The Corporate Benefits of Employees Who Sleep

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena 

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According to the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted in the U.S., less than 40% of adults are getting enough sleep. To be productive, adults are recommended to sleep for a minimum of 7 hours on average per night. Being deficient in sleep is costing companies $63 million in lost efficiency.

 

Sleep deprivation can also lead to major health issues that affect your on-job performance and productivity. So it’s no surprise that many organisations are now paying their employees to take a nap on the job to get them refreshed and productive. Google, which has been ranked as one of the best companies to work for, gives their employees a number of wellness benefits including access an on-site gym, a spa and massage centre, and a unique nap station where they can take 40-minute naps on recliner chairs, while listening to music to help alleviate their stress. This has proven to boost their employees’ performance and aid them in producing a better quality of work.

Based on a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, not getting enough sleep can decrease your alertness and efficiency, and long-term sleep deprivation can increase your risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, obesity and elevated stress levels.

 

To prevent the onset of these issues, a rising number of organisations have been introducing Sleep Management Programmes to educate employees on the importance of sleep and its impact on wellbeing and job performance. These programmes also educate employees on the issues associated with excessive use of their phone before bed, the benefits of having at least 7 hours of sleep, how impactful sleep is on their performance and behaviour, and the benefits of a nap room in the office.

 

Here are some tips on how to make your office more nap friendly:

 

Have a dedicated nap area

Creating a comfortable and welcoming space for napping with couches and relaxing music (or peace and quiet) will encourage employees to de-stress in the middle of the work day. Afterwards, they’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle their workloads.

 

Make napping a part of the business culture

Introducing a culture of napping to your company will normalize it and lessen the guilt that your employees may experience over having a quick nap during the workday. They need to be encouraged to take a small break from their desk.

 

Schedule nap times

Scheduling a 20-minute nap before making an important business decision can actually help in making the best decision. Studies show that making decisions when you haven’t had enough sleep often don’t turn out to be the best decision for the company.

So, nappers rejoice! By leaving a little room in their schedule for a nap, employees become healthier, more productive and less stressed!

 


Follow us on Twitter to stay current on the top cost-containment wellness strategies.  To learn more about cessation programs for smoking and their impact on your ROI, check out this link: Corporate smoking cessation programs and ROI.

 

Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

 

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Employers Turn to Workplace Wellness to Help Reduce Health Care Costs

Posted by Trista Chan

Employees are the assets of any organization, and to sustain these assets and benefit from their long term service, it’s vital to maintain their wellbeing. With the increase in awareness around living a healthy lifestyle, many employers now offer workplace wellness programs to their employees. These programs help in reducing healthcare costs and providing long term benefits to employees and their families. These programs also provide knowledge on eating a healthy diet, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and leading a happy and healthy life.

According to the reports of the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 70% of employers offer wellness programs to their employees, which is almost a 10-15% increase compared to previous years.

It’s expected that everyone, during some stage of their life will face some sort of health issue, whether it be due to an unhealthy diet, sleep deprivation, alcohol, or hereditary causes.  So by utilising the benefits from wellness programs employees can make positive changes in their health and overall productivity by reducing absenteeism, stress and increasing their performance and efficiency.
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So, why do employers offer wellness programs to employees?

Employers understand the fact that a healthy employee will fetch far better outcomes than an unhealthy employee. A wellness program can offer regular health checks of employees and their families, guide them on health risks and how to prevent them, provide regular medication and provide information on the importance of exercising. When an organization emphasizes how important it is that their employees are a part of the wellness program, the employees become more aware about leading a healthy life by following healthy habits.  This can also have a domino effect on the employees’ work lives. By providing your employees with a robust wellness program, you enable them to get more out of their life and become a happier person at work, which leads to more enjoyment at work, and better results for the company.

How do wellness programs help employers reduce healthcare cost?

