The State of Affairs with Engagement for Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Jane Wang 
Your people are your corporate competitive advantage. Most progressive leaders are actively investing in employee wellness. However, despite the amount of work that goes into implementing on-site and digital wellness programs, most corporate initiatives fail to engage 3 out of 4 employees. Let’s spend a little time dissecting what is happening and offer some food for thought.

The Gallup RAND Health Workplace Wellness Study has shown only 24% of employees at companies that offer wellness programs actually participate.We surveyed 200 professional services employees and there were many reasons why they didn’t participate in the 5K runs, yoga classes, & other wellness initiatives. The top 6 themes are:

  • not aware of the program
  • there was a lack of incentives to sign up
  • activities offered were not interesting to them personally
  • don’t have time
  • don’t know how to access the program
  • no one else is doing the program (lack of a wellness community)

More from the RAND study: Over 85% of companies offer some form of wellness program, with awareness levels with often less than 60% of employees.  40% of the employees who are aware, actually a sign up; and 30-40% of those who sign up end up not logistically able to show up to the actual events because of work priorities.

With another 10-40% simply forgetting, depending on the internal marketing efforts of the wellness champions on the day off, it is no surprise that companies with 200-1000 employees can’t get more than 50 people to any wellness event.
Health costs are rising, mental health and financial wellness training sessions coming up… it is time that you drive a paradigm shift in how you engage your employees in health & wellness.  Here are 3 quick tips on how to lead a movement of wellness and positively impact the bottom-line for your organization.
1. Build Momentum
Before launching or updating your wellness program this year, ensure that you take the opportunity to build awareness with 100% of your employee-base.Reach out to employees a couple of weeks prior to the launch date with on-site posters, email memos,  newsletters and on-site media outlets. A message, short video or presentation from your CEO, senior leadership or HR team supporting the program is always positive PR internally and externally. Remember to always add a call-to-action to each piece of your awareness campaign.
2. Make it Universal
Deliver wellness to your employees wherever they are. Design your program with context  and environment in mind.Leverage common technology they are already using, such as their mobile phone or computer. Provide practical activities that employees can fit into their 9-to-5, such as reminders to grab a drink of water, instructions for quick back stretches, and challenges to meditate for 60 seconds. These effective micro-actions are known to boost health & productivity, and can be quite engaging for even the most sedentary of office-potatoes.
3. Recognize Employees’ Individual Efforts
The majority of your employee base already use consumer health apps and wearable devices for activities tracking such as step counting, exercise logging, or nutrition journalling. Why not align your employees’ individual efforts to your organizational goals?If a fitbit is too restrictive in function or too expensive, Optimity also offer a great array of fitbit alternatives such as Apple Watches with more functionality, directly integrated with calendars or Optimity Mi Bands at just $30/band and with a 30-day battery life until the next recharge!
Recognize the activities they are already doing with your wellness platform’s points and prizes. We can connect your community by uniting them onto the same platform and gamify their work experience.Companies that employ this strategy has 2-5x more people participate in their programs!

 

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Fundamentals of Wellness Habits

Success of Habits

The importance of establishing healthy and productive habits has always been essential. Whether it be at an individual or organizational level, habits can play a key role in quality of work, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

What is a habit?

A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated and tends to occur subconsciously (Definition of Habit. Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved on August 29, 2008). Developing a good habit and breaking a bad habit can be hard to do, but understanding how habits work, as well as their effects, can make a big impact.

The Habit Loop

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One of the most popular recent mentions of habits and habit training is in the bestselling book, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. The book popularized the applications of habits and how to harness them to your advantage. Duhigg describes the Habit Loop as a three-step process, a uniform formula for any habit:

  1. The Cue
  2. The Routine
  3. The Reward

The first step, the cue, is the trigger that initiates the Habit Loop.

Here’s an example of a Habit Loop. Every time you are bored at work, you walk to the kitchen and grab a cookie. The cue, or trigger, is being bored. The routine is walking to the kitchen and grabbing a cookie. And the reward is a sweet crunchy cookie and more importantly, relief from boredom for a few minutes.

Over the course of a few months, you may find yourself gaining weight from the frequent cookies. It develops into a bad habit that you’re struggling to break.

