Seeking Healthy Behaviour Change? Adopt a Personalized Program

TIME STAMP: 3 MINUTE READ

Posted by Trista Chan

Gone are the days of a “one size fits all” approach in wellness programs. Companies have realized that people are no longer interested in general wellness data, but want their own personalized approach when it comes to improving their lifestyle, and there is no shortage of corporate wellness programs to choose from!

It seems as though these wellness programs have the right idea, as our lifestyles are taking a major toll on our overall health, with financial implications as well.  A 2012 report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that at the current rate, the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke could increase tenfold between 2010 and 2020- and also double again by 2030.

The most impactful strategy to take is implementing a personalized corporate wellness program, specifically tailored to high-risk employees, in the hopes of improving health and reducing the risk of developing chronic illnesses.

 

Here are just a few reasons why it’s important to adapt a personalized coaching program for wellness and healthy living.

 

Accountability

Personal coaching helps to keep you accountable for your actions. It’s likely that the employees that use these wellness programs are busy people, and change can become difficult – imagine being asked to overhaul your diet while working 40+ hours a week. By having a personalized program or coach to assist in your wellness goals, it provides easy to follow steps to avoid slipping up and increases your success rate.

 

Education

This approach will also provide you with the correct information about your health goals and body to make informed decisions on a daily basis.  Your coach will take the time to ensure that you understand your program and how it may differ from a friend or colleagues, based on your family history, lifestyle, habits, preferences, socioeconomic status, location….everything.

 

Motivation and Action

Coaches will assist you in taking the right steps to live a healthier lifestyle. We all know that while someone can tell you that you have high cholesterol, it’s a whole other thing to actually do anything about it! Having a coach will motivate and guide you to take the action you need to improve your overall wellbeing.

 

To change a person’s lifestyle and wellbeing, data alone is often not enough. Changing a person’s behaviour can be difficult, especially when they aren’t in a supportive environment, but with a skilled coach to support, motivate and educate, it provides a better base for change.

Ideally, the most successful workplace wellness program is the one that employees want to stick to. This requires creating a plan that is tailored to their specific needs and that incorporates a wellness coach into the mix to ensure success.

 

Want to learn more about how to easily implement a personalized, and scalable, program for your employees?   Contact engage@myoptimity.com to get some strategies and best practices you can use in your organization.

 

linkedin photo.jpgTrista 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. 

 

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5 Ways to Build Positive Work Relationships

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena
TIME STAMP: 3 MINUTE READ
Developing a positive and motivating work environment is a top priority to make your workplace more enjoyable and less stressful. A positive work environment not only helps professionals physically, mentally and emotionally, but also influences their overall productivity.
Building relationships isn’t always easy and they can take time to develop and foster. A lot of companies now promote social gatherings, friendly contests, entertaining events and humour enhancing strategies for light-hearted fun and as a form of breaking the ice. There is also a direct correlation between a positive work environment and increased employee satisfaction.

Here are a few ways you can build a positive work relationship:

1. Be polite

Simply exchanging a smile or a friendly greeting is a great first step in developing a productive workplace. Maintaining eye contact and referring to colleagues by their names are effective conversation starters that build an opportunity to socially interact with teammates and develop a rapport with them. For a positive environment to flourish say no to “blame games” or gossip as they are foster a toxic workplace culture and diminish the sense of community.

2. Appreciate diversity

Everyone is different. We each have different viewpoints, approaches, potency and limitations so it’s important to listen, share and appreciate the differences between each of your co-workers. Being unbiased and celebrating diversity will help you become a good leader while enabling others to share their thoughts within the organisation. Everyone has value and something that they can bring to the table!

3. Exercise efficient communication

To practise effective and clear communication, you should be able to express the right emotion behind your message. Communication not only includes clear expression of thought but also includes complimenting others for their contributions, ideas or thoughts.  This can immensely help in building a pleasant and reliable relationship in your workplace.

4. Placing the right person in the right place

Before hiring a new employee, learn their skills, interests, passions, knowledge, culture and work style. This can help in placing the right person in the right place. Friction can occur among employees if a less qualified individual is hired to manage more qualified employees. Looking at the status-quo, the manager should act accordingly to avoid blame games, competition and negative workflow.

