(Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
It seems to make sense that if your employees are healthy, motivated and engaged, they are happy. I also believe that with a happy, healthy workforce, you experience increased productivity, higher staff retention and a healthier bottom line - a win/win situation.
Employers have recognized this for many years, offering their employees incentives, such as subsidized gym memberships, health checks, in-house weight loss programs, staff satisfaction surveys, cinema tickets - the list is huge. For some employees, it has the desired effect - at least, temporarily - but for most, it just doesn't have a positive, long-term impact. So are we missing the point? Instead of guessing at the problem and providing the answer we think is required, would a better approach be to actually identify the issue and tailor the solution?
I think so. In my mind, wellbeing is not a "one-size-fits-all" approach - it's a way of life. It's the integration of mind, body, spirit. Everything we do, think, feel, believe and eat has an impact on our state of health. It's more than just the food we eat - factors such as healthy relationships, a fulfilling career, regular physical activity and spiritual awareness are essential forms of nourishment. And it's personal - each and every individual is unique - so offering, for example, subsidised gym membership (which often is taken up but not used) - does not get to the heart of the matter, so any incentive only provides temporary relief. Wellbeing & Performance coaching provides a positive connection, a supportive relationship for the person(s) who want to make a positive, permanent change. It a journey of self-discovery; the client finds their own answers and makes their own choices. The coach encourages and supports them on their chosen path.
Our programs focus on 12 key areas. Working one-on-one or in groups, each individual decides the areas he/she wants to work on, and creates their own action steps that move them towards their goal. The process is less time-consuming than you would imagine; the results are more far-reaching than you could hope for.
For more information on how Wellbeing & Performance Coaching can improve the health and happiness of your employees (and yourself), please email me: email@example.com or call (02) 8006 9224.
There is some interesting dialogue from that wonderful play “Fiddler On The Roof”. Tevye, the unspoken leader of the village Anatevka, acknowledges something one of the villagers says by saying “You are right.”. Another villager speaks with a differing view and Tevye says to him “You are right.” Then another villager speaks and says “He is right and he is right. How can they both be right?” Tevye responds by saying You know, you are also right.”
When it comes to Health and Wellness, how can they all be right? What is the next right thing to do? Before we address that issue, let us view a couple of examples. First, here are differing views from two very high profile exercise experts /personal trainers.
First, Bill Phillips in his book, Body for Life, states that aerobic exercise is best done early in the morning before you eat. He states that your metabolism will increase faster and you will burn more fat on an empty stomach. Bill cites that scientific studies show this to be true.
Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame says that she learned from a biochemist that exercising on an empty stomach is the wrong thing to do, because muscle tissue will be metabolized. This statement can be found in her book, Master Your Metabolism.
There is a whole book written about the Glycemic Index and the importance of what carbohydrates produce the least sugar in the bloodstream. The prevailing belief is that lower glycemic carbs will make you stay fuller longer. Also the more sugar in your bloodstream makes your pancreas work harder to produce the hormone insulin that carries this glucose to the muscles and cells. However, the American Diabetes association does not deem the Glycemic Index that practical, because it says that these foods are measured singularly and not as they are when they are ingested with other foods during a meal.
So, there you have two examples, one of exercise, and one of diet, of two experts expressing different opinions. Can they both be right? What is the next right thing to do?
The answer is to engage the services of a Health and Wellness Coach. They can help you decide the next right thing to do. A good Health and Wellness coach will meet you in your journey and with their guidance you can decide what is right for you. One thing is certain. Almost all of us need the right diet, the right diet supplements, the right exercise, and the right state of mind, to achieve good health and wellness. Choose a wellness coach as you would your physician or spiritual counselor, with great care. Look for experience, credibility, compatibility, and accessibility.
Trust your instincts to do the next right thing.
