Category: Custom Content

  • Relax! Vacations are Good for Your Health

    July 25, 2022

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    Amer­i­can work­ers are noto­ri­ous for being worka­holics. In fact, The Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Pol­i­cy Research has gone so far as to call the U.S. the “No Vaca­tion Nation.”  Decid­ing you need a vaca­tion may feel indul­gent but in real­i­ty, it is a cru­cial key to our over­all health.

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  • Benefits Education 101 for Employees

    June 29, 2022

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    Com­pa­nies spend a large amount of time and mon­ey cre­at­ing valu­able ben­e­fits plans for employ­ees.  But after all that work, they often get low par­tic­i­pa­tion.  Good ben­e­fit choic­es require an effort from employ­ers to ensure that employ­ees have help in under­stand­ing their ben­e­fits options.  To make things even more com­plex, employ­ers are hav­ing to con­sid­er options for a span of 4 gen­er­a­tions in the work­place which can look very dif­fer­ent.  Pro­vid­ing ben­e­fits for a multi­gen­er­a­tional work­place can be chal­leng­ing but it is impor­tant for employ­ers to sim­pli­fy the process by deliv­er­ing edu­ca­tion through the right chan­nels while avoid­ing a one-size-fits-all approach.

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  • 5 Tips to Save Money on Health Care: Part 2

    June 13, 2022

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    Smart spend­ing can keep your health care from cost­ing an arm and a leg.  With costs ris­ing on every­thing from gas to food, every pen­ny counts. It pays to shop smart – that is why it helps to learn how to take steps to lim­it your out-of-pock­et health care costs.

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  • Mental Health is Wealth, So Start Saving Up Now!

    May 17, 2022

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    “Suck it up,” “cheer up,” “snap out of it,” “but you don’t look sick”- these are just some of the phras­es that well-mean­ing friends and fam­i­ly tell loved ones strug­gling with men­tal health issues. Research shows that one in five adults strug­gle with men­tal health con­di­tions.  Men­tal health strug­gles include depres­sion, bipo­lar dis­or­der, anx­i­ety, schiz­o­phre­nia, and eat­ing disorders.

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  • The 4 W’s of Lifestyle Benefits

    May 2, 2022

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    Com­pet­i­tive wages are no longer enough to sat­is­fy and sup­port val­ued employ­ees. Today, a vari­ety of ben­e­fits and perks play an essen­tial role in attract­ing and retain­ing tal­ent. Lifestyle ben­e­fits, some­times referred to as employ­ee perks, are non-salary ben­e­fits giv­en to employ­ees to improve their over­all lifestyle that go above and beyond stan­dard med­ical, den­tal and vision ben­e­fits. These lifestyle ben­e­fits are rapid­ly becom­ing the future of employ­ee benefits.

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  • 5 Tips to Save Money on Health Care: Part 1

    April 25, 2022

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    Health insur­ance is essen­tial to pro­tect­ing your health but the high cost of cov­er­age may leave you feel­ing sick.  Even after employ­ers pick up a sub­stan­tial amount of the cost, every year Amer­i­cans spend thou­sands of dol­lars on health­care while costs are con­tin­u­ing to rise. By tak­ing cer­tain steps, you can stretch your health­care dol­lars and still receive the care you need to stay healthy.

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  • What Employees Want: Hybrid Work and Flexibility

    April 11, 2022

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    2021 was quit­tin’ time in Amer­i­ca.  Last year alone over 47.4 mil­lion Amer­i­cans quit their jobs. This year, employ­ees seem­ing­ly have the upper hand against employ­ers.  The Turnover Tsuna­mi, a.k.a. The Great Res­ig­na­tion, has forced a reck­on­ing with the work­place and few employ­ers have come away unscathed.  Orga­ni­za­tions are now shift­ing pri­or­i­ties to make employ­ee well-being and reten­tion the pri­or­i­ty.  The fact of the mat­ter is, after health insur­ance, the most desir­able perks and ben­e­fits are those that offer flex­i­bil­i­ty while improv­ing work/life bal­ance. So, what is it that employ­ees real­ly want to achieve a bet­ter work/life balance?

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  • Understanding Your EOB

    March 30, 2022

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    Let’s say that you vis­it­ed the doc­tor and you are won­der­ing how much that vis­it is going to cost.  A short while lat­er, you receive some­thing in the mail that looks like a bill – and even says “amount you owe” at the bot­tom.  How­ev­er, it doesn’t have a return enve­lope or tear-off por­tion for the bill.  Con­fused?  You’re not the only one!

    Most like­ly, you’ve just received an Expla­na­tion of Ben­e­fits (EOB) from your insur­ance com­pa­ny.  The most impor­tant thing for you to remem­ber is that an EOB is NOT a bill.  It is essen­tial­ly “one big receipt” that explains your vis­it.  It shows what was billed, how much you can expect your health plan to pay, and what you — the patient — have to pay. It is always impor­tant to review your EOB to make sure it is correct.