So how do we overcome this habit loop? Studies described in The Power of Habit suggest that the easiest way to break a habit is to change the routine. By only replacing a single step of the Habit Loop, it makes changing a bad habit into a good one much easier. Going back to the snacking example:

Previously the Habit Loop was:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: getting a cookie
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

But you can change it to:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: chatting with a coworker
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

The cue and the reward are the same, making the habit much easier to change. However, the habit routine has now changed from a calorie-intensive one to a social, guilt-free solution.

So why are habits important?

Habits can be incredibly powerful. A single habit’s effect can trickle into every aspect of  your lifestyle—even in ways that you would not expect. These habits are called keystone habits. For example, starting to go for a 20 minute jog every morning can improve job performance and help develop positive relationships. There is no obvious relationship between going for a job and getting a promotion at work. However, keystone habits have a subtle way of impacting a lifestyle change.
When people aim for small and manageable behaviour changes, they can set off a ripple effect and stimulate further changes. Forming one small positive habit can increase self-confidence for working towards other health-promoting habits. In the workplace, habits can affect employee behaviour, productivity, and workplace culture. Making sure that the habits that are formed in the workplace are positive and healthy is vital.

Employee Wellness

Employee wellness has been climbing peoples’ lists of priorities for the past few years. From yoga classes to snack programs and even smoking cessation courses, the variety of wellness initiatives has substantially grown as the positive correlation between employee health and productivity has become irrefutable.

However, such programs have been around for years––they are categorized as Wellness 1.0. These methods are time consuming, often rely on external expertise, and require groups of people to be physically present and the same place and time during a workday. Since then, new data has emerged to develop the modern-day wellness program: Wellness 2.0

What is Wellness 2.0?

Today’s most effective wellness programs use digital tools and artificial intelligence to not only provide employees with holistic health solutions at any place and time, but also a centralized platform to track program data and employee progress. These programs shift employees’ notion of health from something that requires additional time to perform to something that is practiced every day through small habits.

Why does wellness matter for employees?

Let’s talk about why employee wellness is imperative to everyone. Here are the top few reasons employees and employers should care:

Productivity

For businesses to thrive, their employees must perform efficiently with their best capabilities. A survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that among employers offering and measuring wellness efforts, over half saw a decrease in absenteeism, while 66% saw increased productivity.

Furthermore, 31% of respondents have rated mental illness as the number one reason for loss of productivity. Holistic health and productivity come hand in hand: Programs that use Wellness 2.0 concepts can effectively improve and maintain employee productivity without excessively cutting into excess work hours. 

Mood

A study from the University of Sheffield found that happier employees are higher performing. Mental health, stress relief, and physical activity are components of a well rounded wellness program that can lead to happier employees, and therefore better employees. 

Healthcare Costs

Did you know that Americans spent an average of $714 on out of pocket healthcare in 2016? With these numbers increasing each year, employers are beginning to spend more money on their employees’ health as well. Wellness programs help cut annual increases in medical care costs. A meta-analysis shows that medical costs fall by $3.27 for ever $1 spent on wellness programs, and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every $1 spent. The negative correlation between an effective wellness program and medical costs is clear and crucial to address.

Lower Turnover

A study by Leadership IQ showed that almost half of new employees left a company within 18 months, with 89% of these failures resulting from poor culture fit. Implementing an effective wellness program not only helps employees feel happier at work, but also creates a sense of community and care in the workplace.
Employee wellness should be a top priority for everybody. Prioritizing health by implementing Wellness 2.0 strategies in the workplace not only benefits employees, but also the company by decreasing healthcare costs and turnover while increasing productivity. Investing in employee wellness means investing in the future of your company.

 

Preventive Medicine

“Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable.” – Bill Gates

What is preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine’s goal is to protect and promote health to people before they become sick. It’s about preventing disease and illness rather than treating it after people get sick.

Why is preventive medicine important?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans use half of the preventive services offered to them by employers.

Preventive medicine is critical to human health. In and out of the workplace, preventive medicine has been transforming healthcare. The first and most obvious reason is that employees deserve to maintain their health and be healthy. They are the most important resource of a company, and human capital can make or break an organization.

