Reducing Employee Stress in the Workplace

stress in the workplace

Stress in the workplace is costing U.S. employers a whopping $300 billion annually. The workplace is one of the most stressful environments for your employees and the World Health Organization has declared the negative consequences from stress a world-wide epidemic.

Stress can be difficult to manage because there is no ‘one-size fits all’ solution for stress management. Stress is highly personalized and can vary widely, even in identical situations. Stress in the workplace can lead to accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, and increased medical costs.

Main causes of stress in the workplace

  • Workload – According to the ComPsych StressPlus survey, 46% of respondents stated that their workload was one of the main causes of stress at work.
  • Work/Life Balance – The ability to find a balance between the time spent at work and the time spent with family was a stressor for 20% of respondents.
  • People Issues – Issues with other coworkers, management, and even carry-over from people in your personal life caused stress for 28%.
  • Lack of Job Security – 6% were stressed due to lack of job security, which for many can also become a cyclical issue. The fear of losing your job causes stress that can lead to absenteeism that can lead to worrying about losing ones job.

Reducing stress in the workplace

  • Workplace Wellness – Two of the best tools to combat stress are healthy eating and exercise. Encouraging employees to take breaks from their desks, go for a walk, or having exercise classes onsite can help to encourage your employees to get fit. Encourage healthy eating by offering healthy options in vending machines, fruits and vegetables in the cafeteria, and catering healthy luncheons. (SnackNation is a great service that helps provide employers with healthy snacks for their employees.)
  • Habitat – Your environment plays a huge factor in stress. What does your office space do for the wellness of your team? That can mean something as simple as changing the color of your office to a more refreshing color (think, light creamy colors and pastels), adding plants to the office, and bringing in more natural light. Any change that can increase your employees’ enjoyment in the workplace can help them feel less stressed.
  • Breaks – Employees can be overworked and overstimulated and may just need a quiet place to collect their thoughts and unwind for a few minutes. More than 80% of disengaged employees would have appreciated the opportunity to have stress-relieving breaks. A small room, lounge space, or even outdoor area can help them take a breather from the chaos.
  • Telecommuting – Allowing employees to work from home or flexible start and end times, can help those employees struggling with work/life balance. Letting employees telecommute also shows employees that they are trusted which can boost employee morale.
  • Counseling – Sometimes employees need to learn how to better manage their stress. Counseling can be provided in or out of the office and in groups or individually. See what steps you can take as the employer to help employees be better prepared to handle the stress thrown their way.

Check out this infographic from ComPsych.com on stress in the workplace

stress in the workplace


Different types of stress affect us all. Financial stress can effect us both personally and in the workplace. Download our white paper The Impact of Financial Stress on Wellness to learn more.
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Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Types of Wellness Programs: A Brief Guide

types of wellness programsEmployee wellness programs are becoming an increasingly important part of employee benefits packages. Knowing the different types of wellness programs in the market can help your HR staff have a better understanding of what your unique workforce needs are and how to best market the program to your employees. Having the optional benefit of a wellness program may not be at the top of a candidates list when deciding on what organization they want to work for, but providing a well organized, well-marketed program can help your organization stand out as one that values the health and well-being of their employees.

Here are three of the most prevalent types of wellness programs.

  1. Participatory Wellness Programs: These types of wellness programs are based on employees participating in some kind of activity and an employer covering the cost to encourage the active behavior. This could be a free or discounted gym membership, a subsidy to play in a rec sports league, or a paid entry into a local walk or road race.
  2. Activity-Only Contingent Wellness Programs: These types of wellness programs may be the easiest to administer and maintain. These are the programs where employers give a fitness tracker to an employee, or have them self report activity in a central repository. Then employers give rewards, like gift cards to employees who meet activity goals over a set period of time.
  3. Outcome-Based Wellness Program: These types of wellness program can get dicey. Since they base rewards on employees meeting a certain health standard, whether it’s a goal weight, blood pressure, cholesterol or another metric, these programs can walk a fine line between employers encouraging healthy living and employers crossing the line into employees’ personal, medical histories. These programs can be extremely effective because of their biometric basis, but be careful not to cross that line. Surveying your employees pre-program to see how they feel about biometric screenings is a good way to avoid any issues.