    An EOB is a tool that shows you the val­ue of your health plan.  It will detail the cost of the ser­vices you received and how much your insur­ance will pay.

    How do EOB’s work?

    The health care provider will bill your insur­ance com­pa­ny after your doc­tor vis­it.  Then, your insur­ance com­pa­ny will send your EOB.  Lat­er, you will receive a bill for the amount you owe.  How­ev­er, if the bill does arrive before the EOB, don’t pay it yet.  Wait until you have the EOB in hand so you can com­pare it to your med­ical bill.

    While an EOB will dif­fer from one insur­ance com­pa­ny to anoth­er, they typ­i­cal­ly all include the fol­low­ing information:

    • The Account Sum­ma­ry – lists your account infor­ma­tion with details like the patient’s name, date(s), and claim number.
    • The Claim Details – lists the ser­vices pro­vid­ed and the dates of the services.
    • The Amounts Billed – details the cost of the ser­vices and what costs your health plan did not cov­er. It will also include any out­stand­ing amount you are respon­si­ble for pay­ing.  If there is a por­tion that is not cov­ered by insur­ance, the rea­son why will also be listed.

    Remem­ber, insur­ance com­pa­nies rarely pay 100% of the bill.  You will need to pay any applic­a­ble deductible, copay and coinsurance.

    Deductible: The amount you pay for health care ser­vices before your insur­ance begins to pay anything.

    Copay: A flat fee that you pay on the spot each time you go to your doc­tor or fill a prescription.

    Coin­sur­ance: The por­tion of the med­ical cost you pay after your deductible has been met.  Coin­sur­ance is a way of say­ing that you and your insur­ance car­ri­er each pay a share of eli­gi­ble costs that add up to 100%.

    Why is Your EOB important?

    Med­ical billing com­pa­nies some­times make billing errors.  Your EOB is a win­dow into your med­ical billing his­to­ry.  Review it care­ful­ly to make sure that you did receive the ser­vice being billed and that your pro­ce­dure and diag­no­sis are list­ed and cod­ed correctly.

    EOBs can help you under­stand how the health insur­ance sys­tem works and pro­vide trans­paren­cy in the com­pli­cat­ed finances of health care.  While the EOB may be com­pli­cat­ed, under­stand­ing it can help ensure that you and your fam­i­ly get the most out of your health insur­ance.  Know­ing what an EOB is and what is includ­ed on the state­ment ensures that you stay in con­trol of your health care finances.

  • Benefits for a Multigenerational Workforce

    March 10, 2022

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    If only every­one val­ued the same things, ben­e­fits plan­ning would be a lot eas­i­er.  If. Only.

    How­ev­er, most employ­ers have five gen­er­a­tions of employ­ees active in the work­place who want dif­fer­ent things.  With gen­er­a­tion gaps span­ning more than 75 years, find­ing a one-size-fits-all ben­e­fits pack­age can be chal­leng­ing.  How­ev­er, there are cer­tain things to con­sid­er to tai­lor employ­ee ben­e­fits for each generation.

    The Five Gen­er­a­tions in the Workforce:

    Gen­er­a­tion Z: 1997–2012, (5% of workforce)
    Mil­len­ni­als: 1981–1996, (35% of workforce)
    Gen­er­a­tion X: 1965–1980, (33% of workforce)
    Baby Boomers: 1946–1964, (25% of workforce)
    Tra­di­tion­al­ists or The Silent Gen­er­a­tion: 1928–1945, (2% of workforce)

    Regard­less of their gen­er­a­tion, every employ­ee wants tra­di­tion­al ben­e­fits like time off, health­care insur­ance, and retire­ment plan­ning. To cre­ate a ben­e­fits pro­gram with multi­gen­er­a­tional appeal, employ­ers should first think about their employ­ees’ shared con­cerns and vary­ing needs.

    One strat­e­gy for man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tion is cus­tomiz­ing ben­e­fits offer­ings to core demo­graph­ics.  For exam­ple, would your staff val­ue on-site child-care?  Would a retire­ment plan that high­lights the need for sav­ing ear­ly or tuition assis­tance be rel­e­vant for your employ­ees? Think about who your employ­ees are and which ben­e­fits are most like­ly going to sup­port their success.

    Many employ­ees are con­cerned about their finan­cial well­ness.  Sev­en out of 10 new col­lege grad­u­ates each owe $37,000 or more.  These unprece­dent­ed lev­els of stu­dent debt make finan­cial con­cerns a pri­ma­ry con­cern for Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z.  Gen Xers share finan­cial con­cerns as they look to pay for their children’s edu­ca­tion. While fear of not sav­ing enough for retire­ment is a con­cern for all age groups, it is most con­cern­ing to Baby Boomers and Tra­di­tion­al­ists for whom retire­ment is around the corner.

