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How Leaders can Create of Culture of Well-being

Well-being is a commonly used term in the workplace and many companies have implemented programs to improve the wellness of their employees. This can lead to many positive outcomes such as: increased productivity, health, and employee retention. In order for a program to truly be successful, the company’s culture must be looked at. While the program may be great from the outside, there may be internal struggles that the organization may be facing preventing them from thriving- they need to create a positive culture! This culture change should start from the leaders and trickle their way down to the employees. The workforce needs to feel that wellness is something being done for them, and not to them.

Here’s 5 ways leaders can create a Culture of Well-being today!

1.Provide a strong commitment to wellness

The biggest mistake leaders make is treating well-being as just another perk in their benefits package or an annual health fair. In order to effectively create a culture of “real health”, leaders need to create a clear mission statement to show the entire organization that wellness is one of the top priorities. It won’t ever go away and employees are expected to be a part of it. This type of commitment may be the key factor to fostering change.

2.Effectively communicate and define what well-being is

Wellness or well-being are terms that have been over-used throughout the years. Take time to create a clear and concise definition of what well-being means to your organization and the goals you expect to achieve. According to Gallup Research, wellness programs are shown to be more effective when employees understand what is really is and how it can benefit them.

3.Lead by example

Leaders must be willing to make company-wide changes that are in line with their culture such as posting health tips around the office, offering healthy foods in the cafeteria, and allowing employees to voice their opinions. Another great way to get the employees engaged is to demonstrate that you are also actively participating in the programs and initiatives. This will create a safe, friendly, and healthy workplace.

4.Make sure that employees understand managers care about their well-being

Trust issues are usually what keeps employees and leaders clashing heads. Sometimes when wellness programs are implemented without proper planning, participants can feel that they are being forced to participate. Employers should try to learn what really motivates their employees and how to help them improve their health. Leaders must communicate with the entire team to re-assure them that their well-being (and that of their families) is crucial to the success and longevity of the company.

 5.Measure and monitor the effectiveness of wellness programs

Many companies implement wellness programs and fail to test whether or not it actually works. In order to have an engaging and effective program, leaders must keep these questions in mind:

  • What percentage of employees are actively participating in our program?
  • Are the program initiatives in line with our mission statement?
  • How can the company adjust the program to increase engagement?
  • How has the workplace culture changed since implementing the program?
  • What are the least used interventions?

After reviewing surveys and data, leaders can then continue the programs that are effective and get rid of the programs that aren’t!

What are some strategies you implemented that aren’t on this list? Please share your ideas with us!

5 Coffee Alternatives for a Midday Energy Boost

There’s a reason 150 million Americans drink coffee everyday – it improves our focus and provides a quick surge of energy.  Sometimes going through the day without coffee or a caffeinated beverage can seem impossible, usually resulting in loss of productivity. While it may be exactly what we need to feel better, overindulgence of this caffeinated beverage can have some downsides. It’s been shown to raise blood pressure, cost you extra money, suppress your appetite and when you build a tolerance, it loses its effectiveness.

So instead of having to rely on coffee, why not try some alternatives that may still give you the boost of energy you need.

Tea

Tea is similar to coffee and may be the best option when trying to break the habit. Tea has caffeine, but much less than the amount of caffeine, so you get a slight energy boost without the jitters. Also, the decreased caffeine content means reduced risk of hypertension! Tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine which when combined with caffeine stimulates the brain and increases mental focus. Finally, tea is full of antioxidants which can help fight off against many chronic diseases, including cancer! With all of these benefits and such a variety of flavors, no wonder it’s the most commonly-used drink on Earth!

A Healthy Snack

Did you know that eating the right foods, will also boost your energy? A candy bar can give you a quick rush of energy but once that sugar gets broken down, you’ll crash. So a better snack idea would be something high in protein, healthy fats, or complex carbs. Some good snack ideas include Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts, hard boiled eggs, an apple with peanut butter, or a light salad or bowl of raw veggies.  The nutrients you get from these foods will definitely provide you a steady amount of energy and keep your hunger controlled throughout the day.

