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.

Research Finds Genes May Influence Leadership In The Workplace

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This article is courtesy of K-State News and Communications Services…..have thoughts about the article, please share in the comments section below…..

deskThe right genes may help you become an organization’s next president or CEO. But the same genes may also hinder your leadership path, according to Kansas State University psychological sciences research.

Wendong Li, assistant professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences, and collaborators have found a “mixed blessing” for workers who hold workplace leadership positions, from the formal leader of a CEO to an informal group leader. Their study focused on the dopamine transporter gene DAT1, which can influence leadership and is important for reward and motivation systems in humans.

“It’s like a mixed blessing — this gene can have both positive and negative effects on leadership,” Li said. “An implication is that it really depends on environmental factors to determine if overall it is a positive or negative.”

On the positive side, the researchers found that people who had the 10-repeat allele in the dopamine transporter were most likely to engage in adolescent mild rule-breaking behavior, which is positively associated with leadership, Li said. Such mild rule-breaking behavior may include actions such as skipping class, but it is not serious deviant behavior such as shooting.

“Mild rule-breaking is actually positively correlated with the chance for you to become a leader in adulthood,” Li said. “These kinds of behaviors can provide you with an advantage because they allow adolescents to explore boundaries and learn something new.”

On the negative side, the researchers found that people with the dopamine transporter gene scored lower on proactive personality, which can lead to positive changes at work and is important for leadership emergence.

“These people were less likely to regulate their own behaviors to make a positive change,” Li said. “It can be very difficult to make a positive change because it involves mobilizing resources to overcome difficulties and obstacles so that the change can happen. These people were not good at regulating behaviors such as being persistent.”

The takeaway from the study? To become a leader and be a good leader involves multiple factors — genes and the environment — working together, Li said. Some influential environmental factors — though not studied in this research — can include democratic parenting, a supportive family, and a challenging and cultivating workplace.

workdeskManagers cannot assume that changing one aspect of the work environment will be beneficial for all individuals, Li said, because employees bring individual characteristics to the organization. Some individual differences can’t be ignored because they are rooted in genetic makeup and enhance the chance for individuals to engage in certain types of behaviors, either positive or negative.

“In the long run, we are advocating more individualized and customized management practices, which allow people to choose the type of work environment that fits their individual characteristics,” Li said. “Customizing workplace practices is good for employee learning, development and leadership potential. Ultimately, it is good for employee performance and well-being, which in turn may enhance organizational effectiveness.”

The researchers used two sets of data for the study: The National University of Singapore’s Strabismus, Amblyopia, and Refractive Error Study, or STARS, which includes 309 people, and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which includes more than 13,000 individuals. The researchers had similar results with both samples, Li said.

The researchers recently published their research, “A mixed blessing? Dual mediating mechanisms in the relationship between dopamine transporter gene DAT1 and leadership role occupancy” in The Leadership Quarterly.

Workplace Lifestyle Intervention Program Improves Health, Reduces Diabetes And Heart Disease Risks

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and the UPMC. What are your thoughts, please share them below in the comments section…..

consultA healthy lifestyle intervention program administered at the workplace and developed by the University of Pittsburgh significantly reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, according to a new study.

A healthy lifestyle intervention program administered at the workplace and developed by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health significantly reduces risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, according to a study reported in the March issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The program was well-received by participants at Bayer Corp., who lost weight and increased the amount of physical activity they got each day, when compared with a control group in the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

“Health care expenditures associated with diabetes are spiraling, causing widespread concern, particularly for employers who worry about employee health and productivity,” said lead author M. Kaye Kramer, Dr.P.H., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and director of the school’s Diabetes Prevention Support Center. “This leads to an interest in workplace health promotion; however, there are very few evidence-based programs that actually demonstrate improvement in employee health. This study found that our program not only improves health, but also that employees really like it.”

This demonstration program is based on the U.S. Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a national study that found people at risk for diabetes who lost a modest amount of weight through diet and exercise sharply reduced their chances of developing diabetes, outperforming people who took a diabetes drug instead.

Dr. Kramer and colleagues built on the DPP to create a group-based program that puts the findings into practice, called Group Lifestyle Balance™. The program is divided into 22 sessions over a one-year period and aimed at helping people make lifestyle changes to improve health. The sessions can be done as a group with a lifestyle coach or through a DVD coupled with brief weekly phone or, in certain cases, email consultations with the lifestyle coach. The option of the DVD with lifestyle coach support not only served as the main intervention option for those employees who traveled or who did not want to participate in the program in a group venue but also offered a valuable replacement for employees who chose to participate via group setting but had to miss an occasional session.