The second is that from an organizational perspective, it makes fiscal sense to invest in preventive medicine. By taking the necessary steps to prevent illness, this translates to reduced absenteeism, reduced health care costs, and increased productivity. A survey reported that employer health care costs have increased 36% in the last five years. Now is the time to invest in preventive healthcare for employees.

Effective and meaningful investments in health and wellness can be done through investigating health risk factors, including disease, disorders, and chronic pains associated with a group of employees.

Furthermore, preventive health also applies to leadership. A study shows that when leadership within an organization is participating and engaged, it gets the best engagement and returns with preventive health within the other employee groups (Goetzel et al, 2010).

Sometimes a certain subgroup of employees can be at high risk for certain diseases, including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Using personalized and customizable preventive wellness programs can target and provide the appropriate programs for those subgroups. Common risk factors associated with chronic disease are: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and unhealthy eating. Read Optimity’s blog for an example of focusing on a subgroup: https://blog.myoptimity.com/2018/02/20/how-to-promote-healthy-heart-lifestyle-choices-at-your-company-webinar-recap/.

Healthy Habits in Group Settings

Businesspeople having a lunch break.

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and development coach, said that any person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with. Our thinking process, self esteem, and decision-making are all affected by our close peers. Most importantly, those around us influence our habits, which are the regular tendencies that we perform as directed by the subconscious mind.

How does this rule apply in the context of workplace wellness?

We tend to adopt the characteristics of groups that we are part of, associating ourselves with the group and its characteristics. Promoting a culture of wellness and implementing health initiatives will directly impact many employees, leading them to make lifestyle changes and increase productivity. However, these employees will also positively influence others, creating an environmental norm of healthy habits. Spending time with people who value and model healthy lifestyles changes a person’s definition of “normal”, leading to cognitive and behavioural shifts.

How can I use my wellness programming to optimize this rule?

To truly benefit from this rule of averages in the workplace, employers must establish above-average habits in their employees. Wellness is no longer simply fostered through lunch-and-learns or healthy snack programs; it is a continuous, social aspect of the workplace that should be as habitual as other regular work duties. Today’s digital wellness platforms provide accessible, enjoyable health solutions that are easily integrated into anyone’s life. Employees see their coworkers immerse in community-oriented programs and look to do the same, leading to higher engagement, better health, and increased productivity.

 

Habits and Employee Engagement

Employee performance is often related to employee health, happiness, and financial security. With high employee engagement, employers can channel the positive attitudes so that employees are more loyal, productive, and healthy. Employee engagement is important because when employees are engaged, they are more efficient, creative, and motivated to produce good work.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is about getting employees excited, loyal, and motivated. The two-way commitment between the organization and its employees is vital to the culture and livelihood of the organizational community. Employee engagement is about “how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential.” 

How do habits affect engagement?

Developing positive workplace habits can build up on employee engagement. Some examples of good company habits are daily huddles, weekly messages, forums, and holistic training. At an individual level, effective workplace habits include looking for leadership opportunities, being punctual, and listening to feedback. These measures are great for individual and company success, but there are habits that are even more important than these.

Possibly the most important habits in the workplace are habits related to health and wellness. When employees are healthy—physically, mentally, and financially––they perform better. They also have the energy and ability to perform other positive workplace habits.

Habit development is gradual and sustainable. This means that when organizations invest in habit training, the results are long-term. Using habit-science, we can identify keystone habits that correlate to other good habits. Furthermore, by focusing on the process of habit training, we can improve engagement and create consistency. Continuous improvement of workplace habits can lead to breakthroughs in engagement and productivity.

Microlearning

Microlearning: Another temporary health trend? Just bite-sized training?

Employers may be hesitant to shift from traditional training methods to microlearning; however, using this convenient, focused, and adaptable form of learning can be beneficial for various functions within the workplace.

So, what exactly is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a focused form of training that provides information in the appropriate amount at the appropriate amount to help a learner achieve specific business outcomes. It easily fits into the natural flow of a workday and is based on voluntary participation, thereby giving employees freedom to learn when it is convenient, rather than at a set period in the day such as with seminars. Furthermore, content must be science-based to be considered as microlearning. For example, nutrition facts are based on scientific data rather than the latest celebrity trends. Additionally, microlearning is continually adapted to drive behaviours for specific business results. An organization’s goals are constantly changing with its environment and target market’s needs. With microlearning, employees can be taught new functions and habits that are required to meet these needs without investing in a full-blown training intervention.