Wellness programs help employees identify any health risks they have and provide information on how to live a healthy life. Participating in a wellness program can help in reducing an organization’s healthcare costs due to a decrease in absenteeism, reduction in medical claims, reduction in employee stress, boosted performance and increased social interaction with family and friends. When the employees are satisfied with their health and life in general, they are more likely to put in maximum efforts at work.

Basic services that are offered under a general wellness program includes stress management, obesity reduction, healthy diet plans, blood pressure checks, cholesterol level checks, fitness guides, time management sessions etc.  Although the initial outlay of implementing a wellness program can sometimes be costly, the overall healthcare costs are reduced significantly for both employers and employees.  For example, clients of Optimity see an ROI of $1.80 to $6.93 back for every $1 spent on wellness.

 

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Trista Chan is a Wellness Strategy Advisor at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corpoate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life.  

To learn more about how you can implement a strategic program to improve employee health outcomes and optimize work culture, contact me at tchan@myoptimity.com for a free consult.  I’ll be happy to support your organization in its wellness journey.

 

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What Is Your Employee Wellness Program Missing?

Posted by Hilary Turk

Wellness programs have become a positive trend in recent years, with almost 90% of employers providing them to their employees. These employers definitely have a positive objective in providing these programmes, but there are some issues that remain missing from the wellness programs that need proper attention for their success. Wellness programs often just focus on healthy eating habits, getting regular health check-ups, and providing knowledge to employees on living a healthy life, but the success of wellness programs doesn’t only depend on only these factors. Wellness programs need to engage employees, boost their morale and help them to adopt healthy changes in their work and home life as well. This can be achieved not only by introducing a wellness program but by providing the supporting tools and actions which will have everlasting effects. This would also benefit employers by saving them money on healthcare costs in the form of reduced absenteeism, decreased compensation for medical claims and increased efficiency of employees.

Here are a few ways you can improve your existing wellness program:

Improve your company culture

Wellness programs provide a great amount of support to employees, but this program can only succeed only when it is adopted within the culture of the organisation. A few health checks here and there in the office won’t cut it! Organisations should be encouraging their employees to follow a healthy routine which can boost stamina and energy levels to lead to an all-round healthier life.

Personalize your programs

Many wellness programs often skip over the part where they personalise a program to a specific person, which can ultimately lead to the success of the program. Before a successful program is implemented employees need to be carefully analysed and interviewed about their working culture, location, lifestyle, preferences etc. It’s also vital that the program be manageable and tailored to each individual’s needs.

Be engaging

Dedicate a team of employees that can create a buzz among their peers to adopt the wellness programs. Sending regular emails, educating employees and hosting monthly wellness program social events is a great way to get employees engaged and excited about joining the wellness program.

Reward your employees

Create an engaging reward system that your employees want to be a part of. It could be a financial reward for hitting their fitness goals, or a team lunch on the company for banishing a bad habit. Anything that gets your workers working towards a healthier and happy work life deserves to be rewarded.

 

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Hilary is a Wellness Advisor at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics. She aims to empower others to live their healthiest and happiest lives. Her interests are swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends and family. Wellness is a big part of her life and she hopes to make it a part of others.

 

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Why Wellness Works in the Workplace

Posted by Hilary Turk

Ted DeWolf, a Sales Manager from Levitt-Safety describes his positive experience with using Optimity when it was implemented into his workplace. In the post he describes his thoughts on workplace wellness and how Optimity has helped to change his workplace habits for the better.

Read the Full Post Here

Like many workforces, Levitt-Safety employees were sedentary, the majority spending 8+ hours sitting at their desks.  Research has shown that sitting for extended periods can cause:

  • Strained neck and shoulders
  • Back problems
  • Poor digestion
  • Reduced brain function
  • Poor cirulation
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Leg disorders
  • Organ damage

Optimity platform helps you effortlessly address these issues through powerful micro-actions. These small 30 second to 1 minute activities are delivered through apps and wearables so that you can complete them during the day seamlessly. For example, Optimity app will remind you to take a walk around the office mid-afternoon to substitute that extra cup of afternoon coffee or to do a shoulder stretch to improve your posture. With these small actions, much of the preventable medication such as sleeping aids and back pain medication can be significantly reduced – producing a clear hard ROI and measurable health benefits for the employees.

