Monday, October 10th, 2016
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016
As a sufferer of PTSD, I understand how important it is to get stress under control. I researched many ways of reducing stress and we all know about diet, exercise, meditation, and in some cases. Drugs. I agree that a healthy diet, regular exercise and time to quiet the mind is very necessary for reducing stress. However, this article is to give you a more in-depth view of how you can eliminate much of the anxiety you have in your life today.
Below have been the most effective means of controlling my stress, allowing me to have a happier and more productive lifestyle.
Fear stresses the body more than any other emotion. The body reacts to fear for its ability to survive; NOT thrive. By living with a fearful mind, you can put the body into a “fight or flight” state. The body will begin to use adrenaline, causing your heart rate and breathing to increase. In this state the body cannot digest food properly, rest peacefully, or respond adequately to daily tasks. Sadly, many spend 100% of their time battling with their own fear. I call this “mindful fear”.
Mindful fears can only be released when you realize that it is not happening to you right now. Fear is simply our perception of a person or thing. Only the mind can produce fear. For example, when you feel a fearful thought, ask yourself if what you are thinking is really true, or is it simply a fear you are projecting? The body knows no difference between what is imagined and what is real. Once you realize that what you fear is NOT real, your body will relax knowing that it is again safe.
Playing pretend was part of every childhood, whether you were pretending to be an astronaut, cowboy, Wonder Woman or simply a mommy with her family, you were creating a happy reality by your thoughts. Imagine yourself and your life exactly how you would like it to be. Post photos of places and things in nearby places that remind you or represent that which you wish to achieve. Anytime you are feeling stressed, give yourself a few minutes to pretend that you have everything you want in life. Just by doing this you reverse the stress to a more positive, productive motion. It allows you to let go of the stress, putting your mind in a place that it is happy and relaxed.
Close your eyes for a moment or two and imagine the perfect outcome of any situation. By allowing your mind to visualize the most positive outcome, you are now allowing your mind to be open to other thoughts and ideas that are validated and created upon that thought.
We forget that there are so many things in life that we have to be grateful for. Anytime you are feeling stressed, you can turn your attention to the things in your life today (NOW) that you are grateful for. In an effort to always be getting somewhere or something, we often overlook all that we have successfully achieved along the way. By being grateful for that which we have, we allow more to come.
Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, has done much of the research on gratitude and has publicized “Gratitude is associated with higher levels of good cholesterol (HDL), lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, both at rest and in the face of stress. It also has been linked with higher levels of heart rate variability, a marker of cardiac coherence, or a state of harmony in the nervous system and heart rate that is equated with less stress and mental clarity.”
Start a list of the things you are grateful for and add to that list daily.
Studies have proven that managers who say “thank you” to their employees find them to be more motivated and productive. Saying “thank you” works both for the giver and the receiver. Every time you say you thank someone, you reduce your own stress just by acknowledging a small act of gratefulness, not to mention, you will also have a better relationship with the person you thanked, and they too will have a better day.
The more love and appreciation we send to others, the more we feel it within ourselves. Practice smiling and seeing the world and all in it being in harmony with you. It will smile back at you.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
According to scientific research, workplace nutrition programs have a great benefit on the well-being of every employee and are meant to reduce the healthcare costs and turnover as well as any potential disability. Aside from that, they are the trigger to better productivity and a vital link in the overall health of the company.
Are you reinforcing nutrition awareness at your company? If not, here is how to do it in 5 simple ways:
In the end, nutrition and workplace wellness are both aspects of future awareness and care for your employees. They are a rising trend, but also a bridge to better productivity and well-being for everyone in your workspace – including yourself.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
Many times we have heard people saying ‘What’s your return on investment (ROI) on that?’ or ‘How much are we going to make and will it be profitable?’. The principle of ROI literally means a return on investment, or in other words – ensuring that your investment receives the same amount of money back – or even more.
However, the value on investment (VOI) has been a trending topic over the past few years and one definitely worth exploring. The concept of VOI was first introduced by Gartner, one of the pioneer companies in information technology research. Value On Investment (VOI) is best defined as all the intangible assets that contribute to an organization’s performance.
