Many companies have health and wellness programs in place for employees, whether it be through cash based wellness-incentives or physical programs like exercise classes, challenges, or health seminars, and this trend is on the rise.
According to a 2013 report from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, 86 percent of employers offered wellness-based incentives to employees in 2013, up 29 percent from 2009.
It’s hugely positive that companies are emphasizing a focus on employee health and wellness, and what’s even better news? It’s likely many businesses have programs in place that they may not even know serve to keep their employees healthy! Read more…
“So Dad, now you can relax since you have all this time off. I am taking my vacation the same time so we can both hang out.”
On my 12 hour flight from Saudi Arabia to New York last Friday, I thought of what am I going to do for close to four weeks off. In the Middle East, it is not viewed favorably if you are doing company work while away on vacation unless it is an absolute emergency.
I wrote a TLNT post that broke records in views and readership a while back about vacations: Americans vs. other expats. I know of so many people who have taken 30, 40 days of vacation and do not give it a second thought. But here I am in the solitude at 50,000 feet altitude wondering what I am going to do for the next month. Read more…
According to the scientists, stress kills.
Stress affects our brain chemistry and our neurological system and makes us gain weight in all the wrong places, like around the belly.
Some scientists say that the lower your place in the social hierarchy, the more stress you’ll have. That doesn’t sound terribly shocking, considering some of the difficulties of being poor.
But what is shocking is that these studies weren’t conducted on the poorest of the poor. These studies involved middle-class folks in middle-class jobs making their middle-class widgets.
Apparently, being a subordinate sucks. Read more…
It’s annual enrollment time, the autumn period when many people with job-based health insurance ante up for another year.
Although news reports have fixated on the problems with the online health marketplaces that launched Oct. 1, for the vast majority of people that’s a non-issue. If they get insurance through a job at a company that has at least 50 employees, they probably won’t be using the marketplaces, also called exchanges.
That doesn’t mean people with employer-based plans are unaffected by the Affordable Care Act. As employers adjust plans to meet new requirements and try to reduce their costs, people can expect to see changes next year. Read more…
Editor’s Note: Sometimes, readers ask about past TLNT articles they may have missed. That’s why on Fridays we republish a Classic TLNT post that some of you have requested.
Nearly 20 years ago when I was editor of a newspaper in Great Falls, Montana, there was a winter ritual that never ceased to amaze me: watching members of my staff huddled outside the back door of the building trying to have a quick smoke before they couldn’t stand the cold anymore.
Yes, north central Montana can be a pretty chilly place.
The February day I left to fly to a new job in Hawaii (that’s another story for another day), the temperature was a crisp 15 below zero with a wind chill of around minus 45, so seeing people huddled outside freezing their fannies off just because they needed a smoke seemed, well, a little excessive.
This just proved to be again that smokers go through a lot to be able to get their fix. Read more…
By Howard Mavity
I have always assumed that exhaustion affects our judgment, makes us sloppy and unsafe, and more prone to anger.
Behavioral research supports my assumptions. Perhaps our first wellness step should be a campaign to get employees to sleep … and to follow our own advice!
Dr. Christopher M. Barnes posted a provocatively titled May 31 blog, Sleep-Deprived People Are More Likely To Cheat on the HBR Blog Network. Barnes pointed out that: Read more…
Employers will be able to increase rewards to workers who participate in wellness programs under final rules released Wednesday by the Obama Administration.
The final rules, similar to those proposed in November as part of the Affordable Care Act, have raised concerns among advocates who represent people with chronic or severe illnesses, as well as among some employers. They allow employers to increase workers’ financial stakes from 20 percent of the cost of their health premiums to 30 percent, starting next year.
Participating in tobacco cessation programs carries a maximum reward or penalty of 50 percent of the cost of an employee’s health plan. Read more…
I’ve yet to talk with someone about employee wellness without hearing about how an employer allows — if not actually provides — donuts or cupcakes or something similar at meetings.
The underlying message is this: the employer can’t be very serious about wellness if they’re still offering such junk food regularly.
I don’t disagree, but how far is too far? The comments on a post about junk food-free workplaces suggests barring people from bringing in their own food is simply a bridge too far. Read more…
What does wading through mud pits or running a grueling half-marathon sound like to you?
If you’re like a growing number of companies, the answer is “team bonding.”
Fitness events like mud runs, bike trips, and other sporting challenges are increasingly common in businesses of all sizes, as companies work to increase employee engagement through teamwork, while simultaneously promoting healthy lifestyles and wellness for their workers.
For some employees, however, participation is a luxury that’s far out of reach. What happens if other commitments, different abilities, or varied interests keep some of your team from participating? Is physical exercise the best way, or will it work to marginalize some of your staff? Read more…
As more employers consider how to reduce the percentage of tobacco users in their workforces, one policy in particular has raised eyebrows and hackles more than others: No-hire tobacco policies.
Today, it’s mostly health care systems implementing these policies barring the hiring of tobacco users. They easily argue the importance of employing a workforce that boldly and uniformly stands for healthy lifestyle habits.
On the surface, it’s hard not to agree with the policy. And since health workers are the least healthy among us, perhaps we should consider this a laudable stand by their employers. But once you burrow into the ethical considerations, you may discover what a complex, divisive issue this is. Read more…