The Well-Being Journal

The Quiet Emergency in Healthcare

Sandy Cummings

Can companies that offer personal money management programs improve the health of their employees and their own bottom lines? According to Leah Binder’s Forbes.com article, Healthways and Dave Ramsey believe so. Healthways CEO Ben Leedle calls financial distress the “the single greatest quiet emergency in the health world.”

From the c-suite to the front lines, some two-thirds of employees at American companies live one paycheck away from financial collapse. In response to this startling trend, Healthways recently announced an exclusive agreement with Dave Ramsey’s Lampo Group to deliver the CORE™ Financial Wellness program as part of its Well-Being Improvement Solution.

As part of the collaboration, Healthways will scale online delivery of the CORE™ curriculum, bringing new content, interactive features and support to the self-directed program and making it accessible via all media, including mobile devices to millions of Americans through their employers, health plans, health systems, communities and families. Healthways will also work with Gallup to incorporate financial well-being in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which tracks employee health like a stock market ticker.

So why should businesses care about employees’ finances? Healthways studied the connection between good health and good personal finance and found that “stress from finances took all their energy, and it wasn’t until employees got their financial house in order” that they could take on the challenge of improving their health.

By offering Dave Ramsey’s program that explores the deeply personal aspects of managing money, Healthways is poised to help workers improve their productivity and companies improve their profitability.

Topics: Financial Well-Being In the News Business Performance Dave Ramsey Competitive Advantage Stress

6 Culprits Hurting Well-Being at Work

Jennifer Rudloff

Reposted from the Well-Being Wire by MeYou Health

For as much time as we spending working, it seems so easy to lose track of the impact our worklife can have on our overall well-being. So here are six of the common culprits that take a swipe at our well-being at work, along with a few simple ideas for the small actions we can take to tackle them—

Multitasking

Many people multitask in search of great productivity, but oftentimes this kind of distracted behavior actually makes us less productive. Multitaskers are typically less focused and experience higher levels of stress, and multitasking can even strain personal relationships and lead to accidents (think texting while driving). Instead, try tackling just one task at a time and giving it 100%. Start with a single activity and focus on it for ten minutes straight. Occasional interruptions are expected during the workday, but being fully present and avoiding the many temptations in our day can lead to much better results.

Active listening means making eye contact and repeating what someone has just said.

Poor Communication

When talking to co-workers, it’s all too easy to half-listen while you think about your own response or what’s for lunch. To avoid a potentially damaging discord, the next time you speak to a colleague, try practicing active listening techniques. While the other person is speaking, focus your full attention on what he or she is saying. Look at the person in the eyes, and when it’s your turn, repeat back what he or she has said. Tuning in fully promotes openness between people, helps avoid misunderstandings because you have to confirm what the other person actually said.

Avoidance

Building relationships at work is one of the keys to a successful career, but many people find themselves in routines that keep them away from people they don’t know. Choose someone at work who is new to you or whom you rarely interact with. When you see him or her today, make the effort to say hello, and follow it up with a friendly smile. Breaking out of this rut can help you learn more about your workplace and your colleagues, and will give you a reputation for being warm and engaging, not cool or unapproachable.

Procrastination

There’s nothing worse than having something you’re not looking forward to doing in the back of your mind all day. Maybe it’s making an unpleasant phone call or addressing an issue with a co-worker. Why not try to identify the toughest task you have on your plate, and take steps to address that task first rather than putting it off until later in the day? Get it done first, and then the rest of your day will feel like a breeze. It also gives you a lift because you’ll feel proud that you were able to get it done so early.

Cluttered workspaces can lead to stress and lost time when it comes to finding things.

Clutter


Whether it’s papers piled high on your desk, or digital files strewn everywhere on your hard drive, disorganization can lead to distress! Clutter makes it harder to find things and this can cost you time and cause unnecessary stress. Try recycling or throwing away things that you don’t need and make a small stack (or folder) of items that really do need your attention. Return other objects to their rightful places in your work area, and banish that frustrating feeling of not being able to find the things you’re looking for. Cleaned-up workspace, clear-thinking mind!

Overdoing It

Sometime it feels like the work will never stop coming, and more than ever, our many gadgets and gizmos keep us tethered to our workday tasks. Try making a conscious decision to create a boundary between work and home by turning off the technology that keeps you connected to the office. After you get home tonight, do not check your work email, voicemail, or texts, and turn off your smartphone. Take it a step further and limit yourself to 30 minutes of work talk once you’re off the clock today. This may help you unwind, but it also leaves more time for the many other important aspects of life, like family and friends.

