Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Wellness Programs Shown to Increase Company Profitability

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Working on and measuring savingsConsidering setting up a wellness program for your employees?  New evidence shows that an investment in a wellness program returns two to five times the cost, directly to the bottom line.  For every dollar invested companies are saving between $2 and $5 on healthcare benefits and sick leave payouts.  Wellness programs also improve overall employee engagement.

Healthy employees are more productive in the workplace and cost the employer less.  While absenteeism is the most noticeable, the bigger threat to employers is “presenteeism”.  Presenteeism consists of those employees that continue to come to work every day when they are not healthy, whether mentally or physically.

Though these employees are at work, they aren’t really there.  Heavy workloads and also feeling compelled to be at work when they do not feel well in order to satisfy clients, co-workers, and superiors results in presenteeism.

Employee engagement also ties into presenteeism, as the presentee employee is found at the low end of the engagement scale.

A comprehensive program is needed when setting up a wellness program. Ideally a wellness program is designed by the employees themselves by surveying factors such as work-life balance, respect from superiors, and clear leadership and expectations. Many wellness issues are interconnected to employee engagement, such as bad bosses and a toxic work environment.

It’s vital for employers to consider connections between their current wellness programs and employee engagement programs and how they are both strategic ventures for their organization.

Want to do your own Life at Work checkup?  Click here to take a survey to see your score and risks!

Wearable Tech Is Changing the Face of Employee Health and Wellness

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Can smartphone apps and pedometers take the place of good old fashioned heart rate monitors and gym memberships? If we give ourselves and our employees a way to measure their exercise and fitness outside of traditional gyms and workout classes can they still stay healthy? Wearable tech is changing the way employers and employees approach health and wellness.

A new study from the Vitality Group reveals that when wearable tech is incorporated into a broader employee health and wellness program there is a measurable change in behavior. Health risks such as high BMI and high cholesterol are mitigated when wearable tech and health and wellness programs are combined. Here are a few other useful stats from the Vitality Group’s study:

  • More women use pedometers and smart phone apps, while heart rate monitors are more popular among men.
  • Previously inactive employees reduced health risk factors by 13%, while previously fit employees reduced their risk factors by 22%.
  • Employee health and wellness incentive programs around measurable goals like a certain number of steps made it more likely for employees to reach goals.

For more information on the Vitality Group’s study or to learn more about wearable technology’s impact on employees health and wellness check out their website.

Getting Employee Buy-In on Health and Wellness

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

The infographic below looks a little bit like the Game of Life, and it is. It is the life of an employee health and wellness program. In evaluating your staff’s needs within an employee wellness program, and what resources you have to piggyback on versus what resources you will have to create, we want to make sure you don’t forget about the employees. In trying to optimize the program and manage costs it is key to remember that if employee engagement is low, the health and wellness program will fail.

We have one piece of advice before we send you on to the Game of Life below (care of TotalWellnessHealth.com). Don’t skip the employee incentives. Employee incentives provide the critical support your employees are going to need along their path to wellness (and lower insurance premiums). Gift cards are a great fixed cost solution to guide employees to healthy products. Giving small denomination gift cards to health and wellness retailers like CVS/Pharmacy, Whole Foods Market and GNC are a great way to give employees a pat on the back while steering them in the direction the program is trying to take them. So in all of the planning and evaluating, we just want to make sure you don’t forget your employees.

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Health & Wellness- One Way to Save Thousands

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Health & wellness programs are on the rise among employers who offer healthcare benefits to employees. This is correlated directly with a part of the Affordable Care Act calling for a 40% tax on expensive benefit plans beginning in 2018. That means employers have 4 years to lower costs an avoid the tax. The easiest way to accomplish this critical task is to increase the health of employees.

corporate wellness planIncreasing employee health also helps employees avoid possible penalties that come into play with the Affordable Care Act, which employers are compelled to offer alternatives to help employees avoid. Creating an after-work exercise group or a morning yoga class can be an easy way to help employees get in a workout and stay active that fits easily into their routine.