From the prism of corporate wellness, VOI often collides with ROI. In fact, the value of investment represented by VOI includes all the knowledge and processes as well as organizational structure, which is very often more critical to an organization than simply put – the budget spent and the expectations on it.
Let’s face it – investing funds in a project certainly comes with a responsibility. Therefore, ROI is an important aspect of corporate wellness nowadays. However, ensuring that the funds invested have a certain value, intangible benefits as well as increase productivity to result with a higher ROI – is the missing link that many companies fail to understand when evaluating their investment.
So, what does Value On Investment actually mean?
It means more than just a budget that is set. It means understanding the real value of something and defining the benefits of that investment. In other words, it refers to:
As you can probably see, VOI comes with a lot of principles, which every company needs to understand before partaking in an investment. It is definitely one of the rising trends to incorporate wellness and the one that, along with ROI, acts as the backbone value of every investment.
IAB Health Productions, LLC offers FREE wellness program planning services for organizations. With a diverse network of thousands of providers and our wide range of online tools and experts, we can guarantee that each program is designed to meet the individual needs and desires of our valued clients.
Monday, January 11th, 2016
Click to download pdf Guide to Planning a Successful Health Fair
A company health fair is a wonderful way to encourage healthy options for your employees. Creating an event that is educational, well attended and supportive of long-term health management can be achieved by following the recommendations in this guide.
IAB Health Productions, LLC offers FREE online tools to manage every aspect of your health fair while keeping your personal contact information private. Click here to begin scheduling your event.
Planning Your Event
Start planning your health fair at least five months in advance. A planning team can be assembled for the event to assist with the tasks. This may be the human resources department, or it can be representatives from various areas of the company. Health Fairs are better attended when various department managers are involved in the planning, as they are more apt to promote and encourage their staff to participate.
It is critical for leadership to support the health fair and encourage employees to participate. Having memos sent out from executive staff members reminding the employees about the event is imperative for participation. It is also great to have C-level staff members at the health fair mingling with both the vendors and the employees.
Health fairs are also a great time to introduce your employees to long-term health programs that are scheduled within the company. Long-term initiatives can include employee paid programs such as weight loss programs, smoking cessation programs, chair massage services, stress management classes, walking programs, etc.
You can allocate a theme for your event and encourage participating vendors to support this theme at their table for increased engagement. Themes can revolve around health-related topics such as a season, a charity, or a popular book. Here are some examples you may like to consider below.
When determining the best time of year to host your event, consider company peak periods and facility needs during these times. Timing your health fair during slow times can increase morale and participation. Therefore it may be wise to consider a slow period. If space is an issue, you may also want to consider a warmer season, so you could have the option of hosting your event outside. Schedule the event around the time that you feel your employees would be most available to visit the event to increase the chance of high attendance.
For the purposes of attracting qualified vendors to display in your health fair, it is not recommended to hold the fair for longer than 5 hours, nor is it suggested to have your health fair start before 9 AM and end at 5 PM. Below is a good outline for the length of your health fair.
• Up to 50 employees (2 hours)
• 100-200 employees (3 hours)
• 200+ employees (4 hours)
If your company has multiple locations, you may need to plan your events on separate days so you can have vendors attend all events. In the circumstances that your locations are spread out, you will need to duplicate all the instructions below for each event. If the other locations are too small to support a health fair, request additional materials from your vendors to make available to the employees at the other locations.
When selecting your venue, you will need to consider space and electrical access. It is also important to take into account what size tables you have for the vendors to display their information (6ft or greater is suggested) and how many will fit comfortably in this space. One foot or greater is suggested between vendors and a minimum of three feet walking space for your employees with all fire exits clear works well.
You may want to take into account that your vendors will need extra floor space and electric as they may provide screenings and video displays. When considering Chair Massage, Vision, Spinal screenings along with flu shots and biometrics, remember that each of these will require space for both the vendor’s display and the employees. Many vendors use tall stand-up displays that will block traffic and event visuals. Request that all vendors place their banners behind their booth and with this in mind, give the vendor 3ft behind their booth for their supplies, chairs and movement.