Steve Taylor is a weight loss specialist and the author of My OWN Weigh
, a book detailing his lifelong struggles with obesity and morbid obesity. After participating in almost "all of the diets" only to regain his weight back, Steve reveals the discovery of his unique approach to weight loss that has netted him a loss of 170 pounds that he has maintained over the years. For more information, go to http://www.myownweigh.com
Are you responsible for your employee’s mental health? No, you don’t think so? Well think again!
1 in 5 Australians will suffer some form of mental disorder at some stage of the life. Every year a further 20,000 are found to have a mental illness. This includes during their working life.
So, what does this mean for you as a business owner? Well there are two issues:
First, largely due to the stigma attached to mental illness, it is often not seen in the same category as illnesses such as the flu, measles or cancer. We often don’t know how to treat or interact with someone with a mental illness, whereas we are comfortable to send flowers and arrange support for the 'traditional' maladies. We need to admit to ourselves that it's highly likely we will employ someone with a mental illness and we need to be able to manage this, within our business.
One of the common causes of mental illness is stress and the second, and mostly unknown repercussion for business owners, is that stress falls under Workplace Health and Safety - there is an onus on Directors to protect employees. The current NSW Act places the primary duty of care for health and safety on the employer. You must create a working environment that is safe and can eliminate health risks that are stress-related.
As an employer you are required to:
- use risk assessment techniques to understand and measure risk levels
- respond to any identified stress hazard(s) by implementing suitable control measures
As such, there is now a strong expectation from the courts that employers are able to demonstrate how documented assessment of hazards and risk, combined with the use of sufficient, measured risk control, actually lead to effective risk reduction.
In the case of State of NSW vs. Marilyn Mannal (2005) NSW CA 367, Judge McLaughlin found the State of NSW Dept of Housing in Wagga was derelict in its duty of care and awarded $330,000. Ms Mannal claimed that when she was appointed as a Team Leader after a restructure, she was subjected to victimisation, harassment, humiliation and abuse in the workplace, which had caused psychiatric injury.
Ms Mannal had been instructed to attack the existing workplace culture and started her new role enthusiastically. The team, maybe still loyal to the previous, replaced Team Leader, became more dysfunctional; actively harassing her, were rude and did not accept her direction. Her Manager, although aware of the situation, failed to intervene on Ms Mannal’s behalf. After 19 months and many requests to Management for support, Ms Mannal sought medical assistance for a stress disorder. The Judge found that the management knew there was significant disruption and disloyalty within the team and that, therefore, the risks to mental health were foreseeable and that both formal and informal internal mechanisms in place had not been utilised.
As an employer, you are not expected to be a counsellor nor a medical practitioner but you are expected to provide a safe working environment and appropriately support any employer suffering from a mental illness. We can help you with strategies to mitigate this risk. Remember: all your employees matter!
owns Employee Matters Pty Ltd; an HR Consultancy that assists small to medium businesses with their HR functions to make them more efficient and profitable. Their offering includes HR Management, Recruitment, Training, Coaching, and Exit Management – find them at www.employeematters.com.au.
I've always maintained that it's easy to keep a customer happy; that good customer service is easy to provide - it's simply a case of treating your customers with respect and making them feel they are the only customers that matter to you.
Over the last few days, I've realized that there's a little more to it than that.
I've received fantastic customer service from two similar sources over the past two days, but been left with two totally different experiences.
We'd asked two real estate agents to help us look for a property in an area we are less than familiar with. We gave our brief - very specific about what we wanted in terms of location, amenities, size, number of rooms, price range, etc.
Both agents gave up four hours of their day to drive us to various properties, seeking our feedback on each. Both provided a coffee break so we could reflect and chat about each property.
The first agent took us to a beautiful property - we both agreed it ticked all the boxes, with one major exception. It was just in the wrong location.
He just wouldn't listen to us. He heard us say that, as a property it was perfect, and kept telling us all the reasons why we should buy it. He tried scare tactics by saying things like "I know what will happen, you'll decide it's for you, and you'll be too late - someone else will have bought it. Then what will you do?"
