Best Practices for Cold and Flu Prevention in the Workplace

Cold and flu prevention in the workplace reduces the spread of illness between customers, clients, and employees, and can lessen the number of sick days. By following a few simple tips and tricks, you can protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of illness during the cold and flu season.

Wash Hands Frequently

Germs can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, so it’s important to wash your hands after touching common surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and company phones. Run warm water in the sink and wet your hands. Apply a small amount of soap and wring hands together to form a lather. Wash the hands thoroughly by rubbing them together for at least 30 seconds and then rinse with warm water. Use a clean disposable towel to turn off the faucet and dry your hands. If you don’t have time to wash your hands often, clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Disinfect Common Surfaces

Don’t rely on hand-washing alone. Clean common surfaces with disinfectant cleaning wipes, or use a disinfectant spray to wipe down counters and other surfaces at least once a day. Supply employees with wipes for their work area, and encourage them to wipe down keyboards, phones, and other shared items often. A simple solution for disinfecting bathrooms and breakrooms to kill the flu virus is by mixing together a half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Apply enough of the solution so that the surface stays wet for at least five minutes. Rinse clean and allow it to air dry.

Flu Vaccine

One of the single most effective ways to prevent the spread of flu is by obtaining a flu vaccine. As an employer, you can hold an on-site flu shot clinic to allow employees to conveniently get a shot during business hours. Schedule the clinic as early in the flu season as possible because it can take up to two weeks for the protection of the vaccine to become effective.

Encourage Employees to Stay Home

Create a work atmosphere where employees aren’t afraid to stay home when they are sick. Staying home also helps an individual recover quickly and minimizes disruptions at work. Also, an individual who is sick is less productive.

Prevention is often the best way to help prevent the spread of colds and the flu. Create an environment that encourages prevention to keep employees healthy throughout the season.

5 Ways To Show Appreciation For Your Employees

Showing appreciation to employees is one of the best ways to build a stronger workforce, increase productivity and encourage the free-flow of ideas. Employee Appreciation Day falls on the first Friday in March throughout Canada and the United States, which is the perfect time to thank employees for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. Consider the following ways to motivate and show support.

Offer Public Recognition

Employee recognition is always a good way to show appreciation for a job well done but consider making the sentiment public. Post your gratitude on social media, sent out a company text or type of a newsletter and call an individual out by name. Make sure you are specific in your praise, so they know exactly what they are being rewarded for. Aside from public appreciation, keep your eyes out for those who go above and beyond their duties. Stop by their desk to say thanks, or bring in little surprises like cookies and cupcakes.

Pay for Lunch

Bring your office employees together and splurge on breakfast or lunch. Not only will employees feel appreciated, but it will also help strengthen interpersonal relationships when they gather for meals. Bring in doughnuts, have a pizza party or call a caterer to bring in sandwiches and chips.

Create a Company Platform

Create a platform to give employees a chance to call out other employees who have offered help. Peer awards often mean more to an individual than company recognition. Let employees vote on an employee of the month, week or even year and then offer an award. Wooboard is one type of application that helps you create a culture of peer appreciation.

Offer Flexible Scheduling

Employees, especially millennials, enjoy working in a company that lets them balance work and personal life. One way to show appreciation and trust is by offering flexible scheduling. As long as the work is completed on time, let employees come in early and get off early or stay later. If possible, you can also let employees work from home.

Give Year-End Bonuses

Employees are the backbone of any company. Most profits can be attributed to excellent employees. At the end of the year, show thanks by giving attendance bonuses, top sales or even provide a percentage of an employee’s salary as a year-end bonus.

Keep motivation high and reduce turnover by saying thanks often. Both actions and words go a long way with employee satisfaction.

9 Ways to Think Like an Explorer

Each year, Yukoners celebrate Heritage Day on the third Friday in February. It’s been a holiday for government workers in the Yukon since 1976. In 2015, Nova Scotia became the seventh province to legislate a paid holiday in February. Nova Scotia uses the day to celebrate important places, events and individuals in its history and picks a new person of interest every year.

In honour of Canada’s great adventurers, this article looks at how you can incorporate the spirit of an explorer in your operations.