It is estimated that 30% of your vendors will need access to electric, so when designing your floor plan, take into account the total number of tables you can accommodate and give two-thirds access to electric.
It is important to remember that your insurance providers are your employee health partners. A health fair is a great way for your employees to interact with their insurance providers to learn more about their benefits and the health resources available to them through their insurance plans. Decide what insurance providers you would like to have at your health fair and what information and giveaways you would like to have them bring.
Wellness Providers (vendors)
The vendors that you decide to have at your Health Fair will be the cornerstone of your event. When selecting the educational topics and vendors that you consider appropriate for your health fair, you may want to consult with your insurance broker or provider to get a utilization report lending information to the health risk of your employees.
Keep your event information and fun by including information that employees would not usually have the opportunity to understand like Acupuncture, Water Filtration, Reiki and, most importantly, Mental Health. You may also use a national online listing of vendors to help arrange what is best for you.
All Providers should be sent an invitation to participate in your event 60 – 90 days before the event date. You can invite vendors using a free online web tool, via email, via phone, or both. You will need to provide the following information in your invitation.
Vendors will need to RSVP and provide you with the information listed below. IAB provides an online registration tool for vendors that allows employers to review the requesting vendor’s information before accepting their registration. This gives employers a broad range of prospective vendors to choose from.
Save the Date
60 – 90 days before the event it is suggested to send a “Save the Date” out to your employees so they can put the event on their calendar. This can be emailed and posted throughout your facility near high traffic areas to ensure maximum exposure to the information. Offer suggestion boxes in various places for employees to suggest creative ideas or vendors. A survey or hints to win prizes at the event can also be contained in this posting.
Preparing the Venue
Two weeks before the event, all vendors and their booth requirements should be finalized. Each of the below items will now need to be considered and ordered for your event. IAB’s free online tool provides employers with a detailed listing of each registered vendor’s needs.
Design a floor plan placing each vendor in the room based on the vendor’s booth needs along with your room & table size. Make sure you have accounted for a check-in table and with a familiar staff member to greet each employee.
Try to keep all vendors in one room. If screening rooms are used, there should be a check-in table or proper signage to direct the traffic. This helps with the flow of employees and allows you to keep an eye on how the event is going. When placing vendors’ tables, try to keep vendors that provide similar services separately. As tempting as it is to put them together, it does cause friction and competitive nature among providers, which could make it unpleasant for everyone.
One week before the event, communication should be made with all participating vendors to provide them with final details. Provide details such as where they should unload their car and where they are expected to park after that. Remind them to bring their raffle prize and of the set-up start time. Make sure to provide vendors with a contact and phone number they can reach should they get lost on the way to your event or need to cancel for an unforeseen reason. IAB automates this for you.
One day before the event, send a final event promotion to your employees. Make sure the venue is set-up and ready to go for the vendors if you have an early event.
Have a minimum of two staff members to assist with the event at all times, also make sure you have the room ready for vendors 1 hour before the event start time. This will give you and your vendors plenty of time to get in and safely set up before your employee’s arrival. Some vendors will arrive early and some will be late. This is to be expected and considered on the event day, so please keep this in mind.
As vendors arrive, greet each one and direct them to their booth. Let them know where the restrooms are and if any refreshments are available to them. Many vendors will want to make small talk with you as you are trying to greet and accommodate other arriving vendors. Let them know you will be around during or after the event to speak with them in more detail.
Have two staff members at the check-in table to greet the employees as they arrive. It is highly suggested that a C-Level staff member also is present at your event to show employees their endorsement. Staff members can rotate between checking in employees and checking on the vendors.
As vendors begin to pack up and leave, take the time to thank each one for their time at your event
Wednesday, January 6th, 2016
1. Share holiday food facts: Make the nutrition information for favorite holiday dishes readily available to your employees by printing them off on index-sized cards that they can take with them. Be sure to include portion size, calorie, fat, and sugar content. Reinforce nutrition awareness in company newsletters and other communication. You can get the nutrition information for popular holiday dishes here.