5. Incorporate incentives

The most important step towards building a healthy work environment and positive relationships is to be appreciative. Appreciation can be shown in the form of money, like a bonus or raise, or non-monetary in the form of public appreciation or a thank-you email. This can help to boost the morale of employees, potentially increase their productivity moving froward, increase their loyalty towards the organisation and reduce the turnover.
While these tips are pretty straightforward, they can definitely improve your workplace environment and culture.  Occasionally you will have to work with someone that you just don’t click with, but for the sake of your work it is important for you to maintain your professionalism and be civil. Just remember: you don’t need to be best friends and you can’t control others, but you can do your part and approach your workplace relationships with a positive attitude.
Share a bit of #Health and #Joy with colleagues, friends and family – download Optimity

 

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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How to Make New Employees Feel Welcome & Immersed in the Company Culture

TIME STAMP: 2 MINUTE READ

On boarding can be defined as the organizational socialization of the workplace, where new employees are made familiar with expectations, expertise, knowledge and ethnicity of your company.

For newbie’s the first day at a new office is just as frightening as the first day of school, with nerve-wracking thoughts hovering throughout your mind. Even the employers have a to-do list which includes formal paperwork, insurance forms, an office tour, orientation, and familiarising the new employee with the company culture.

However, the most crucial element which can often be ignored is welcoming the new employee, appreciating their experience and knowledge, exposing them to your work environment and helping them become a part of the organization. Investing in the employee on boarding process establishes a foundation for future success.

 

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Here are few ways to ensure your newbie is actually “on-board”:

 

Make a plan

A welcome strategy or plan can make your new employee feel that they are a valued part of an organization and boost their confidence in their new role. As an employer you should involve the existing employees in designing the welcome plan. Ask for their suggestions on how they would want their new company to welcome them, or how your colleagues can make the new team member be more comfortable. These suggestions could be used to create a detailed written plan.

A welcome kit including your company t-shirt, coffee mug, office bag, welcome card and a customised gift would be the cherry on top of the cake for the newbie, and these surprises can make them feel right at home.

 

Assign a mentor

Incorporating a mentor for your new employee can enhance the effectiveness of the on boarding process. Mentors can guide your new employee by boosting morale, creating teams, increasing efficiency, enhancing knowledge and skills and helping in continued career advancement. Along with the mentor, the other team members should also bring their foot forward to make the newbie feel welcome.

 

Formalize team building

To ensure that your new employee fits in with the other employees it’s a good idea to formalize the team building process. Allocating diverse team members for every on boarding process can help to acquaint them with the other members of the office. You can assign a companion, who will make the new hire familiar with the office, answers inquiries, accompany them during tea breaks or lunch and provide discussion starters.

  

Ask for feedback

Ask your new employee for feedback on how their first week went so that you can understand what did and didn’t work during the onboarding process. Getting a fresh perception can help in building lasting impressions for future employees.

 

The way a new employee starts their first day and their onboarding process is crucial to the experience that they will have at their new job. It is well worth the company’s time and attention to ensure that the onboarding process is welcoming, positive and exciting to guarantee a long-lasting working relationship.

 

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Trista Chan is a Wellness Strategy Advsior 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.

 

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

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Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Posted by Trista Chan

Being a mother is an experience only someone who has been through it can comprehend. Sure, it has its share of mood swings, bad days, weight gain, etc., but the end result is something spectacular. Seeing a tiny life being brought to existence is absolutely worth going through all those difficult times. However, after that crazy experience, there is another challenge waiting for new mothers… the end of their maternity leave. After long hours of discussions and weighing in of options, some mothers make the call to return to work. It can be an adjustment period for some, but things don’t have to be as complicated as you may have thought.

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Here are a few tips on returning to work after your maternity leave:

Prepare a new routine for yourself

Preparation helps in any situation, and post maternity is no different. Getting yourself organized would mean a major chunk of the transition from home to office is complete. The following are some of the ways you can prepare yourself for the change in routine.