Small adjustments are the best way to avoid the penalties and taxes that the Affordable Care Act can provide. However, ensuring that they are avoided is the best way to wellness and cost reduction of healthcare benefits.

For more information on how to promote health & wellness in your office check out this feature from ABC News.

Summertime Employee Motivation

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

The weather is getting warmer and employees minds are starting to wander to that summer vacation to the beach or the lake. Springtime is the perfect time to devise a way to keep employees focused and motivated from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Variety is the name of the game with employee motivation, the key to success is finding a reward that everyone likes. Here are a few ideas:

  • Gift Cards: Gift cards offer a variety of options and allow an employee to choose their ultimate gift. Everything from AutoZone to The Limited is available and gives employees access to the ultimate variety of end rewards.
  • Travel Rewards: Motivating employees with the trip to the beach or the lake supports your employees’ work/life balance and keeps them motivated to work towards a long term goal.
  • Health and Wellness: Encouraging health and wellness is a win/win situation. For employees it provides an outlet either within or surrounding the work day to pause and get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Whether it is a walk at lunch or a post-work running club encouraging employees to enjoy the outside can benefit employers too. Healthy employees are more productive and lower healthcare costs.

The nice weather and kids being out of school can hinder productivity and allow minds to wander. Make a plan this spring to keep your employees on track and motivated towards common goals. For more information on how to keep employees motivated all summer head over to Employee Benefits News.

Workplace Wellness Can Save Serious Cash

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Poor employee health is never a good thing. However, did you know that if you don’t maintain workplace wellness it can cost your company between $1900 and $2250 in lost revenue per employee per year. Maintaining workplace wellness not only keeps employees healthy and keeps productivity at its peak but it can also keep employee morale up. Happy, healthy employees are productive, loyal employees so workplace wellness can go farther than you think. Check out the infographic below for more information on the benefits of workplace wellness.

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Boston Market Takes On a Health-Conscious Menu

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

For the last several years, Boston Market has worked to create a menu that boasts more nutritious selections while still offering the same great taste. In a campaign committed to reducing sodium levels by 20% in their menu items, they removed salt shakers from their tables in 2012. While the sodium levels dropped in menu staples, 26% in mashed potatoes, 20% in stuffing, gravy by 50% and cornbread by 30%, sales have not.* The holiday sales this year increased 17%.

In January 2014, Boston Market continued their health movement with the announcement of “Meals Under 550 Calories,” a menu offering more than 100 calorie-conscious options just in time for new years weight loss resolutions.

“At Boston Market, we are committed to ensuring our guests enjoy delicious, home style cooking that can be part of a healthier diet,” said George Michel, CEO of Boston Market (a.k.a. “The Big Chicken”). “Modifying our recipes to create healthier options, without sacrificing taste, is another way we deliver on our mission to provide guests wholesome foods they can feel good about eating and sharing with their families.”**

Interested in gift cards? Boston Market gift cards are redeemable at more than 458 locations nationwide and are available in volume discounts.

*Boston Market Offers Health Conscious Consumers More Than 100 Meals Under 550 Calories,  Press Release 01/08/14

**Boston Market Reduces Sodium in Key Menu Items – And No One Notices, Press Release 02/17/14

Walk-In Health Care Clinics, like CVS/pharmacy’s MinuteClinic, on the Rise

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

minuteclinic locationIt’s no secret, people get sick and when battling a painful sore throat or ear infection waiting is NOT an option. Hence the growing popularity of walk-in health care clinics.

CVS/pharmacy, the largest retail clinic operator in the Washington area, has more than 800 clinics nationwide, with plans to add more that 150 additional clinics by the end of 2014.

So what’s the driving force?

Several factors come into play fueling the trend of these walk-in health care clinics, one of which is the Affordable Care Act…sound familiar, you may have heard of it?