    Gen X val­ues ben­e­fits that sup­port bet­ter work-life bal­ance, such as care­tak­er sup­port, flex time, well-being and sup­port and finan­cial pro­tec­tion.  Mean­while, Gen Zers favor ben­e­fits that sup­port career growth, men­tal health and diver­si­ty, equi­ty, and inclu­sion pro­grams and perks that relate to job secu­ri­ty, a key con­cern for this generation.

    While every gen­er­a­tion faces uncer­tain­ty at dif­fer­ent stages of life, Mil­len­ni­als are more like­ly to pur­chase legal insur­ance com­pared to oth­er gen­er­a­tions. Many Mil­len­ni­als start­ed work­ing dur­ing a reces­sion which has great­ly affect­ed how they view their long-term careers. Mil­len­ni­als have adopt­ed an “any­thing can hap­pen” men­tal­i­ty and are will­ing to pay for peace of mind to be finan­cial­ly stable.

    To han­dle the unex­pect­ed, health, den­tal, vision and life insur­ance are all val­ued tra­di­tion­al ben­e­fits and are espe­cial­ly impor­tant to Baby Boomers and Tra­di­tion­al­ists.   Some Tra­di­tion­al­ists and Boomers may not be full-time employ­ees.  Com­pa­nies employ­ing more of this gen­er­a­tion of work­ers should offer some sort of well­ness ben­e­fits like gym mem­ber­ships or health services.

    Beyond the core offer­ings like health care and retire­ment sav­ings plans, employ­ers can offer a menu of non-med­ical vol­un­tary ben­e­fits that employ­ees can select based on their indi­vid­ual needs.  Those might include legal insur­ance, care­giv­er leave, stu­dent debt assis­tance or tuition reim­burse­ment, on-site child-care, pet insur­ance, finan­cial coun­sel­ing, acci­dent insur­ance and more.

    Whether a Boomer or a Gen Xer, all employ­ees want to feel con­fi­dent and informed about their health­care deci­sions. Qual­i­ty health­care that is acces­si­ble and afford­able is a pri­or­i­ty for all gen­er­a­tions.  Cre­at­ing a cus­tomiz­able ben­e­fits expe­ri­ence that rec­og­nizes the diver­si­ty across the multi­gen­er­a­tional work­force will like­ly result in employ­ee reten­tion and increased job sat­is­fac­tion as well as mak­ing recruit­ing top tal­ent eas­i­er.  By focus­ing on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the ben­e­fits mix, and under­stand­ing what is impor­tant to each gen­er­a­tion, your com­pa­ny may well be on its way to a suc­cess­ful ben­e­fits strategy.

  • Show Your Heart Some Love

    February 28, 2022

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    Feb­ru­ary is Amer­i­can Heart Month, a time when all peo­ple can focus on their car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. Do you know how to keep your heart healthy? You can take an active role in reduc­ing your risk for heart dis­ease by eat­ing a healthy diet, engag­ing in phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, and man­ag­ing your cho­les­terol and blood pressure.

    Heart dis­ease accounts for near­ly one-third of all deaths world­wide. Stud­ies and experts rec­om­mend exer­cise as an impor­tant way to main­tain­ing a healthy heart, but your diet plays a major role in heart health and can impact your risk of heart dis­ease. The most impor­tant fac­tor in healthy eat­ing is hav­ing a bal­anced diet, watch­ing por­tions, and eat­ing foods you actu­al­ly enjoy. This will allow you to stick with it for the long term.

    Let’s take a clos­er look at the 4 key fac­tors for a heart healthy diet and exam­ples of how you can incor­po­rate them into your dai­ly life:

    1. Fruits and Vegetables:
    Leafy green veg­eta­bles are well known for their wealth of vit­a­mins, min­er­als, and antiox­i­dants. An analy­sis of eight stud­ies found that increas­ing leafy green veg­etable intake was asso­ci­at­ed with up to a 16% low­er inci­dence of heart disease.

    2. Healthy Proteins:
    Lean meat, poul­try and fish, low-fat dairy prod­ucts and eggs are some of your best sources of pro­tein. Legumes – beans, peas and lentils – are good, low-fat sources of pro­tein and are a good sub­sti­tute for meat. Also, sub­sti­tut­ing plant pro­tein for ani­mal pro­tein – ie. a black bean burg­er for a ham­burg­er – will reduce your fat & cho­les­terol intake and increase your fiber intake.

    3. Healthy Fats:
    Not all fats are bad. Foods with monoun­sat­u­rat­ed and polyun­sat­u­rat­ed fats are impor­tant for your brain and heart. Lim­it foods with trans-fats, which increase the risk for heart disease.

    4. Whole Grains:
    Whole grains are good sources of fiber and oth­er nutri­ents that play a role in reg­u­lat­ing blood pres­sure and heart health.

