Creating A Corporate Wellness Strategy: Six Key Points to a Healthier Employee

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Research has revealed that healthy employees are not only more productive but also save a company money in healthcare costs.  A study by Harvard University researchers who reviewed 36 studies of corporate wellness programs found that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, the company’s absenteeism-related costs fell about $2.73. One meta-analysis of 42 corporate wellness studies also found a 25% reduction in sick leave and absenteeism, a 25% reduction in health costs, and a 32% reduction in worker’s disability costs and compensation. These significant findings have led many HR specialists searching for the ideal wellness program to fit their company.1

Selecting a Wellness Program Provider Who Customizes

Whatever program you choose, it is important that the wellness provider has the flexibility to adapt to your company’s needs. Health guidelines and motivational wellness objectives have to fit workers within every specific company. Goals that are set too high can discourage employee engagement and expectations set too low can fail to inspire. All wellness program parameters, however, should include some form of these six key points which have produced some of the most successful wellness outcomes for corporations.

Redesigning the Workplace for Wellness

Incorporating sit-stand workstations and ergonomic upgrades into the office contributes to greater productivity and comfort–all of which improves mood and energy levels. Adding healthy snacks to workplace cafeterias and break rooms can also help transform a  grazing mentality to greater awareness about nutrition. Offering performance incentives such as a FitBits and pedometers and organizing company sponsored “group walks” also integrates wellness into the corporate culture.

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Seeing the World in a Healthy Light

Much of wellness is helping employees become enlightened about their personal health. By offering cholesterol screenings and BMI evaluations, employees can learn where they are falling short in terms of healthy choices. Many may not even visit a doctor regularly. Educating staff on healthy guidelines in terms of cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar is the first step toward a healthier life for a company’s workforce.

The Perks of Prevention

Helping employees take preventative steps for better health may include offering free seasonal flu shots, recommending certain age-based tests like colonoscopies or gender-based tests like breast exams. Defining how often they should consult with a physician for regular exams makes healthy living a year-round goal that not only benefits them but also reduces absenteeism and keeps healthcare costs low for a company.

Stamping Out Smoking

Though smoking has drastically declined over the years, there are still many who remain shackled by the unhealthy habit. Punishing them with higher health insurance costs only keeps them on the fringe of wellness. Instead, offer free cessation programs with counseling and incentives to help them embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Ending Obesity

Obesity continues to be one of the leading causes of many serious diseases in the US. Many employees struggling with a weight problem may wish to lose weight but may not know where to begin. Weight loss programs including Zumba classes, nutrition consultation and even discounts to weight loss clinics and fitness centers can help motivate employees towards a fitter life.

Diffusing Unhealthy Stress

Extreme stress can offset all the efforts of even the healthiest individual. Providing methods of stress management including meditation, yoga, or professional assistance with personal matters outside the workplace all contribute to the well-being and loyalty of your employees.

 

  1. https://www.bcidaho.com/_assets/Employer/2010-Harvard-Wellness-Program-Meta-Study-Health-Affairs.pdf

Adding Micro-Movements to Your Work Day

 

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Micro-movements are incremental movements we make throughout the day that can benefit our overall health. Think of how many times you could take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park a little farther from the office to add steps to your day. These simple micro-movements, including fidgeting, actually contribute to everyday activity, combating the sedentary lifestyle that comes with office work.

Joining the NEAT movement

NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, suggests that it takes energy to move even the smallest muscle. Polly de Mille, RN, an exercise physiologist with the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City gives an example: “you burn about 1.5 calories per minute just lying still while your body performs its most basic functions.” Go from lying down to sitting in a chair and answering email, and you’ll burn 25 percent more calories.” Combining micro-movements with a regular exercise routine helps transforms the calorie-burning process into a day-long event.

Micro-Movement Activities You Can Perform at Your Workstation

Use a Sit-Stand Desk

Begin using a sit-stand desk at your workstation. Regular transitions from sitting to standing and back again maintain flexibility and improve circulation. On average standing can increase your heart rate by about 10 beats per minute higher than sitting and that makes a difference of about 0.7 of a calorie per minute. That adds up to about 50 calories an hour. If you stand for three hours a day for five days that’s around 750 calories!