How can I create a microlearning strategy?

There are four general steps to creating an effective microlearning strategy. Each strategy will be different depending on your business and goals; however, these steps are a great place to start.

1. Identify End Goals

What is the problem you are solving? How will you measure success? These are questions that you and your peers will have to answer as quantitatively and specifically as possible. Target the aspects of the business or past incidents that led to these conversations and needs.

2. Required Behaviours

What steps are required by employees to solve this problem? Again, the more specifically these steps are broken down, the more efficient the process will be. Avoiding ambiguity is key to any microlearning strategy.

3. Separate Foundational Knowledge

It is crucial to distinguish knowledge that is necessary for the behaviours and knowledge that is simply nice to know. Microlearning should focus on the crucial information required to execute the behaviours, while knowledge that is nice to know can always be added on-demand. For example, to execute a manufacturing step, it is crucial to understand how to use a particular machine and safety precautions in performing the step.

4. Build Content

With all these steps above in place, you and the key stakeholders in the organization can consider what kind of content to implement. Short videos? Reminders? Reinforcement questions? There is a large variety of content type; however, it is important that the content is suited to both your organization and its needs.

 

wellness

Health does not simply come in the form of a lunch-and-learn or an hour-long workout session; it is a lifestyle consisting of habits that address health from a holistic perspective. These habits are trained through practicing a routine that is started by a cue and leads to a reward. Such habits are gradual and long-term, leading organizations to healthier employees, higher engagement, and more efficient operations. Furthermore, habit training does not require a comprehensive training intervention. Rather, organizations can incorporate micro-learning so that employees are constantly adapting their habits as the organization’s goals evolve. Healthy employees not only improve a company’s bottom line, but also help individuals lead a more fulfilled life in and out of the workplace.

Optimity can help make the wellness needs for your employees easier to manage. Optimity’s platform is scientifically supported to provide health content and micro activities that are 30 seconds to 2 minute long in order to prevent chronic health outcomes. The proactive approach will produce better workers, who are more healthier, happier and more productive, while bringing down health care costs for the employer. If you want to learn more about how Optimity can help your employees and your organization, reach out to engage@myoptimity.com to get started.

 

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Unlocking the Hidden Values of HR

Posted by Emily Guterres

You may have heard it before, “ HR is a cost center.” “What does your HR department do exactly?” At most times, the questions about HR’s value are not asked politely.

In 2016, engaged productive employees are the biggest investment and reap the greatest rewards. CEO’s are increasingly investing in health and wellness programs because it may be the single, most powerful enhancer of employee engagement. When business leaders recognize the remarkable benefits of a healthy workplace to the organization, they are more likely to commit the time and resources to support and implement the program.

A strategically designed investment in employees’ social, mental and physical health pays off. Better health often equals greater engagement. Research from Gallup shows that employee engagement is positively correlated with better health – engaged workers are less likely to be obese and have chronic conditions, as explained by Harvard Business Review.

Wellness incentives and benefits should not only be viewed as an-add on, but a strategic imperative. With an aging workforce and health care costs that are only rising. It’s that clear healthy employees are always more productive. Dale Carnegie Training reports that companies with employee-centric characteristics outperform those without by up to 202%.

So how do we empower our employees to be engaged and feel involved in the workplace?

Valuing People and Showing Them You Care

Dale Carnegie study shows that “employees want their managers to care about their personal lives and to take an interest in them as individuals, to care about they feel and support their health and well- being”. A manager’s abilities to lead and foster strong relationships with employees are key to helping employees perform at the highest possible level.

McKesson Canada in 2016 has shown that investment into employee wellness initiatives yields between 3-4x ROI within Canada, and 10-11x ROI in the USA (with about 15% participation in their active prevention programs).

Optimity has seen dramatic changes from hard ROI measures such as reduction to cost of designing and launching a program to cost savings from decreased claims and benefits cost. Not to mention the dramatic employee positive feedback in the forms of softer dollars: more productive hours, lower absenteeism, and improved engagement scores.