Get Moving!

Exercise is great for the body and the mind. When you move your body, you stimulate your muscles and increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to take an hour or be intense every single time, and you can do a quick workout and stretches right at your desk in under 10 minutes- you might get a few stares, but soon the entire office will be doing it too!

Take a Break

Yes– taking a break will give you some more energy. Think about how long you spend at your desk typing away, reading emails, making calls, and even eating lunch! While common work culture makes it seem absolutely normal to work through breaks, it’s really important to take a few minutes each day away from your desk. To recharge, you need a real break, that involves you to completely stop doing all types of work! During your break try to go outside and get some fresh air, meditate or do absolutely nothing! If you can relax for a full half-hour, you’ll come back to work as focused as you would’ve if you had a shot of espresso!

Chew Gum

Remember getting in trouble for chewing gum in elementary school? Too bad our teachers never got to see the research linking gum chewing with mental alertness and mood enhancement. The process of chewing increases the circulation of oxygen to the brain, which increases your attention span and reaction time! Gum chewing also tricks into thinking it’s eating, relieving some stress. So just from a piece of this once-forbidden chew you’ll be less stressed, more focused, and essentially feel energized!

All in all, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cup of coffee here and there. But the next time you’re feeling a little drained and need a quick pick-me-up, try one of these alternatives. You might even find that they work even better than your coffee!

3 Ways to Screw-Up Corporate Wellness

Everyone has some sort of a corporate wellness plan. In fact, the term wellness is thrown around so much that it’s that nobody really understands what it is anymore. The management team is full of ideas, employees may have ideas, and even LinkedIn has ideas.  So with all these “ideas” floating around, how can anyone know what’s best? Finding a good plan can be as overwhelming and confusing as Googling “How to Lose Weight”? Eventually, you just give up and because you don’t know where to begin.

If this sounds like you, consider this: while improving the health of your company sounds amazing, there isn’t just one universal solution that’ll work for every organization. Implementing a one-size-fits-all program may lead you to failure. So here’s my list of the 3 Corporate Wellness Mistakes to Avoid.

3 Corporate Wellness Mistakes

 The Intranet Fishing Pole

If you ran a survey of how many of your friends and co-workers participated in a corporate wellness program, you probably learn that the majority of them didn’t even know it existed!

Most companies are using their intranet to spread the word about the wellness plan. They send out newsletters & messages, hoping that they get read.  What seems like a good way to communicate across the entire organization ends up being a death trap for wellness programs. The reason why most programs have such low engagement rates is because they are not being communicated effectively. If you’re going to be investing big money into a great program, make sure everyone knows about it and how to get started!

Stick to the Average Perks

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when someone says corporate wellness is gym memberships and health screenings! This is misleading because wellness involves so much more! Don’t invest in a program that only offers you gym discounts, look for something that includes a wide-range of services such as financial fitness, professional development & team building, and even on-site fitness and nutrition classes. Think about your company culture and look for programs and services that will intrigue and motivate your workers to participate.

Let them Figure it Out

Starting something new, especially practicing wellness can be scary! A major mistake is that most companies leave their employees in the dark and force them to figure everything out on their own. This leads to low participation and engagement rates and eventually causes the program to fail. Your employees need as much motivation and support as possible. It’s important to have a team of experts and peers who can connect with them in a way that makes them believe they have the ability to learn new things and make meaningful, lasting changes.

You want to create an atmosphere which allows people to comfortably be engaged, educated, and energized!

Sitting Disease- Have you caught it?

We spend way too much time sitting- you’re probably doing it right now!

Did you know that the typical American adult is sedentary for 60% of their waking hours, and spends an average of 6 hours a day sitting? This can be even higher if you work at a desk or on a computer all day. [1][2] What’s even more astonishing is that sitting is accepted as the norm and exercise is becoming a burden for many.

Here’s some of the dangers of sitting your life away:

-Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which helps the body burn fat [3].