    Eat­ing heart healthy is a lifestyle, it’s about nutri­tion, bal­ance and retrain­ing our mind to make bet­ter food choic­es. What you eat can influ­ence almost every aspect of heart health, from blood pres­sure and inflam­ma­tion to cho­les­terol lev­els and triglyc­erides. A well-bal­anced diet can help keep your heart in good shape and min­i­mize your risk of heart dis­ease. With plan­ning and a few sim­ple sub­sti­tu­tions, you can eat with your heart in mind!

  • What Employees Want: Well-Being Programs

    February 16, 2022

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    Work­place well­ness pro­grams have increased in the past sev­er­al years to pro­mote healthy diets and lifestyle, exer­cise and oth­er behav­iors such as quit­ting smok­ing.  As of 2020, most employ­ers had well­ness pro­grams of some kind, includ­ing 53% of small firms (those with 3–200 employ­ees) and 81% of large com­pa­nies.  Since employ­ees spend most of their wak­ing hours on the job, well­ness pro­grams seem to be a nat­ur­al fit to try to pro­mote healthy changes in behav­ior.  But, in 2022, employ­ees want more; many work­ers are look­ing for employ­ers who show authen­tic con­cern for their well-being.

    Well-being is about how our lives are going.  It’s not only about health and hap­pi­ness but also about liv­ing life to its fullest poten­tial.  In fact, data shows that employ­ees of all gen­er­a­tions rank “the orga­ni­za­tion cares about the employ­ees’ well-being” in their top three criteria.

    Finan­cial stress soared dur­ing the pan­dem­ic but so did reg­u­lar stress, too.  Men­tal health strug­gles such as anx­i­ety, depres­sion, and sub­stance abuse are also climb­ing.  These are expen­sive issues to ignore both in terms of the human suf­fer­ing but also the company’s bot­tom line: Depres­sion alone costs an esti­mat­ed $210.5 bil­lion per year.  These costs are due to absen­teeism (missed work days) and pre­sen­teeism (reduced pro­duc­tiv­i­ty at work) as well as direct med­ical costs (out­pa­tient and inpa­tient med­ical ser­vices and phar­ma­cy costs).

    Employ­ers must rec­og­nize the inter­re­la­tion­ship between the phys­i­cal, finan­cial, work and well-being com­po­nents of employ­ees’ lives.  For exam­ple, employ­ees who need help with their finan­cial well-being are sig­nif­i­cant­ly less like­ly to be phys­i­cal­ly healthy and more like­ly to report feel­ing stressed or anx­ious which can impact pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and job per­for­mance.  Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Fideli­ty Invest­ments in Boston, Mike Sham­rell,  rec­og­nizes the need for all dimen­sions of well­ness.  “It’s tough to be well in one area when you’re unwell in anoth­er,” he said.

    Well-being is often asso­ci­at­ed with gym mem­ber­ships and green smooth­ies but it is much more than that; it is a result of many dif­fer­ent aspects of one’s life.  Here are 5 com­mon dimen­sions of well-being that can be addressed through a work­place well­ness program:

    • Emotional/Mental Health – Under­stand­ing your feel­ings and cop­ing with stress.
    • Phys­i­cal Health – Dis­cov­er­ing how self-care can improve your life and productivity.
    • Finan­cial Health – Suc­cess­ful­ly man­ag­ing your money.
    • Social Con­nect­ed­ness – Cre­at­ing and being a part of a sup­port network.
    • Occu­pa­tion­al Well-Being– Feel­ing appre­ci­at­ed at work and sat­is­fied in your contributions.

    Great employ­ees want great employ­ers.  Com­pa­nies that want cre­ative, high-per­form­ing teams must be will­ing to sup­port work­ers both in and out of the office.  Well-being has a major influ­ence on an employee’s per­for­mance and sat­is­fac­tion; employ­ees who feel val­ued and appre­ci­at­ed are more invest­ed in their com­pa­ny in return.

  • Healthy Teeth, Healthy Mouth, Healthy You!

    January 18, 2022

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    Did you know that prob­lems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Or that your den­tal health offers clues about your over­all health?  Poor den­tal health con­tributes to major sys­temic health prob­lems. Con­verse­ly, good den­tal hygiene can help improve your over­all health.  As a bonus, main­tain­ing good oral health can even REDUCE your health­care costs!

    Researchers have shown us that there is a close-knit rela­tion­ship between oral health and over­all well­ness. With over 700 types of bac­te­ria in your mouth, it’s no sur­prise that when even one of those types of bac­te­ria enter your blood­stream that a prob­lem can arise in your body. Oral bac­te­ria can con­tribute to:

    1. Endo­cardi­tis—The infec­tion of the inner lin­ing of the heart can be caused by bac­te­ria that start­ed in your mouth.
    2. Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Dis­ease—Heart dis­ease, as well as clogged arter­ies and even stroke, can be traced back to oral bacteria.
    3. Low birth weight—Poor oral health has been linked to pre­ma­ture birth and low birth weight of newborns.

