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Canterbury Healthy Workplaces Update: Autumn 2019

Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Posted in: Newsletters By: Administrator With tags: newsletter, workplace, wellbeing, health, physical activity, nutrition, hygiene, smokefree

Autumn is the best time for workplaces to plan for a healthier workforce in winter. There are some basic things we can do to keep ourselves well over winter.

Employers can help people to stay well by promoting:

  • Handwashing
  • Free (or part-paid) flu vaccines to staff
  • Eating well and staying hydrated
  • Getting outside and keeping fit
  • Quitting smoking

Enjoy a Healthy Winter!

From Community and Public Health and your Workplace Wellbeing/ WorkWell Advisor: Ann Vanschevensteen (ann.vanschevensteen[at]cdhb.health.nz or 03 378 6781).


Wash and Dry Hands

It seems simple, but this is one of the easiest and most effective ways to avoid spreading germs. Encourage people to wash and then dry their hands after going to the toilet, before eating food and whenever they’ve touched someone else’s keyboard or phone.

Put up posters around the office and organise a ‘wash your hands’ challenge by booking the Glitterbug kit. These resources are free from Community and Public Health – contact your workplace wellbeing advisor Ann at Community and Public Health on 03 378 6781.

Some workplaces have taken the ‘wash your hands’ challenge, with great results.
Fulton Hogan took the Hand Hygiene Challenge.

Get (flu) vaccinated!

Healthy, immunised working adults have significantly fewer days off work – research shows that employees who have had a flu jab had up to 45 percent fewer lost workdays.

To maximise flu vaccination uptake, you could consider

  • organising onsite vaccination sessions. There is a fee of $25 - $35 per person vaccinated.
  • providing (fully or part-paid) vouchers for each employee to take to any participating pharmacy and get immunised there.
  • allowing some time for employees to visit their own GP to get the flu jab.

Remember that some of employees may be eligible for free flu jabs, e.g. those over 65, pregnant women, and those with diabetes or chronic asthma.

Check out the criteria for free flu vaccines in 2019.

Getting Outside and Keeping Fit

Exposure to the sun – even for 10 minutes a day – boosts vitamin D levels, which is important for our immunity.

If you’re indoors for most of the day, encourage going for lunchtime walks or other outdoor activities in the sun, especially between May and August. Make sure your face, arms and hands are exposed.

Think about staff health challenges such as fun walks/runs and social sports teams.

Could you organise Walk to Work Wednesdays to encourage people to walk to work, or to maybe just park their car a little further away and walk? It all help with getting those 30 minutes of exercise a day...

Contact your workplace wellbeing advisor Ann on 03 378 6781 if you’d like some ideas and/or help setting up your own workplace walking group.

Eating Well and Staying Hydrated

What we eat impacts on our immune system, so encourage staff to keep on eating healthily at work during the winter months.

Make sure your staff kitchen is well equipped with:

  • a big enough fridge;
  • sufficient plates, cups and cutlery;
  • a microwave to heat up hearty winter soups;
  • a toaster or maybe even a sandwich press.

This way, staff can bring home-made lunches and keep boosting their immune systems.

How about having a communal fruit bowl, sharing a ‘brimming with veges’ weekly recipe or organising a roster to make a weekly vege-filled soup or salad to share with colleagues?

Plenty of recipe examples and free resources are available from the Community Health Information Centre.

Don’t forget that drinking water is essential for good health, especially when the heating’s cranked up.

Having water coolers at work is one way of making sure staff stay hydrated; or you could keep some lemons and mint in the work fridge to help people drink more water.

Support your staff to stay or become Smokefree

Smokers are far more at risk of having upper respiratory infections, especially during the winter months.

Here are 5 ideas to create a supportive workplace that helps staff to remain or become Smokefree:

  • have a Smokefree policy;
  • promote and provide Smokefree vehicles;
  • limit when staff can smoke during work time;
  • become a totally Smokefree workplace and work with staff to plan how to get there (such as having a strategy in place); and
  • reinforce the benefits of being Smokefree.

This year’s theme for World Smokefree Day (WSFD) is “Stop the Stock in your Block”.

It’s all about generating awareness of the amount of tobacco that is sold in our communities.
Download free WSFD resources to put up around your workplace.

Contact the following staff at Community and Public Health for FREE help to support your employees (and/or their whānau) become Smokefree (while at work, and/or for good) or if your work is interested in extending or updating their Smokefree policy:

  • Christina Lewis (Christina.lewis[at]cdhb.health.nz); or
  • Mitchell Jordan (03 378 6703, 021 706 731, or Mitchell.Jordan[at]cdhb.health.nz).

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch