NBA and NBPA Working on Mental Wellness Program

Professional sports provide many with a form of escape from their daily lives. It sparks debates, brings people of different backgrounds together and helps fulfills the competitive drive within many.

With the NFL, NBA and MLB generating billions in revenue annually and player contracts the most lucrative they’ve ever been, it’s easy to view the lives of professional athletes as those of little-to-no worries. What’s often not given the attention as the dollar amount of their contracts are the demands placed on them by those contracts, family needs, already suppressed mental issues, and the pressures that come with a life in the public eye.

A Focus on Mental Wellness

There has been recent progress made in professional sports on the handling and addressing of mental health issues. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts recently revealed that the NBA and the NBPA are creating a mental wellness program for players.

In an interview with SB Nation, Roberts said “Everyone makes much ado about physical health and making sure these athletes are able to stay injury free so they can play. It’s been preposterous not to realize that mental wellness needed to be given attention.”

Roberts also called it “a shame” that mental wellness in the NBA has been overlooked.

Players Speaking Out on Their Issues

Just recently, Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan went public in acknowledging he suffers from depression. His admission led to Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kevin Love to open up about his own mental health issues in an essay published on The Player’s Tribune titled “Everyone Is Going Through Something.”

One in four adults has a mental health condition. That’s over 60 million Americans and 56 percent of American adults with mental illness do not receive treatment even with more having access to services.

Considering that many players that enter the NBA are as young as 18 when they are drafted, the pressure that comes with the weight of expectations both personally and professionally can wear on any young adult.

Perhaps the most prevalent aspects of the program, according to Roberts, is that it would be completely independent and separate from teams, the NBA and the NBPA. This would give players privacy to help receive the treatment they need without fear of any personal information being shared by organizations.

Conclusion

The productivity of each player on the roster is essential to the success of any franchise. Making strides to assure that they have the proper attention off the court to be at their best is just as important as having the best to help develop their skills on the court. The program isn’t yet fully in place but it’s another example of an industry placing a concentrated effort on the wellness and wellbeing of their employees.

Addressing Financial Stress in the Workplace

A recent report by the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA) showed that 25 percent of employees say that financial concerns affect their ability to do their jobs. There is a direct correlation between employees’ financial worries and their productivity at work.
Financial Wellbeing in the Workplace 
With federal student loan debt in the trillions, the cost of living at a steady increase, and the increase in additional living expenses, it’s easy to see why there are financial wellbeing issues seeping into the workplace. Over the last few years, there has been a conscientious effort by employers to provide financial wellness programs but there is a still a long way to go to create programs that benefit, educate and support the financial security of their employees.
Stressed Employees are Working Less
“Financial stressors are not only negatively impacting employees, but are costing employers,” says PwC’s Partner and National Practice Leader, Kent E. Allison. Stressed employees are found to be less productive, take time off from work to deal with their finances, and are more likely to cite health issues caused by financial stress. These findings are concerning and potentially significant for companies looking to evaluate the return on investment of a financial wellness program.”
Illness on the Rise in the Workplace
Financial stresses have been linked to cardiovascular disease, migraines, insomnia and more, which could all lead to absence from work. Financial stress can also have a negative effect on mental health, causing depression and other mood disorders.
Employers Providing Financial Wellness Programs 
Even with many employers providing financial wellness programs, the engagement hasn’t been high. This is mostly due to most programs focusing mainly on savings for retirement, which is vital, but does nothing for the immediate concerns of workers, such as managing debt, creating savings, tax and insurance.
 
One dilemma facing employers is the different needs of each worker. An older or part-time worker isn’t going to benefit from the same information as a millennial would. Employers are aware of this, and striking a balance for all groups to help address their financial concerns can only help promote a more engaged and productive workplace. The better the workplace, the better an employee can focus and produce to their full potential.
 
Other options companies are incorporating to recognize the diversity of needs in the workforce are launching student-loan repayment benefits, and offering workplace individual savings and investment accounts. Many companies are even helping their employees learn to better manage their debt with discounted seminars and educational platforms. Offerings like these may maximize the impact of existing benefits budgets.
Conclusion
As awareness continues to grow, more holistic financial planning offerings from employers are expected. There will still be a greater deal of emphasis on retirement funding, but the days of ignoring the overall financial wellbeing of employees are slowly coming to an end. 

How Workplace Lighting can Affect Productivity

There are several variables that affect workplace productivity. While there has been a greater shift by employers to focus on these factors to make the necessary changes to assure their employees are at their healthiest, there is one workplace element that oftentimes goes ignored: Lighting.