“Our Group Lifestyle Balance program has proven successful in diverse community settings, so we adapted it for the workplace since we found that there was a real need for effective programs that could fit into people’s work lives,” said senior author Andrea Kriska, Ph.D., professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology and principal investigator of the study. “This current effort in the worksite shows clearly that a proven healthy lifestyle program, like the Group Lifestyle Balance program, offered to people where they work is not only feasible but effective in reducing risk factors for diabetes and heart disease for participating employees.”

A total of 89 employees at Bayer Corp. in Robinson Township, Pa., who were at risk for diabetes or heart disease were enrolled in the demonstration program in the fall of 2010 and followed for 18 months.

Over the course of a year, participants lost an average of 5 percent of their body weight (10 pounds), shrunk their waistlines by about 2 inches and brought down the levels of fat and sugar in their blood – all measures that reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They also increased their physical activity by almost twofold.

Of the participants, 96 percent said they felt it was beneficial to offer the program at the worksite, and 99 percent said they would recommend it to their co-workers.

workdesk“The positive results that employees experienced from this lifestyle program speak to the benefits of personalized health programs in the workplace,” said Phil Franklin, M.D., U.S. corporate medical director, Bayer Corp. “I would like to congratulate the University of Pittsburgh researchers on the study.”

Additional authors on this research are Donald Molenaar, M.D., Veterans Health Administration in Minneapolis; Elizabeth Venditti, Ph.D., Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC; and Vincent C. Arena, Ph.D., Rebecca Meehan, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Rachel Miller, M.S., Karl Vanderwood, Ph.D., and Yvonne Eaglehouse, M.S., M.P.H., all of Pitt Public Health.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R18 DK081323–04).

About the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, founded in 1948 and now one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States, conducts research on public health and medical care that improves the lives of millions of people around the world. Pitt Public Health is a leader in devising new methods to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other important public health problems. For more information about Pitt Public Health, visit the school’s Web site at http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu.

Maintain Your Health With A Safe Workplace

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workdeskYou can chow down on vitamin supplements like they were going out of style, make calorific meals using a calculator, weighing scales and your own inflated sense of ego, but there’s one health scare you can’t ever prepare for.

If an accident in your workplace hits, those supplements will be as useful as a submarine on the A90.

It can happen at any time, a major slip, trip or fall to put you out of commission for weeks, months or maybe even years. There were over 600,000 cases of injury in the UK last year, and at least a few of those could be put down to bad bosses.

Indeed, while your boss could have a halo for a head, sprinkle rose petals over employees as they enter and send delightful pictures of cats through the company email system, they’re still shirking their responsibility if they don’t adhere to health and safety legislation.

With that in mind, how can you make sure your boss is minimising your risk of an accident?

Contact the professionals

Whether you’ve had an accident or not, your first port of call should be the professionals – injury claim specialists can help you figure out how to protect your workplace from accidents, as well as what to do if you want to file a claim against your employer.

There are few people better suited to spotting the danger zones in a place of work, so pick up the phone and see what they can do for you.

Get your boss on your side

You know that lovely boss we were discussing earlier? The one with the rose petals and cute cat pictures? Well, here’s an unfortunate truth – they aren’t all like that. In fact, some bosses can be downright vindictive.

But that doesn’t mean you have to let their villainous tendencies get in the way of your working relationship. With occasional healthy conversations, it’s much easier to nudge your boss into doing the right thing without legislation having to weigh in.

Get a union

consultBack in the 70s, trade unions were solid parts of industry, providing support for workers and giving common people a right to stand up against employers. As Margaret Thatcher’s governmentfp wore on, however, the powers of trade unions were slowly but surely diluted until they were essentially impotent against employers.

While their day might be done, you can still create pressure on your employer with a grassroots strategy by teaming up with colleagues to complain about health and safety.

One lone voice means practically nothing in a bosses’ mind, but just imagine the pressure they’ll feel if a gang of you knock on their door.

