Tag: COVID-19

  • Data Drop: The Latest Workforce Surveys for HR Professionals to Read

    June 3, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    It’s an interesting time for the workforce as big changes are in store for everyone across the spectrum of the professional landscape. Every industry has been impacted COVID-19 and the continuous evolution of the situation, the economy and the workplace means that data and our understanding of all these things is shifting with it.

    More reliable than the data itself sometimes is people thirst for more of it. We love our numbers and there are no shortage of people looking to provide it. Luckily, a good amount of that data ends up in our inbox!

    So here are some of the latest workforce surveys that have caught our attention and what statistics you need to know as you look to address the issues within your own organization.

    People Feel Isolated, but Want to Stay Home

    According to a recent survey from Finance Buzz, around half of remote workers say they feel isolated, but less 20% of them want to go back to the office.

    The perks of remote work are becoming clear to employees, with the ability to work from anywhere, flexibility of schedule and time saved from not commuting proving to be the most universal of the bunch.

    But at the same time, in addition to feelings of isolation, employees are finding it harder to build relationships with co-workers, they struggle to separate work time and personal time and they aren’t getting enough face time with their leaders. Most of the issues can be addressed simply by committing to the principles that make operating remotely different.

    “Remote work is not traditional work which is simply conducted in a home office instead of a company office,” says Darren Murph, Head of Remote for Gitlab. “There is a natural inclination for those who have not personally experienced remote work to assume that the core (or only) difference between in-office work and remote work is location (in-office vs. out-of-office). This is inaccurate, and if not recognized, can be damaging to the entire practice of working remotely.”

    Employers are Ready to Return Workers, but at What Pace?

    Dykema, a national law firm for businesses, surveyed employers asking about their plans to return employees to the office. One thing that became clear is their intent to do so. But what was less clear is how they plan to do it.

    According to the data, 58% were planning to phase employees back into the office over the course of a month. Meanwhile, 21% want to get things back up and running much quicker than that, and another 21% say they won’t reopen until all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines have been met.  Only about half of all respondents have established a criteria for which employees will return to the office.

    How Prospects are Prepping for Your Interview

    Employee screening and background check service, JDP, released a new survey looking at how candidates prepare for job interviews and the results reveal how vital it is to manage digital assets and the organization’s reputation.

    On average, prospects spend around seven hours researching a company before taking an interview. As you might expect, they start by examining the company website, search engine results for the company name, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Aside from looking at your reputation, they want to know who your customers are, what kind of leadership the organization has, who your competitors are and last but not least, the financial health of the company.

    Around 64% look to research the person who will interview them. Their biggest fears include speaking in front of a group, not knowing how to answer a question and looking nervous. Despite this, 63% do not do a mock interview with someone.

    Automation is Expected Post COVID-19

    It’s no surprise people believe automation is on the way, with research showing that the biggest believers fall into the 35-44 age group, according to research from global business process outsourcing firm SYKES. The survey showed that in all, around 59% of participants believe that COVID-19 will lead to more automation.

    The findings expand upon previous research from SYKES that has shown people don’t fear automation taking their jobs. A November report found that 73% of American workers said the idea of humans and automation working together interested them and 68% said they would be more likely to apply to work for a company investing in new automation technologies.

    By HR Exchange Network Editorial Team

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • How to Support the Mental Health of Your Employees During COVID-19

    May 25, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. People have experienced financial hardship, additional challenges with childcare and school cancellations, job loss, reduced hours, sickness, and grief. The future is uncertain, and the present is extra stressful. And to make matters worse, many of the networks and practices that people use to support their mental health are currently unavailable due to social distancing.

    In this environment, where people are increasingly anxious and may be socially isolated, it’s even more important that managers support the mental health of their team members — both those who are coming into the workplace and those working from home. High stress can quickly destroy trust, inhibit empathy, and break down teams — each of which makes it more difficult for people to do their jobs. Fortunately, employers can provide some support. Here are some things employers can do to help employees manage stress and tend to their mental health:

    When possible, give employees a little extra time to slow down and rest
    Employees may need a moment to breathe or a day to regain their peace of mind, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for time to take care of themselves. The ability to occasionally function at a medium (or even slow) pace should be built into performance expectations so that employees can avoid burnout or breakdown.

    Offer PTO, mental health benefits, and flexible schedules if appropriate
    In some cases, employees who want to get the mental health care they need can’t afford it. Losing pay from a missed work shift might be too great a hardship, and effective treatments might be financially out of reach. These financial hindrances can exacerbate conditions like anxiety and depression. In other cases, employees can afford the time off and the treatments, but they can’t make regular appointments work with their schedules. If you can offer paid time off, health insurance benefits, or flexible schedules, these can help employees get the care they need.

    Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    An EAP gives employees access to expert, confidential assistance for substance abuse issues, relationship troubles, financial problems, and mental health conditions. These services are offered through an outside provider that connects employees with the appropriate resources and professionals. These programs enable you to provide professional assistance to employees while allowing them confidentiality at work. EAPs are also inexpensive, costing between just 75 cents and 2 dollars per employee per month.

    Make reasonable accommodations when possible
    If an employee informs you that they have anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition, and they request an accommodation, you should begin the interactive process to determine what reasonable accommodation(s) you can provide in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies when an employer has 15 or more employees, but many states have similar laws that require employers to make accommodations at an even lower employee count. You can learn more about the ADA on the HR Support Center.

    Create digital spaces for friendships to grow
    Loneliness in the workplace can be a serious issue, with significant negative effects on both employees and the workplace. Right now, with many employees working from home, it’s harder to spot signs of it. Employers can facilitate friendships and connections between employees by setting up virtual chat programs and video conferencing apps.

    Employees also need to be reassured that it’s fine for them to take a little time during the workday to reach out to others about non-work matters and participate in virtual games and other fun group activities. Managers can set the tone by participating in fun chats and activities and encouraging employees to join in. Helping employees foster friendships is not only the right thing to do, it can also reduce turnover and increase engagement.

    Promote good mental (and physical) health in the workplace
    Healthy habits are important for everyone to practice. Consider setting time aside during the week or month for employees to participate in activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness that develop and strengthen these habits. If you aren’t familiar with these practices, solicit the help of your employees. One or more of them may know a lot about these activities and be able to assist you in setting up a workplace program or modifying a program for employees currently working from home.

    Make use of additional resources
    During this time, employees might benefit from this three-page list of several virtual recovery resources from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and this COVID-19 resource and information guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    By Kyle Cupp
    Originally posted on thinkhr.com

  • At least one carrier is warning of the catastrophe that follows the crisis | Jordan Shields, Partner

    May 11, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Amid concerns about the number of cases we may finally expect from COVID 19, not much has been said about the cost.  One estimate shows the charges for a hospitalized patient to be a national average of $75,000.  California, of course, would be higher than the national average and, given the size of our population, would have higher than the national average number of COVID cases.  Now comes an estimate from Covered California that they expect to see a 40% increase in premiums due to the total cost of the pandemic.  That may overstate the case, and there is, of course, blending, but let’s say that the pandemic will have a pricing impact.

  • Stop – Stay Home – Start Something

    April 7, 2020

    Tags: ,

    We are seeing so many changes to our work, personal, and social life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While these changes can seem daunting and the obstacles they create insurmountable, this can be a time of healthy change. There is always the chance for good to happen when you stop, stay home, and start something.

     

    STOP

    Are you someone that people would describe as constantly “on the go”? Do you always have a list of to-dos in your head and not enough time to do them? If so, stop. Take the gift of this crisis to stop running around and working to check off the box of every task on your list. Slow down. Stop. Rest is important to your overall health in that it allows your body to restore depleted energy. It also boosts your creativity and productiveness because it decreases fatigue and brain fog.  Not being pulled in a million directions will actually boost the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish. Turn this negative situation into a positive by slowing down and re-centering.

     

    STAY HOME

    One big takeaway from this quarantine is that we have all become quite aware of the massive amounts of time we have spent away from our home and family. Whether it be long hours at work, kids’ sports practice, kids’ music lessons and concerts, socializing with friends, or a mixture of all of the above, we may be realizing now just how little time we’ve spent inside our four walls. Now, our government is asking us to stay home for the sake of flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Many cities have taken this a step further and have “shelter in place” orders restricting the amount of time citizens are outside of their home to only essential tasks. These restrictions help lessen the chance of the virus spreading and assist our healthcare system by not overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare workers as they care for the sick. Help your family, your neighbors, and your workplace and stay home during this season.

     

    START SOMETHING

    It is so easy to look at our current situation in the world with COVID-19 and to only feel fear and see restrictions. But, now you have the opportunity to flip the switch on those feelings and choose to find the good during this quarantine. Remember when we were all going to start knitting, or scrapbooking, or photography? Go find those things and start them again! How about that idea you’ve had for years about starting a family game night? Tonight’s the night to start! Ever caught yourself saying “well, back in my day we knew how to <insert long lost basic skill here>” to your kids? Start teaching them about that skill whether it’s sewing or typing or laundry!

     

    NOW

    Now is the time to begin seeing the good in this situation. You can do it. Don’t let this time slip away and feel like it’s been wasted. Stop rushing. Stay home and keep everyone healthy. Start something good and memorable in your house. Don’t waste this global crisis—use it for a positive outcome in your life. – use it as a great opportunity to slow down, stay home, and start something new!

