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

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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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Top 3 Health Issues Facing Employees Working with Heavy Machines

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

With the annual CMPX expo that happened down the street from us this year, it came to a reminder that a lot of employees whose job requirements entails a lot of heavy lifting, and transporting of heavy equipments to new locations, are an overlooked population.  

Because they’re not the average 9-5 office worker, there isn’t much focus surrounding their health and wellness needs. Companies focus a lot of attention on workplace safety and how to prevent physical injuries on the job, but there isn’t a huge focus on these employees other wellness needs.

Employees who work for companies that require them to work around big and heavy machines, face many health outcomes that could have been easily prevented had there been more of a focus on a proactive wellness approach targeted for their needs. The following are the top 3 health issues these employees face who tend to be on the go, working around heavy equipment:

 

Musculoskeletal

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Musculoskeletal disorder, or MSD for short, is a condition that affects the human body’s movements, so that includes, but not limited to the following parts: muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and more. MSD is the leading cause of pain, and disability in all workplaces, especially amongst employees who have to transport heavy equipment. In North America, MSD’s direct cost is estimated to be $20 billion, and their overall indirect cost are to be between $45-54 billion. These are unnecessary cost, associated to an issue that can be easily prevented had employers implemented a wellness initiatives that focused on these needs. Heavy loads require higher muscular force, and this constant repetitive impact can lead to or promote the development of degenerative disorders. To learn more about posture and movement, check out this webinar, co-hosted with Dr. Kleinberg.

A tip to decrease the likelihood of developing a musculoskeletal disorder is through stretching. Stretching helps improve an individual’s flexibility, essentially the range of movement around a skeletal joint. It allows for that muscle to grow, strengthen and lengthen, leading to its ability to better adapt to the amount of force put upon that muscle. Meaning it’s ability to stretch becomes stronger and longer, which decreases the chances of the muscle tearing, because it will now need a lot more force for it to tear. These small changes, of implementing stretching into your daily routine will decrease the chances of one acquiring a musculoskeletal injury.

Occupational Safety

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When it comes to working with big and heavy machinery, injuries are bound to happen, often even leading to disabilities. the biggest concern for employers of this industry is injury prevention. If the organization’s culture values the importance of injury prevention, and provides wellness initiatives for this, then fewer injuries are less likely to occur. There needs to be thorough training occuring in order to keep information up to date and relevant for employee. In addition to these extensive training, providing constant tips and reminders to employees is an effective thing to do.


Mental Health

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Occupational safety and mental health, work hand in hand. When under stress you put yourself at risk of getting injured. Working around big and heavy machines can become a stressful environment for workers who have to work around them daily. When it comes to handling machines, it requires a lot more work and attention in order for the task to get completed without any injury. These responsibilities and workload can become stressful, and as we all know constant stress can lead to unfavourable health conditions. The best way to minimize these outcomes is by providing early intervention. Employers need to implement a wellness initiative that fosters  proactive approach to mental health. Be sure to join us for our stress management webinar where we’ll go into more depth on the topic of stress management: what it is, and how to prevent it.

 

With a digital wellness platform it can make make getting wellness to all employees easier. The Optimity app is loaded with hundreds of health topics, some of them even relating to occupational safety and injury prevention. Having access to a coaching tool that have activities and information related specifically to occupational safety is important to have. This eliminates the concern that employers have about employees neglecting the importance of occupational safety. With more emphasis put onto this, employee’s overall health is bound to increase, with injuries decreasing, resulting in more productivity and lower injury related cost for employers.

Optimity

We 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 and request a demo.

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How to Help Women Flourish in the Workplace (Webinar Recap)

We had a great webinar on March 8, in honour of international women’s day. International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world – in many countries, it is a national holiday. It has grown to become a global day of recognition of women’s achievements and a call to action to support women’s rights and advance gender equality.

I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to promote women’s health in the workplace. You can watch the full webinar here. Note, due to some technical difficulties, the slides have been uploaded separately. To view the slides, please click here. The following are a few key takeaway points from the webinar.

We’ve come a long way to see women grow socially, economically, culturally and politically. Achievements of women can even be seen even in the workforce. With more than 50% of the working force being women, it’s important for employers to promote women’s health in the workplace.

While life expectancy is higher for women than men in most countries, a number of health and social factors combine to create a lower quality of life for women. Many of the health issues that arise, can easily be prevented if addressed early, which is why worksite can also be a good source of solutions to existing health problems and the place for promoting healthy activities.