When this didn't work, he emailed us all the reasons we should bite the bullet and make the purchase. Any comment we made about why we were not going to buy was met with all the reasons why we should. But these were all his reasons - he lives locally, loves the area, and can't understand why it wasn't right for us, too. His refusal to listen to us actually made dealing with him unpleasant - even a little stressful. He didn't take into account our current circumstances - he didn't even bother to ask questions - he assumed he knew.
The second agent spent the same amount of time with us. She really listened to what we were looking for, and set up appointments for us to view a number of properties. Based on our feedback, she realised she just couldn't meet the brief, and offered to refer us to another branch of her agency, as she thought their area might be more suited to our requirements.
The next day, she phoned me to see how we'd got on. Overnight, Steve and I had discussed things. We'd come to the conclusion that moving requires a compromise that we are not willing to make; that we are so fortunate living in our current home. I relayed this to the agent, and she told me that, based on everything we had told her, and the areas we were looking in, she had come to the same conclusion. When I thanked her for her time, and apologized that it has been a fruitless exercise, she told me "Not at all. It's my job.".
Her parting comment to me was "If you come back to this area again for a visit, let me know as I'd love to catch up with you over a coffee."
I found it a very interesting experience, and a great lesson in sales techniques. Whether we will ever end up buying property in this location remains to be seen, but I know which agent I will be calling if we do!!
I just don't understand it. In a relatively short period of time, we've replaced manual tasks with machines and technology. I vividly remember it taking my Mum all day to do the weekly wash, using a "twin tub" washer/dryer. The introduction of a "front loader" meant she could get on with other tasks while the washing took care of itself.
When I first started work, we marvelled at how messages could be transmitted to other parts of the world via telex machines. In a relatively short period of time, I saw technology advance at an incredible speed - fax machines, photocopiers, scanners - and with the introduction of the pc and internet, everything has become possible through our hand-held devices.
Surely, all these labour-saving devices enable us to enjoy more leisure time? Let the machines do the routine work, use our brains, skills, and judgment to do the work that requires those qualities, and use the time saved to make life more pleasant?
In reality, it seems that rather than being able to enjoy more free time, people do even more work.
I was discussing this with a friend recently. He's a salesman, out on the road all day. He admitted that in order to get home on time, rather than take the full hour allocated for his lunch break, he grabs a quick sandwich then drives to the next appointment.
I don't think his story is unique. More and more people seem to have to sacrifice meal times in order to fit in more work. More and more people, too, find that their work intrudes not just on the whole of the working day, but also on their holidays. Modern technology enables them to keep in constant touch with the workplace. Work becomes an obsession — and many employers encourage that.
Isn't this a misuse of technological developments? Being able to avoid dull, routine tasks by using modern technology clearly makes a lot of sense. It provides the means to improve the quality of life by removing much of the drudgery and concentrating on the more stimulating aspects of work.
Reacting to that possibility by simply taking on more work — and ignoring the opportunity to devote more time to enjoying life — surely makes no sense at all? Perhaps I'm missing the point ... I'd love to hear your views.
Guest Blog by Catherine Brillantes Turvill, Certified Worksite Wellness Specialist
This scenario is all too frequent: employees going on sick leave due to various illnesses like colds, fever, headaches, body aches and pain. Sick or emergency leave is filed to care for family members who have become ill. Chronic illnesses have become more prevalent with an alarming increase in the number of employees seeking medical assistance for cancer, diabetes, kidney and liver ailments, high blood pressure, strokes and the like. Many companies have lost relatively young and successful executives to permanent disability or an early death.
A report by World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health said that a global epidemic of the so-called lifestyle diseases or NCDs (Non Communicable diseases) - including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases - have become a clear threat to global development and economic growth. These lifestyle diseases are responsible for 63% of all deaths worldwide with 80% of those deaths coming from low and middle income countries. Half of those who die are in the prime of their productive years. The report states that NCDs will cost more than $30 Trillion over the next 20 years, and push more people below the poverty line.
