Small Businesses Can Benefit From Workplace Wellness Programs

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts in the comments section below…..

exerciseballWorkplace wellness programs present a good opportunity for small businesses, according to studies published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine from the Colorado School of Public Health.

Two workplace wellness studies were conducted on the Pinnacol Assurance health risk management (HRM) program. For the studies, Pinnacol Assurance, a Colorado workers’ compensation insurer, offered its small business policyholders (employers with less than 500 employees) the opportunity to participate in the HRM program free of charge including implementation support. The purpose of the HRM studies were to determine if workplace wellness programs could improve the health and productivity of employees. Pinnacol Assurance partnered with Well Nation® (formerly known as Trotter Wellness®) to administer the wellness program.

Between 2010 and 2014, more than 260 employers enrolled in the HRM program, and 6,507 employees participated. According to the study, one-third of participants were overweight, one-quarter were obese, one-fifth reported depression, and another fifth had chronic fatigue.

For the first study published in 2014, the HRM program reported a return of $2 for every dollar spent in just the first year despite being conducted in Colorado (one of the healthiest states in the nation) and largely comprised of small businesses under 50 employees. The HRM program also demonstrated reductions in ten health risk factors including obesity, poor eating habits, poor physical activity, tobacco use, high alcohol consumption, high stress, depression, high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, and high blood glucose.

Previous research indicates that only one-third of small businesses offer some sort of wellness program. Traditionally, small employers have been reluctant to implement wellness programs due to the barriers they often face such as cost, time, and the necessary resources and manpower to manage a program.

At the completion of the four-year program, the second study published in 2015, showed that the barriers small businesses face when implementing a workplace wellness program can be overcome. Of the 260 employers who enrolled in the HRM program, 71 percent continued more than one year. And of those employers, 97 percent reported that worker wellness improves safety.

“Our success with medium to large companies has been well documented but it is nice to see research indicate that small businesses are open to implementing successful wellness programs if the program is easy to set up, simple to use, and resources are readily available,” said Margo Trotter, RN, BScN, MHSc, President, Well Nation®. “Over time, wellness programs can offer tangible rewards for small employers such as increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, lower health care insurance costs, and increased employee morale and satisfaction.”

About Well Nation®

Founded in 2003, Well Nation® is a privately-held Wisconsin-based company that serves companies of all sizes throughout North America by assisting them in controlling their health risk related costs. To learn more, visit http://www.wellnation.com.

The Parent’s Role In Child Development Programs

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kidsIt’s no secret that a child’s education plays a significant role in her development during early childhood and is a determining factor in her success as an adult. Helping young children to acquire the skills they need to progress and develop along the prescribed timeline is one of a parent’s most important jobs. Understanding the role that parents play in the development and expansion of new skill sets in early childhood allows you to work more closely with the preschool or child development center program you’ve chosen, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the curriculum and reinforcing lessons learned on a daily basis.

Communicating with Teachers and Administrators

As the parents of a little one who’s enrolled in a child development program, you are essentially the liaison between your child and her teachers or center administrators. Your preschooler may not have the vocabulary or the inclination to explain to you that there are areas in which she is struggling, or subjects in which she needs additional attention. The teachers and instructors who work with her every day, however, will be both able and eager to give you progress reports and relevant information about your child’s development. In addition to having a more accurate view of her academic, cognitive and physical development, you’ll also be able to learn more about her conduct and areas within the scope of social interaction and skill where she may be in need of extra help.

Maintaining Progress at Home

cutekidsWorking closely with the teachers and aides at your child’s preschool or early childhood development center allows you to get an accurate view of not only what’s expected of her there, but what she’s capable of at home. Your child will live up, or down, to the expectations you’ve set for her. If she’s responsible for clearing away her own place after meals, hanging up her own jacket and putting away art supplies after a lesson at her preschool, that means that she’s clearly able to perform those tasks with some degree of accuracy. Operating under the misapprehension that your child isn’t capable of doing some things for herself can have detrimental effects on her development, simply because she’s not exercising the skills she’s learning at preschool at home. Building a functional relationship with your child’s teachers and program administrators allows you to form a more accurate view of her capabilities, and helps you adjust her routine at home accordingly. Parents who wish to take an active role in their child’s progress through a developmental program should also take the time to learn what’s being covered under the lesson plan and what’s up next on the curricular agenda. Make a point of working on those skills at home, too. If your little one is learning how to write her name in preschool, she should be practicing at home to hone her motor skills and boost the muscle memory and letter recognition that will fuel her progress. Remember, education and learning don’t stop the minute your child walks out the door of her preschool or child development center.