What is Wellness?

At first, Ted didn’t have a good understanding of what “workplace wellness” actually meant. With doing more research he has since learnt that “wellness” is more holistic in nature. It considers all other aspects that contribute to health and not just merely the absence of disease.

“Proper work-life balance, means you can achieve a self-determined state of well-being that lets you effectively manage many responsibilities at work, at home and even in your community; it supports positive physical, emotional, family and social health without undue stress or other negative impact.”

How Optimity has Helped:

Since Levitt-Safety launched Optimity, they received strong employee feedback on how their quality of life improved. By taking little steps to encourage their employees to assume better working and coping habits, it has helped them along their personal and professional path towards a better work-life balance by injecting more focus on life into work!

Optimity provides a mobile app that serves as a pocket coach on daily habits that helps busy professionals stay healthy, cope with stress and get amazing tangible rewards ($50 Nike, Amazon, Starbucks gift cards). It syncs with 258 wearables and popular apps to pull in activity data so it can coach you smartly and according to your daily routines.

 

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Hilary is a Wellness Advisor at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics. She aims to empower others to live their healthiest and happiest lives. Her interests are swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends and family. Wellness is a big part of her life and she hopes to make it a part of others.

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How to Nurture Your Sleeping Habits to Rejuvenate Yourself

We all agree that a nutritious diet and regular physical activity is the key to a healthy body, but there’s more to it that our bodies crave.  Adequate sleep is just as important but is frequently ignored.   Think about how irritable you feel when you starve your body from sleep due to a late-night shift, from socializing, jetlag or even stress.

Lack of sleep not only leaves us groggy and out-of-sorts the next day but prolonged sleep-deprivation can also have a profound effect on our memory and cognitive skills. Our body requires adequate rest and sleep to function properly every day.

 

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Consider the following tips to nurture your sleeping habits:

1. Have a sleep schedule and stick to it

Fix your bedtime so that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Follow the schedule even on weekends and holidays. Having a consistent sleep-wake cycle helps to promote better sleep at night.

 

2) Have a bedtime ritual

Prep your body for sleep by creating a sleep-inducing environment, listening to calm music or taking a warm bath. Do the same things every night before going to bed, this signals our body that it is time to doze off.

 

3) Avoid eating or drinking anything that interferes with sleep

Going to bed hungry or over-eating can lead to discomfort and ultimately disrupts our sleep. Make sure you pay attention to what you eat and drink before bedtime. Avoid drinking coffee, tea, chocolate or pop drinks at night as the caffeine found in these can keep you up all night. Similarly, smoking and drinking alcohol should also be limited as it depreciates your sleep quality.

 

4) Make your bedroom a sleeping haven

Your bedroom environment heavily contributes to the quality of your sleep. Make your bedroom ideal for sleeping by investing in a comfy mattress and pillows. If  your room is too light, try room-darkening shades, as a  quiet, dark and comfy room promotes sound slumber.

 

5) Don’t stress over falling asleep

Pushing yourself to fall asleep when your body isn’t ready only leads to frustration and makes it all the more difficult to get a sound sleep. If you can’t fall asleep at your fixed time, get up and do something relaxing and go to bed when you are truly tired. You could also try meditation to relax your body before you try to fall asleep again.

 

The quality of our sleep impacts both our health and lifestyle. In order to live a healthy, energetic lifestyle, it is important to concentrate on making our sleep patterns a priority.

 

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Trista Chan is a Wellness Strategy Advisor at Optimity.  She leverages her education in nutrition and experience in corporate health to guide organizations in building healthy, engaged employees.  Her “me-time” activities include yoga, reading health blogs, cooking….did she mention she likes wellness?  Her passion for all things health-related shines through in both her work and personal life. 

