Find your Financial Bliss

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

How many of you have found yourself in a situation where you looked at your recent credit card statement and are in disbelief by what you see, because like most, people are now tapping/swiping their cards without giving it much thought, and bringing your spendure to more than expected? Or, have you found yourself in a situation, where your cash income is going to be delayed, so now you don’t know how your going to cover your major, necessary expenses. If any of these situations or similar ones apply to you, just know you’re not the only ones. A Manulife study, states that about 40% of people in North America are financially unwell and 26% of people are doing “okay”. Meaning only 34% of people are making the right strides to better financial health.  

As nice winning the lottery would be nice, it often times actually will not make your financial situations better. More money does not equal better financial wellness, and here’s why: financial wellness is the relationship one has with money, meaning are you able to keep your spending within you comfort, and are prepared for any unexpected financial emergencies (do you have savings/rainy day funds); do you have access to any resources or tools that you need to make good financial decisions; are you ready for the future, have you started making plans to achieve your goals? These are the types of questions that should be surfacing in your mind when you think about your finances. When you think about your financial wellness, it shouldn’t feel like an uncomfortable topic, you shouldn’t have to get depressed every time you think of money (or lack thereof).

Now the overbearing question, why does any of this matter for both the employees and employers? When an individual (employee) has the financial bliss they need, they are able to produce better work because they’re more productive and more engaged, because they’re less stressed, and therefore are more likely to stay on the job.

According to a study by Mercer, when you have financially stressed employees, 22% have reported missing at least 1 work day to take care of any financial issues; 15% have spent more than 20 hours or more in a month while at work, thinking about their financial situations; and 20% said to actually leave their job because of their financial stress.

As employers, who want the best for their employees overall health, as well as retaining productive employees, it’s a matter that should be taken into the hands of the organization in order to provide tools that can help bring upon financial stability for their employees and as a result bringing down any indirect cost associated.  

Here are my top 3 tips for finding better financial wellness!

1. Plan

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Experts cannot stress enough how important planning is for your financial wellness. I know saving for the future and/or emergencies, isn’t as fun as splurging on unnecessary necessities, however planning ahead makes the world of a difference. Planning works hand in hand with goal setting, setting goals (both short, medium, and long term) will help make planning easier, figuring out what you value makes deciding where and how much you need to save for the future. It also makes daily/weekly spendings a lot easier to control since now you can differentiate what you need from what you want.

2. Investing

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Similar to planning, it’s essential that employees start investing into their future retirement, it’s never too early or too late to start. Investing into retirement savings that accumulate compound interest over time will help increase your savings without lifting a finger. Knowing you’re financially prepared for the future will  help release any stress or doubts you were having about life after retirement.

3. Control Debt 

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This last tip is a given, the best way to increase your financial wellness is by decreasing any financial debts that you have. Many of us have to juggle (student) loans, credit card payments, recurring expenses like car or housing, and much more. You’re priority when it comes to paying off loans or debt is to start with the ones with the highest interest rates, if you can clear those ones out first, it’ll be better for you in the long run because the higher the interest rates, the higher accumulation of debt.

Make the most of what you earn through Optimity, we can help you stay on track by providing you with the tools you need to make better strides with your financial wellness. Our platform, is innovating and constantly changing to meet the needs and demands of every busy individual. Let us help you, help yourself. We know that it can be hard to juggle your financial health as well as all other aspects of your wellness, but we can make that easier for you. Contact us to learn more about how you can make the burden of financial wellness easier and fun! All you need is the right platform with the right tools to help guide you!

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

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How to Eat Smart  

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

Eating healthy shouldn’t be a struggle, don’t let your long busy day hold you back from making healthy choices. Sometimes we know what the right choices are, we just don’t make them because of the unhealthier temptations around us or because we prioritize work over lunch. However, nutrition is vital if we want stay healthy, prevent illness and have a successful job performance, with a positive outlook.