Pace and Fidget

Taking time to think about a project can include taking few extra steps around the office. Fidgeting also helps, tapping a foot, wiggling in your office chair may seem odd, but Iowa State University researchers found that those who frequently fidgeted, stood up and walked around were burning an additional 300 calories per day compared to those who remained seated and still.

Workouts at Your Desk

Lean back and lift your feet with legs straight, then bend your knees toward your chest, then straighten again. Do three sets of 20 reps and burn up 75 calories.

Stomach Exercises At Your Workstation

Working your stomach muscles at your desk is easy to do. Simply clench your stomach muscles for about 8 seconds Two sets of this activity for 8 reps will burn 100 calories.

Don’t Abandon Your Exercise Routine

Though micro-movements help, it doesn’t mean you should stop exercising. Thirty minutes of vigorous activity such as jogging or walking is still recommended for a healthy lifestyle. Micro movements are just a perk for office workers who want to include extra calorie-burning to their lifestyle.

Learn more about micro-movements: https://www.theguardian.com/careers/stay-active-office-top-tips

 

 

 

Office Manager Tips For Reducing Workplace Disruptions

 

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The best efforts by office workers to improve personal productivity may be thwarted by a workplace that is full of disruptions. From an endless thread of emails to co-worker chat sessions just outside an associate’s cubicle, many office cultures can sometimes seem almost counterproductive.

In fact, results based on a survey of 1,200 full-time office workers revealed some of the most annoying office distractions. Gossipy coworkers pull office mates into their conversation and away from big projects, while unnecessary meetings throughout the day only set workers farther away from critical deadlines. Even the temperamental printer’s paper jams can cause roadblocks to assignment completion. Here are some tips office managers can use to reduce disruptions and improve productivity.

A Checklist for Office Managers

Create Both Collaborative and Independent Work Areas

Friendly discussions among coworkers are essential for strong teamwork, but there is a time and a place for everything. Have areas of the office specifically for collaborative discussion and even informal chats. Reserve other office areas for quiet, independent work. Posting signs such as “Quiet, Geniuses at Work”, can make this policy seem less formal. It may also be secretly appreciated by many who need to get work done.

Maintain High Productivity Office Machines

Curiously a worker may curse a faulty fax machine in private but never mention it to the office manager, leaving the problem unresolved. Check up on office equipment to make sure it is performing at its best, which helps maintain high productivity. Also, look for newer, state-of-the-art business machines that actually improve productivity. For example, Fellowes’ AutoMax™ automatic shredders allow workers to shred without manually feeding paper into the machine. AutoMax shredders offer a truly walk away shredding experience. Employees simply load documents then press the start button to begin the shredding process. This elimination of hand-feeding allows employees to return to important tasks more quickly. Select AutoMax shredders can shred up to 500 sheets in a single session. See AutoMax in Action.

Offer an Attendance Option for Meetings

Not everyone may need to attend a meeting. Allow meeting organizers to list critical attendees, and then those who wish to show up if they have the time. This removes the obligation for some workers to attend non-important meetings, so they can remain focused on current assignments.

Minimizing disruptions is just one way an office manager can improve productivity.  Check out other productivity tips for the workplace: Read the article.

Getting Productive at Work Without Late Hours

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Taking on more hours at work may not be the best path to productivity. As a manager or business owner, expecting staff to stay late may be negatively impacting morale, as 72% of employees believe that more hours doesn’t necessarily mean greater productivity. And they are right.

Research that examined the relationship between hours worked and productivity found that employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour workweek, dramatically decreases after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours, according to a study published by John Pencavel of Stanford University. In addition, extra hours led to increased absenteeism and employee turnover. Yet the “working more” myth still prevails as nearly half of U.S. workers say they routinely put in more than 50 hours on the job each week, often without overtime pay.