And the Survey Says…

According to data collected by Leesman, – the world’s largest independent assessor of workplace effectiveness – of the quarter of a million employees in 69 countries surveyed, 75.8 percent stated that natural light is important to them, yet only 56.9 percent were happy with the offering in their workplace.

Lighting can have a significant impact on the concentration and productivity of an office. A study conducted by the American Society of Interior Design revealed that 68 percent of employees disliked the lighting in their offices. Studies have also shown that your overall feeling of health and well-being can be affected by the lighting in the space you’re in. Philips Systems also conducted a recent research that indicated the link between light and our internal “built-in clocks,” better known as circadian rhythms, that determine your sleep cycle, stimulation and relaxation.

Effects of Lighting in The Workplace

Dim lighting can be a serious detriment in an office setting. Not only can it cause eyestrain but it can also cause headaches, drowsiness and lack of focus. As one could deduce, this would hamper the concentration and productivity of any employee. Many offices have florescent lighting because of its long light life, with some being able to last up to 50,000 hours. However, this can also cause eyestrain and also serve as a trigger for those who suffer from migraine headaches.

Natural lighting has been shown to affect our moods, productivity, concentration, eyes, our decision-making and our sleep cycles. How many times after coming home from an eight or nine-hour shift at work have you felt lethargic, sluggish and in need of a nap? Many don’t take into account that this pattern could be a result from the lighting in their workplace.

Employer Responsible for Proper Lighting

Many employers would dread the cost of an overhaul to their office lighting but this is mainly an upfront cost. There are several lighting and energy options available that could actually help provide an employer with several thousand dollars per year in energy cost. Considering the significant negative impact poor lighting has on the productivity of a workplace, employers would be doing their employees and themselves a disservice by not looking into any option to increase the productivity of their workplace.

Can Workplace Workouts Work for You?

For many in the workforce, there are simply not enough hours in the day, especially to commute to a gym before or after work. With this in mind, any workplace wellness program – space permitting – could benefit from wellness initiatives with physical activity components.

Onsite Wellness Programs

The advantages of an onsite program would benefit those looking to get a quality workout in. This gives workers the opportunity to be active during their lunches or after their workday is complete. Employers could even incentivize their workers further to utilize the space by implementing a rewards program to help encourage more in the office to participate. There are also opportunities to help foster a sense of teamwork within the office by challenging them to work together to achieve team goals.

According to health.gov, adults gain health benefits, such as better fitness, healthier body size and composition, when they do the equivalent of at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity (2 hours and 30 minutes) each week.

Bringing Awareness to your Employer

Employees looking to get this on the radar of their employer can talk to their human resources manager to help make their case for wellness initiatives with physical activity and the benefits associated with it.

If there is no space where physical activities can be incorporated, other initiatives such as walking meetings, taking the stairs, bike programs and company step challenges can also be implemented to give coworkers more diversity in encouraging physical activity.

Summary

The goal of any wellness initiative is to lower health costs, enhance employee engagement and reduce absenteeism and turnover. By incorporating some time for physical activity, or a space dedicated to it, employers can help influence and motivate behavioral changes, which affect daily help habits, stress and an adoption of a wellness plan of their own.

Corporate wellness starts with the employees and knowing them is essential to the success of any initiative. However, employees sharing their ideas and voicing their opinions to help get plans turned into action aids in providing their employers the knowledge they need to make the proper changes.

If your interested in bringing a wellness culture to your organization:
Check out MoveSpring, a fun and easy to use health platform for companies and organization to compete in fitness tracking challenges!

How Social Connections Can Enhance Your Wellness Program

Most Americans spend a third of their day at work. With that, most of their daily human interactions come are with their coworkers. These work relationships or social connections are incredibly important to employee well-being and it’s important for employers to understand the importance of social connections in the workplace.

Social Connections in the Workplace

The importance of these relationships can directly affect an employee’s stress level or happiness at their office. These interactions can have a negative impact on the employees work performance and health, if these are negative experiences, as not many are able to work as diligently when faced with high levels of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can have negative effects to your body, mood, and behavior. The effects range from headache and are as serious as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Strong Social Connections Can Lead to Healthier Workplace

Employers who help support social connections in the workplace build a stronger and more cohesive work environment, which leads to a more successful workforce. Employees with strong social connections are typically healthier, according to the Mayo Clinic. The benefits of these connections:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise
Workplace Collaboration, Communication & Social Connections

It’s rare that employees go into work seeking to make friends or establish relationships with their coworkers because it can be difficult to find ways to relate to a coworker on a personal level that endears you to them. That is why it’s important that the employer promotes a workplace culture that encourages collaboration, communication and social interaction between employees. This helps foster a work environment that supports trust, a sense of belonging, respect and camaraderie amongst employees.