Submitted by Jessica Piscos

Stress Chunking

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By Chris Delaney

womanThe State of Stress

Stress is a state, an emotion which is often brought on by how we perceive the task we have set ourselves or the task others have set for us. As a career coach I will work with professionals to help them reduce their workplace stress. Through this I have modelled successful career professionals to understand how they handle workplace stress and researched stressed employees to appreciate why their stress levels are higher than others, and found a major difference between how these two types of employees internally perceive their daily task.

Why is one motivated while the other, given the same task feels stressed?

Little Chunks

When we have to complete any task, we will internally break this task down into manageable chunks; “if I complete A, B and C I will achieve my goal”. Each time we complete a chunk we feel more motivated as we near to our goal.

The stressed employee does something much different. With their task, they break it down into hundreds of unmanageable chunks, so many that the task now seems frightening, creating the state of stress. Say the task was to write a blog post for the company website. The motivated employee would say “OK I need to first research the article, write a draft, edit it, have the article proof read and then submit it” 5 easy steps.

What happens when you’re stressed is this “damn I can’t do this, first I need to find a free computer, and then turn it on, someone has probably been hot desking here, so I will have to move, find a new computer and turn this one on. I will have to wait because these computers are old, and take an age to turn on. I need to input my password, but what was is it? I had to change it last week. I will have to go to my files to retrieve my new password. Now I need to research the article, first I need to think about which websites to use, and then I will have to check that the source is credible. I can read other articles to give my ideas, so I will have to Google articles, read through each article and make notes. Notes! I will have to grab a paper and pen, by the time I return the internet would have timed out and I will have to log back in again, where did I put that password……” and this is just the research stage.

stressIt is highly motivational to chunk things up into manageable pieces. If you chunk things down into too many pieces your mountain of chunks will seem too big and overwhelming. You will spend too much time thinking about the hundred chunks rather than getting the task started.

The Motivational Chunk

When given a task, break it down into manageable chunks, often 5 is a good number. Breaking down task in this way, creates the impression that task is possible to complete. If you only have one chunk “write a blog post” the task can seem to large, maybe even in possible. Several chunks, will allow you to concentrate on a section of the task before moving on. When you feel your tasks are manageable, you feel highly motivated reducing your stress levels.

– Chris Delaney is a Career Advisor and Life Coach at employmentking.co.uk and the author of The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques.

How To Stay Healthy At The Workplace

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By Grace Bailey

operatorsWhoever goes to work (and we all know that almost everybody does) knows how difficult it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle while at the workplace. Especially if one’s work is in an office. The sedentary day at work makes it hard for one take care of his/her body. However, there are ways out of this situation. One just needs to be devoted to the idea of staying healthy at the workplace and results are sure to follow.

1. Leave coffee behind
It’s almost everybody’s habit to start the day with a cup of strong coffee. Even though this caffeine drink gives us a temporary high, it is sure to make you crash later on. This will affect not only your concentration, productivity and energy but will also make you want more and more coffee. And, with time, this will lead to dependency and fatigue. Something as simple as water can refresh you. And if you happen to need a little more energy, eat an orange. What’s also bad about coffee is the fact that it is usually loaded with a ton of sugar or some other sweetener. If you really can’t imagine your day without a cup of coffee, make it more like a cup of milk with a little coffee.

2. Have breakfast
By all means do! A lot of people start the day at the office with nothing more than a cigarette and some coffee. Needless to say, this is bad for you. The body needs energy to start the day properly and that energy could be provided by a nice morning meal. A toast or two, a bowl of oatmeal or some fruits. Whatever rocks your boat. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it is food. You wouldn’t want to collapse onto your keyboard, right?

3. Stick to healthy snacks
As snacks play a vital role during one’s working day (after all, everybody gets hungry in between meals, right) do your best to make these snacks be as healthy as possible. Forget about the various types of bagged junk food. Not only it doesn’t satisfy your hunger, but it is also not ‘clean’ at all, but rather filled with all types of preservatives. Smart choices would be a mix of different nuts – almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc., as well as fruits – apples, bananas, pears and so on.

4. Mind the lunch
healthysaladUnless your company has a cafeteria, where nice, freshly cooked meals are served, it would be way better for you to pack your lunch. Devote thirty to sixty minutes a day to prepare yourself a nice lunch meal for the next day at work. It is definitely worth it. In any case, it is way better than a mayonnaise-covered hot dog from a nearby stand.

5. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of liquids. However, try to avoid sweetened carbonated drinks the best you can. Again, water is the best choice. Or freshly squeezed fruits, if your workplace’s kitchen area has the proper appliances.