    Over $45 bil­lion is lost in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the Unit­ed States each year because of untreat­ed oral health prob­lems.  These oral dis­eases can result in the need for cost­ly emer­gency room vis­its, hos­pi­tal stays, and med­ica­tions, not to men­tion loss of work time. The pain and dis­com­fort from infect­ed teeth and gums can lead to poor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the work­place, and even loss of income. Chil­dren with poor oral health are more prone to ill­ness and may require a par­ent to stay home from work to care for them and take them to cost­ly den­tal appoint­ments.  In fact, over 34 mil­lion school hours are lost each year because of emer­gency den­tal care.

    So, how do you pre­vent this night­mare of pain, dis­ease, and increased health­care costs? It’s sim­ple! By fol­low­ing through with your rou­tine year­ly den­tal check-ups and dai­ly pre­ven­ta­tive care, you will give your body a big boost in its gen­er­al health. Check out these tips for a healthy mouth:

    • Main­tain a reg­u­lar brushing/flossing routine—Brush and floss teeth twice dai­ly to remove food and plaque from your teeth, and in between your teeth where bac­te­ria thrive.
    • Use the right toothbrush—When your bris­tles are mashed and bent, you aren’t using the best instru­ment for clean­ing your teeth. Make sure to buy a new tooth­brush every three months. If you have braces, get a tooth­brush that can eas­i­ly clean around the brack­ets on your teeth.
    • Vis­it your dentist—Visit your den­tist for a check-up every 6 months. He/she will be able to look into that win­dow to your body and keep your mouth clear of bac­te­ria. Your den­tist will also be able to alert you to prob­lems they see as a pos­si­ble warn­ing sign to oth­er health issues, like dia­betes, that have a major impact on your over­all health and health­care costs.
    • Eat a healthy diet—Staying away from sug­ary foods and drinks will pre­vent cav­i­ties and tooth decay from the acids pro­duced when bac­te­ria in your mouth comes in con­tact with sug­ar. Starch­es have a sim­i­lar effect. Eat­ing healthy will reduce your out of pock­et costs of fill­ings, hav­ing decayed teeth pulled, and will keep you from the increased health costs of dia­betes, obe­si­ty-relat­ed dis­eases, and oth­er chron­ic conditions.
    • Drink more water—Water is the best bev­er­age for your over­all health—including oral health. Drink­ing water after every meal can help wash out some of the neg­a­tive effects of sticky and acidic foods and bev­er­ages in between brushes.

    A healthy oral hygiene rou­tine will do won­ders for your teeth, mouth, and smile from a den­tal per­spec­tive.  Oral health is also a key indi­ca­tor of over­all health and well-being.  That should keep the rest of your body smil­ing as well!

  • How to Make (and Keep!) a New Year’s Resolution

    January 10, 2022

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    Ever won­der why the res­o­lu­tions you make in Jan­u­ary don’t stick around after March? You aren’t alone! Stud­ies show that only 8% of peo­ple keep their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Why? And how do peo­ple achieve their goals set at New Year’s? We’ve bro­ken it down for you so you can iden­ti­fy your goal-break­er as well as give you some tips on how to make those res­o­lu­tions stick.

    There are three main rea­sons that New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fail. The first goal-break­er is tak­ing on too much (too big of a goal) and expect­ing it to hap­pen too fast. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to break a habit. That’s much high­er than the pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished 21 days. It con­verse­ly means that it also takes 66 days to form a new habit. So, bat­tle your goal-break­er by set­ting small­er, achiev­able goals to focus your ener­gies on rather than spread­ing your­self too thin on lofty goals.

    The sec­ond rea­son you fail to keep your res­o­lu­tion is you don’t have any­one sup­port­ing you. This could be because you sim­ply didn’t tell any­one that you have new life goals. It could also be due to fear of account­abil­i­ty. You need some life-cheer­lead­ers that root you on to vic­to­ry. These cheer­lead­ers also call you out when you are rid­ing off the tracks. Their sup­port isn’t tied to your achieve­ment of your goals but instead their sup­port is firm­ly tied to you and they want to see you succeed.

    The last goal-break­er set­ting a goal that is too vague.  You can’t get to your des­ti­na­tion if you don’t know where you are going.   A goal like “I want to try hard­er at work” or “I want to save more mon­ey this year” is too gen­er­al a notion that does not give you some­thing spe­cif­ic to work towards or a well-defined path to fol­low.  And if you can’t pro­vide spe­cif­ic bench­marks, you can’t mea­sure your progress.

    Now, let’s steer this ship back on course with some tips on KEEPING your New Year’s resolutions.

