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Posts Tagged ‘culture of health’

You’d like to mingle more with your co-workers, but every opportunity seems centered around eating and drinking. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to integrate your healthy lifestyle with your on-the-job social life, enabling you to boost your social capital while staying true to your health goals.

Studies show that healthy habits are strongly influenced by the people we spend time with, for better or for worse. Don’t let your co-workers’ negative health habits bring you down. Instead, be a positive role model for an active, healthy lifestyle and help build a corporate culture of health from the ground up.

Go For a Walk

  • Invite a co-worker to join you for a quick walk instead of a coffee or smoke break. You’ll have a chance to catch up on work or personal matters, and return to your work stations reenergized and focusing on the tasks at hand. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and creativity.
  • If you have a standing 1:1 meeting, suggest making it a walking meeting and reap the benefits of physical activity while getting the job done.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible and others will likely follow your example.
  • Take it one step further and organize a workplace walking group. Meet before or after work, during breaks or at lunch time for fun, fitness, and camaraderie.
  • Bring your lunches to a nearby park or other outdoor area. After eating, enjoy a walk together.
  • Visit a local bookstore, art gallery, or museum during your lunch break.

Team Training

  • Join a company-sponsored or community sports league and have fun playing basketball, softball, hockey or soccer with your work team.
  • Find a local fitness event, such as a 5K walk/run, walk-a-thon, or sprint triathlon and invite your colleagues to train together for the upcoming event.
  • If your workplace has an onsite gym or fitness classes, or if a nearby gym offers a corporate discount, participate.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded co-workers.
  • Help organize and promote an internal fitness event: Climb stairs to benefit a charity or create a pedometer step challenge.
  • Bicycle or walk to work. Find other employees who get to work on foot or on wheels and commute in together, if possible.
  • Take 2-minute stretch breaks throughout the day together.

Just For Fun

  • Organize a potluck, but bring a healthy dish to share and pay attention to your portion sizes.
  • Play Frisbee® or freeze tag on your lunch break.
  • Organize a weekend company day hike or volunteer to help organize active games at the employee picnic.
  • Volunteer as a work team to plant trees, clean up a park or walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  • If unwinding at a pub after work is part of your workplace culture, join in once in a while. Practice moderation, and if you don’t want to drink, order a sparkling water or orange juice.
  • Invite co-workers to your home for a barbeque and a backyard Badminton tournament.
  • Start an employee bowling league.
  • Invite a co-worker to join you for an after-work run, bicycle ride, or game of racquetball.

Social Success

Developing good relationships with the people you work with is important, not just for your career, but for your health. Don’t let your commitment to good health stop you from getting to know your co-workers. Take the initiative to be active at work and encourage others to join in. When you inspire your co-workers to make physical activity a priority, you create even more of the social support you need to keep yourself moving.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3223/20-active-ways-to-be-social-at-work/

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Employers finding wellness programs can be good for a company’s culture — and bottom line

 

By Daria Meoli, January 4, 2016 at 11:45 AM
(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

When Tiffiny Marinelli founded Energy in Motion, a Rockaway-based business specializing in group exercise instruction and corporate wellness seminars, nearly 20 years ago, she never could have predicted how the demand for her services would change. When she started creating wellness programs in the 1990s, Marinelli worked with big, corporate clients such as AT&T, Lucent and Home Depot to develop wellness perk programs to sweeten the compensation package for employees.

Today, she focuses on the smaller businesses that look to wellness as A way to put a lid on health care costs. “There are many smaller companies with less resources and less ability to drive a culture of wellness within their company,” Marinelli said. The market for corporate wellness products and services has exploded. And with products even Marinelli couldn’t have predicted.