With millions now being provided insurance through Medicaid, private plans or under their parents plans until age 26, getting in to see your primary care doctor quickly will be more difficult. This, along with a number of other factors, has allowed the perfect forum for retail clinics, like MinuteClinic, to take center stage.

The clinics are staffed by nursed practitioners and physicians assistants and can treat anything from pink eye to strep throat, to sinus infections and minor injuries.

Gift cards are even available at all 800 MinuteClinic locations and discounts are available on volume purchases. Learn more about buying MinuteClinic gift cards and giving the gift of health here.

Read more from The Washington Post about the growing trend of health care clinics here.

Healthy Employees are Productive Employees

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Employees are in the best shape to work when they are in the best physical shape. Employees with high-risk health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes average 77% more absences than employees without high-risk health conditions. Healthy employees present more continuity in their job and thus more productivity. Check out this infographic on the impact healthy employees can have on organizational productivity. For more information on the correlation between healthy employees and productivity head over to Employee Benefits news.

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Company Wellness Programs: Do You Have One?

Friday, March 21st, 2014

company wellness programsManaging assets wisely is the hallmark of every successful company. Today’s highly competitive environment shines a spotlight on the one resource you depend on most, your employees. Productivity and profitability, intimately tied to worker performance, are suffering due to an alarming rise in obesity and poor health. Many employers now offer a company wellness programs and institute policies designed to promote healthy lifestyle changes. More than talk, the approach includes a wide range of information, support and healthy lifestyle incentives including cash rewards and gift cards.

The Impact of Poor Employee Health:

  • Reduced employee alertness
  • Poor performance
  • Reduced productivity
  • Higher insurance costs

F for Fat

The average worker in the United States is fatter and gets sick more often today. The CDC reports an alarming rise in obesity. By 2030, half of all Americans will be obese and their employers left to deal with dramatic increases in lost time and profits due to obesity related illness. A proactive approach to worker health offers positive reinforcement for healthy behaviors that benefit both workers and their employer.

Your company, your employees and your profits don’t have to suffer.

Join the growing number of employers already instituting vigorous wellness programs for their workers. According to research conducted by the national Business Group on Health, nearly 90% of all employers now offer some type of company wellness program. For many it involves a combination of education and incentives with sponsored activities like gym membership and weight control programs.

Start with Education

Healthy workers are more alert, they miss less time from work and are more productive. Getting your workforce to that point begins with education and information. One way that many employers attack the issue is by providing health fairs on company property. Healthcare and wellness professionals come on site and set up tables to do healthcare screenings and offer tips on how to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Employees touring the health fair get their blood pressure, blood glucose levels and other vital statistics checked for free. Doctors, dentists and physical fitness professionals can come to the fair armed with information and incentives for participation provided by you, the employer. Offering a free $50 gift card for completing a health screening or joining a weight loss program is an ideal way to encourage employee attendance and participation.
Another approach to start with involves group sessions. Make some time during scheduled working hours to have employee meetings with invited guest speakers dealing with health and wellness topics. After the speech, roll out your wellness program and explain why it is to their benefit to participate. Combining education with motivation, your employees will perceive real rewards for taking steps to get healthy.

Rewarding Results

Company sponsored weight loss/weight management programs produce positive results for workers taking advantage of them. Some employers encourage participation with the old carrot and stick approach. Workers who take part in health and wellness activities, lose weight or give up harmful tobacco addictions are rewarded. Workers not involved could be penalized with higher insurance premiums or other negative incentives.

Perhaps the most effective approach, providing results-based incentives encourages participation in wellness programs with a combination of reward and recognition. Your company might offer discount membership in a weight management program as part of the company “biggest loser” competition. The employee losing the most weight over a pre-set time period gets is given an award by the company, public recognition in the local media and a $500 gift card to shop for healthy food.

The idea is to encourage active participation and results. Tailor your wellness program and incentives focusing on these factors and promoting a healthy workplace environment. Visit GiftCard Partners to learn more about incorporating incentives like gift cards into your company wellness outreach efforts.