Which program type will work best for you? There’s no prescriptive formula for this type of decision. Surveying employees and management to see what will work best for your particular organization will be the best way to determine the most successful model.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Shifts in Corporate Wellness

Shifts in wellness At the end of last year, the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), held their annual Global Wellness Summit in Mexico City. GWI went into the summit showcasing their goal of providing an education foundation that focuses on informing both the public and private sectors about preventative health & wellness. At this year’s summit, GWI identified what they see as the top 10 future shifts in corporate wellness.

Here are the shifts in corporate wellness they found most critical to corporate wellness programs:

  • Wellness will become mandatory – Employees have always had a choice when participating in wellness programs. But with the costs of healthcare, chronic diseases, and an aging population, we may not have a choice for much longer. Governments are making wellness mandatory (across the globe). Mexico taxes soda, in Japan, authorities measure BMI and waistlines, and in the U.S., we still rely largely on rewards and incentives to facilitate change.
  • But, wellness will be less “in your face” – When wellness is forced upon us it can feel more like a chore. Shifting wellness to be seamlessly integrated into our homes and workplaces by building and designing healthier human standards (think air ventilation, materials with fewer toxins & chemicals, and lighting) helps keep us well, effortlessly.
  • A culture of wellness at work – Workplace wellness is expected to grow even more in the next 5-10 years. The average Fortune 500 company spends 80% of their after-tax profit on employee medical costs. Companies cannot preach wellness and then demand long, stressful workdays and on-call hours. Initiatives will include mandatory vacation and ‘unplugging’ from work email while at home.
  • Wellness travel – Travel destination will focus on wellness, helping the traveler’s mind, body, and soul. Wellness will be paired with other categories such as wellness and adventure, wellness and cruise, wellness and food, etc. Wellness travel will benefit both the traveler and the destination.

Wellness benefits everyone involved and we are excited about these upcoming shifts. Have any of these shifts in corporate wellness taken place at your workplace?

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

How to Jumpstart Your Wellness Program

jumpstart your wellness program

Do you want to start a wellness program at your organization but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve heard about all of the potential benefits, but don’t know if your employees will adopt the program. If so, here are a few simple tips to jumpstart your wellness program. 

Participation Incentives & Rewards

Participation incentives used to be pretty simple. Organizations would give employees $50 or $100 for joining a company wellness program. Now, with new allowances by the Affordable Care Act, incentives administered through premium discounts make the participation incentive landscape more complex. According to Jennifer Patel, Wellness Engagement Director for Hallmark Business Connections, premium reductions work for the first year, but as employees come to expect that cost cut in the subsequent years, it may not be as effective. Her solution? Combine premium reductions and a personal incentive, such as a gift card, that employees can use to jumpstart their personal wellness.

Find the right reward

Commit to the Investment

Wellness programs are a significant investment; they cost both time and money to implement correctly. But that didn’t stop many organizations from increasing investments in their programs in 2015. According to the Incentive 2015 Safety & Wellness IQ Survey, the number of companies making $100,000-1MM investments was up 10% from 2014 to 2015. This signals a trend that increasing investment is increasing effectiveness for wellness programs.

Make It Fun, Make It Active

Looking for the easiest, simplest way to jumpstart your wellness program? Make it fun for employees and keep them active. How to do this? Start a lunchtime walking group, subsidize a recreational sports team for employees, give employees exercises they can do at their desk, or start a pedometer challenge. All of these ideas are low cost and highly effective in getting employees involved and moving.

Looking for more ideas for your wellness program? Check out Incentive Magazine’s 2016 Guide to Wellness.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month With Boston Market

National Nutrition MonthDid you know that March is National Nutrition Month®? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics created the annual campaign to focus on the importance of making informed food choices, developing sound eating habits, and encouraging healthy physical activity.

The 2016 National Nutrition Month theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” which encourages everyone to take the time to enjoy food traditions, appreciate the pleasures of food, flavors, and the social aspect that food adds to our lives. Boston Market has been ahead of the pack when it comes to promoting healthy eating and family traditions, launching their ‘All Good’ campaign last year. Just in time for National Nutrition Month, Boston Market included its “150 Ways to Eat Right” list, which features 150 Boston Market home style meal combinations that are 550 calories or less, and still full of flavor.