Take The Fruit Guys, a national organic fresh fruit delivery service that started in San Francisco but is expanding rapidly on the East Coast. Drew Dix has been the director of sales development since 2010. According to Dix, who works out of the company’s Maplewood office, The Fruit Guys delivers fresh fruit to more than 4,000 businesses around the country. Dix has had a front-row seat to the emerging wellness trend. “The biggest change we’ve seen is that companies are adopting a new position called a wellness director or a wellness manager, and that did not exist 20 years ago,” he said. “It’s always been in the realm of HR to dictate employee benefits. But the concept of wellness has evolved from a flu shot and an HSA to weight loss, nutrition and fitness programs. That role is still part of HR, but we’ve seen a lot of companies make that a full-time job.”

Companies of all sizes and industries across the state are getting serious about their employee wellness and health improvement programs for many reasons. Healthier employees mean lower insurance rates for employers. More and more companies are designing and implementing health improvement strategies to mitigate the costs of unhealthy employees and avoid the types of high claims that lead to rate hikes. “Health care rates are getting higher and will probably continue to rise,” Marinelli said. “People already are struggling to afford the rates. If you can get employees healthy and you can help them manage their chronic conditions, you will see a huge change in the overall cost of health care benefits.”

In 2014, the Affordable Care Act made wellness a priority for health insurance providers by creating a set of rules mandating providers incentivize corporate wellness programs and reward individuals for engaging in healthy behaviors. Brian Marshall, manager of wellness at the Cranbury-based AmeriHealth, sees the change every day. “The ACA forces us to be creative and inclusive to make sure our wellness incentives are targeting everyone,” he said. “Instead of treating the disease, we want to treat the person. Since the ACA was enacted, there are no costs associated to wellness screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopy and immunizations, and that has opened up preventative care to people who may not have realized it was available before.” AmeriHealth, for example, rewards fitness milestones and healthy behavior by reimbursing individuals for participating in fitness programs, stress management activities, flu shots, dentist visits and parenting classes.

“It’s all self-reported through our online portal, which gets people engaged with managing their own care,” Marshall said. Marshall said he foresees two corporate wellness trends gaining momentum in 2016 .“One trend we are seeing is employer groups are becoming much more active in designing their own programs,” he said. “At one time, corporate clients looked to us as subject matter experts. Now, they look to us as partners in the process and they come to the table with more of an understanding of what most effective strategies for their group would be.”

Marshall also predicts companies will offer more incentives to employees for participating in the wellness programs. These incentives are not just in the form of reduced premiums being passed on to employees, but they will offer time off, better working environments and other perks in exchange for participation. Marinelli has seen the carrot-and-stick approach work for many companies. “Depending on how much money a company has, a wellness program should be incentivized, even if it’s a small amount,” she said.

By way of example, Marinelli said employees might be hesitant about biometric screenings because of privacy concerns. A company should incentivize that initial screening with raffles or gift cards for people who attend. Through the program, the company educates employees on the personal benefits of doing the screening, such as saving a trip to the primary care doctor and getting immediate results. Over time, the company has another screening and promotes it by reminding employees about the positive experience they had at the last screening. But this time, instead of a gift card, you offer to lower their premiums. “It’s a much more effective process than telling employees, ‘If you don’t get this screening, you’ll have to pay more for your premium,’” Marinelli said.

In addition to lowering health care costs, companies continue to leverage wellness as a retention perk. “If you invest in your employees, you get that tangible return as well as less sick days, better morale, (and) higher retention rate,” Dix said. “If you walk into a startup and see pingpong tables and video games, what you are really looking at is a company competing for top talent. Fresh fruit and other wellness perks are also part of an effective retention package.” Marinelli said not all companies are ready to take this approach to wellness. “But, companies that are innovative and can look ahead to see where things are going with regard to health care and they want their companies to survive, they are going to get more serious about wellness,” she said.