Investing in HR at every level

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If you want to attract and retain top talent, you have to invest in employee development. Almost all employees can benefit from an employee development program. However, often times with the pressure of day-to-day business this often gets puts to the side. As a business owner, the ROI when investing in your employees is priceless.

By investing in your employees’ training and development in an organization, you see many positive outcomes. The benefits of employee development seem endless. It includes employee loyalty, engaged employees and most of all it helps attract and keep the greatest employees.

The same can be said about other value-adding coaching functions: wellness, productivity, and fiscal responsibility.

When it comes to building that long-term sustainable competitive advantage – fostering that aspect of growth is key to retaining talent at your workplace.

Overemphasize your investment in your employees, and never underestimate its impact on culture, costs, and profits. Not only will you see short-term changes in sick days, stress leaves, utilization of benefits, the report on motivated people working together as a highly-functional team is never short of positive.

Tell your employees you do care, help them stay engaged and feel passionate about their work, by doing this you will realize there is nothing that they won’t strive to achieve.

Optimity is standing up for employee investment and the outstanding results that come with it.

Where do you stand?

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Physical Wellness is NOT Enough

TIME STAMP: 4 MINUTE READ

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

Wellness programs can be found in most companies throughout North America these days, yet too many corporate wellness programs focus solely on the physical wellbeing of employees. Gone are the days where a purely physical wellness program works. Together with physical wellness, mental and financial wellness all contribute to a complete wellness program that leads employees to be happier, healthier and more engaged than ever.

Workplace wellness programs can come at a cost, but if they are executed correctly then they have the potential to offset rising healthcare costs and build a healthier, motivated and more focused workforce.

To have a complete wellness program, financial and mental wellness need to be included as well. Here’s why:

 

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Mental Wellness

According to the World Health Organization, as many as 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder, and the average costs for employees with depression may be 4.2 times higher than those incurred by a typical employee. While mental health is not as easily measured as an employee’s blood pressure, it is still just as important. When an employee’s mental health is suffering, it can lead to more serious health problems. Even stress can be a silent killer.


Things like absenteeism, high turnover and loss of productivity are often signs that are linked to poor mental health. Employers can start to incorporate mental health into their wellness program by ensuring that employees have access to mental health benefits, as well as an employee assistance program. Employee Assistance Programs have proven to work well in a wellness program, as they provide referrals to mental health professionals while maintaining a high standard of confidentiality. Employers who provide mental health programs as a part of their workplace wellness program are proven to have an advantage over those who don’t in terms of lower incidents, staff turnover and workplace injury. Activities such as yoga, massages and meditation are an easy way to start bringing mental wellness into your overall wellness program.

 

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Financial Wellness

Financial wellness can be categorised as having control over one’s finances, or the capacity to manage unexpected expenses or bills. Financial wellness programs offer employees the chance to better educate themselves on a variety of financial information that they would not bother to search for themselves or that may be stressing them out.


To provide an adequate financial wellness program, employers must provide resources that help short and long term financial goals. Financial planning for retirement is great, but what about next week’s bills? Employees with low financial confidence risk making bad financial decisions, or avoid making them at all, and as a result end up stressed and unhappy.


As with any wellness program, financial wellness programs need to be tailored specifically to the employee. Every employee’s financial situation will be different and will require a specific plan.

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Any wellness program that is implemented within a company should incorporate all types of wellness in a more holistic approach. It is no longer beneficial to the employee or employer to miss one of these crucial elements out of their wellness program. Read more tips on how to avoid failing traditional approach to wellness programs.

At Optimity, our customized holistic approach incorporates all aspect of health, by providing customized solution to wellness. Our approach garners positive results.

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We help the average worker take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long last beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts their mood, helps them focus and encourage social connectedness to their culture. Optimity’s app provides users with tips on financial wellness, that way employees now have the tools to confidently make smart decisions about their finances.


Want to know more about how we can help you implement a personalized coaching program in your company? Reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com and lets have a chat.

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One-size fits all wellness programs are a thing of the past!

160901_Ladder_Ramo_healthcare_wellness_program_scam.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2.jpgWe know that everyone is unique, so why do we still think that a one-size fits all wellness program can succeed in our workplaces? Employees are individuals with different needs and wants and a single approach to wellness can only benefit a small number of employees, which means that it is more likely to fail.