6. Move
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should leave your workplace for a walk in the nearby park. Just grant yourself a couple of minutes each hour to get up and pace around the office or the corridor. With sedentary types of work, this practice is obligatory. However, if leaving the workplace whenever one decides is not allowed at your job, do plenty of stretching while sitting on your chair. Stretch your arms, legs and back. Something like office yoga. Also, you should rest your eyes from time to time. Staring into the computer screen could be really tiring for them. Two minutes looking out the window each hour is something you can easily do to protect your eyesight.

– Grace is a housewife and writer keen on flowers, Italian food and healthy house organizing. You can also enjoy her tips and suggestions for creating a better home and Hackney removals.

Guest Post – Christoph Nauer, Stress Management in the Workplace

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stressStress is not in itself a bad thing. In fact, when you manage stress it will help you excel in business and in life. Unfortunately this type of pressure can quickly spin out of control. When this happens you are not as efficient, which then results in more stress. As you know stress relief is very important.

Without proper stress management, it would be an endless cycle. If you can identify the underlying causes of your occupational stress, then you can better manage your stress.

Top 5 Causes of Stress and their Correlating Remedies

Being Overworked
With a large workload and insufficient time, you are putting unreasonable stress on your-self. To help manage stress you can and should delegate; you do not have to do it all yourself.

Constant Interruptions
Telephone calls, unexpected visits, and social media are common distractions that interrupt your work and cause stress. This is why stress management can be accomplished through time management. Schedule sections of your day and do not allow yourself to be interrupted or distracted during that time.

Poor Work Environment
Excessive heat, cold, noise, uncomfortable seating, insufficient lighting, and faulty equipment will certainly increase occupational stress. By making your workspace comfortable, inviting, and suited to your tastes will help with stress management.

Lack of Support
Poor working relationships and a lack of support also results in stress. It leads to a sense of isolation and negativity. Surround yourself with people you can trust, people with solid work ethics, and people who share your vision and will help lift you up.

Drudgery
If all you do are mundane and distasteful tasks you will have a highly stressful work environment. To improve stress management make sure your job provides meaning, stimulation, and opportunities to use your skills. In essence, the majority of your time should be spent doing what you love.

When you manage stress in your workplace then you are not only improving work life, but life in general. There are many ways to ways to reduce your stress in other aspects of your life, so try different things and find what works for you.

Stress stimulates a surge of hormones which makes your sleep and relaxation moments worthless.

Stress stimulates a surge of hormones which makes your sleep and relaxation moments worthless. Exhausted body needs a good rest, but as far as you can’t rest while you are stressed you may start to feel headaches, moodiness, and memory loss, inability to concentrate and even aggressive behavior. It’s well known for a long time that constant stress weakens your immune system; therefore you are always in danger to get colds, the flu or other dangerous health issues. Heart attacks are also usually the consequences of stress.

10 tips to help eliminate stress from your life:

1. Limit the use of things that cause unnecessary stress

2. Give up habits that cause stress

3. Give up being passive and start solving problems and use your strengths

4. Give up envy, grudges and fantasizing

5. Give up procrastination and being habitually late

6. Rest, “keep the Sabbath,” take a day off

7. Live in gratitude, commit acts of kindness and count your blessings

8. Organize and simplify your space

9. Be optimistic –optimistic thinking like visualizing an ideal future increases feelings of well-being

10. Create a wellbeing checklist: What 5 items do you need every day to feel more content and balanced? For many people this could include: exercise, some form of meditation or prayer, healthy diet, reading, gardening, listening to music, spending quality time with family and/or friends, etc. Post this list in several places throughout your home and office and do them every day.

Then carefully schedule your week and include these items every day. Stick to your schedule and make your own wellbeing a priority.

– Born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland, now lives in Lafayette, CA Christoph Nauer, unlike most life coaches & vision board trainers, brings over 15 years of experience in ministry, pastoral counseling and spiritual direction to coaching. He holds:

• Masters Degree in Theological Studies

• Additional education in pastoral leadership and spiritual direction and education

• Business degree from Switzerland

• Teaching Credentials from Switzerland and the State of California

He specializes in helping people balance life and work or business, get more done, set & accomplish their goals and make changes to their lives so they no longer feel overwhelmed by too many obligations and commitments. His clients benefit in the following ways: less stress, increased productivity by 25% or more, increased happiness and improved relationships.