Choosing the Right Childhood Development Program

Working with your child’s teachers and taking an interest in her progress through a child development program is essential, but it’s even more important that you make the correct initial investment by choosing the right program and center. Priscilla Williams, who holds a degree in Child Psychology and Early Childhood Development and is the President of the Especially for Children network of nationally accredited child development centers in Minnesota, states that “selecting a childcare center that has national accreditation will provide parents assurance that the center has programs that properly address all the important developmental goals for your preschooler.” By making sure that you’ve chosen an accredited center with a strong curriculum, you’ll be actively investing in the first step of your child’s long and illustrious academic career. Remember that this is just the beginning of your child’s journey along the essential path of education, and take steps to ensure that the program introducing her to the concept of school and learning is one that will make a positive impact on her. The ASCD, formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, asserts that preschool is “the most important grade,” and that their research confirms the long-term benefits of participation in such programs. By choosing one that is both accredited and of a high quality, you’re actively fulfilling the important goal of providing your child with the tools she needs to succeed throughout elementary school, high school and beyond.

– Submitted by Sarah Tucker of 4 Nannies.

Guest Post – MIke Walters, Health And Wellness Programs That Every Company Should Be Offering To Their Employees

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flagfamilyAmerica is sick.

Well, maybe not sick exactly, but certainly not healthy. We’re fatter than we’ve even been, which has led to increases in a number of related problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. And as healthcare costs have continued to rise, so has the money companies have to fork over for insurance benefits.

Because of this, many businesses have begun rethinking their old models of simply offering “benefits” like free gym memberships and office exercise classes. Instead, they’re really looking at that bottom line and finding new ways to change from a culture of treatment to one of prevention and accountability. It’s a process that hasn’t been without growing pains, but a number of employees have found the new model quite helpful. Here are just a few of the best program ideas out there.

Obviously, the ultimate goal of companies with this change is to save money, so it may seem strange that many have turned to actually giving out more money to employees.

Bigger paychecks. Obviously, the ultimate goal of companies with this change is to save money, so it may seem strange that many have turned to actually giving out more money to employees. However, with healthcare costs rising so rapidly, the cost of a few health “bonuses” for people who meet requirements and qualify for the lowest-cost plans is far less than dealing with higher premiums and future health issues.

How exactly does it work? Many companies now have specific benchmarks for things like weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Meet them, and you will receive extra money for each on your paycheck. In addition to this, you can get extra money for things like filling out a healthcare questionnaire and not smoking.

A few companies have even tried going the opposite route and taking money away from employees who weren’t meeting health standards, but in general, those experiments have resulted in far more backlash and often been quickly dropped.

Lower insurance payments. Alternatively, companies and insurance providers have worked together to create plans that ‘incentivize’ employees by reducing the amount of their deductible and co pays if they meet certain health requirements. In essence, it’s the same as putting extra money on their paycheck, but this model may be even more attractive to businesses because it doesn’t cost them more money, just saves cash for their employees.

Getting social. Most adults spend at least a third of their day at work, so we tend to care quite a bit about what our coworkers think of us. Now, companies are leveraging this built-in social community as part of their health and wellness programs by engaging in things like health “challenges” and “competitions,” as well as utilizing various social networking tools to help create support groups and let people help each other stay accountable and foster positive change within the group itself.

pillsEncouraging people to stick with it. Another interesting and positive step involves some businesses actually lowering the cost of medication for chronic conditions as a way to encourage those afflicted to stay on the drugs that are helping them. This is a good thing in a number of ways, but it’s especially important because one of the main complaints against these kinds of incentivized programs is that they unfairly favor people who are already in good health and will likely find it easier to meet the necessary goals. By actively helping out those who already suffer from medical conditions and don’t always have control over certain common physical measuring sticks, companies are indicating that they want to find ways to improve the health – and healthcare costs – for everyone.

– Mike Walters is a writer for Engagement Health. Aside from constantly reviewing workplace health programs, Mike enjoys golfing whenever possible and going on trips with his wife Ashley.