With research showing that an effective employee wellness program can provide a 300 – 600% ROI, it is worth the time and money to invest in a successful wellness program.

Health is a personal issue and an employee that feels obligated to join a one-size fits all wellness program is doomed to fail. Not only will they not feel personally supported, but there is a high chance that it simply will not work for them. As an Employer, you need to get to know your employees and customize your wellness program to suit.

 

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Here are our top tips on creating a successful wellness program in your workplace.

Avoid a one size fits all program

When implementing your wellness program, think of two people from completely different ends of the spectrum. If your wellness program will not meet the needs of both people, then it probably won’t succeed in your company. One size fits all approaches to wellness programs decrease the motivation levels of your workforce. If your employees are not feeling important or valued, then they are less likely to participate.


Adapt to the workforce

According to a recent study, 76% of employers now taking on an innovative approach to wellness programs that address physical, mental, and financial health.  Modern companies are turning to their employees to understand what they value and to create a good company culture. Speak to your employees to figure out what they will appreciate in a corporate wellness program. A 55-year-old female and 26-year-old male are bound to have completely different needs and wants in a wellness program, and it’s important to adapt your program to suit both.


Get professional help

It can be difficult to implement an employee wellness program alone. Without the most up to date data and tools it can open your wellness program up to flaws and decrease the chances of success. Employee wellness programs not only benefit employees, but provide increasingly high ROI’s to company’s as well, so it is worth investing in some help to set up your customized employee wellness program.

 

Here at Optimity we specialize in providing a customized solution to wellness programs, while monitoring your ROI. Optimity’s technology platform is scientifically supported. We help the average worker take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long last beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts their mood, helps them focus and encourage social connectedness to their culture. Our pocket coach is also customized to each employee and provides your company with historical and ongoing claims analysis to help you understand your highest costs.

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Leveraging Opportunities During Open Enrolment

Posted by Laura Carter

TIME STAMP: 2 MINUTE READ

Open enrollment season does not traditionally elicit much excitement among HR professionals or the employee population they serve. There is a lot of administrative work involved and employees are usually inundated with an overload of dry communications materials.

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But are we missing a great chance to get employees thinking about their personal health, their lifestyle goals or even their contribution to building a great workplace culture? In my 10 years of implementing employee wellness programs, I have always been surprised at this lost opportunity to engage employees in a discussion on their personal health goals and needs. If anything, open enrolment season is the one time that you have the ear of your entire employee base, because everyone is invested on some level, in knowing how they are impacted by the company health and benefits plan. Therefore, it makes complete sense that this is the optimal time to get a company-wide conversation started on health and wellness, and ignite some excitement to build a stronger, more energetic company culture.

 

At Optimity, we know that an important piece of a well-utilized wellness program is an engaging communication plan. It’s important to know your audience. We see from experience, that rolling out an ‘employee success’ program, instead of ‘wellness’, garners a lot more support from those who traditionally don’t get too excited about health and wellness. Which is important because those are the folks who stand to benefit the most from these offerings.

 

Just as important, is recognizing the personal needs and starting points of each individual. The cookie-cutter approach just doesn’t work! Incorporating all facets of wellness and personal development in a meaningful way that is based on behavioural science is most likely to create real, measurable results. Add rewards and some fun challenges into the mix, and there is a great opportunity to build a happier, more dynamic work culture on top of everything else!

 

Above all, it makes sense to start the wellness conversation at renewal time, because there is no denying that the two have an interdependent relationship. For too long, wellness and benefits have sat in different silos, even though we know that the ‘wellness’ of an individual is obviously going to impact their needs, in terms of benefits utilization. In this day and age, where chronic illness dominates the top disease areas for most organizations,  we would be remiss to overlook the connection between employee health behaviours and the consequent health outcomes we see when they need to utilize the company benefits and drug plans. Investing time in a preventative approach through engaging communications and customized offerings will go a long way in catching people before they develop chronic illness. Having a little fun along the way and building a more positive corporate culture is just the cherry on top!

 

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Want to learn more about best practices in employee engagement and wellness? Reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.

At Optimity we pride ourselves on driving employee engagement and health, providing a ROI to demonstrate success, all while saving valuable time for HR teams.

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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.  

 

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