The Future of Health and Wellness Today

trends-header1.jpgDid you know that Americans spent an average of $714 on out of pocket health care in 2016? This number continues to increase year on year. The rising costs of healthcare in North America makes it crucial for companies to start putting a larger focus on corporate wellness programs. The growing industry of corporate wellness programs shows that new technology, data and increased insights can really help to encourage employees to stay fit and healthy. As a result these outcomes not only benefit the employee but also the company.

The healthcare cost crisis has become so important, that major corporations like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan are teaming up to create a new business that is designed to lower health care costs for their employees and provide increased employee satisfaction while reducing costs.

To provide a beneficial corporate wellness program we first need to talk about our current workforce. With Millennials becoming the largest generation in the US workforce (35%) they have a great impact on the wellness market. This generation has a new outlook on wellness and are said to spend the most amount of money on health programs, even though they earn less than any other generation. They also have a greater knowledge and interest in technology, which gives them easy access to wellness information and programs. Working remotely has also become a trend throughout the past few years, and as these current workforce trends change we realize that work-life balance is a thing of the past. Our digital world has us constantly connected, which means we are checking emails at any time of the night and chatting to friends and colleagues during dinner. Life and work have integrated together, and our wellness programs need to change to reflect this. New trends need new solutions.

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At Optimity, our dynamic and personalized approach helps this modern generation of professionals be at their best, whether they work from the office or remotely. We support their modern routines and offer a holistic approach to wellness in the forms of mental health, financial wellness, and physical health; all of which we believe contribute to a person’s overall health. Our programs also offer 24/7 support that is dedicated to the user, because we know that a wellness program should be designed to offer support, even if you are not in the office. We know that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t help anyone, so our programs are tailored to employee’s specific goals and needs. We help people manage their time and encourage them to build healthy habits, no matter what kind of profession or workforce they are in.

Workplace Wellness Programs are here to stay, and like any program, these initiatives are only ever effective if they are done correctly. Employees continue to request wellness benefits from their employers. It’s about time companies start paying attention to the holistic wellbeing of their employees and incorporate a proactive wellness program like Optimity that fits into their everyday working life.

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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 let’s have a chat.

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A Secret Weapon to Help your Indoor Workers

Did you know, that according to a study by BMC Public Health, 91 percent of indoor workers have insufficient vitamin D levels? While vitamin D levels differ by occupation, spending your days inside at your desk might mean that you are missing out on the vital vitamin. Vitamin D is naturally found in a few foods such as sardines, salmon, tuna and eggs. There are also many fortified products like milk and yogurt available.

Unfortunately our diet will not supplement the amount of vitamin D that we need to survive. The typical diet in North America does not provide more than 5% of the vitamin D that our bodies need for optimal health. However skin exposure to the sun provides the largest quantity of vitamin D and can prevent health outcomes that come with a vitamin D deficiency.

A lack of vitamin D in our body has been linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, mental health issues and immune dysfunction. It is an important vitamin to have in our body as it promotes bone growth, prevents osteoporosis and also reduces inflammation. But with limited outdoor time for office workers, we don’t generate as much vitamin D from sun exposure as we should.

With the threat of skin cancer at large, it is no surprise that we don’t go out into the sun more often. As a population we have heard conflicting statements to do with the sun. Experts say that it is important to expose as much skin to the sun as possible during the middle of the day, while taking care not to get burnt. Sun exposure is healthy in regard to vitamin D levels, as long as it’s at a sufficient amount.

Here are a few changes you can make in your daily office life to ensure you are getting more of the sunshine vitamin:

Incorporate a Workplace Wellness Program

Workplace Wellness Programs often include education about the importance of adequate vitamin D levels. This can help prevent adverse health outcomes linked to vitamin D deficiency in the workers. It also means that you have a program that will support and motivate you along your journey to optimal health. Visit www.myOptimity.com to see how we can help you take that extra step to improving the health of employees by taking the proactive approach.
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Optimity syncs in your calendar in order for it to make helpful suggestions that benefit your health such as:

  • Host your next meeting outside
  • Take Calls Outside
  • Outdoor Lunch Breaks
  • Squeeze in a Walk

Vitamin D is vital to our health, so it is crucial to ensure that you are getting enough of it, either through the sun, the food you are eating, or supplements. Successful companies continue to support the wellbeing of their employees, here at Optimity we can help adopt and design a system that’s best for the needs of your employees. Send us a message and we’ll help you get started engage@myoptimity.com.

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

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Connecting Authentically to Improve Relationships

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Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena
Do you experience that nervous jittery feeling when talking to new people? Do you find that holding a conversation with strangers at casual events is as challenging as mountain climbing? Well, socializing doesn’t come naturally to all, but it is certainly an important skill that will serve you your whole life. Socializing has a wealth of benefits which directly impact our happiness as well as existence.
Getting out there and talking to people doesn’t have to be difficult. Being more social and making new friends can be easy, all you need to do is have the will to change yourself from being the odd one out to a social and outgoing person.The following tips can help you let go of your shyness and connect authentically with people:


Initiate
 

Striking up a conversation might be the most challenging step, but taking the first step yourself can give you an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Take matters into your own hands and introduce yourself. Compliments can serve as a great ice breaker and help you start off a conversation. 

Be Dynamic

Being rigid and standing in one spot is a common mistake that prevents people from socializing effectively. Move around with confidence and try to be more approachable. Keeping your head up and acknowledging people around you with a smile or a greeting, puts others at ease and also makes them more receptive when you approach them.

Listen

Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Therefore, practicing good listening skills is just as important as expressing yourself. It will help you appear accepting and gain other people’s confidence. Listening also allows you to learn more about others, which ultimately will aid you in establishing common interests and forming a bond.

Practice

They say that experience is the best teacher. So, go out, meet new people, interact and learn from your experiences to improve your conversational skills for the future!


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

 

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

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Topics: proactive, socializing, social, positivity

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

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

 

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

1. Yoga

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

2. Jumping jacks

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

3. Take the stairs 

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

4. Go for a walk

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

 5. Clean something

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

 

 

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

 

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

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Proactive vs. Reactive Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

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

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

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

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

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

   


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

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

iOS | Android