-Sitting or sedentary behavior has been shown as a risk factor in women linked to decreased bone density despite any engagement in physical activity [4].

Constant sitting also may adversely affect the following:

  • Heart

When sitting down, muscles are less active, blood flow has decreased, resulting in less calories being burned. Over time, blood pressure and cholesterol will rise, increasing the chances of heart diseases.

  • Pancreas

The pancreas produces insulin and this hormone must carry glucose to cells for energy. Inactivity can lead to an increase in insulin production, causing the hormone to accumulate, resulting in diabetes. Clear evidence has shown that physical exercise decreases the amount of required insulin to maintain glycemic control [5].

  • Brain

The brain needs fresh blood flow in order for it to work at its optimal level. With a lack of activity, blood flow decreases and so will your brain function!

  • Neck, Back and Shoulders

Most of the time your desk isn’t high or low enough, depending on your height, and you tilt your neck towards the screen and keyboard. Also think about when using the phone while typing? What about talking on the phone while writing; you have to tilt our neck towards the side to hold the phone. By doing this you’re putting a lot of strain on the cervical vertebrae, shoulder, and neck muscles.

  • Legs

When you are sitting for hours on end, circulation slows down and leads to water retention because of fluid buildup in the legs. Some associated problems are varicose veins and vein thrombosis [6].

How Do You Improve or Prevent This?

Just add a little more activity to your day. Use a smaller coffee mug to increase trips to refill or park a little further from the office. Also remember to stand up and move your legs for a few minutes after every half-hour of sitting.

Try doing more activities while standing like: talking on the phone and eating. In the workplace, you can get a standing desk or even a treadmill desk! Next time you’re meeting with a friend or co-worker, go for a walk!

Too much sitting is a bad thing and can shorten your life span, so try to move a little more everyday. There’s no reason you should just sit your life away!

Learn how One Stop Wellness can help your company fix this problem!

How to Be a Better Communicator at Work

Communication is something that we do passively – like breathing. We talk to our spouses, family, friends, co-workers without even realizing! While it seems like we’ve been doing it effortlessly throughout our lives, to communicate effectively requires some skill. Knowing the right words to say, listening and understanding what is being said, and getting our point across can make or break a relationship. While miscommunication can lead to simple arguments at home, it can lead to much more serious issues at work including: decreased productivity, unmotivated employees, increased employee turnover and may ultimately ruin a great company.

Communication is not just important, it’s absolutely necessary for any type of relationship – including those in the workplace.

To improve communication throughout your entire company, you need to implement a few simple changes that may ultimately boost productivity, motivate employees, and improve retention rates.

Here’s our Top 3 Tips for Better Workplace Communication

1. Embrace the art of conversation

Technology is awesome because it improves speed, saves time, and is more convenient ! But with all of the gadgets we use, we’ve become slaves to our screens and essentially have neglected the art of conversation. People spend less time talking in person and more time communicating through e-mail, text messages, and social networks. And what’s even crazier – employees rather e-mail a co-worker who may be sitting a few desks away than just taking a few steps to talk to them.

Great communication includes verbal and non-verbal language, but when the non-verbal (facial expressions and body-language) is taken out of the equation, misinterpreting a message can be quite common. How many times have you sent a well-written message with great intentions only to have it misconceived by the reader? Or what about when you spend time writing a very detailed and articulate e-mail and only receive a short response? That can easily be misinterpreted as a lack of interest. So here’s a simple fix for better conversations: Pick up the phone every once in a while and make a call. Walk over to your colleague and speak to them face-to-face! Or schedule a meeting.

 

2. Value your Employee’s Opinions

Far too often, employee’s are left out of all the major conversations. When companies undergo new changes, the employees are usually the last to find out and the most affected. At some point in time, we may have felt unappreciated or disrespected at work, but luckily it wasn’t broadcasted on national television. Last month, on ABC’s Live!, Co-host Michael Strahan announced he was leaving to join Good Morning America on air. His co-host Kelly Ripa, learned about this change at the same time as the public and took a leave of absence. Upon her return she said:

“What transpired though over the course of a few days has been extraordinary in the sense that it started a much greater conversation about communication and consideration and, most importantly, respect in the workplace.”