Unleash Your Inner Explorer

Being an explorer in business terms is synonymous with embracing an entrepreneurial spirit in everything you do. It embodies a can-do attitude that empowers business owners and managers to create something new for the benefit of everyone in the enterprise. Here are some tips that can help you unleash your inner explorer:

  • Use the left and right hemispheres of your brain to analyze and react quickly to new opportunities.
  • Break habits and routines by thinking beyond boundaries and limitations to see the full potential of a project or investment.
  • Avoid making assumptions that lead to negative thoughts, which sap your energy and erode your confidence.

Ambiguity can lead to indecisiveness, but narrow definitions stifle the imagination. Cultivate ambiguity by reading or participating in activities outside your comfort zone. This can give you a fresh perspective when it comes to business decisions.

Learn from Customers Forging New Paths with Your Products

Sometimes, you can find explorers among your own customers. These forward-thinkers can help you realize new usage patterns that can lead to growth or cost savings. They may have some suggestions for product and service enhancements that fulfill their needs and add revenue to your bottom line. You can find adventurous customers among those who:

  • Use your product in a unique way
  • Derive value from your product that contributes to their gross margin
  • Care about a product characteristic that implies a possible niche for your product
  • Need much less or much more service and attention than average
  • Use your product in a new product for resale
  • Use your product in a location your sales channel doesn’t serve

Partner with these customers and explore opportunities to expand your market even further. You may be able to realize economies of scale that save both companies money. Most of all, dare to be daring if it’s something that can help your business grow.

3 façons de trouver un meilleur équilibre entre la vie personnelle et la vie professionnelle

Environ 58 % des Canadiens disent qu’ils ont de la difficulté à jongler avec leur travail, la maison et leur vie personnelle pour trouver ce parfait équilibre entre la vie personnelle et professionnelle. Cela provoque de hauts niveaux de stress et, bien souvent, un sentiment de culpabilité comme quoi vous négligez certains aspects de votre vie. Pour éviter cela, vous pouvez poser quelques gestes pour rester productif et en santé tout en sentant que vous accomplissez plus tout au long de la journée. Lisez les conseils suivants.

Apprenez à gérer votre temps

Établissez la priorité des tâches à la maison et au travail en suivant quelques étapes simples pour gérer efficacement votre temps.

  • Déterminez vos objectifs et engagez-vous à les atteindre.
  • Placez vos tâches quotidiennes de la plus urgente à la moins importante.
  • Évitez d’en prendre plus que ce que vous pouvez accomplir à la fois.
  • Utilisez un calendrier pour planifier.
  • Déléguez les tâches que d’autres personnes peuvent accomplir.
  • Éliminez les distractions.

Réservez du temps pour vous

Si vous planifiez un dîner avec vous-même pour faire une promenade dans le quartier ou si vous avez hâte chaque semaine au cours de yoga au centre de conditionnement physique, mettez de côté au moins un bloc de temps chaque jour ou chaque semaine pour vous concentrer sur vous-même, votre santé et votre paix intérieure. Utilisez ce temps pour vous débrancher de votre téléphone, de votre ordinateur et d’autres formes de technologie. La planification du temps pour soi aide à mieux dormir, à lutter contre la dépression et à améliorer ses relations avec les autres.

Établissez des limites claires entre le travail et la maison

Ceux qui déterminent des limites claires entre leur vie personnelle et leur vie professionnelle sont appelés des « segmenteurs ». Les études montrent que ces personnes ont des taux de stress plus faibles et ont tendance à mieux apprécier leur travail. Pour ce faire, évitez de rapporter du travail à la maison et de vérifier vos courriels du bureau à la maison. Assurez-vous de répondre aux questions relatives au travail uniquement durant les heures normales. En fermant mentalement la porte du bureau lorsque vous quittez le travail, vous aurez moins de chances de souffrir d’épuisement professionnel et aurez plus de chances de profiter de votre temps passé à la maison à relaxer.

Atteindre un équilibre entre la vie personnelle et la vie professionnelle vous permet de vous placer en priorité absolue dans votre vie. Par conséquent, vous pouvez apprendre à mieux apprécier votre travail et sentir que vous accomplissez plus autant dans votre vie personnelle que pour votre carrière.