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

    Tags: ,

    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

  • Data Drop: The Latest Workforce Surveys for HR Professionals to Read

    June 3, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    It’s an interesting time for the workforce as big changes are in store for everyone across the spectrum of the professional landscape. Every industry has been impacted COVID-19 and the continuous evolution of the situation, the economy and the workplace means that data and our understanding of all these things is shifting with it.

    More reliable than the data itself sometimes is people thirst for more of it. We love our numbers and there are no shortage of people looking to provide it. Luckily, a good amount of that data ends up in our inbox!

    So here are some of the latest workforce surveys that have caught our attention and what statistics you need to know as you look to address the issues within your own organization.

    People Feel Isolated, but Want to Stay Home

    According to a recent survey from Finance Buzz, around half of remote workers say they feel isolated, but less 20% of them want to go back to the office.

    The perks of remote work are becoming clear to employees, with the ability to work from anywhere, flexibility of schedule and time saved from not commuting proving to be the most universal of the bunch.

    But at the same time, in addition to feelings of isolation, employees are finding it harder to build relationships with co-workers, they struggle to separate work time and personal time and they aren’t getting enough face time with their leaders. Most of the issues can be addressed simply by committing to the principles that make operating remotely different.

    “Remote work is not traditional work which is simply conducted in a home office instead of a company office,” says Darren Murph, Head of Remote for Gitlab. “There is a natural inclination for those who have not personally experienced remote work to assume that the core (or only) difference between in-office work and remote work is location (in-office vs. out-of-office). This is inaccurate, and if not recognized, can be damaging to the entire practice of working remotely.”

    Employers are Ready to Return Workers, but at What Pace?

    Dykema, a national law firm for businesses, surveyed employers asking about their plans to return employees to the office. One thing that became clear is their intent to do so. But what was less clear is how they plan to do it.

    According to the data, 58% were planning to phase employees back into the office over the course of a month. Meanwhile, 21% want to get things back up and running much quicker than that, and another 21% say they won’t reopen until all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines have been met.  Only about half of all respondents have established a criteria for which employees will return to the office.

    How Prospects are Prepping for Your Interview

    Employee screening and background check service, JDP, released a new survey looking at how candidates prepare for job interviews and the results reveal how vital it is to manage digital assets and the organization’s reputation.

    On average, prospects spend around seven hours researching a company before taking an interview. As you might expect, they start by examining the company website, search engine results for the company name, LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Aside from looking at your reputation, they want to know who your customers are, what kind of leadership the organization has, who your competitors are and last but not least, the financial health of the company.

    Around 64% look to research the person who will interview them. Their biggest fears include speaking in front of a group, not knowing how to answer a question and looking nervous. Despite this, 63% do not do a mock interview with someone.

    Automation is Expected Post COVID-19

    It’s no surprise people believe automation is on the way, with research showing that the biggest believers fall into the 35-44 age group, according to research from global business process outsourcing firm SYKES. The survey showed that in all, around 59% of participants believe that COVID-19 will lead to more automation.

    The findings expand upon previous research from SYKES that has shown people don’t fear automation taking their jobs. A November report found that 73% of American workers said the idea of humans and automation working together interested them and 68% said they would be more likely to apply to work for a company investing in new automation technologies.

    By HR Exchange Network Editorial Team

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • How to Support the Mental Health of Your Employees During COVID-19

    May 25, 2020

    Tags: , ,

    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. People have experienced financial hardship, additional challenges with childcare and school cancellations, job loss, reduced hours, sickness, and grief. The future is uncertain, and the present is extra stressful. And to make matters worse, many of the networks and practices that people use to support their mental health are currently unavailable due to social distancing.

    In this environment, where people are increasingly anxious and may be socially isolated, it’s even more important that managers support the mental health of their team members — both those who are coming into the workplace and those working from home. High stress can quickly destroy trust, inhibit empathy, and break down teams — each of which makes it more difficult for people to do their jobs. Fortunately, employers can provide some support. Here are some things employers can do to help employees manage stress and tend to their mental health:

    When possible, give employees a little extra time to slow down and rest
    Employees may need a moment to breathe or a day to regain their peace of mind, and they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for time to take care of themselves. The ability to occasionally function at a medium (or even slow) pace should be built into performance expectations so that employees can avoid burnout or breakdown.

    Offer PTO, mental health benefits, and flexible schedules if appropriate
    In some cases, employees who want to get the mental health care they need can’t afford it. Losing pay from a missed work shift might be too great a hardship, and effective treatments might be financially out of reach. These financial hindrances can exacerbate conditions like anxiety and depression. In other cases, employees can afford the time off and the treatments, but they can’t make regular appointments work with their schedules. If you can offer paid time off, health insurance benefits, or flexible schedules, these can help employees get the care they need.

    Offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    An EAP gives employees access to expert, confidential assistance for substance abuse issues, relationship troubles, financial problems, and mental health conditions. These services are offered through an outside provider that connects employees with the appropriate resources and professionals. These programs enable you to provide professional assistance to employees while allowing them confidentiality at work. EAPs are also inexpensive, costing between just 75 cents and 2 dollars per employee per month.

    Make reasonable accommodations when possible
    If an employee informs you that they have anxiety, depression, or another mental health condition, and they request an accommodation, you should begin the interactive process to determine what reasonable accommodation(s) you can provide in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA applies when an employer has 15 or more employees, but many states have similar laws that require employers to make accommodations at an even lower employee count. You can learn more about the ADA on the HR Support Center.

    Create digital spaces for friendships to grow
    Loneliness in the workplace can be a serious issue, with significant negative effects on both employees and the workplace. Right now, with many employees working from home, it’s harder to spot signs of it. Employers can facilitate friendships and connections between employees by setting up virtual chat programs and video conferencing apps.

    Employees also need to be reassured that it’s fine for them to take a little time during the workday to reach out to others about non-work matters and participate in virtual games and other fun group activities. Managers can set the tone by participating in fun chats and activities and encouraging employees to join in. Helping employees foster friendships is not only the right thing to do, it can also reduce turnover and increase engagement.

    Promote good mental (and physical) health in the workplace
    Healthy habits are important for everyone to practice. Consider setting time aside during the week or month for employees to participate in activities like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness that develop and strengthen these habits. If you aren’t familiar with these practices, solicit the help of your employees. One or more of them may know a lot about these activities and be able to assist you in setting up a workplace program or modifying a program for employees currently working from home.

    Make use of additional resources
    During this time, employees might benefit from this three-page list of several virtual recovery resources from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and this COVID-19 resource and information guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    By Kyle Cupp
    Originally posted on thinkhr.com

  • At least one carrier is warning of the catastrophe that follows the crisis | Jordan Shields, Partner

    May 11, 2020

    Tags: ,

    Amid concerns about the number of cases we may finally expect from COVID 19, not much has been said about the cost.  One estimate shows the charges for a hospitalized patient to be a national average of $75,000.  California, of course, would be higher than the national average and, given the size of our population, would have higher than the national average number of COVID cases.  Now comes an estimate from Covered California that they expect to see a 40% increase in premiums due to the total cost of the pandemic.  That may overstate the case, and there is, of course, blending, but let’s say that the pandemic will have a pricing impact.

  • Stop – Stay Home – Start Something

    April 7, 2020

    Tags: ,

    We are seeing so many changes to our work, personal, and social life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While these changes can seem daunting and the obstacles they create insurmountable, this can be a time of healthy change. There is always the chance for good to happen when you stop, stay home, and start something.

     

    STOP

    Are you someone that people would describe as constantly “on the go”? Do you always have a list of to-dos in your head and not enough time to do them? If so, stop. Take the gift of this crisis to stop running around and working to check off the box of every task on your list. Slow down. Stop. Rest is important to your overall health in that it allows your body to restore depleted energy. It also boosts your creativity and productiveness because it decreases fatigue and brain fog.  Not being pulled in a million directions will actually boost the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish. Turn this negative situation into a positive by slowing down and re-centering.

     

    STAY HOME

    One big takeaway from this quarantine is that we have all become quite aware of the massive amounts of time we have spent away from our home and family. Whether it be long hours at work, kids’ sports practice, kids’ music lessons and concerts, socializing with friends, or a mixture of all of the above, we may be realizing now just how little time we’ve spent inside our four walls. Now, our government is asking us to stay home for the sake of flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Many cities have taken this a step further and have “shelter in place” orders restricting the amount of time citizens are outside of their home to only essential tasks. These restrictions help lessen the chance of the virus spreading and assist our healthcare system by not overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare workers as they care for the sick. Help your family, your neighbors, and your workplace and stay home during this season.

     

    START SOMETHING

    It is so easy to look at our current situation in the world with COVID-19 and to only feel fear and see restrictions. But, now you have the opportunity to flip the switch on those feelings and choose to find the good during this quarantine. Remember when we were all going to start knitting, or scrapbooking, or photography? Go find those things and start them again! How about that idea you’ve had for years about starting a family game night? Tonight’s the night to start! Ever caught yourself saying “well, back in my day we knew how to <insert long lost basic skill here>” to your kids? Start teaching them about that skill whether it’s sewing or typing or laundry!

     

    NOW

    Now is the time to begin seeing the good in this situation. You can do it. Don’t let this time slip away and feel like it’s been wasted. Stop rushing. Stay home and keep everyone healthy. Start something good and memorable in your house. Don’t waste this global crisis—use it for a positive outcome in your life. – use it as a great opportunity to slow down, stay home, and start something new!

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

    Tags: ,

    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

Español »