Why didn’t they inform her prior to this? This type of situation usually results in resentment for the management and can lead to employees quitting.

Great organizations should trust & listen to their employees while encouraging transparency so there’s no secrets. What you are telling your employees when you don’t communicate with them is that they don’t matter; their feelings, their opinions, or their presence. Bad decisions might be made and employees may be disappointed, but there’s no excuse for not being upfront and direct.

To improve communication and employee morale,  allow workers to voice their opinions and be part of the conversations, no matter what the potential outcomes may be.

 

3.Don’t Just Hear, but Listen                                                                      

You engage in conversations with your employees throughout the day, but how often are you actually listening? Are the words just going in one ear and out the other? If you’re thinking about your upcoming conference call or your after-work activities during the conversation, you’re not listening.

 

Effective communication requires speaking and listening. To really understand the purpose of a conversation you need to be fully invested in it and give the speaker your full attention, otherwise there will be a disconnect and the message will get lost.

 

Next time you’re speaking to an employee: summarize the main points of the conversation and ask the speaker to clarify their main points or elaborate on a specific topic. This shows your employee that you care about what they said and will lead to improved satisfaction and a healthy workplace culture.

How to Sneak in Exercise at Work

Working a full-time job can make it seem almost impossible to find time for exercise. The idea of packing your bag, going to the gym, working out, getting changed, and heading back to work can be a daunting task. But you don’t want to just skip it all together and put your health at risk. Studies show lack of exercise can negatively impact your physical and mental health, decreasing energy and productivity.

So how can you still get the health benefits of exercise while boosting your work performance without going to the gym?

Add in some physical activity to your work day.

It doesn’t need to be formal exercise, but just making a few daily changes to your routine and being conscious of how you spend your free time can add about 15 minutes of extra activity to your day, totaling over an hour during a 5-day work week! Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Here’s 5 Simple Ways to Sneak in Exercise at Work

1) Turn Your Commute into a Workout

This seems crazy, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. If you live near your job, this can mean walking or riding your bike to work. Otherwise if you’re driving, try parking a little further away from your office forcing you to walk a little extra. The American Heart Association recommends taking 10,000 steps per day, so why not use your commute to rack up some steps? Besides getting this exercise done will leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle your day.

2) Take short breaks during the Day

Instead of sitting at a desk or cubicle all day, try to set an alarm to force you to take short, active breaks every 30-45 minutes. These breaks can include walking around to fill up your coffee mug or water bottle, or even just standing up to stretch. You don’t need to do much, but moving around will burn off some calories and improve mental focus.

3) Walk to the “other” Restroom

Believe it or not, but going to the restroom is a great way to sneak in exercise at work. Rather than looking for the closest one to your office as you normally would, go to a restroom on another floor or different part of the building. This will force you to walk more and add some extra steps to your day. The American Heart Association recommends taking 10,000 steps per day

4) Take the Stairs over the Elevator

This might not seem like much but taking the stairs throughout your work day can add up to 5 minutes of activity during the day. According to Dr. Harvey Simon at Harvard Medical School, climbing stairs is one of the best kept secrets in preventative medicine.  Taking the stairs has many cardiovascular benefits including reducing the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Plus every time you climb a flight of stairs, your body releases endorphins making you feel happier and more relaxed!

5) Replace your Chair with a Stability Ball

Ever walk in an office and wonder why there’s exercise balls in place of the chairs? No, there’s not a fitness class going on. Sitting on the exercise ball can result in better posture, because it forces proper spine alignment. The exercise ball will engage your core and abs because those muscles need to stabilize themselves for you to sit upright. So every time you’re sitting on a ball, you’re training your abs and burning calories at the same time.

What are some ways you sneak in exercise at work?