Starting an effective wellness program

When a company first launches a wellness program, it’s best to start by dipping a toe in the pool rather than throwing employees into the deep end.
John Gallucci, founder and president of JAG Physical Therapy, an orthopedic physical therapy provider with multiple locations throughout New Jersey, has worked with many corporate clients as part of their employee wellness programs. Gallucchi believes the best way to get started is with educational programs. He says he has led many successful “lunch and learn” sessions on a range of topics, including the health risks of siting all day and how to mitigate them, how to fight dehydration, proper ergonomics and avoiding sports-related injuries. “There are a lot of weekend warriors out there who don’t engage in physical activity all week then go out and play a few pickup games one night and get hurt,” Gallucchi said. “Sports-related injuries contribute to absenteeism and poor productivity.”

Tiffiny Marinelli, founder of Rockaway-based Energy in Motion, suggests kicking off any corporate wellness program with an activity employees will actually look forward to. “If a client is just getting started and they really don’t have a company culture of wellness, the first thing I do is introduce something that is really fun for employees and build on that positive experience,” Marinelli said. “An example could be a stress management program where we bring in a massage therapist, yoga teacher or meditation expert. Other fun ways to get started include a session on how to de-stress at your desk, cooking demonstrations or walking programs.”

Employee wellness is a business strategy and should be treated like one. Marinelli recommends companies establish a mission statement or a business plan for improving the health of their employees. By documenting a plan, businesses can allocate budgets and measure effectiveness of the various aspects of the wellness program.

Marinelli has been in the corporate wellness industry for more than 20 years and said that for a health improvement program to be effective and actually save a money for a company, wellness has to be part of the company culture. “An emphasis on wellness has to come from the top down and executive management has to play a role,” she said. “It’s important that organizational policies promote wellness by encourage healthy choices and educating the employees on health improvement.”

E-mail to: dariam@njbiz.comOn Twitter: @dariameoli

Source: http://www.njbiz.com/article/20160104/NJBIZ01/301049998/resolution-2016-change-of-heart

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EIM Yoga ClassWe all know how illness and injury costs your company time, energy, and a lot of money. So naturally business owners and managers want to incorporate healthy living and activities to ensure employee health and happiness, which brings about subsequent increased productivity. There are several steps towards promoting well-being and healthy lifestyles that you can take to move your company and employees forward:

  • Offer on-site physical fitness or exercise facilities and/or activities. Having a gym or providing fitness classes gets your employees taking better care of themselves right away. Exercising on-site is convenient and eliminates excuses for people not to be physically fit. They also associate exercise with fun, friendship and camaraderie which not only improves their health, but also reflects stronger relationships during the work day.
  • Provide courses and seminars that are educational in nature. From healthy cooking and portion sizes to types of exercise and goal setting, seminars can help boost employee knowledge. Increased motivation and starting a healthy lifestyle discussions are other natural consequences which can prove tremendously important in developing a community of support.
  • Provide stretch breaks for employees. Stretch breaks are important and contribute to mental health and stability which have a direct impact on physical health and immune support. When employees have to work too long without a break, the mental toll it can take may result in burnout, turnover, unhappiness, and job dissatisfaction.
  • Allow for sick days and then permit your employees to use theirs without any guilt! When an employee comes to work sick, every other employee is at risk of developing the illness and most will get sick at about the same time, putting you as the employer in quite a bind. Some people are blessed with strong immune systems and will use few if any days. Others may be more likely to fall ill frequently and will feel even more obligated to force themselves into work; this not only puts others at risk but also lessens the employee’s capacity to recover and get back to work full-time.
  • Limit stress in the workplace…as much as possible. Obviously, most work days and places are stressful. From an ER nurse to the social worker to the sales clerk dealing with ill-tempered customers all day, the work day takes its toll. Increased blood pressure, sleeplessness, obesity, poor immune function, etc all result from too much stress and too little stress relief. Try to incorporate some team-building activities, potluck lunches, the occasional random afternoon off, and you’ll see results.

Work is hard enough – people need employers that are there for them as well as the customers or clients. Even the smallest companies can incorporate some of these changes and begin the process. Promoting a healthy lifestyle at work, where people spend the vast majority of their waking hours, is an absolute must.

Contact Energy in Motion to find out how you can improve the health and well-being at you company.

Tiffiny Marinelli, MS, CWPC

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