Improving Productivity from Nine-Five

An efficient, productive work day is actually easier to achieve than most think and offers the remarkable benefits of an improved work-life balance. Here are some tips:

Better Time Management

Making the most of the time you have at work is one of the simplest ways to be more productive. For example, the average employee spends approximately 15 minutes each day shredding documents. Employers can help reduce the amount of time spent performing this task by incorporating automatic shredders into the office. These machines automatically shred documents and do not require a staffer to hand-feed papers, thus reducing the number of minutes needed to complete the task. The time saved can now be allocated to other work-related tasks. Learn more about what you can do with 15 minutes at work.

Set Personal Breaks

Taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Short rests to stretch or take a quick walk, or even a deep breath during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance.

Set Personal Deadlines

Rather than relying on a project deadline to gauge your time during the work day, set your own self-imposed deadline. You may be surprised how productive you become when you determine your own limits, and you will feel good you finished projects sooner.

Set Performance Intervals for Your Work Day

Researchers have found that elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. By scheduling your day around 90- minute time slots you may find that you have completed a lot more by the end of the day, and without feeling exhausted or stressed at quitting time.

A combination of personal focus and time management can eliminate those long hours at the office and improve your productivity. You will certainly enjoy the time away from work as well so you are recharged and fresh for work in the morning.

Dual Monitors Increase Productivity and Lower Company Costs

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In a recent study conducted by Dell, dual monitors were tested against single monitors for productivity. The research revealed that dual monitor configurations saved time and improved accuracy in the computer tasks performed. Workers also favored the dual monitor option for their daily computing needs. Positive responses from users is also important data from a productivity perspective as higher satisfaction among employees translates into greater productivity.

 

Choosing the Best Multi-Monitor Setup

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Flexibility with adjustment is key for comfort and monitor placement where you need it

Easy to mount monitor arms take the headache out of setup and allow changes in workstation configurations to be made easily without hassle.

Tilt and elevation adjustment capabilities offer the greatest and most precise range. Your monitor arms should adjust to you, not you to it!

Weight support-Make sure the monitor arm you select can handle the weight of  25  pound flat screens.

How Dual Monitor Arms Performed Over Single Monitors Setups

In terms of speed of performance, dual monitors increased efficiency by two minutes per task over single monitors.

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The research also showed that information was easier to find using dual monitors.

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How does this productivity translate into financial savings?

Researchers broke out the potential savings by number of employees and by monitor configuration. For example, moving from a single 17-inch screen to a setup of dual 19-inch monitors brings a productivity gain that translates to 56 extra days of work per employee per year, or approximately $1.5 million in cost savings per year for a company of 250 employees.

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Digital Nomad?

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Working independently seems like a dream for many who are stuck in a cubicle 9 to 5. But with the perks come other demands that may need be so dreamy.

Personal discipline

The 40 hour work week is actually scheduling our work performance. Regimentation allows us to focus on projects without worrying about time or productivity. As a digital nomad, you need to be able to create your own personal performance structure. In other words, digital nomads create their own timeclock, setting personal deadlines for projects, defining how long a project will take to complete and making sure time working at home is time well spent. Working from home is full of distractions, after all, from kids  to chores, to the lure of unchecked leisure time. Disciplined digital nomads know when to put everything else on hold for work.

What Would a Digital Nomad Take to a Desert Island?

Tablet Gear

Smartphone Gear

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Ability to work anywhere

The home office can be comfy, too comfy sometimes.  Away from the corporate cubicle, the home office can easily become more than an office, a personal sanctuary that appeals to our comforts, but may also weaken our ability to address challenges. Digital nomads pride themselves on being able to work at cafes, airports and even unfamiliar office environments where they may need to temporarily set up shop. Digital nomads thrive outside their comfort zone.

Working independently is also working alone

Being an independent worker seems like the perfect fit for a free spirit, but working independently can also mean being less connected to the home office team. Far from daily meetings and brainstorming, digital nomads may need to become less reliant on others for the completion of tasks and more dependent on themselves for essential information. This doesn’t mean that digital nomads are working without others, just that the lines of communication become less robust with their distance from headquarters. The availability of  other office associates in a corporate environment can mean face to face coordination to prevent misinformation, as well as the ability to maintain real time consistency in a project’s timeline performance. The remote factor increases the risk for miscommunication and mistakes.  Digital nomads know this and manage a strict schedule of confirmation emails and conference calls to ensure their place in  the successful completion of a project.