Topics: Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Stress Productivity

Don’t Stress – Employee Well-Being Is Simple

Jennifer Rudloff

Whether it stems from work, family or finances, stress is a part of life that’s tough to fully escape. While external pressures will always come and go, there are steps that we can take to help to manage and eliminate stress in our daily lives, and they don’t have to be costly solutions.

There are many ways that employers can help reduce the stress of their employees, we’ve outlined a few stress-reducing ideas that could be executed in almost any workplace. On an organizational level, these activities are very inexpensive, or in many cases, free.

  • Walking during lunch: Even if it’s just for 15 minutes each day, taking a brisk walk around your office can allow employees to clear their heads and return to work feeling refreshed and with more focus. Depending on the climate, organizations might consider creating indoor walking paths around the office or outdoor walking maps of the surrounding areas. To take it one step further, think about organizing walking moais for your colleagues, or consider providing pedometers to make walking a little more fun (they could even download an app like monumental to their phones.) Fun fact: pedometer users walked at least 2,000 more steps each day than nonusers, increasing their physical activity levels by 27%. Regardless of how they choose to move, there are many benefits to moving more at work.
  • Office pot lucks: Whether it’s company wide or with individual teams, organizing office pot luck lunches once a month will allow your employees to connect with each other over a nice meal. These could be themed for each month – but the company should always encourage healthy choices. Having regular “non-work” events like this breaks up the workday and provides an incentive that employees can look forward to, rather than stressing about current tasks at hand. It will also help to build a collaborative environment and provide a sense of belonging, which can help drive engagement.
  • Group athletic activities: Company stress-busting initiatives don’t have to require major financial investments. You can build a culture that supports fitness activities and add a little fun to the workday. It can be as simple as allowing employees flex time so that they can go visit a local yoga studio. Or it could mean encouraging employees to bring in their favorite fitness DVD’s (or providing them a library of choices) and allowing a space to gather together and sweat.
  • Organizing clubs: Clubs are a great way for employees to connect on a social level inside and outside the office. Organizations should communicate to their employees that clubs are welcome, and that these clubs can use the company setting (such as conference rooms) for gatherings or discussions if needed. Whether the group focuses on food, books, tea, or other interests, communicating the acceptance of non-work-related clubs to employees indicates that your organization supports the lifestyles of employees outside of the office. If possible, the company could also donate a few healthy snacks for club meetings.
  • Lunch breaks: This sounds like a no-brainer for stress reduction, but in a time when many companies are doing more with less, many employees have taken to eating lunches at their desks on a regular basis. In fact, some 70% of Americans report to eating at their desks several times a week. Encouraging your employees to take lunch breaks, even short ones, allows them to take the time to actually focus on enjoying their lunches (which can help to prevent mindless overeating), and connect with colleagues. Furthermore, desks dirty – in fact, on average; desks are 400 times dirtier than your toilet.

While some worry about the “loss” of productivity that comes with giving employees time for their own mental and physical health, improving the well-being of employees has actually been proven to increase workplace productivity. Think about it: taking an hour –or even half an hour – each day to clear your head allows you to return to work with a clean mental slate. When we feel fit and focused, we’re better workers.

If you’re looking for a point person to help set some of the above ideas in motion, try your company’s human resources director or manager. We bet they’ll be happy to work with you on investigating ways to improve the well-being of the people at your company, particularly those that can be done with minimal investment. For more ideas on decreasing stress while simultaneously increasing productivity, contact us about our solutions.

How does your company help decrease the stress of its employees?

Topics: Healthy Living Workplace Well-Being Business Performance Stress Social Well-Being Stress Management

Well-Being at Work: Managing Stress

Jennifer Rudloff

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. Whether it comes in the form of a pressing deadline, a family matter or financial discomfort, we're all going to feel the pressure of stress at one time or another. The good news is there's a way to deal with it. Elmo Shade is part of our Leadership Development team at Healthways, he's also our resident expert on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). In this video Elmo talks about some of the principles of MBSR and provides some healthy ways to respond respond to and manage stressors.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83Hcvz3ZS4U']

Topics: Meditation Exercise Workplace Well-Being Health Stress Mindfulness Elmo Shade Healthways Stress Management