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The 5 Subtle Benefits of Wellness Programs for the Average Workplace

Posted By Alex Moore, Saturday, March 10, 2018
Updated: Friday, March 9, 2018

In our day and age, when corporate jobs are becoming the norm instead of the exception, companies are trying to make the working the working environment as comfortable, enjoyable and, most importantly, as healthy as possible. That is because many people find office jobs dull and unstimulating, leading to low productivity and job dissatisfaction.

Tedium is not the only negative factor involved. Office jobs have been linked to many preventable physical conditions such as obesity, heart diseases, cancer, as well as mental conditions like depression and anxiety. This is where corporate wellness programs, which are enjoying rising levels of popularity, come into action to improve the employee’s quality of life, and the workplace in general, with overall great results. Without further ado, here are five subtle benefits of wellness programs for the average workplace.


 

Corporate Wellness Programs Improve Employee Health Behaviors 

It is easy to keep a tight sleep schedule or eat only healthy food for a couple of weeks. Maintaining said healthy habits for an extended period of time and breaking the cycle of self-destructive behaviors is where the real work begins.

This is where corporate wellness programs come to help through various means and methods. For example, when it comes to implementing structure, many online work or application platforms have started displaying the various benefits of their packages for ease of communication and to let the potential employees right from the get-go what benefits their packages include. While filling out your Burger King application online, you might have noticed that Burger King are promoting wellness programs in an effort to convince their employees that fitness and eating healthy are important for their well-being. 

We all know that bad health decisions come in cycles, and in order to break them, a tight routine should be established. We eat junk food because we do not have enough time to cook healthy food. We get insufficient sleep because we spend all day at work and we want to do other stuff besides crashing in the bed. 

Corporate wellness programs have the potential to break these cycles if the companies build their company policy around them. Employees will be incentivized to change their habits if companies make an effort to gently introduce these healthy behaviors into their daily routines.

 

They Prevent Office Related Health Conditions 

The effect of sitting down all day and staring at the screen have been known and documented for a while now. Office bound jobs are the cause for many preventable conditions, both physical (obesity, heart diseases, cancer, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes) and mental, like depression and anxiety. 

Besides sedentarism, other factors that trigger their occurrence is the overall experience of working in an office environment. People are less willing to eat healthy and sleep well when they spend long hours at the office, chocked by deadlines and endless tasks. 

To alleviate the effects of office life, many companies offer free gym memberships, or even install treadmills and other fitness equipment in the breakroom in an effort to keep them healthy and productive (more on that later). 

Other measures to improve employee happiness and physical condition is offering free yoga classes, installing pool tables or encouraging employees to play board games in the break room. This has the potential to make going to the office a comfortable, even pleasant part of their daily lives. 

 

Work Productivity is Improved

Absently clicking through the day, pretending to do work is a part of many office employees lives. Experts have even coined a term for this type of behavior, called ‘’presenteeism’’. We have all done it at some point in our lives, and for good reason. No matter how passionate we are about our jobs, office work can get very dull, very fast. 

In fact, tedium is not the only cause of presenteeism. Various estimations confirm that the cost of presenteeism due to poor employee health is 2 to 3 times greater than direct health care expenses. 

Further on, this research paper revealed that smokers are 28 % more likely to have poor work productivity than non-smokers, while employees who have poor diets are 66 % more likely than those who ate fruits, vegetables and whole grains on a daily basis. 

 

Absenteeism is Decreased 

A tedious and stressful work environment causes both presenteeism and absenteeism. But corporate wellness programs, if implemented intelligently, have the potential to decrease both of these phenomenon. 

The reasons are easy to understand. Simply put, employees who are not obese, stressed, and do not suffer from health conditions such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose are less likely to miss work. In other words, if you, as a company, make an effort to keep your employees healthy both from a mental and physical standpoint, they will not have any health-related reasons to call in sick. 

 

They Help Establish Meaningful Connections

By promoting health and fitness through a wellness program, the company can educate its employees and incentivize them to make better lifestyle choices. Generally, individuals are more willing to change when they see that people around them are making a concerted effort to live better lives. They are even more willing to change if their action is part of a collective effort. 

Organizing weight-loss contests or encouraging employees to quit smoking for a preset period of time for some charitable cause are surefire ways to improve the employee’s moods and give them a sense of collective appurtenance and, most importantly, a purpose they can dedicated themselves to mentally, physical, emotionally and socially. Moreover, working together to accomplish a common is a great opportunity to form strong bonds with one another. 

 

Conclusion

Corporate wellness programs have many beneficial effects both on the workplace and the employees. It has been proven that these programs, which are becoming more and more popular as we speak, have the potential to change people’s lives for the better by preventing various work-related diseases and their overall job satisfaction. 


Alex MooreAlex Moore is a Psychology Undergraduate with an interest in the workplace's social dynamics and its long-term effects on people. To him, the rise of wellness culture and its future prove very intriguing. 

