The employees of the City of Greeley are dispersed across their growing Colorado town. Administrative staff works in a traditional office setting, for instance, while firefighters and public works employees are literally out and about. This means that it’s been difficult to create a feeling of “togetherness” among the workforce, many of whom never get the chance to interact face-to-face. It also means it’s been challenging to develop wellbeing programs that reach and engage everyone with the same levels of convenience and fun.
What does employee wellness mean to you? Is it about improving employee productivity? Is it about providing programs that will appeal to talent? Or is wellness about doing right by the people who make the company successful? Employee wellness can mean all of these things. And when it comes to how you define your wellness program for your employees, some diversity of approach is welcome.
Bad habits are usually easy to form: eating junk food, staying up too late at night, or giving in to stress are all habits that are quick to adopt, and very tough to drop. (Think of all those New Year’s resolutions that are gathering dust on your to-do-list.) Forming new habits that are good for us takes a bit more work.
If you work more than 40 hours a week, you’re not alone. Americans spend an average of 8.8 hours per day, or more than half their waking hours on work and work-related activities, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, 80% of the American workforce are in jobs that require little or no physical activity and 78% of the American workforce reports that their job is stressful. The result is an overstressed, burnt-out workforce with little-to-no time for health-promoting activities.
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of rising female businesswomen about my personal journey toward physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being. I am lucky enough today to work at my dream job, where I get to bring my whole self to work every day. But the shifts I made to create a happier and more fulfilling life required challenging the core belief system instilled in me since childhood.
Mindfulness is the latest buzzword in the corporate wellness lexicon, but there is still a lot of confusion around what it actually means to practice mindfulness and how it can have business impact on employee performance. Mindfulness is now becoming a ‘brand’ or a ‘product’, and a misunderstood one at that. In this post and my upcoming webinar, I’m going to demystify mindfulness and help illustrate why companies from Aetna to Goldman Sachs are embracing its benefits.
You may have heard the saying, “Sitting is the new smoking,” referring to the damage that prolonged sitting does to mental and physical health. (Check out the book Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World, and you’ll never want to do a two-hour stretch in a chair again.) How bad is sitting? According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting more than four hours a day can raise risk of cardiovascular disease by about 125 percent. But unless your business involves training athletes, employees probably have to spend a lot of time sitting at desks and staring at screens.
Burnout isn’t always about work. That new mom for whom you just threw a “welcome back” party – the one with the increasingly dark circles around her eyes? And that dad with three kids under 10, who looks like he’s struggling to stay awake during afternoon meetings? Parenting burnout, not work burnout, is what’s hurting these people.
A recent study of parental burnout published in Frontiers in Psychology found that the symptoms mirrored that of work burnout: exhaustion, emotional withdrawal, and feelings of inadequacy. The study found that 12% of parents surveyed suffered from high levels of burnout – that is, experiencing all of these symptoms in a single week.
62 percent of professionals say they typically eat lunch at their desks. This stat likely comes as no surprise to most professionals. In fact, I would argue it may be even higher in Silicon Valley where non-stop work at all hours is usually regarded as a point of pride.
What is leading to all these “desktop diners”? About a third of employees say they feel pressured by their managers to work through lunch. While it may seem like working through lunch equals greater productivity, creating a culture where employees take a true break mid-day can have positive effects on your business and your employees’ health.
In her latest post, Grokker CEO Lorna Borenstein urged us to make it personal. As Lorna tells us, “By making employees and their families the focal point of your company, you create a community.”
Numerous studies have shown that social support plays a key role in both health and overall happiness. A January study found that people who feel socially connected to family or friends have lower health risks. Researchers found that socially-integrated teens were 48 percent less likely to be obese, and older adults who were socially integrated were 54 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure.
Bloomingdale's is partnering with on-the-go wellness video network Grokker to launch an industry-first wellness initiative for Bloomingdale's customers. The partnership features in-store events throughout May as well as a month-long, online wellness challenge hosted by Grokker and Bloomingdale's. This is the first partnership of its kind between a national retailer and an on-demand wellness service.
Karl’s co-workers have noticed that he hasn’t been himself lately. Once collaborative, energetic, and deadline-driven, Karl now snaps at people in meetings, is lethargic, and requires multiple reminders to submit his reports. He always seems to be watching the clock, yet constantly complains about feeling like he doesn’t have enough time in the day to get everything done.
Karl is exhibiting classic signs of burnout. Coined in the 1970s by the psychologist Herbert Freudenberger, there is no single, widely accepted definition of burnout1. However, it’s become a fairly widespread modern malady, due in part to our always-on culture.
The modern office is full of nutritional minefields: Donuts on Monday morning, unlimited candy jars, cake on Sarah’s birthday ... (and it seems like it’s always someone’s birthday).
Employees with poor nutritional balance report 21% more sick-related absences and 11% lower productivity than healthier colleagues. Better nutrition means more time on the job and more alert and focused employees. It’s good business to make sure your employees are fueled well for work, but it’s not always easy to convince them to make healthy food choices.
Here are six tips to get your employees’ nutrition moving in the right direction:
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