3 conseils pour vaincre la dépression saisonnière au travail

Garder le moral durant les sombres mois d’hiver peut être une tâche difficile pour beaucoup de gens au travail. Le manque de soleil, la température froide et les tempêtes fréquentes peuvent réduire l’efficacité au bureau. Rester en santé est une priorité absolue pour éviter la gorge sèche et le rhume durant cette période. Cela peut faire la différence et améliorer la productivité de trouver des façons de remonter le moral durant ces mois froids et sombres.

Ajoutez plus de vert à votre lieu de travail

Selon plusieurs études, il y avait des changements importants chez les employés de bureau qui avaient des plantes à proximité comparativement à ceux qui n’en avaient pas. Plusieurs préoccupations, comme avoir de la difficulté à se concentrer, éprouver de la fatigue et une augmentation du mal de gorge et de la toux, étaient présentes lorsque les plantes étaient retirées du lieu près des employés. Les plantes purifient l’air vicié en absorbant le dioxyde de carbone et en émettant de l’oxygène. De l’oxygène frais dans un bureau fermé peut aider les travailleurs à respirer librement et à lutter contre le rhume. Essayez d’utiliser des plantes qui vivent bien dans un environnement de bureau comme une plante araignée, un philodendron ou une mélisse.

Augmentez l’éclairage

Il y a littéralement un manque de soleil durant les mois d’hiver, ce qui peut exercer une influence négative sur l’efficacité au travail. Comme il y a de moins en moins d’heures de clarté en hiver, les employés peuvent se retrouver à commencer et terminer leur journée de travail dans le noir. Cela peut causer de la fatigue, un manque d’énergie et une capacité d’attention réduite. Garder des lumières vives au travail peut aider à augmenter la productivité. Essayez d’ajouter plus d’éclairage durant ces mois pour encourager une atmosphère vive et accueillante. Une petite lampe sur chaque bureau et une aire de pause illuminée peuvent aider à réduire la morosité causée par la saison sombre.

Divisez les tâches importantes et déléguez

La déprime hivernale affecte les travailleurs de diverses manières, mais l’une des façons les plus courantes est le manque d’attention et la fatigue. Cela réduit la productivité et l’efficacité. Évitez cet écueil en divisant les projets de grande envergure en petites parties, et en déléguant les tâches aux travailleurs. Donner à vos travailleurs de petites tâches à accomplir facilite la réalisation des grands projets, et terminer une petite liste concise de tâches recharge le cerveau et améliore la productivité. Déléguer les tâches aux employés encourage un espace de travail occupé et efficace. Les travailleurs deviennent plus confiants et le moral au travail augmente lorsqu’ils reçoivent des responsabilités.

Conseils simples pour créer une culture positive au travail

Le jour des compliments n’arrive qu’une fois par année, mais l’idée sous-jacente à cette journée peut durer toute l’année lorsque vous l’utilisez pour bâtir une culture positive au travail. Selon Harvard Business Review, la positivité en milieu de travail permet de réduire les maladies professionnelles liées au stress. Elle permet également de réduire les coûts associés aux maladies, encourage l’engagement parmi les employés et inspire la loyauté auprès des travailleurs. Créer un environnement de travail heureux et en santé n’a pas à coûter cher ou à être complexe. Voici quelques conseils pour commencer.

Prenez le temps de nouer des relations avec les travailleurs

Un chef avec un style strict et autoritaire peut faire en sorte que les travailleurs sont productifs pendant un certain temps, mais ce type de chef n’inspirera pas la loyauté. Pour inspirer la loyauté et créer le type de culture qui augmente les résultats de votre entreprise, il est bon de montrer votre côté humain.

Évitez les commentaires qui diminuent les autres, et dites à vos employés que vous êtes ouvert à discuter des problèmes avec eux. Faites preuve de compassion et prenez le temps de les aider avec les problèmes qui ont été portés à votre attention.

Tentez de maintenir un équilibre en déléguant les responsabilités

La ligne est mince entre aider les employés à résoudre des problèmes de manière positive ou négative. La clé est de fournir de l’aide qui augmente le sentiment d’accomplissement de chaque travailleur. Si le travailleur ne sait pas comment faire, allez-y et dirigez en donnant l’exemple. Puis, quand ce travailleur est formé, retirez-vous et laissez-le briller. Donner aux travailleurs bien formés l’autorité requise pour prendre des décisions sur la façon de faire le travail crée un sentiment de responsabilité et génère de la fierté face à des tâches effectuées correctement et à temps.