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Creating a Healthy Balance

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Originally published on FloridaCurrents.com by Lori Tobias

 

The path to wellness takes more work in a world where technology distracts and disconnects us

Conventional wisdom has long held that living a healthy life means eating well and getting enough exercise. Both are true enough, but those are just two pieces of a much bigger picture.

www.floridacurrents.comForty years ago, the founders of the National Wellness Institute came up with six tenets they identified as necessary to living a healthy life: physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and occupational. One is no more important than the other, according to Matt Lund, the institute’s executive director.

“Being healthy basically means that you are balanced: spirit, mind, body,” he says. “When you are balanced, you are more likely to live a longer, purposeful life.”

Hailey Shaughnessy, a mental health therapist and health and wellness coach at Saratoga’s Trillium Wellness Center, says striking that balance means being mindful of all the components that create a healthy life.

“I believe that your emotions affect your physical health, and your physical health affects your thinking,” says Hailey. “It’s not just nutrition and exercise. It’s also sleep and hydration and spiritual connection and psychological well-being. They are all intertwined.”

Autumn Pappas, a lifestyle coach and art therapy book editor, believes striking that balance means being in tune with one’s needs and wants spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

“It’s important that we recognize how to fill those needs,” she says. “How we feel about ourselves is often projected with what we put out into the world, and that projection—good or bad—gets magnified by each and every one that we come into contact with.

“If we are in a positive and healthy state of mind, we will project goodwill and good health to others. Living a healthy life is about taking care of one’s self first, so then we can, in turn, take care and enrich the lives of others around us.”

 

Building a Healthy Body

Although four decades have passed, the six tenets identified in 1977 remain the same, though achieving them today may call for more attention than ever.

That is particularly true in staying physically healthy. It is as important as ever to keep moving, whether that means walking, yoga, kayaking or a specific sport, such as tennis or golf. But with advancements in technology, we aren’t moving nearly as much as we used to.

“The more technology that comes out, the less we do,” Matt says. “We are the generation of now. We have access to everything now. That physical aspect is getting lost more and more each day. There’s a lack of family activity, of parents getting out with kids. Even though we’ve become technologically savvy, it’s killing us health wise. We no longer ride a scooter. Now they are motorized. Nothing makes us get our heart rate up.

“We were put on this earth as hunters and gatherers. That has changed. We are missing out on the physical aspect of it.”

For Hailey, physical health begins with sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will be too tired to get the exercise you need, she says.

Staying hydrated and eating “real” food as opposed to processed food is also important.

“These are not just the building blocks of nutrition for your bones, but also for your brain and emotional strength,” Hailey says.

Stress can also take a toll on our physical health.

“When you get anxious, your thoughts generate norepinephrine and adrenaline followed by cortisol, Hailey says. “Chronic anxiety results in constant high levels of cortisol, which can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure and cause the body to store extra fat.”

 

Forming Meaningful Relationships

Technology also has a big impact on our social health. Instead of shopping in actual stores, it is just as easy—or easier—to shop online. Likewise, visiting with friends and family can be just a thumb stroke, a quick click or a camera chat away.

But being socially healthy means being part of the community, volunteering and otherwise being a positive contributing factor, Hailey says.

“Social health is important because it builds purpose for one to continue living a full life,” she says. “It’s not only good for your health and well-being, but it’s also good for your soul. Social interaction builds our mental capacity and has proven to help us live longer and fuller lives. When keeping our brains active, I believe it helps us work through depression, anxiety and self-destruction.”

Social health is also about building sustainable and meaningful relationships, being in a positive relationship with a life partner, strengthening your family and friends around you, and growing your positive personal network.

Being socially healthy may also mean being a bit choosy about who becomes part of your life.

“When you go out and are talking to people and meet someone for the first time, really evaluate if this person is going to be a positive impact in your life,” says Matt. “If not, it’s probably best not to create that relationship.”

 

 Mind and Spirit Critical, Too

Intellectual health often equates to personal growth and challenging yourself to think outside your comfort zone. It is also about knowing your trigger points and understanding what makes you angry and what makes you happy.

Once you have identified the problem spots, you can work through them, and that leads to an overall happier and healthier life, Matt says.

For Hailey, staying intellectually healthy means learning.

“I do a crossword puzzle every night,” she says. “I am always taking classes and doing different things. The more you can learn, the more you can grow intellectually. It doesn’t have to be a master’s degree. It could be doing a cooking class. You find different facets to yourself when you explore education.”

Spiritual health is defined differently from one individual to another. For some, it is traditional religion with services in a church. For others, it is a walk outside in nature.

“What’s interesting is a lot people think that spiritual means you have to be religious,” Matt says. “That’s not it at all, though religion can be part of it. It’s being able to be mindful, believing there is something greater than yourself and what is around you. It’s seeking a higher spiritual connection. It’s also to be tolerant of other views and beliefs. When we are tolerant, we can better understand world views and beliefs. We can grow, flourish and thrive together.”

Emotional health is largely about working with people, says Matt. But it doesn’t mean avoiding negative situations.

“It’s OK to be angry,” he says. “It’s how we project it. If you are happy, let people know. Show it. If you are sad, ask what are ways you can work with this? If you are frustrated, how are you able to work that out? It’s being able to understand and accept your feelings and also understand someone else. It’s building trust and respect for each other, and understanding that being optimistic is better than being pessimistic.”