Here are our top 3 tips on how to eat healthy while you work through your busy work day:

1.  Eat Breakfast
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Don’t hit snooze on your alarm, it’s better to get up 10 minutes early and have yourself a quick breakfast than to sleep in a little longer. I know when I’m trying to rush to work, the last thing on my mind is having breakfast in the morning, however studies have shown that skipping breakfast actually leads to obesity and puts you at a higher risk of susceptible chronic illness such as diabetes or cardiovascular illnesses. It’ll also help you get rid of any cranky or moodiness you feel first thing in the morning. Check out our nutrition content in the Optimity app’s library, ranging from healthy recipes to tips on mindful eating to learn more on eating healthy.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes that’s healthy and simple to make, so you can have anywhere, even on the go!

Yogurt Parfait 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup low fat yogurt
  • ¼ cup low fat granola
  • ¼  cup grapes or fruit of choice

Layer your granola and fruit on the yogurt, and enjoy! Your breakfast couldn’t get any easier and healthier than that!

2. Eat with a Buddy

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Distracted eating while working or on your phones may lead to un-healthier food choices and portions. However eating with a friend/colleague will actually boost productivity, since people who eat together will actually work better together, since many researchers attribute eating together as a team building exercise. Eating with a buddy also doubles up as an accountability partner, your buddy can help you stay on track of any health goals you have in place for yourself, as well as make you more conscious of portion sizes when you’re eating with others, you’ll stop yourself from getting a second servings when you’re eating with someone else.

3. Keep Healthy Snacks at hand

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It’s easy to skip meals or substitute your lunch meals with unhealthy processed snacks you have laying around because of how convenient and easy they are to to eat while working. Surround your desk or office kitchen with healthier snacks that you can have between your meals to keep you full. Some helpful suggestion are to have snacks high in fibre and protein, so they can help keep you fuller for longer periods of time. Try keeping a handful of nuts around, but be sure to be cognizant of portion sizes, because too much of anything can actually make you put on weight due to the extra calories. For more helpful suggestions on eating in the workplace, be sure to check out our webinar for more information.

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The way to successfully implement change in your employees healthy lifestyle is to start micro. Micro behaviour changes are key in making positive change to any work environment, because of how easy it is to actually implement. Having an app, like Optimity send out encouraging helpful nudges, and provide really insightful tips and exercise goes a really long way in promoting an overall healthy life.This approach is a lot easier and more rewarding for both the employees and employers, because both have something to gain from the shift. Employees get to change their life, bit by bit, everyday leading to better health, and in addition, get rewarded for it. This as a result, produces better health outcomes for employees, leading to a decrease in health claim cost and a better work ethics.

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If you want to learn more about implementing a successful workplace wellness program and bring down your cost while increasing productivity and engagement, reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com to learn more.

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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Let us know how you eat healthy throughout your busy workday!

Wellbeing in the Workplace: Why Employee Engagement Matters (Optimity Webinar Recap)

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 


We had a great webinar in May, in honour of Global Employee Health and Fitness month. I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to promote best practice tips in the workplace to promote employee engagement. You can watch the full webinar here. Here are a few key takeaway points from the webinar:  

Employee engagement is the number one problem to solve; with absenteeism and productivity as the second top concern for HR leaders.

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We took a quick poll at the start of the webinar to see what some of the leading issues were in the workplace, and it turns out employee engagement was a huge concern for 77% of our attendees, so our webinar topic clearly hit home with a lot of people.

With growing focus on employee health, corporate wellness programs are increasingly becoming the order of the day. Research shows, that those individuals who exercise frequently, stayed home from work on an average 2.11 days fewer annually and had 31% lower health care costs than individuals who didn’t exercise regularly. These numbers alone stress the importance of setting up corporate wellness programs.

Almost 50% of medical costs are incurred due to illnesses that can be avoided with small lifestyle changes. Corporations have begun to realize the importance of healthy employees and are working to encourage employees to lead increasingly healthier lifestyles.