Embarrassment at the workplace

From the inappropriate comment to the awkward situation, we have all faced one time or another an embarrassing moment at work. Here are three ways to get around it and back to a normal work day.

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1. Step away from the moment

The problem with embarrassment is that it lasts longer than the moment itself. Walk away from those feelings and let the incident go away.  Pulling your attention to the present can help you realize that the embarrassment happened in the past.

2. Stop apologizing

Over apologizing may seem like a way to overcome bad feelings, but endless apologies only keep you trapped in the moment of embarrassment. Once is enough, then move on.

3. Laugh about it

Don’t get overly defensive, even if that is your normal reaction. Step back from the situation and see the humor.  Laughing about it, especially with others, can help you realize how trite embarrassing situations can be. It’s in our own minds that embarrassing  incident seems to have such great impact. Seeing the absurdity helps you move forward and will better equip you for your next embarrassing situation. Eventually, another one will come around.

Walk Away And Win Sweepstakes

Check out these videos of embarrassing situations at work. Vote for your favorite for a chance to win $500 in the walk away and win sweepstakes. Face it, there will come a time when you just want to walk away.

The Growth of Co-Worker Work Spaces

Creating a Co-Worker Space

Co-working, the creation of a shared work space, continues to grow and positively influence those who participate. According to annual survey from DeskMag.com, the maximum capacity of most spaces is now 41 people, and the average membership size is 44. Desk utilization is up, from 49% to 55%, meaning spaces are being used by their members more frequently. 62% said they have no plans to leave their locations, while less than 5% will stay just for one month, disproving the idea that co-workers are just mobile workers.

Who is the Typical Co-Worker?

53% are freelancers, with the remainder being a mix of entrepreneurs, and surprisingly, small company employees and big company employees, as companies seek new ways to maintain a workforce without the huge overhead of company-owned office space.

Expansion plans are running high: 29% of spaces plan to add extra desks, 9% want to upgrade to a bigger location, and 36% will open a new second location.

Other than desks, what else is needed for a co-worker work space?

commercial shredder that has the capacity for heavy usage and the efficiency to manage shredding jobs without a lot of attention required from workers focused on their own projects.

A universally accessible printer/scanner/copier as well as a binding and laminating station allow for comprehensive document production.

Plug and Work workstations may not be decked out with personal photos, but they can include work-ready laptop and tablet lifts for those on-the-go workers whose job descriptions need a home base for their mobile business.

Heavy, locking file cabinets can be cumbersome. Lightweight, mobile storage boxes with security features allows records  to be stored, rearranged and moved around the work space with ease.

 

Fellowes LogoLook for the Fellowes Logo for quality office products.

Cubicle Cleanliness: Impact on Impressions and Well-Being

How Clean Is Your Cube, and Your Image?

A clean cubicle is certainly healthier and can lead to greater productivity, but did you know it can also improve your image at work?

Research by the staffing firm Adecco found  that nearly 60 percent of U.S employees judged co-workers on how clean or dirty they keep their work space. More than 40 percent have judged their colleagues more negatively if their workspace is messy, while 45 percent have looked at them in a more positive light if their personal area is tidy.  Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed agree employees are most productive when their desk is clean.

Organization

Taking a few minutes each week to ensure that your workspace is tidy can improve your spirit and your image around the office. Creating a place for everything also prevents clutter and loss productivity due to misplaced items.

Cleaner Office Products

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Aside from an increased feeling of well-being, you may also be a lot healthier if you clean up your desk.

Researchers who took swabs from office equipment in New York, San Francisco and Tucson found more than 500 types of bacteria, most of which normally live on our skin or in our nasal, oral and intestinal cavities. Chairs and phones accumulated the most bacteria, followed by desktops, keyboards and computer mice.

Along with sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer, using office products with Microban antimicrobial protection can be another level of defense in keeping the products you use every day much cleaner.

 

 

Fellowes LogoLook for the Fellowes Logo for quality office products.