Hailey believes the necessary work still bears a stigma in many communities.

Because she is a therapist, she has numerous friends who are also therapists and no shortage of people to talk to when times are tough. Others are not so lucky.

“People under-utilize therapy,” she says. “There is a stigma. People are afraid to say, ‘Hey, I went in and saw a therapist.’ There are some people that have to be very brave to make that first phone call. If you are suffering emotionally, therapy is a great tool. Laughter is great, too. The more physically healthy you are, your brain benefits as well.”

 

Finding One’s True Calling

The tenet that may be most difficult for many people to maintain in optimum condition is occupational.

Most adults work at least 40 hours a week to support themselves and their families. When someone’s occupational health suffers, odds are good that the rest of their health does, too.

“I believe 80 percent of people in the workforce work for an organization or boss they are unhappy with,” Matt says, citing articles he has read. “Only 20 percent work in a job they are happy at.”

He says how individuals choose their jobs has changed significantly with recent generations—and for the better.

It used to be common for people to follow in a family member’s footsteps. If an individual lived in a town built around paper mills, and their father worked there, it was understood his children would likely make a living at the paper mill.

“Now people say, ‘I want to find a job I love,’” Matt says. “It’s important to find a career you are passionate about, something that aligns with your personal values. You want to look for personal growth and development, and not putting up a bunch of debt.”

Hailey agrees that doing what you love is critical to happiness. She says that quest led her on a windy path.

She wanted to be a writer, but feared she would starve to death. Instead, she pursued a degree in business management, then went to work in the computer industry—a job at which she excelled, but which required her to travel extensively.

“I loved going to the gym,” she says. “I said, ‘I am going to do that instead.’ I became a fitness instructor. It was really interesting to me. People came to me to lose weight, then they’d come in and say, ‘No, I didn’t do my workouts.’ I realized there was an emotional component, and I found that fascinating. I went and got my master’s in mental health counseling.

“Computers and teaching and yoga and fitness—these things don’t seem to go together, but they all go perfectly together for what I do. You can create your own path.”

While other wellness specialists may call for additional or different dimensions to a healthy life, it is generally agreed wellness is multidimensional and holistic, positive and affirming, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being and the environment, Matt says.

“Wellness is a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential,” he says.

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Meet Our Newest Preferred Provider!

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SALGBA—State & Local Government Benefits Association is the premier organization for public sector benefits professionals and has more than 1,000 members spanning over 50 states.  Total membership covers more than 5,000,000 employees and represent a gross health benefits expenditure of over $14 billion per year.  Among the active membership are some of the largest self funded health plans in the United States.  SALGBA is the only association focused solely on public sector benefits professionals.  

State and Local Government Benefits AssociationThe organization distributes information on the latest resources, news, conferences, education and networking opportunities for municipal, county, school, higher education, and other state government benefits administrators and health promotion professionals.

Membership is based on the entity/organization and includes up to 6 individuals to be listed as receiving full membership benefits.  A jurisdictional organization is a government entity established by state statute.  An associate organization is a supplier vendor or consultant in the public sector benefits industry.  The annual cost for a jurisdictional membership is $200 and associate membership is $325.

For more information contact the SALGBA Executive Director:
Ms. Tina Bowling
P.O. Box 867
Berea, KY  40403. 

888-623-8676
tina.bowling@salgba.org

View all of our Preferred Providers

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“Our Town” - Stevens Point, WI

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The National Wellness Institute proudly calls Stevens Point, WI our “hometown.”  While connection to our membership, wellness education, and our preferred providers is our focus at NWI;  we also believe in staying in touch with our local community.

Last month we played host to “Business After Hours” -an event that highlights networking people and area business together; along with great food, music, games and just plain fun!  Please enjoy our video.

 

 

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March 11 to 17 is National Sleep Awareness Week

Posted By NWI, Wednesday, February 28, 2018

How well have you been sleeping so far this year?  According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 18 and 65 years old should be getting anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night; so what do you average?

National Sleep Awareness WeekJoin the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals. The week-long “Begin with Sleep” campaign will provide valuable information about the benefits of optimal sleep and how sleep affects health, well-being, and safety. Shareable messages including an infographic, pre-written content, and social media posts using the hashtag #YourDayBeginsWithSleep will be available here.    

It may be tempting to try to edge in a couple extra hours of work or leisure in exchange for fewer hours of sleep, but is the loss of sleep really worth it?  According to the CDC, “insufficient sleep has been linked to the development and management of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression.”  Additionally, the American Sleep Association states that, “35% of adults report less than seven hours of sleep per night.”  With sleep deprivation becoming a more pressing issue in our fast-paced society, give your body a break and make time for some good rest.  It may save you some doctors’ visits in the future.  To learn more about sleep and sleep deprivation, or request promotional materials for sleep awareness please visit the National Sleep Foundation at SleepFoundation.org/SAW. 

 

Tags:  sleep  wellness 

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