One of the studies we discussed in the webinar by Aon Hewitt, established that successful employers make employee engagement a business priority. When employers care about their employees, the employees respond with a better rational and motivation. This leads to 20% increase in engaged employees. When putting this number into context, it means if an organization has 30,000 employees, then there are 6000 employees who are going above and beyond with their jobs to serve their customers and drive efficiency. The graph below reflects these stats, where there is roughly a 20% gap between “best employers” and others (employers who don’t prioritize employee engagement), and we can see the difference in how much more successful the organization is when employee engagement is at the top of the employers agenda.  

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Organizations know that wellness programs are key to addressing employee issues, which is why more than half the organizations already have wellness programs.

wb chart-2With the second poll that we took, it clearly supported the new industry norm of wellness programs being a prominent addition in majority of workplaces, with 77% stating they already incorporate a wellness program in their organization.

 

Wellness programs don’t just benefit employers, it also supports the needs of the employees, some of which are:

●  Improving their physical strength, stamina, and general well being
●  Improving their focus at work
●  Increasing job satisfaction and fostering a positive outlook on life
●  Bettering relations with co-workers and supervisors  

An effective workplace wellness programs is the backbone to improving engagement in the workplace. Gallup’s most recent global research finds only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, and according to the latest State of the American Workplace report, just 33% of employed residents in the United States are engaged at work.

Here are two important facts that came about a study done by The Corporate Leadership Council on employees performance and retention:

  • Engaged companies grow profits as much as 3X faster than their competitors.
  • Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Other key findings were that:

  • A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.
  • Disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.

All these key findings suggest that if companies want to boost productivity and profitability, customer loyalty, and bring down attrition and disengagement losses, they need to start engaging employees.

So you may be wondering, what’s the solution, especially if more than half of organizations have already incorporated a wellness program, why is engagement so low? Well the problem and the solution lie in the approach to wellness. A lot of the organizations are still relying on traditional approach to wellness programs, and that’s not to say they’re not good, they’re just not as effective in getting high participation and and sustainability. What successful organizations are doing is going digital.

Non-traditional approaches to wellness are still the most common route used by many organizations. 

wb chart-3The last poll we did during this webinar was to see how our attendees faired with using a digital wellness tool. Although a few have had the chance to implement it, more than half do not, and this just shows why only a handful of organizations have such great engagement rates, they’re implementing wellness programs the right way, the digital way.

One of the main reason’s why a digital wellness program is so effective is with their use of a dynamic and innovative health risk assessment (HRA).

An effective HRA allows the wellness program to understand the nuances of an individual’s statistical situation by collecting their key biometric data and health information. With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) we’ve now been able to integrate a wellness system to take information from the HRA and use it to automatically create a tailored program for the individual. This approach customizes, and tailors the program to the individuals needs which is a huge leap forward from traditional approaches that focuses solely on fitness and nutrition, and requires on site attendance for wellness programs. The digital approach gives the individual the power to create true and meaningful change. 

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To learn more about implementing a successful wellness program that increases engagement, be sure to check out our webinar, where we also go over our top 3 best practice tips that you can implement in your workplace, even if you don’t (yet) have Optimity.  

A comprehensive corporate wellness programs have proven to be beneficial and cost effective to the employer as well as the employee in the long run. If you’d like more information on implementing a successful wellness program, please reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.  

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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New! Optimity introduces Epic Fortnite Dances for gamers

Get Fit, Have Fun, and Claim FREE Rewards with Optimity’s Epic Fortnite Dances!

Here at Optimity, with a room full of tech “geeks” it’s no surprise that many of us are a part the Fortnite hype (see Drake #champagnepapi rocking out in Fortnite with Ninja, breaking Twitch’s records for live fans).  

For those of you just tuning in and aren’t quite sure what Fortnite is, I’ve taken the liberty to summarize it: It’s essentially a multi/single player survival game, with a lot of open world maps.The game starts with a 100 players who skydive onto an interactive island, and fight each other until only one player is left standing. Along the way, the players can pick up weapons to arm themselves, and build forts while they explore the island. To make this all the more challenging, the island is constantly being reduced, forcing participants to get closer, dueling it out, until only one remains on the island. The game features lots of great gear and our favorites: dances and emotes.