Some ways employers can look to help promote this initiative are:

  • Team building exercises: These activities should be fun and a way for workers to relax. Activities such as office trivia, escape room or even field trips (they’re not just for kids) is a great way to help build connections.
  • Team wellness challenges: While staying healthy is an individual aspect, many struggle with it because of lack of motivation. Creating a team walking or step challenge is a great way to help encourage social interactions and create a since of belonging.
  • Team meals: The easiest way to establish connections is to break bread together. Employers can host weekly or monthly team meal to help social engagement.
  • Open office areas: Depending on the size of a company, it’s easy to for employees in different departments to have no knowledge of one another. An open office area, or taking time out to introduce teammates from different departments a chance at social interaction that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Summary

Strong social connections improve happiness and physical health, which can translate into better work performance. Just as important as an employer’s wellness offerings are is their fostering of a culture that supports social well-being among employees.

For team wellness challenge ideas, check out MoveSpring by Stridekick! Fun, easy-to-use health platform for companies and organizations. Connect any activity tracking device and get moving as a group!

Managing Obesity In the Workplace

Obesity is one of the most common diseases affecting the American workplace today. It’s also one that employers are starting to take a deeper look into to try and curb because of the money lost in productivity.

Productivity Loss Due to Obesity

Full-time workers who are overweight or obese and have chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work each year than healthy workers. The result is an estimated cost of more than $150 billion in lost productivity each year. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Americans spend up to half their waking life sitting.

More than one-third of U.S. adults have obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defines obesity as weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. The disease increases the risk of numerous health and safety risks, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some cancers.

Contributors to the Growth in Obesity

Diet, lifestyle and genetics all play a role in the disease. According to a recently released guidance statement from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the workplace has become a contributor to the growth in obesity because of the conversion of the American workforce from mostly manual labor to desk jobs. Because of the decline in manual labor, that has resulted in a decrease in more than 100 calories in both men and women with expending energy while at work during the day. Furthermore, sitting time at work is associated with higher BMI (Body Mass Index).

Employers Managing Employee Obesity

With most people spending most of their day at work, the responsibility for managing obesity among the working population has become that of the employers. The health of employees is critical to a company’s overall productivity and retention of talent.

Some of the preventative measures a company can take in preventing and helping treat obesity in their workplace:

  • Offer regular health screenings for employees.
  • Provide memberships or discounts to health/fitness clubs.
  • Present wellness classes on nutrition, exercise and weight management.
  • Offer healthy choices in cafeteria and/or vending machines
  • Ensure access to safe walking area for employees/encourage employees to use the stairways.
  • Provide healthier food at meetings and other employee events.

Some of the treatment options listed by the guidance statement are:

  • Implementation of a workplace wellness program that provides opportunities to aid employees in adopting healthy lifestyles.
  • Offer behavioral counseling to employees.
  • Offer coverage/access to bariatric surgery to individuals with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2.

To learn more about a workplace wellness solution, check out MoveSpring, a fun and easy to use health platform for companies and organizations .

Employees Say Office Food is the Biggest Obstacle to Wellness

According to findings from a Robert Half survey, 66 percent of HR managers say their organizations health and wellness offerings have increased in the past five years. However, many workers feel the food habits at their office are a deterrent to those offerings.

No matter the amount of morning yoga sessions, walking meetings or reimbursed gym memberships, the type of food around the office can sabotage any of those measures.

Keeping Your Hands Out of the Cookie Jar

30 percent of employees said that food at office celebrations. Candy, cakes and cookies may seem like harmless snacks, but the temptation can lead to indulging by those looking to maintain a healthy diet and serve as detrimental to the overall goals of the individual and the company. Other big deterrents listed was snacks brought in by coworkers (22%), free meals (10), the vending machine (10), the office candy jar (10), happy hours/after-work drinks (9), business trips (8), and bagel Monday’s (3).

44 percent reported that they ate better when they worked from home, which means that those workers feel when tasked with choosing the food at their office, or having to order out, they are less likely to have or select healthy options than if they prepared their own lunches.

Alternative Food Options

Fresh fruits and raw vegetables are a popular item. Bananas make the top of many dietary experts snack lists because of their nutrition value and with them being a healthy, sweet-tasting alternative to sugary snack.