Employee illness affects a company’s profitability directly. Studies show that each day of absence due to illness is equivalent to almost 6 times loss of worker productivity per year. Workers who are unable to concentrate at work due to their own illnesses or illnesses of family members “called presenteeism” translates into almost 8 times of reduced worker productivity. Productivity losses from presenteeism exceed the costs of absenteeism and medical disability combined.
Studies also show that healthy workers are 3.1 times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues: healthy workers produced 140 “effective working hours” per month, while the least healthy workers produced only 45 “effective working hours” or 3.1 times less. The cost of health related lost productivity together with direct medical spending were shown to be four times greater than direct medical spending alone..
It is a well known fact that the performance of a company’s human resources is the primary determinant for its success or failure. Healthy employees who are productive translate to company profitability and vice versa.
With productivity and profitability directly linked to employee health, and with the rising incidence of chronic illnesses in the country, there is an urgent need for companies to consider health promotion, disease prevention and employee wellness as a strong value proposition. Companies need to review their employee health strategy: how important is employee health to the organization? Is it a cost driver or a performance driver?
Employee wellness can be seen as a key value, not only in terms of employee benefits, but as a vital strategy for business sustainability. Cognizant of this, a company can take the opportunity to redefine the role of the departments in charge of employee health and medical concerns- be it the company clinic or HR Department. Is it a simple dispenser of medicines and administrator of medical benefits or is it a strategic partner in proactively promoting health in the organization? Does it have a well thought out strategy and plan to introduce, maintain and sustain a culture of wellness and health in the organization?
Many companies have started health promotion activities designed to raise awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Company-sponsored fun runs, nutrition classes and health check ups have become popular in the metropolis. Wellness, however, goes beyond nutrition and exercise and involves activities that help the individuals achieve balance in the body, mind and spirit. Wellness education empowers employees to make the right decisions regarding their and their families’ health.
Beyond single, sporadic activities targeting nutrition and exercise, a company would be well advised to adopt a vision and strategy of health promotion and wellness aimed at introducing a vibrant culture of health in the organization. A well designed wellness program is visibly supported by top management, utilizes several methodologies and activities which actively engage and inspire employees, encourages employees to take responsibility for their lifestyle decisions, and ultimately reflects the end result of improved productivity and greater profitability for the company.
Such programs provide an attractive return on investment for the business and make the company an attractive employer of choice. Companies that see employee wellness programs as a key driver to keep their employees healthy will have a distinct advantage from companies that view employee sickness as a necessary but unwelcome expense.
Catherine Brillantes Turvill is the President and co-owner of Nurture Spa Village (www.nuture.com.ph), and Spa and Wellness Professionals (www.spaprofessionals.net) in the Philippines. Nurture Spa Village offers spa, detoxification and alternative healing services as well as corporate teambuilding and wellness activities. Spa and Wellness Professionals conducts training and consultancy on work-site wellness. Cathy has been involved in human resources training and organization development for the past 30 years. She is a certified Worksite Wellness Specialist from the Natural Wellness Institute of Wisconsin USA, a certified Educator of the Living Foods Institute of Atlanta USA and has undergone classes on Body-Mind Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston.
Why does 95% of the population have poor posture? Because in the modern society we all sit too much! A recent study showed that the average office worker spends only 73 minutes of their entire day standing.
We are designed to be hunter and gatherers, walking all day picking berries and looking for food. Our genes haven’t changed in the last 50,000 years but now we are using our bodies for something that we are not designed for, we are designed for movement.
Prolonged sitting alters the shape and function of your body. It deteriorates the S curve and weakens your leg and back muscles. When we sit for long periods our head is positioned forward, after a while the body re-wires the head in this posture and this becomes a permanent resting position. When we stand, with this forward head position the rest of your body tries to compensate for it. Your head is about the size and weight of a bowling ball so for every inch your head moves forward it doubles how hard your back muscles have to work.