    Plan Ahead

    To ensure suc­cess, plan ahead so you can have the resources avail­able when you need them.  Then, you won’t have excus­es for why you can’t fol­low through.  Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

    • Read up on it – Get books on the sub­ject. Whether it’s tak­ing up run­ning or becom­ing a veg­e­tar­i­an, there are books to help you pre­pare for it.
    • Plan for suc­cess – Get every­thing you need so things will go smooth­ly. If you are tak­ing up run­ning, make sure you have the clothes, shoes, and playlists so that you are ready to get started.
    Reward Yourself Along the Way

    Small rewards are great encour­age­ment to keep you going dur­ing the hard­est first days.  After that, you can try to reward your­self once a week with a lunch with a friend, a nap, or what­ev­er makes you tick.  Lat­er, you can change the rewards to month­ly and even pick an anniver­sary reward!

    Write Your Goals Down on Paper

    Writ­ing estab­lish­es inten­tion but action needs to be tak­en to achieve your res­o­lu­tion.  Have a writ­ten account of your goals is a con­stant reminder to take action.  Mark Mur­phy says Writ­ing things down doesn’t just help you remem­ber, it makes your mind more effi­cient by help­ing you focus on the tru­ly impor­tant stuff. And your goals absolute­ly should qual­i­fy as tru­ly impor­tant stuff.” 

    Start When You’re Ready

    When you launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st, you are mak­ing a change based on a cal­en­dar date.  What are the chances that you’re going to be ready for a life change at exact­ly the same time the cal­en­dar rolls over to a new year?  There’s no need to launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st or even in Jan­u­ary.  Start work­ing on your goal when you’re ready.  That’s not to say that you need to wait until you feel ful­ly con­fi­dent before start­ing (that may nev­er hap­pen).  Delay­ing your goal a few weeks or a few months is bet­ter than aban­don­ing it altogether.

    Identify Your Purpose

    Know­ing your “WHAT” (goal) is impor­tant but know­ing your “WHY” can be just as impor­tant when it comes to fol­low­ing through on your inten­tions. Why do you want to lose weight in 2022? When you put the why to the what, you are tru­ly focused on what mat­ters. “I want to lose weight so that I can play with my chil­dren with­out get­ting tired and show them that hard work is worth it.”  Now, THAT’S a great goal.

    Iden­ti­fy­ing goal-break­ers and goal-mak­ers are equal­ly impor­tant pieces to achiev­ing what you set out to accom­plish, espe­cial­ly with regards to New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Com­mit to mak­ing this year the year that your res­o­lu­tion is going to stick!

  • What Employees Want: Well-Being Programs

    February 16, 2022

    Tags: , ,

    Work­place well­ness pro­grams have increased in the past sev­er­al years to pro­mote healthy diets and lifestyle, exer­cise and oth­er behav­iors such as quit­ting smok­ing.  As of 2020, most employ­ers had well­ness pro­grams of some kind, includ­ing 53% of small firms (those with 3–200 employ­ees) and 81% of large com­pa­nies.  Since employ­ees spend most of their wak­ing hours on the job, well­ness pro­grams seem to be a nat­ur­al fit to try to pro­mote healthy changes in behav­ior.  But, in 2022, employ­ees want more; many work­ers are look­ing for employ­ers who show authen­tic con­cern for their well-being.

    Well-being is about how our lives are going.  It’s not only about health and hap­pi­ness but also about liv­ing life to its fullest poten­tial.  In fact, data shows that employ­ees of all gen­er­a­tions rank “the orga­ni­za­tion cares about the employ­ees’ well-being” in their top three criteria.

    Finan­cial stress soared dur­ing the pan­dem­ic but so did reg­u­lar stress, too.  Men­tal health strug­gles such as anx­i­ety, depres­sion, and sub­stance abuse are also climb­ing.  These are expen­sive issues to ignore both in terms of the human suf­fer­ing but also the company’s bot­tom line: Depres­sion alone costs an esti­mat­ed $210.5 bil­lion per year.  These costs are due to absen­teeism (missed work days) and pre­sen­teeism (reduced pro­duc­tiv­i­ty at work) as well as direct med­ical costs (out­pa­tient and inpa­tient med­ical ser­vices and phar­ma­cy costs).

    Employ­ers must rec­og­nize the inter­re­la­tion­ship between the phys­i­cal, finan­cial, work and well-being com­po­nents of employ­ees’ lives.  For exam­ple, employ­ees who need help with their finan­cial well-being are sig­nif­i­cant­ly less like­ly to be phys­i­cal­ly healthy and more like­ly to report feel­ing stressed or anx­ious which can impact pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and job per­for­mance.  Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Fideli­ty Invest­ments in Boston, Mike Sham­rell,  rec­og­nizes the need for all dimen­sions of well­ness.  “It’s tough to be well in one area when you’re unwell in anoth­er,” he said.