  • Set your alarm 30 minutes to an hour earlier to wake up and get organised. As a new mother, there are bound to be things that pop up and take up a lot of unexpected time.
  • Prepare a day-to-day task list of what you need to get done before heading to the office and when you leave the office so you don’t feel overwhelmed and flustered.
  • Have a conversation with your employer regarding their expectations from you. Explain that there will be days that you may be late or run in to an unexpected situation and ensure you have a flexible arrangement.

Treat yourself

We’re all aware of what pregnancy does to a women’s body, which is why it can be really difficult to get back into pre-pregnancy clothes right away. One of the easiest ways to boost your confidence is to treat yourself to some new clothes, and while you’re at it, why not get a hair treatment and a manipedi to keep your confidence index in the green zone.

 

Ease into it

If possible, schedule your return date for the middle of the week. A full week away from your baby won’t be easy, so it’s best to see if you can ease both yourself and your new born into being away from each other. You could opt to work 6 hour days, or only 3 days per week in the beginning to get in to a routine.

The transition might not be easy and you might run into some road bumps, but these things shouldn’t demotivate you from returning to the workforce. It might take a couple of days or weeks to get back in to the swing of things, but in the end it will all be worth it.

 

These are valuable tips to follow, as you now play a role as both mother and employee.  However, remember that workplaces also have the responsibility to create policies and practices that support you and your family.

For tips on how to create a workplace culture that supports mothers, contact engage@myoptimity.com to get some custom strategies and best practices.

 

linkedin photo.jpgTrista 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.  

 

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

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Why Pet Owners Are Healthier Than You

Posted By Abena Osei-Kwabena


TIME STAMP: 3 MINUTE READ

We’ve always known that a dog is man’s best friend. But what if our pets are actually making us physically and mentally healthier? When it comes to pet ownership, there are numerous proven health benefits—including physical, mental and emotional improvements—from enhancing social skills to decreasing an individual’s risk of a heart attack. The mere presence of our beloved pets can lift our spirits.  Here are just a few ways your family pet can increase your wellness:

Increased Strength
A couple studies have found that cuddling a pet discharges the neuropeptide oxytocin, also alluded to as the “cuddle hormone”. The release of this chemical improves your sensory system’s parasympathetic reaction, which in turn boosts your gland and intestinal functions and moderates your heart rate.

Stress-Buster
Having pets around is an excellent reducer of stress, increasing feelings of satisfaction and leisure. Pets are the best therapy for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and studies have shown that pet-owners perform better in the workplace compared to those who don’t have a pet.

Reduced Risk of Eczema
The notion that keeps hovering in the minds of parents is that pets pose a threat of spreading diseases in addition to allergies and eczema, but pets can actually function as a barrier against allergens. Research has proven that infants who are surrounded by pets are less likely to be exposed to any allergies or eczema.

Disease Senses
You may be surprised to hear that your family pet can actually detect that a family member has cancer, but several pieces of evidence have backed the fact that dogs can sniff out cancer areas and help women overcome breast cancer. Not only can they detect cancer, but they can also help overcome lung, bladder, ovary, and colon cancer. Your dog can serve as a social support system which can help an individual with cancer have a more successful and quicker recovery.

Personality Development
Pets play an important role in the personal development of children. Children that are raised with pets are more likely to become fostering and compassionate adults, and also develop a greater capacity to share, be thoughtful, develop self-confidence and develop a higher level of cognitive growth.

Social Catalysts
Pets serve as a great catalyst to boost mobility, interpersonal contact and social rapport. Therapy dogs can help you recover from a deadly illness and support your physical well-being, and pet owners are known to experience less anxiety and feelings of loneliness. Dog owners have also shown to have increased social interaction when they take out their dogs for a walk.

Source of Security
Pets function as a great source of security for both adults and children experiencing depression, anxiety or other forms of emotional trauma. Pets can help individuals to curb anxiety and depression by providing companionship and inciting feelings of laughter and joy.

In conclusion, if you have a pet, make use of the support and positive impact they can offer you! And if you don’t own a pet, you might consider playing with a friend’s or getting one of your own! While the benefits of having an animal companion are still being explored, animals have already been integrated into different therapies and have proven positive results for your wellbeing.


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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!

iOS | Android