Other options employers can stock their kitchens with these alternatives:

  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Light popcorn
  • Individual portions of peanut butter
  • Pretzels
  • Baked chips
  • Trail mix
  • Roasted or whole nuts
  • Whole wheat bagels
  • Flavored, low sugar water

Employers can also check out the free workplace nutrition tools and resources compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Conclusion

The good is that 89 percent of employees feel their company is supportive of their health and wellness goals. By providing healthier food options, employers can help their employees sustain higher energy levels longer and help keep them better aligned with the employers overall goals of their health and wellness offerings.

71 Percent of Employees See Well-being as the Driver of Workplace Culture

Workplace Culture

How important is employee well-being in workplace culture? According to research by LifeWorks, 71 percent of US employer respondents view employee well-being as a fundamental driver of their workplace culture.

LifeWorks is an HR Technology company that helps employees by providing a global employee well-being platform that serves 49,000 companies with more than 15 million users.

Workplace health and well-being programs can help both the wellness of the employees, but also can lead to a significant increase in the engagement and overall productivity in the workplace. A more productive workplace can save employers thousands per employee from unproductiveness, sick leave and unplanned absences.

And the Survey Says…

LifeWorks survey of 500 senior US-based HR professionals showed that 17 percent of respondents believe employees are unaware of their employee benefits. 16 percent claimed that they do not understand how to use their benefits, and a further 16 percent showed that staffs do not have time to use their employee benefits.

What the research shows is that employers could be doing more to inform their employees about the programs and benefits that are available to them. In order to help turn this around, companies will have to task themselves on rebuilding their culture, so that the employees will get excited about their own health and look to take advantage of the various benefits that would otherwise be under utilized by them without the knowledge.

Summary

This is a complicated endeavor for a lot of companies, as a structure has been set in place for decades and reshaping that requires daily practice. Awareness of the programs and benefits needs to be the first priority. Making sure employees feel supported is also valuable, as many may be already dealing with a pre-existing condition and could benefit from the offerings through their workplace that could help them outside of the office.

By continuing to not properly educate employees on why and how to use their benefits, and ignore information such as the research of LifeWorks, employers are setting their staff up to fail.

Retrofit Named to List of Best and Brightest in Wellness

Promoting Health in the Workplace

Illinois-based wellness company, Retrofit, was recognized for promoting health in the workplace and community by being named to the nation’s list of Best and Brightest Companies and overall and Best and Brightest Companies in Wellness® by the National Association for Business Resources.

Retrofit Transforming Lives

Retrofit is a personalized, holistic weight-management and disease-prevention solution that is geared towards transforming lives and workplaces by improving health, happiness and performance. They deliver personalized attention of coaches, combined with live interactive classes, self-monitoring technology to encourage healthy behaviors and social support from expert-led community groups.

The Best and Brightest in WellnessTM is an awards competition that provides companies the opportunity to gain recognition and showcase their offerings in wellness.

Conclusion

Employees at Retrofit benefit from health perks such as access to the company’s weight-management and disease-prevention programs. There is also time-off to volunteer, flexible work schedules the option to work from home, unlimited paid time off, walking meetings, treadmill desks and exercise breaks during all company meetings.

The company has also been named a Great Place to Work, one of the 20 Best Workplaces in Health Care, one of Illinois Healthiest Employers and a Best Workplace for Women.

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Can sitting be just as detrimental to your health as smoking?
The Effects of Sitting Too Long
Research has shown that prolonged sitting has been linked to excess body fat, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. There are also the common symptoms that stem from remaining idle for long stretches, such as fatigue and inability to concentrate.
 
On top of working in front of a computer throughout the workday, the commuting to work means that typical Americans spend up to half of their waking life sitting, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
How to Combat the Effects
While that information is startling, it’s nothing new. With the growing awareness of employers to help keep their employees engaged, healthy and active, a focus on ways to encourage movement during the workday should be a top priority. There are a variety of inexpensive options employers can implement that can begin making a significant difference.
 
Many companies have already introduced walking meetings as a way to promote physical activity and energized and more alert participants. Several companies have also turned to giving their employees Fitbits and other wearable accessories to help track their daily steps. Giving employees the option of having standing or treadmill desks is also becoming more commonplace.
 
In Australia and Canada, there are campaigns that prompt companies to design their workspaces in a way that encourages activity. Most companies can adopt this strategy by structuring their workstations further away from the bathroom and kitchen area.
In Conclusion
While employers try to create concepts and incentives for getting workers to participate in office-based wellness programs, simple changes such as the ones listed can actually begin to make some progress in increasing the productivity level and attentiveness of their employees through encouraging simple increases in activity throughout the office.