    Well-being is often asso­ci­at­ed with gym mem­ber­ships and green smooth­ies but it is much more than that; it is a result of many dif­fer­ent aspects of one’s life.  Here are 5 com­mon dimen­sions of well-being that can be addressed through a work­place well­ness program:

    • Emotional/Mental Health – Under­stand­ing your feel­ings and cop­ing with stress.
    • Phys­i­cal Health – Dis­cov­er­ing how self-care can improve your life and productivity.
    • Finan­cial Health – Suc­cess­ful­ly man­ag­ing your money.
    • Social Con­nect­ed­ness – Cre­at­ing and being a part of a sup­port network.
    • Occu­pa­tion­al Well-Being– Feel­ing appre­ci­at­ed at work and sat­is­fied in your contributions.

    Great employ­ees want great employ­ers.  Com­pa­nies that want cre­ative, high-per­form­ing teams must be will­ing to sup­port work­ers both in and out of the office.  Well-being has a major influ­ence on an employee’s per­for­mance and sat­is­fac­tion; employ­ees who feel val­ued and appre­ci­at­ed are more invest­ed in their com­pa­ny in return.

  • Healthy Teeth, Healthy Mouth, Healthy You!

    January 18, 2022

    Tags: ,

    Did you know that prob­lems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Or that your den­tal health offers clues about your over­all health?  Poor den­tal health con­tributes to major sys­temic health prob­lems. Con­verse­ly, good den­tal hygiene can help improve your over­all health.  As a bonus, main­tain­ing good oral health can even REDUCE your health­care costs!

    Researchers have shown us that there is a close-knit rela­tion­ship between oral health and over­all well­ness. With over 700 types of bac­te­ria in your mouth, it’s no sur­prise that when even one of those types of bac­te­ria enter your blood­stream that a prob­lem can arise in your body. Oral bac­te­ria can con­tribute to:

    1. Endo­cardi­tis—The infec­tion of the inner lin­ing of the heart can be caused by bac­te­ria that start­ed in your mouth.
    2. Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Dis­ease—Heart dis­ease, as well as clogged arter­ies and even stroke, can be traced back to oral bacteria.
    3. Low birth weight—Poor oral health has been linked to pre­ma­ture birth and low birth weight of newborns.

    Over $45 bil­lion is lost in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the Unit­ed States each year because of untreat­ed oral health prob­lems.  These oral dis­eases can result in the need for cost­ly emer­gency room vis­its, hos­pi­tal stays, and med­ica­tions, not to men­tion loss of work time. The pain and dis­com­fort from infect­ed teeth and gums can lead to poor pro­duc­tiv­i­ty in the work­place, and even loss of income. Chil­dren with poor oral health are more prone to ill­ness and may require a par­ent to stay home from work to care for them and take them to cost­ly den­tal appoint­ments.  In fact, over 34 mil­lion school hours are lost each year because of emer­gency den­tal care.

    So, how do you pre­vent this night­mare of pain, dis­ease, and increased health­care costs? It’s sim­ple! By fol­low­ing through with your rou­tine year­ly den­tal check-ups and dai­ly pre­ven­ta­tive care, you will give your body a big boost in its gen­er­al health. Check out these tips for a healthy mouth:

    • Main­tain a reg­u­lar brushing/flossing routine—Brush and floss teeth twice dai­ly to remove food and plaque from your teeth, and in between your teeth where bac­te­ria thrive.
    • Use the right toothbrush—When your bris­tles are mashed and bent, you aren’t using the best instru­ment for clean­ing your teeth. Make sure to buy a new tooth­brush every three months. If you have braces, get a tooth­brush that can eas­i­ly clean around the brack­ets on your teeth.
    • Vis­it your dentist—Visit your den­tist for a check-up every 6 months. He/she will be able to look into that win­dow to your body and keep your mouth clear of bac­te­ria. Your den­tist will also be able to alert you to prob­lems they see as a pos­si­ble warn­ing sign to oth­er health issues, like dia­betes, that have a major impact on your over­all health and health­care costs.
    • Eat a healthy diet—Staying away from sug­ary foods and drinks will pre­vent cav­i­ties and tooth decay from the acids pro­duced when bac­te­ria in your mouth comes in con­tact with sug­ar. Starch­es have a sim­i­lar effect. Eat­ing healthy will reduce your out of pock­et costs of fill­ings, hav­ing decayed teeth pulled, and will keep you from the increased health costs of dia­betes, obe­si­ty-relat­ed dis­eases, and oth­er chron­ic conditions.
    • Drink more water—Water is the best bev­er­age for your over­all health—including oral health. Drink­ing water after every meal can help wash out some of the neg­a­tive effects of sticky and acidic foods and bev­er­ages in between brushes.