2. Offer healthier alternatives: You’re employees will probably be negatively shocked by the calorie content in some of their favorite dishes, so this is a great opportunity to introduce healthier options. Let them know about simple ways to lighten up some of the traditionally heavier holiday dishes. Or an even better option is to provide these healthier alternatives at your holiday potluck or party. Engage employees by encouraging them to bring and share their own healthier recipes.
Bonus tip – Make things even more fun by having your employees vote for the best revamped healthy dish at the potluck and provide the winner with a holiday prize.
3. Keep portion size in mind: Provide your employees with visual examples of proper portion size. Share this Thanksgiving portion guide with employees and pre-cut things like pies and casseroles into proper servings before calling them to dig in at any seasonal office parties.
4. Provide flexible break times: With daylight hardly sticking around past quitting time, many people get even less exercise than usual. Encourage breaks during lunch or other daylight hours to keep your employees focused on outdoor activity.
5. Organize exercise events: Try to motivate your employees to move more by focusing on group exercise events, such as walks before or after work or yoga sessions. Lead by example by having higher-ups at your company participate in local holiday-themed events, such as a Turkey Trot, and encourage all employees to join as well.
6. Consider gym reimbursements or discounts: Check out nearby gyms and see if you are able to offer your employees a corporate discount or reimbursement on their gym fees.
7. Reach out to your health fair vendors: Do you give out holiday gift bags to your employees and have hosted a health fair this past year? Incorporate elements of wellness by reaching out to your favorite health fair attendees or current providers for samples that you can pass on to your employees.
More Resources for Holiday Health –
Will you be trying any of these tips with your employees this holiday season? Have anything to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
Wellness workshops are an integral part of planning a successful employee wellness program. Workshops allow you to provide useful health education in a way that’s interactive and engaging. They are often an effective tool in creating positive changes in the health of your employees and cementing health initiatives within your organization. When deciding whether hosting an educational wellness workshop is right for your business, consider the following benefits:
When it comes to education based employee wellness, the standard Return on Investment calculations is outdated. Instead, consider Value on Investment (VOI), which focuses on intangibles such as how employees feel and how those feelings affect their attitudes about work and life in general. The education given in workshops provides employees with the tools they need to improve their mental and physical health over the long term. Healthier employees lead to a happier, more productive workplace overall.
Whether your goal is to lower rates of absenteeism, reduce uses of health insurance or reduce smoking amongst your employees, educational workshops can help you achieve them. Hosting wellness workshops allows you the opportunity to cover specific health topics in greater detail with your employees. Once your employees have a greater understanding of your initiative, work with them to plan actionable goals to maximize the workshop’s effectiveness.
Hosting a wellness workshop for your employees shows you appreciate them and care about their well-being. This can improve employee morale which can lead to greater retention rates and productivity. Employees that feel appreciated and respected are more loyal and willing to stick with their employers for the long haul.
On the IAB website there are thousands of wellness workshops on a variety of educational topics to browse and potentially utilize for your employees – many for free. Some available topics include stress management, weight loss, nutrition, and financial education. Workshops will most often be hosted at your location, however, IAB also offers workshops hosted at the site of the provider.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2015
December 2-9 is National Flu Vaccination Week. Help keep your employees healthy and productive throughout the flu season by helping them get vaccinated.
For many professionals, the winter season is a busy time of year packed with deadlines, organizing for the new year and of course plenty of holiday celebration. It is also the time of year that the flu virus hits hardest. All it takes is one infected individual at your business and you could have a rampant flu outbreak on your hands that leaves most of your employees sick in bed and your end of year goals suffering from a loss in productivity. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season costs businesses around $10.4 billion in direct costs each year through hospitalization and outpatient visits, and an additional $6.1 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity. In addition to substantial financial loses, studies show that workers with the flu show impaired the performance of simple reaction time-based tasks by 20 to 40%, which can increase the likelihood of error or on the job injury.
The good news though is that flu vaccinations are an effective method for preventing the flu, showing to lower the risk of going to the doctor by 60% in those that receive it. By offering flu shots at your workplace, you increase the likelihood of your employees getting vaccinated. Onsite employee flu vaccinations is a proven cost-effective strategy that increases productivity, reduces absenteeism and prevents associated direct healthcare costs.