Inspirez la confiance au lieu de la peur

Créez une culture où vos collègues savent que vous les soutenez en mettant un terme aux commentaires négatifs. Ne lancez pas de potins sur le rendement d’un travailleur absent. Même s’il y a un problème avec le travail de quelqu’un, discutez-en directement et avec maturité avec la personne en question.

Concentrez-vous à travailler avec la personne ou encouragez votre équipe de travailleurs à créer des solutions proactives. Cela permet d’abattre le travail sans créer de stress ni la peur d’être renvoyé chez vos employés. Lorsque vous n’épargnez pas les éloges et l’attention, mais êtes doux, créatif et constructif dans vos critiques sur le rendement au travail, tout le monde y gagne.

3 Ways to Find Better Work-Life Balance

Approximately 58 percent of Canadians say they have a hard time juggling their work, home and personal lives and finding that perfect work-life balance. This causes high levels of stress and, often, feelings of guilt that you are neglecting certain areas of your life. To avoid this, you can do a few things to stay productive and healthy and to feel like you are getting more done throughout the day. Consider the following tips.

Learn Time Management

Prioritize tasks both at home and at work by following a few simple steps for effective time management.

  • Identify your goals and engage in them.
  • Prioritize your daily to-dos from the most urgent to the not important.
  • Avoid taking on more than you can accomplish at one time.
  • Use a calendar to plan ahead.
  • Delegate items that others can handle.
  • Eliminate distractions.

Set Time for You

Whether you schedule a lunch date with yourself to take a walk around the block or look forward to a weekly yoga class at the local gym, set aside at least one block of time each day or week to focus on yourself, your health and your inner peace. Use this time to unplug and separate yourself from your phone, computer and other forms of technology. Scheduling some me time helps you sleep better, fight depression and improve your relationships with others.

Create Clear Work and Home Boundaries

Those who set clear boundaries between their work and home life are called segmenters. Studies show that these individuals have lower levels of stress and tend to enjoy their jobs more. To do this, avoid bringing work home and checking your office email at home. Make it a point to answer work-related questions only during normal business hours. By mentally flipping the off-switch when you leave work, you are less likely to suffer from work exhaustion and more likely to enjoy your time spent at home relaxing.

Achieving a work-life balance ensures you make yourself a top priority in your life. As a result, you can learn to appreciate your job more and feel like you are accomplishing more in both your private life and your professional career.

10 Great Ways You Can Celebrate National Flag Of Canada Day

The 54th National Flag of Canada Day, also called Flag Day, is February 15, 2019. Although Canada used several different flags from 1801 to 1965, the United Kingdom’s Royal Union Jack was the country’s official symbol during that time. Flag Day commemorates the declaration by Queen Elizabeth II of England making the maple leaf emblem the official flag of Canada. The monarch affirmed February 15, 1965, as the day the newly selected banner would fly over Parliament Hill as a symbol for all Canada’s citizens.

In 1996, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien proclaimed February 15 as National Flag of Canada Day. He encouraged his fellow citizens to recognize the privilege of living in a nation that encompasses a shared history, aspirations and future. The flag symbolizes the common ideals that connect all Canadians: peace, equality, diversity and inclusion.

Make Your Business Stand Out on Flag Day

This can be an ideal time to market your business as an enterprise that exhibits pride in the unique Canadian heritage. Here are ways to promote your business and help bolster respect and appreciation for the Maple Leaf.