    A healthy oral hygiene rou­tine will do won­ders for your teeth, mouth, and smile from a den­tal per­spec­tive.  Oral health is also a key indi­ca­tor of over­all health and well-being.  That should keep the rest of your body smil­ing as well!

  • How to Make (and Keep!) a New Year’s Resolution

    January 10, 2022

    Tags: , ,

    Ever won­der why the res­o­lu­tions you make in Jan­u­ary don’t stick around after March? You aren’t alone! Stud­ies show that only 8% of peo­ple keep their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Why? And how do peo­ple achieve their goals set at New Year’s? We’ve bro­ken it down for you so you can iden­ti­fy your goal-break­er as well as give you some tips on how to make those res­o­lu­tions stick.

    There are three main rea­sons that New Year’s res­o­lu­tions fail. The first goal-break­er is tak­ing on too much (too big of a goal) and expect­ing it to hap­pen too fast. Researchers have found that it takes 66 days to break a habit. That’s much high­er than the pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished 21 days. It con­verse­ly means that it also takes 66 days to form a new habit. So, bat­tle your goal-break­er by set­ting small­er, achiev­able goals to focus your ener­gies on rather than spread­ing your­self too thin on lofty goals.

    The sec­ond rea­son you fail to keep your res­o­lu­tion is you don’t have any­one sup­port­ing you. This could be because you sim­ply didn’t tell any­one that you have new life goals. It could also be due to fear of account­abil­i­ty. You need some life-cheer­lead­ers that root you on to vic­to­ry. These cheer­lead­ers also call you out when you are rid­ing off the tracks. Their sup­port isn’t tied to your achieve­ment of your goals but instead their sup­port is firm­ly tied to you and they want to see you succeed.

    The last goal-break­er set­ting a goal that is too vague.  You can’t get to your des­ti­na­tion if you don’t know where you are going.   A goal like “I want to try hard­er at work” or “I want to save more mon­ey this year” is too gen­er­al a notion that does not give you some­thing spe­cif­ic to work towards or a well-defined path to fol­low.  And if you can’t pro­vide spe­cif­ic bench­marks, you can’t mea­sure your progress.

    Now, let’s steer this ship back on course with some tips on KEEPING your New Year’s resolutions.

    Plan Ahead

    To ensure suc­cess, plan ahead so you can have the resources avail­able when you need them.  Then, you won’t have excus­es for why you can’t fol­low through.  Here are a few things you can do to prepare:

    • Read up on it – Get books on the sub­ject. Whether it’s tak­ing up run­ning or becom­ing a veg­e­tar­i­an, there are books to help you pre­pare for it.
    • Plan for suc­cess – Get every­thing you need so things will go smooth­ly. If you are tak­ing up run­ning, make sure you have the clothes, shoes, and playlists so that you are ready to get started.
    Reward Yourself Along the Way

    Small rewards are great encour­age­ment to keep you going dur­ing the hard­est first days.  After that, you can try to reward your­self once a week with a lunch with a friend, a nap, or what­ev­er makes you tick.  Lat­er, you can change the rewards to month­ly and even pick an anniver­sary reward!

    Write Your Goals Down on Paper

    Writ­ing estab­lish­es inten­tion but action needs to be tak­en to achieve your res­o­lu­tion.  Have a writ­ten account of your goals is a con­stant reminder to take action.  Mark Mur­phy says Writ­ing things down doesn’t just help you remem­ber, it makes your mind more effi­cient by help­ing you focus on the tru­ly impor­tant stuff. And your goals absolute­ly should qual­i­fy as tru­ly impor­tant stuff.” 

    Start When You’re Ready

    When you launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st, you are mak­ing a change based on a cal­en­dar date.  What are the chances that you’re going to be ready for a life change at exact­ly the same time the cal­en­dar rolls over to a new year?  There’s no need to launch your res­o­lu­tion on Jan­u­ary 1st or even in Jan­u­ary.  Start work­ing on your goal when you’re ready.  That’s not to say that you need to wait until you feel ful­ly con­fi­dent before start­ing (that may nev­er hap­pen).  Delay­ing your goal a few weeks or a few months is bet­ter than aban­don­ing it altogether.

    Identify Your Purpose

    Know­ing your “WHAT” (goal) is impor­tant but know­ing your “WHY” can be just as impor­tant when it comes to fol­low­ing through on your inten­tions. Why do you want to lose weight in 2022? When you put the why to the what, you are tru­ly focused on what mat­ters. “I want to lose weight so that I can play with my chil­dren with­out get­ting tired and show them that hard work is worth it.”  Now, THAT’S a great goal.

    Iden­ti­fy­ing goal-break­ers and goal-mak­ers are equal­ly impor­tant pieces to achiev­ing what you set out to accom­plish, espe­cial­ly with regards to New Year’s res­o­lu­tions. Com­mit to mak­ing this year the year that your res­o­lu­tion is going to stick!

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