Although the change starts in the neck the rest of the body's joints soon begin to compensate, right down to the feet. These compensations become stress areas which eventually turn into pain. Now traditional therapy treats the area of pain, but you can see now that the area is only sore because it is a compensation from the head going forward, so the only way to truly fix the problem is to remove the forward head posture. With correct posture the weight is evenly distributed over you neck joints and the spine doesn’t need to compensate.
This is why at the Spine and Health Centre’s we specialise in improving posture. To help our clients look better, move better and feel better.
Things you can do yourself to help your posture are:
-Have your desk set up correctly
-Sleep on your side or back only
-Get a new mattress every 10 years and a new pillow every 2 years so they maintain support
And the big one - KEEP MOVING! Don’t sit at you desk for longer than 30mins at a time. If you can take a phone call standing, do it! If you can read a document standing, do it! Park your car further away; get off the bus a stop early. Get involved in some regular exercise and come and see us at the Spine and Health Centres to get your back adjusted and moving correctly.
Dr Clare Fulton has a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and Master of Chiropractic from Macquarie University. Clare’s journey to postural based chiropractic care (ABC TM) began after suffering from a debilitating blown disc in her early 20’s from playing hockey at a competitive level. In her early career Dr. Fulton tried many forms of chiropractic and rehabilitation for her disc but her disc symptoms worsened with time. The disc continued to degenerate to the point where back pain was preventing Dr. Fulton from being able to treat her clients. Eventually it progressed to very painful nerve pain and compression. This situation was becoming very grim indeed. Clare, although a successful chiropractor at another clinic consulted the Spine and Health centre as an actual patient and started their unique posture based chiropractic care and started improving immediately.
Dr. Fulton became pain free and back to work in record time and stayed pain free. From here, it was clear what to do! Dr. Fulton left her job working as a sports chiropractor and started the Mosman Spine and Health clinic and has been happily (and pain free) working ever since!
Christmas Fitness Tips
Set Some Fitness Goals and Have a Plan
Set fitness goals and stick to a plan, without goals and a plan to go by it is just too easy to start missing workouts and blowing the diet.
Use Moderation When Cheating On Your Diet
Allow yourself to indulge a little here and there, but limit your portions.
Make Yourself A Goal To Do Something Active Each Day
It might not be your average workout, but try to get out and move for at least 30 minutes.
When Short On Time, Emphasize The Weights Training Portion Of Your Workouts
Muscle aids in burning fat, and will help to fight off the extras that you normally don’t eat. If you are going to cut the workout short for the day, hit the weights first.
Eat A Balance Of Macronutrients
Do not cut out any food groups as you will most likely be hungry and eat foods that your body doesn’t really need.
Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
You are better off eating an extra cookie than consuming numerous cocktails. Excess alcohol just contributes to fat gain.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Many times we will overeat because we are dehydrated and thirsty. Therefore, make sure that your water intake is adequate.
Eat Your Regularly Scheduled Meals
If you skip meals in preparation for a family gathering and the buffet of food set out at a holiday party, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Make sure that you eat all of your meals, especially breakfast!
Don’t Keep ‘Danger’ Foods Around
We all have some food that will trigger a binge, so try to keep these foods out of the house.
Brush your Teeth Following A Meal
Sounds silly, but who wants to eat after they have that minty fresh breath. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth 20-30 minutes after you eat.
Limit Your Time In Front Of The Television Set
Rather than sitting in front of the television set when you have some free time, spend time with the ones you love by visiting them or giving them a call.
(Image courtesy of Janaka Dharmasena at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Today is officially "Go Home On Time Day". I heard on the radio this morning that "One in five Australian workers work unpredictable hours, with around 2.2 million people reporting that they have little or no idea what time they will finish."