 

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Fight the Winter Blues – 5 Micro-Exercises to Help Boost Your Mood

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It doesn’t take a specialist to tell you that the weather can affect your mood. When the temperature gets low, and those holiday bills start piling up high, things can get a little gloomy. But fear not! There are some scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits, whether you want to perk up, calm down or just feel happier in general, exercise is sure to lighten your mood and has been proven to do so.

 

Here are 5 micro-exercises to do to help boost your mood:

1. Yoga

Yoga can help you feel strong and centred with the added benefits of improving your sleep and releasing stress. There are numerous yoga apps that you can download to get some quick moves to do at your desk, in your home, or just about anywhere. You can practise yoga for any amount of time and it can easily fit in to your normal daily routine. 

2. Jumping jacks

You’ve probably been doing jumping jacks since you were in school, but did you know that they can quickly increase your heart rate and get more oxygen to your brain? They also burn fat and strengthen your muscles. Get up from your desk, do 10, 20 or 50, and then walk around to let your heart rate come down, and go back to work. This will help you to feel more alert and focused.

3. Take the stairs 

If you work in an office with a few floors, then this is the perfect micro-exercise for you! Get up from your desk and run up and down the stairs a few times. The stairway of an office is usually pretty quiet so it will also give you a chance to get away from everything and help to regain your focus.

4. Go for a walk

Walking is a great and easy way to wake you up and enhance your well-being. Even a 5 minute walk can have you feeling better straight away. If you can get outside for a walk, take a quick trip around the block and you’ll feel better in no time. If you can’t get outside, simply walk around the area you’re in or to another department. Walking can also reduce stress and boost your mood.

 5. Clean something

It sounds weird, but cleaning your work area or general area can actually make you feel better. Take everything off the desk and wipe it down. If you have a home office, vacuum, or clean up the kitchen or bathroom. It will get you moving and take your mind off whatever is stressing you out. The best thing about a quick clean is you’ll actually be glad to get back to the desk!

 

 

Hilary is a Wellness Advisor at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics. She aims to empower others to live their healthiest and happiest lives. Her interests are swimming, hiking and hanging out with friends and family. Wellness is a big part of her life and she hopes to make it a part of others.

 

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Proactive vs. Reactive Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

To date, most people rely on reactive healthcare services, that is, they visit healthcare professionals only when a problem arises or a condition worsens. However, the benefits of a proactive healthcare approach can actually save more lives.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than a cure.” A proactive approach prepares the body even before you are ill and can reduce health costs over the years. When educating employees for a proactive healthcare approach, they need to be provided with detailed information about how to minimize their health risks, prevent impending health issues, manage existing chronic conditions and prepare for work-related emergencies.

 Over 51.6% of Canadians over 20 has been diagnosed with some type of chronic disease. Lifestyle changes are one of the biggest contributors to conditions such as cancer, obesity, kidney problems, and cardiovascular and liver diseases. Stressful work conditions can cause common issues like back pain and insomnia, as well. It is roughly estimated that Canadians lose about $130 billion in productivity losses and $70 billion in direct healthcare costs due to chronic illnesses.

 The top four illnesses that can decrease an employee’s performance are headache, flu, back pain and arthritis. Such conditions are not only detrimental to the individual, but they can indirectly impact their coworkers as well. For example, if they were to go on a sick leave, their coworkers’ workloads may increase. Corporate wellness programs, however, can greatly reduce absenteeism, direct healthcare expenses and compensation claims and thus can provide an ROI of $1.40 to $4.70 for every $1 invested by the corporation. Breaking the fact sheet, the ROI for different programs for every $1 spent includes health risk assessments ($6.04), fitness programs ($4.90), wellness coaching ($4.50), smoking cessation ($3.50), flu shots ($2.10) and obesity management ($1.17).

 Employers must keep in mind that their employees are their greatest asset, and need proper care. Besides a strategic implementation of effective wellness programs, regularly conducting health fairs boosts the productivity of your employees and helps to educate them on preventing and managing health issues.

   


Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

Sign up for Optimity to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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