  1. Order free promotional materials to share on Flag Day.
  2. Provide flag lapel pins to employees to wear on Flag Day.
  3. Offer a discount to patrons who display the maple leaf flag on their clothing on Flag Day.
  4. Distribute miniature flags or pins to customers.
  5. Commemorate Flag Day on your company’s website.
  6. Sponsor or participate in local Flag Day observances.
  7. Donate Flag Day mementos to local schools.
  8. Food providers: Offer special pricing on Canadian delicacies like poutine, beavertails or peameal bacon.
  9. Set up a Flag Day awareness art or essay contest for school-aged children.
  10. Promote and participate in the #CanadianDay photo challenge on social media sites Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Flag Protocol

The etiquette for displaying and handling the national flag is based on established practice. Take care to treat this symbol of national pride with the utmost respect. Keep these rules in mind as you prepare for Flag Day:

Do not use the flag to:

  • cover a seat or table
  • mask boxes
  • cover a podium or platform

The flag should not:

  • have anything sewn or pinned onto it
  • be marked or signed on
  • be displayed in discoloured or frayed condition
  • touch the ground or be stepped upon

Will you be celebrating National Flag Day? Show us your photos on Instagram using #nationalflagday and tag us @staplesbizcan.


3 Tips for Beating the Winter Blues in Your Workplace

Keeping your spirits up in the dark winter months can be a trying task for many people in the workplace. The lack of sunshine and frequent cold and stormy weather can reduce workplace efficiency. Staying healthy is a top priority to avoid dry throats and colds during this season. Finding small ways to boost morale can go a long way to improving productivity in the cold dark months.

Add More Greenery to Your Workplace

According to a several studies, there were significant changes shown by office workers who had plants nearby and those that didn’t. Concerns like difficulty concentrating, fatigue and an increase in sore throats and coughs were present when the plants were removed from the workers. Plants purify stale air by absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. Fresh oxygen in a closed office can help workers breathe freely and fight off colds. Try using office-friendly plants such as spider plants, philodendron and lemon balm.

Increase the Lighting

There is a literal lack of sunlight during the winter months, which can negatively impact efficient workflow. As there are fewer and fewer daylight hours in the winter, employees may end up starting their workday in the dark and leaving in the dark. This can cause fatigue, low energy and a lowered attention span. Keeping the lights bright in a workplace can help increase productivity. Try adding more lights during these months to encourage a bright and cheery atmosphere. A small lamp on each desk and a bright break area help offset gloom brought on by the dark season.

Break Down Large Tasks and Delegate

Winter blues affect workers in various ways, but one of the most common ways is a lack of attention and fatigue. This reduces productivity and efficiency. Bounce back by breaking large projects down into smaller ones, and delegating tasks to workers. Giving your workers small tasks to do makes it easier for large projects to get accomplished, and completing a small concise list of tasks recharges the brain and improves productivity. Delegating tasks to employees encourages a busy and efficient workspace. Workers gain in confidence and workplace moral increases when they are given responsibilities.

Best Practices For Securing Your Data At Work

As a business, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to data privacy. In the wrong hands, information from a security breach can cost your business, clients, customers and even vendors a lot of money. Part of your job as a company is ensuring business data is secure and out of reach of unauthorized users. Every February, people around the world participate in Safer Internet Day to make the internet a safe place for young adults. Use this day as a chance to secure your information from outsiders.

Utilize Multifactor Authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is a security system that uses more than one method of identifying a user. Some of the most popular methods include biometric retina or fingerprint scanners or facial recognition. There are also several free applications, such as Google Authenticator, that prompt you to enter a numeric code that’s sent via text to your phone once you sign in to your account. The single-use code is only accessible from the registered phone on the account.

Follow Best Password Practices

Educate employees on best password procedures to ensure information remains secure.

  • Don’t use personal information like family names, birth dates, pet names, phone numbers or anything that could be easy to guess.
  • Create long, complex passwords that mix numbers, letters and special characters.
  • Avoid using the same password across multiple platforms.
  • Change your passwords at least once every three months.
  • Use a password management app like LastPass or RoboForm to help make your passwords more secure.

Incorporate Data Encryption

File and disk encryption help protect the data stored on your computer and network. There are several types of data encryption, including individual file and folder encryption that only encrypts what you tell it to. Volume encryption saves all files and folders in a specific area, while full-disc or whole-disk encryption saves all files and folders on a computer or a network.

Most operating systems have built-in encryption programs, but you can add a third-party program like VeraCrypt that is free to download and use.

Use a Secure Network

Consider the use of a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all data between the user’s computer and the VPN server it’s connected to, which makes it virtually impossible to intercept the data locally.

Data security keeps important information out of the hands of unauthorized users. Train your employees on safe practices and utilize them consistently.