Not surprisingly, the Australia Institute argues there are links between mental health, productivity and the amount of time spent on the job.
I can remember some years back realising that the junior staff in my team were paid overtime, and that this gave them an incentive to "work late" and claim extra money. I argued that there really wasn't the need for staff to stay after hours, and we increased the base salary and stopped paying overtime. Miraculously, the work got done and everyone managed to leave the office at a reasonable time.
I also observed that there were certain staff members who wouldn't leave the office until I'd gone - almost as though there was a competition as to who could stay the latest. Or maybe it was not wanting to look as if they didn't have enough work to do. I did my best to set a good example and leave at a reasonable hour myself, encouraging the team to go home as well.
Over the years, however, we reduced headcount to such an extent that sometimes there really was too much work for the staff to reasonably get done in the day. Fear of being the next one to be axed created a work ethic of just staying behind until the work was finished. No one wanted to be singled out, and so no one put their hand up to say they needed help. This, too, is a problem - it's hiding from management that there is an issue, and if left unaddressed, it leads to stress, absenteeism and presenteeism, which not only impacts the bottom line, it causes extra work to the rest of the team. Potentially, their stress levels rise too - and the problem is self-perpetuating.
We need to get work into perspective. Having it rule our life, making us miserable and unable to focus, spills into our personal life too. It can impact our relationships, keep us awake at night, and if kept unchecked, make us ill. I encourage you to go home on time - not just today, but every day, and leave work at work. It will still be there in the morning, when you are fresh and ready to tackle the next new challenge.
Want some quick tips and hints to help you get balance back into your life? My weekly wellness tips and hints are a great resource - pop your details into the form on the right, and start receiving them today.
(Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Getting a team to work together can take time, effort and understanding. I remember when I first joined Merrill Lynch in their London office, managing the client services team for the European Futures & Options Operations Department.
Although most europeans have a good command of the English language, we decided to recruit native speakers in our London office - so the desk had a mixture of English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch nationals. They were all young, enthusiastic and very ambitious, and I certainly had my management skills tested in dealing with the various egos as well as learning to manage the cultural differences!
We'd had a far amount of resignations, and had recently recruited some new staff. The existing team had interviewed and selected the new team members, choosing to take on staff with no experience in our industry, explaining it was easier and quicker to train someone in the skills of the job than to learn a foreign language. As a result, we recruited some very bright and enthusiastic new team members, for whom in most cases, this was their very first job.
About a month into the new team, I realised things weren't working out quite as we had hoped. There was real tension on the desk - it was no longer a fun place to work. The experienced staff felt the new recruits weren't pulling their weight; the new recruits felt they weren't being given enough support. The result? Resentment from both sides, lack of cooperation, no real communication and the experienced members taking on the majority of the work "to get it done".
I asked everyone to stay behind one night so we could talk it through. We went into a conference room, and set our 'agreement' - we would be honest, we would listen and respect the opinion of each person, we would be kind and considerate in our feedback. On a whiteboard, I wrote up the comments from each person. It soon became clear that everyone was on the same page! The experienced team members felt their new colleagues were lazy, because they didn't get through the work fast enough. The new team members felt their experienced team members lacked patience and understanding - they needed to be shown more than once how to do a task - they wanted to understand why they did what they did, not just do it by rote.
I make it sound quite civilized. In fact, that meeting was far from civilized at the beginning - lots of raised voices, several tears of frustration, but as we worked through each point, the team reached an understanding. The whole process took a couple of hours, but at the end, everyone went across the road to have a drink in the pub. Magic happened that night. From that point on, the team grew strong. They worked hard, and they played hard. They supported each other through thick and thin, and they had a lot of fun together. I think it was one of the best teams I have had the privilege to work with.
If you have a team that is not working cohesively, and you want to change that, I'd love to work with you and them to identify the issues and facilitate a solution. Call me on (02) 8006 9224 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.