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Drake isn’t the only famous fan here, and Ninja isn’t the only great pro player. Our top 3 favorite players on Fortnite include:

  • #3 Axvry, who enjoys a few dance moves of his own (Hype seems to be his go-to move) Besides his fun music list that he jams out to during the game, we also love his philosophy of getting out there in the real world, going outside after playing the game in a sedentary position.
  • #2 Muselk, who is always hilarious with his creative memes and can be depended on to bring a sense of fun in this competitive community. Despite the fact that he is quite skilled at the game, he always throws in silly objectives and great squad collaborations with his friends – Crayator and Thisisloserfruit (you go girl!). Muselk, we are excited for you to turn on your face cam and dance out Orange Justice for your next stream after your “W”!
  • #1 Tfue. Hugely underrated top player, we just love him for his pure skill and play style: watch this Tfue vs Ninja battle. Over this weekend, we also discovered his comedic and altruistic side where we almost died laughing as he carried a Newbie player to their first victory.  Although hearing about his dietary choices (pizza lunchables, yuck!), it did make us volunteer to make this category and want to support those sedentary due to their love for Fortnite: So, Tfue if you are reading this, we are happy to send over our amazing personalized meal plans and custom workout packages designed to optimize your in-game performance. Gotta keep up those amazing game play with a sensible health plan!

*Drumroll please…* In honour of Fortnite Season 4, we’ve introduced a new and free activity pack for all you Fortnite enthusiast. This new activity pack, called “EPIC Fortnite Dances” more relatable for Fortnite players, can still be accessed by everyone. It is a compilation of short 30 second challenges that allow you to take a break between games to dance around like your favorite Fortnite characters.  

 

….and the best part yet, you can win points that can easily be converted into v-bucks, that can be used for your next upgrade in Fortnite.

 

All you have to do is turn on “Epic Fortnite Dances” in the Optimity app, if your organization isn’t apart of Optimity, and you’re an individual ready to get healthy and win prizes doing so, we’ve got you covered. Download the “Optimity” app to get started.

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Step 1: Add “EPIC Fortnite Dances” to your personal goals.

 

 

 

 

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Step 2: Activate the goal, and customize if you’d like to receive notification, how frequently you’d like to complete the activity and when you’d like to complete the challenge.

 

 

 

Step 3: And at last, have fun completing the epic dance challenges, get fit and improve your cognitive functioning to perform better overall, and in your next Fortnite battle.

Best of all, get rewarded for getting healthy, we’ve provided numerous rewards for your favorite places, & you also have the option to claim more V-Bucks for Fortnite.  

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Gaming, although fun, can be a long and strenuous process! It often requires you to be sedentary for many hours, while not eating or hydrating sensibly. At Optimity we can help make this easier and more enjoyable. Optimity’s technology platform is scientifically supported to help the average user take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long lasting and beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts your mood, helps you focus and encourage social connectedness. Our pocket coach is also customized to each person’s interest and goals.   

 

Interested in finding out more? Click here to request a demo!

 

Comment down below and let us know what your favorite Fortnite dances are! It may end up in your next app update 😉

Sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards:

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How to Improve Productivity in the Workplace by Decreasing Stress (Webinar Recap)

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

We had a great webinar in April, in honour of stress awareness month. I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to decrease stress in the workplace. You can watch the full webinar here. Here are a few key takeaway points from the webinar:  

Why it’s important for employers to focus on an upstream approach to preventing stress in the workplace: 

  • Stress is costing companies on average $300 billion dollar a year on stress-related absenteeism, turnover, lowered productivity, and direct medical, legal and insurance costs.
  • High stress organizations experience:
    • Increased or excessive absenteeism
    • High or increased accident rates
    • Poor interpersonal relations in the workplace
    • Poor or reduced work output and performance
    • Increased staff turnover


Stress is the harmful physical and emotional response that occurs when there is a poor match between job demands and the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Common stress reactions include tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, and a variety of physical symptoms that include headache and a fast heartbeat. It’s almost impossible to live without some stress. And most of us wouldn’t want to, because it gives life some spice and excitement. But if stress gets out of control, it may harm your health, your relationships, and your enjoyment of life. The following are my top 3 principles that are essential for living a healthy and stress free life!  