 

The top 3 health issues for women that was mentioned in this webinar are:

 

Cardiovascular Health

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Most people believe that CVD is more common in men that women. But in reality heart attack and strokes kill more women than men. Women are more likely than men to die within a few weeks of a heart attack. 8.6 million women worldwide die from heart disease each year. Of those who have heart attacks, 42% die within a year. Leading a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of heart disease, whether you’re male or female. To learn more about a healthy heart, check out last months webinar on “Healthy Lifestyle Choices for a Healthy Heart”.

Cancer

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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Contrary to most beliefs, breast cancer is not the leading cause of cancer death in women. Lung cancer kills more women than male. This is due to the increasing number of women who use smoking as a coping mechanism for stress. One in four women in the United States smoke. Stopping smoking and reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can reduce the risk of chronic lung problems. Check out our webinar on mindfulness and  meditation in the workplace to get tips on reducing stress and finding healthier coping mechanisms.

Mental Health

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Mental health is another major health issue for women. Although death by suicide is higher for men, attempted suicide rates are higher for women. Job stress among women is widespread; 42% of women have said they were bothered by stress from their jobs. Helping educate women on mental health issues, and giving them the confidence to seek assistance and speak to their doctor, is vital. One way to promote mental health is through nutrition. Studies show that a healthy diet is a proactive approach to optimal health, and that an unhealthy diet is actually a huge risk factor for depression and anxiety. Watch our past webinar to learn more about nutrition and mindful eating in the workplace.
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These top 3 health issues are present in both men and women, however more women die from these chronic illnesses than men. Fortunately, genetics plays a minor role when it comes to susceptibility. With a healthier lifestyle with more physical activity, healthy diet and less stress, one can help prevent almost all chronic illnesses.

If you need more help on promoting women’s health in the workplace, reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.

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How to Promote Healthy Heart Lifestyle Choices at your Company (Webinar Recap)

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Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya

We had a great webinar in February, in honour of heart awareness month. I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang to talk through how to promote a healthy heart 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 a healthy heart

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 2.43.45 PM.pngHeart disease is costing companies billions of dollars in loss of productivity and absenteeism.

Workplace wellness program can help prevent heart disease for their employees and in return bring down cost.

It’s essential to understand that heart disease can easily be prevented by making small behaviour changes.

See what can you do to prevent heart disease:
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Physical Activity

  • Physical activity elevates your heart rate, which is essential for keeping your heart in shape.
  • Something as simple as taking the stairs, does wonders for your heart. To read more on helpful tips on how to get physically active, especially in the colder months, check out our blog post here on exercise.

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Nutrition

  • Nutrition is key to a healthy life.
  • Some helpful tips in eating healthy is avoiding the foods that are big contributors to heart disease. Processed foods are high in sugar, fat, and sodium, so these should be kept to a minimum.
  • Cook your own food, it allows you to eat as clean as possible when using raw ingredients to make your meal.
  • Eating with others makes you more mindful of what you’re eating, and how much you’re eating. For more information on healthy eating for employees, check out one of our popular webinars on nutrition and mindful eating the workplace for more insightful tips.

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Stress Less

  • Identify your stressors in order to avoid them or create coping mechanisms that work for you.
  • Physical behaviours such as stretching and yoga can help relieve stress.
  • Change your thinking: see if your stressor is actually rational or if you’re just blowing it out of proportion. Try to make your thinking more positive.
  • Meditation is a great technique that can be done just about anywhere, and is proven to reduce stress. Here is another great webinar we’ve done on mindfulness and meditation in the workplace.

 

It’s cheaper to prevent heart disease than to treat it! Simple lifestyle changes can have the biggest positive impact financially and on the individuals health. Reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com for information on how Optimity can help you!

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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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Employers Turn to Workplace Wellness to Help Reduce Health Care Costs

Posted by Trista Chan

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

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

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

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

How do wellness programs help employers reduce healthcare cost?

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

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

 

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

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

 

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How to Nurture Your Sleeping Habits to Rejuvenate Yourself

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

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

 

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Consider the following tips to nurture your sleeping habits:

1. Have a sleep schedule and stick to it

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

 

2) Have a bedtime ritual

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

 

3) Avoid eating or drinking anything that interferes with sleep

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

 

4) Make your bedroom a sleeping haven

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

 

5) Don’t stress over falling asleep

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

 

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

 

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

 

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