Setting Up an On-site Flu Clinic
The CDC recommends the following tips for setting up a successful onsite flu clinic at your organization:
To further enhance your flu prevention efforts, make sure that employees are keeping up with basic hygiene rules while at work. Remind your employees of the below flu hygiene tips and distribute them throughout the office.
Flu Hygiene Tips
Providing an on-site flu clinic is important in preventing the spread of illness and making sure employees come back from the holidays strong to start a new year. IAB can assist you in setting up an on-site flu clinic at your location. Contact us here.
Monday, November 16th, 2015
We posted a couple weeks ago about the insidious nature of workplace stress and ways you can help combat it in your employees, but sometimes stress is fleeting and just an otherwise normal part of a busy day. Maybe you’ve just had two back to back meetings and are running late for a third or your computer spontaneously decided to stop working and you’re on a deadline. When these kinds of things happen, it’s important to try and get control over the resulting stress so it doesn’t negatively impact your entire day. 15 minutes and a little focus is all it really takes to make a major difference in your approach during or before a demanding, stressful day.
Share these easy tips with your employees and give them a shot yourself next time you’re stressed at work.
Although it’s not something you can do in 15 minutes, it is a simple tip that can have a huge impact on the flow of your day. It is also one that most people skip in favor of extra sleep. However, you’ll actually end up feeling much more well rested if you avoid waking up with just enough time to rush out the door without being late. Establish a morning routine that allows you to properly prepare for the day and allows you to feel relaxed and energized before a busy day.
Tighten a muscle group without straining for a period of 7 to 10 seconds and then relax. If a particular muscle group is already tense – start with that area. Otherwise, it’s easiest to start by tensing your shoulders up by your ears or clenching your fists and then releasing. If you’re stressed, you are probably placing a fair bit of tension throughout your body without even realizing it.
Now, this one is obvious but the main key here is to focus on making your exhales as long as possible. Start by Inhaling deeply and slowly for 2 to 3 beats and then try to exhale for the same length of time. Extend your counts as you continue to breathe deeply and you should find yourself significantly more relaxed in no time!
Putting pressure on certain points of the body can help release tension by promoting blood circulation to that area. The next time you have a tension headache or are feeling frazzled, try placing your middle and index finger on your ‘Third Eye Point’ (the space between your eyebrows). Hold this position for one to two minutes while providing gentle pressure.
Take a quick walk around your building or do some light stretching. Getting the blood flowing and redirecting your energy even for a brief period is often an easy way to clean your mental slate.
Taking a few minutes to organize may be the last thing you feel like doing, but having a mindset of de-cluttering helps to manage stress. Focus on a small project or space – maybe straighten out that cluttered top desk drawer or rearrange some files. There is probably at least one thing you have been meaning to organize at your desk. Tangible organization helps with emotional organization.
As you start to feel yourself getting sucked into stress and the depressed/anxious thoughts that often follow, try to put a stop to it by shifting your thoughts to more positive ones. Start focusing on the things you are grateful for, look around you and try to appreciate anything you find beautiful or pleasant in that moment. If you can learn to shift your mental energy to find some kind of positivity, you often get a clear path out of stress. It can also be helpful to store a list of things you appreciate in your life in your phone to reference any time things start to get out of control.
How do you handle stress during the day? Have you used any of these tips yourself?
Monday, November 2nd, 2015
The number of diabetes cases is at a historic high, with 30 million children and adults already affected and another 86 million diagnosed as pre-diabetic. The reason that these numbers are so worrying is that the majority of these new and existing cases are Type 2 diabetes, an entirely preventable form of the illness caused largely by excess sugar intake. In addition to the immediate problems caused by consistently high blood sugar, people with diabetes also have a significantly increased risk of developing serious health problems such as heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
However, the good news is that Type 2 is highly responsive to diet and lifestyle intervention, meaning that making a positive impact can be easier than it would seem. The most effective way that you can get involved as an employer is to help your employees understand the risk factors of diabetes and provide them with a work culture that helps encourage a healthier, more active lifestyle.