shifts to accommodate their holiday observance.
Decorating the Office
Office decor can improve your employee’s morale. Religious or symbolic decorations like lanterns or crosses may offend employees of different religions, though.
Support diversity and inclusion as you decorate. Choose generic items like snowflakes rather than religious objects. You can also give your employees permission to decorate their personal space. In this case, stipulate that the decor items must be minimal and cannot interfere with navigation around the office. For example, a six-inch Christmas tree on a desk is acceptable, and but a six-foot tree in a cubicle or walkway would be inappropriate.
Hosting Holiday Parties
A holiday party gives your company the chance to unwind and relax while building rapport. You must remain sensitive to your employees’ religious beliefs as you plan and enjoy the party, though.
Comply with the law, avoid discrimination and show sensitivity to employees when you:
- Include members of different religions on the party planning committee.
- Make parties non denominational.
- Schedule the party for a date and time that will not interfere with religious observances.
- Include elements of all religious seasonal holidays.
- Give employees the choice to attend the party.
- Avoid serving alcohol, which is forbidden in certain religions.
- Adopt a charity as a company or match charitable donations rather than host a holiday party.
As a company, you can celebrate the holiday season and embrace and celebrate diversity in a way that avoids religious discrimination. Start with these tips. For more information, talk with your corporate attorney, HR professional or business liability insurance agent.
Holiday decorations around the office are fun and festive, but they do pose safety hazards and can cause injuries. Whether your employees decorate the office for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years, insist on numerous safety precautions.
Avoid Trips and Falls
Place trees, gifts or displays in areas that are out of the way. If these items sit in a hallway or other busy area, employees could trip or fall over them.
Climb a Ladder
When hanging garland, snowflakes or streamers from the wall, windows or ceiling, use a ladder or step stool instead of a chair or desk. The right support helps you reach high places without pulling a muscle or falling.
Use Nonflammable Materials
All the holiday decor you use should be labeled as nonflammable or noncombustible. Check the label, too, to verify that your decorative drapes, lights and artificial greener are made of fire retardant material and safe for your employees.
Don’t Block Signs or Exits
Seasonal banners and other decor items may fit perfectly over signs or doors, but never cover signs or exit doors. Remember to keep fire equipment and sprinklers free from decorations, too.
Stay Away from Heat Sources
Always check the surroundings before you place decorations around the office. Items should sit away from vents, space heaters and other heat sources.
Attach Tall Items Securely
Tall trees and other display items are top heavy and may topple over if they’re bumped or even randomly. Secure tall decor items to the wall or ceiling with guy-wire.
Select Cool Burning Bulbs
Safety tested and cool burning bulbs in light strings or lamps are less likely to cause burns or fires. Check the label to ensure the bulbs are tested by an independent lab and verified to be safe.
Holiday lights add a festive look to your office, but always inspect lights before you plug them in. Toss strands with frayed or bare wires, broken or cracked sockets, or loose connections.
Take Care with Extension Cords
Extension cords are convenient but potentially hazardous accessories. Only plug in the recommended number of light string sets. Also, avoid tacking or stapling cords to the wall or floor, and tape or cover cords that cross the floor on walkways.
An open flame is a big burn and fire hazard. Only allow electric lights and ban candles for safety.
Turn off Lights
At the end of the day or whenever the office is closed, switch off all the lights. You’ll save money and reduce a fire hazard.
The holidays can be more festive when you decorate the office. Use these safety tips to reduce injuries and keep your employees safe.