Health and Safety Chat

Helping combat the post-holiday blues

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Steve Schroder
9 November 2016

Yep, it is that time again! The holidays are over and you are back in front of your wheel of the forklift, looking blankly at the work in front of you trying to get the motivation to start. Your mind drifts back to the beach and camping with the kids, BBQ’s, sun… CRASH!

Whether you operate a forklift, operate machinery, are on the road as a sales rep or sitting behind a desk, post-holiday distractions are a real risk to the workplace in the weeks following any holiday period.  Employees (no matter what level in the business! I have restarted this blog 4 times this morning!) are more vulnerable to incidents at this time of year than any other time of year.

So what do we do about this? How as managers do we keep our staff safe with their minds on the job as opposed to still on holiday!? What is important to remember is that nearly all staff will experience the post-holiday blues at some point following a break from work, and this is normal!

How as managers do we keep our staff safe with their minds on the job as opposed to still on holiday!?

There are a few things that you can do to help transition you staff back to work with as little risk as possible to them and the business.

• Re-introduction the business – one of the best ways to help your staff is to simply re-induct them like you would a first-day employee. This gives you a chance to refresh their memory and understanding on the risks and hazards within your workplace and ensure that they are familiar with the controls you have in place.

It is a good idea to keep a record of this inductions to keep a track of who and has not been inducted.

• Ease them back into work without overloading. – it is easy for staff to become overloaded with work following the holidays especially if the business does not close over this time. Backlogs of orders and processing, unsatisfied customers, quality issues etc. can all add to the stresses within the first few weeks back.

• If possible, vary their work to avoid staff becoming bored and distracted. – keep your staff interested in what they are doing! One of the easiest ways of doing this is to job swap with other employees. This not only keeps your staff from distraction but also helps motivate them as they learn new skills. This is also a good was to future proof the business in case of sickness and future holidays.

• Ensure they are taking all of their breaks – It is also important to remember to tell your staff to take all of their allocated breaks and encourage them to eat and keep themselves hydrated. The temptation to work through these in the first few weeks and be high, however, this can lead to inefficiency and mistakes, which can be especially dangerous in high-risk industries such as construction etc.

• Manage fatigue within your staff – remember that it is easy to become fatigued in the first few weeks back at work as your body has to re-adjust to work life. Keep an eye on your staff and ensure that anyone that is visibly tired or seems distracted is looked after.

Remember health and safety doesn’t have to be hard! If you are unsure how to manage the post-holiday blues within your business give Smart Safety a call and we can help you go through simple steps that will not only keep you safe but also help with covering your due diligence! Steve, Smart Safety Solutions.

Contact either Steve or Susan for a free confidential chat.
Susan 021 570 570 or Steve Schroder  021 452 930