1. Get Support

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Stress just doesn’t happen to you, for all we know the person next to you might be suffering from a form of stress as well. One way to combat your stress is through social support. Seek help out help, you don’t always have to make hard decisions on your own, find someone to talk to. Just one or two of your co-workers can become the pillar you need to tackle the stressful situations in your life.

2. Limit the Sugar Binge

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Interestingly, the stress hormone cortisol increases your appetite because of your body’s need for energy. Essentially how this works is,during a stress reaction, Cortisol increases your blood pressure and together with Adrenaline helps accelerate your heartbeat and breathing. This sends glucose to the blood to help free up enough energy for the muscles and the brain. As a result, a fuel shortage arises, and the sugar in our body provides the quick fix, as a result making us crave sweet foods.

To avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar, be cognizant of what you’re eating. Making healthy food choices using Canada’s Food Guide ensures your body has the nutrients it needs to meet the challenges of your day.

3. Exercise

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My third principle, and perhaps my favorite, is exercise. Studies have proven that exercises helps cope with stress, especially aerobic exercise. It can improve your mood, help you sleep better, improve your focus and mental alertness, and make you feel fitter and more confident. Have a busy work schedule? No problem, check out this blog to get tips on how to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule.

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It’s smart and also more cost-effective to prevent stress. Simple lifestyle changes can have the biggest positive impact, financially for business and for the overall health of the individual. If you want to learn more about implementing an engaging and successful wellness program that maintains a healthy work environment and reduces employee stress, reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com for information on how Optimity can help you!

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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Don’t miss out on next months webinar on Employee Health & Wellness on May 3, click here to register.

 

 

5 Ways to Change your Thinking and Be More Positive

2 Minute Read

It’s normal to have a little bit of stress in our everyday life, especially if it’s the kind to help motivate us to get the work done. However the issue arises when we let constant stress overcome us and take control of our mood, our thinking and our perspective. Negative thoughts and stress come hand and hand, so it’s clear that eliminating one, diminishes the other. As a wellness advisor, I help create content that easy and quick to use during workdays in order to help promote positive growth, in order to see change that help with long term health outcomes. The following 5 ways are simple tips that can be implemented to encourage positive thinking in both your work life and home life.

Smile

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Ever heard of the common phrase, “fake it till you make it”, this works the same way for smiling. Smiling is known to be a powerful tool, research suggests that when one smiles, feedback is sent from the face to the left frontal cortex, which releases two neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine into the brain. These hormones are known as the happy hormone. These chemicals are what helps improve one’s mood. This also applies when we smile at someone, when we smile at somebody, they automatically smile back, and that smile will trigger corresponding feelings, which results in positive emotional changes in the brain, bringing about overall positive feelings, which improves mood and reduces stress.  

Change your mindset

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It’s easy to dwell on situations that didn’t occur the way we wanted them to, but these negative emotions and thoughts only bring us down. It’s important to think objectively and more rationale. Don’t lock down negative situations as a concrete failure, by starting to think about certain setbacks as possible growing opportunities, or feedback is known as a “positive feedback response”. Positive thinking, doesn’t ignore the situation in its entirety, it’s just a matter of approaching the situation from a positive and realistic mindset. This positive approach helps eliminate stressful situations which result in overall better health.

Set Clear Goals

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Setting clear and concise goals helps us become lastingly happier and more successful. This is because when you have measurable goals in mind, it takes us down a particular, focused path, where we feel more motivated to fulfill the required objectives to meet those goals. When achieving the goal in itself will help promote happiness due to the success of the completion.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

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Surround  yourself with people who will uplift and encourage you. These people provide supportive and positive feedback that help shape your positive mindset. They can be anyone from, friends, family, or coworkers. In the workplace, positive people are those who have the determination to achieve their  goals. They are the most productive of the group, and don’t stray away from their schedules. Being around people like that helps you create and achieve meaning in the things that you set out to do. They also double as a social support group, which would help you cope with any stressors you may have, leading to less stress and better overall health. Check out this blog to learn more tips on how to engage and connect more authentically with people.

Exercise

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Exercise is a multifaceted activity that has numerous benefits on an individuals physical health. Exercise is also shown to have tremendous positive impact on an individuals mental health. Those who exercise, regardless of what fitness level or age, exercise is proven to boost brain function, improve mood, and memory as well as  help relieve stress, and help individuals sleep better. Exercise helps increase the release of norepinephrine hormone, which helps manage any mental or physical stress. Check out this helpful webinar on helpful shortcuts for getting in a quick workout on a busy workday without wasting hours at the gym.

As an employer it’s essential to provide employees with the tools and resources they need to flourish and succeed in the workplace. The easiest way to improve an employee’s positive mindset is to start by showing them that you care.

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At Optimity we can help make this easier, Optimity’s technology platform is scientifically supported. We help the average worker take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long lasting beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts their mood, by providing them with a variety of activities for different health and wellness topics. The app also helps encourage social connectedness, through the team challenges which supports the organization’s culture for teamwork.

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.

Or sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards!

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Top 5 Ways to Fit Exercise into a Busy Day!

2 Minute Read

With long busy days in the office and impending deadlines, it’s no wonder why we don’t make time to schedule in the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity into our day. The following are just 5 simple ways you can get the daily physical activity intake without having to make extra time. If you want a more indepth review, check out our webinar, “fitness hacks for the busy professional”.

Start with your Commute

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If possible turn your usual bus ride or car ride into a fast walk, jog or bicycle ride to work. This way you turn your commute into a workout. Don’t forget to dress for the weather.

Climb your way to Better Health

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Take the stairs instead of the elevator, it saves you time during the rush hour when the elevators busy, and it helps you burn lots of calories. Climbing the stairs is a great time sensitive, equipment free aerobic exercise, that helps get the heart rate up which toning the muscles in your legs. To make this even more challenging, run up and down the stairs, this will make the activity more vigorous and ideal for any workout. Stair climbing is also great for improving your energy, leads to a stronger immune system and lowers your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Stand Up at Work

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Take a break from sitting at your desk for long hours and try to stand up occasionally. Better yet, walk around the office, and try having “walking meetings” whenever possible. These small changes make a huge difference when it comes to one’s susceptibility to a disease. It’s also a bonus, as it burns more calories, and boost energy, resulting in more productive and engaged workers.

Take the Time to Stretch

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Taking out a few minutes throughout the day to stretch at your desk is easy to do and rakes in many benefits. Not only is it great for releasing soreness and tension in the body, and increasing flexibility. It also boosts energy and alertness. This increase in energy more than makes up for the few minutes taken out throughout the day. If you want to hear more on stretching, take a look at a webinar we did with Dr. Kleinberg,the president of Kleinberg Corporate Wellness and chiropractor, who joined us to shed light on workplace posture and movement. We discuss the importance of proper posture and body alignment for wellness, and strategies to set up your workplace for success, so be sure to have a look!

Workout at your Desk

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One of the simplest things to do, is workout right from your desk. There are numerous activities you can do from your desk, even very subtle ones, like ab crunching, that leads to a stronger core. In addition to getting healthier, you also end up getting in a workout while getting your work done. Workouts that can lead to better health and mood make for better engagement and productivity at work.

Optimity

At Optimity we can help make this easier, 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.

Sign up here to start leading a healthier life and claiming rewards:

iOS | Android