The list features complete meals and fan favorite market bowls for as low as $6.99. Entrees range from boneless rotisserie chicken to roasted turkey (along with gravy!) and hearty sides of mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and corn bread.

“Today’s health-conscious consumers are pressed for time – and in need of nutritious meal options that they feel good about eating and serving loved ones on-the-go,” said Boston Market CEO George Michel, also known as The Big Chicken. “That’s why we’ve designed a flavorful menu that helps guests reduce their sodium and calorie intake while enjoying their favorite home style foods.”

Boston Market has completed a number of their own initiatives to help guide their patrons with healthier dining decisions like:

  • Sodium Reduction – Removing salt shakers from tables in all of their restaurants
  • Recipe Library – Providing delicious recipes to dress up menu items with a few simple ingredients
  • Nutrition Calculators – Interactive calculators allow guests to custom-build meals online and review their nutritional value
  • Allergen Menu – Helping guests with dietary restrictions and identifying menu items that they can safely enjoy

Boston Market was awarded a HALO Award by QSR Magazine in 2014 for its meaningful contributions to a healthy, active lifestyle for consumers.

Read more about Boston Market’s healthy meals at Restaurant News


Keep your workforce healthy by offering Boston Market gift cards in your wellness programs.  Order now!

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Hi-Tech Wellness Encouraging Employee Participation

hi-tech wellness

As employee wellness programs increase in popularity, hi-tech wellness can help employers engage employees in their programs and keeps programs light and fun. The range of ways to incorporate technology into wellness programs is growing. Between apps, wearables, and dashboards, hi-tech wellness is becoming a tool to drive wellness program success for employers and employees alike. Here are three ways that hi-tech wellness can work for you.

  1. Allows employees to engage at their own pace: Tracking activity and calorie intake can be a great way to get employees started. More advanced metrics can follow later. For employees who are reluctant to get involved in a wellness program, a simple Fitbit to track their steps and try to reach a preset goal of 10,000 steps a day could be a gateway to independent goal setting and striving for more. According to digital agency Acquity Group, 22% of consumers own an activity monitor and that number will double within the next three years. Both the employee and the employer can track these metrics, allowing the employer to see the direct impact of their program as it is happening.
  1. Keep it social: Social media consumes our lives. Everyone is posting their whereabouts on Facebook or a picture on Instagram. So why should wellness programs be any different? With internal private dashboards for your organization only, or large public apps like MapMyFitness, employers and employees have options for socializing their wellness efforts, and employers their wellness programs.
  1. Wearable options lead to adoption: With so many options in the growing wearable market, employees can now find the right activity monitor to meet their needs. Options range from a simple pedometer, 6 types of Fitbits (along with 2 basic pedometers), countless brands joining in the quest for the perfect wearable, all the way to the Apple Watch. Employees are able to research and find the right activity tracker to fit their tech preferences and fitness style. This leads to an easier adoption of trackable technology, and ultimately can mean a higher participation rate in employer wellness programs.
Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

Invest in Effective Employee Wellness

effective employee wellness

As we dive into 2016 more employers are focused on expanding their wellness programs. Towers Watson Staying@Work survey indicates that 75% of organizations plan to increase or significantly increase employee wellness initiatives over the next three years. But as those programs expand and change, now may be the time to re-evaluate your efforts before making any more investments.

Effective employee wellness: How do programs measure up?

Towers Watson’s Global Benefit Attitudes Survey found that out of 30,000 employee respondents only 1/3 indicated their employee wellness program drives them to a healthier lifestyle. 32% indicated these programs don’t meet their personal wellness needs. This means that although they may be participating, they aren’t fundamentally affected by the program. Participation, as noted below, does not always mean adoption.

• 50% of employees participated in group-related programs while individual participation was lower
• 48% underwent biometric screenings
• 22% participated in a worksite exercise or diet activity

Listen and learn

So how can you solve the adoption issue? In order to see effective employee wellness, it’s important to include your employees in the program construction process. Find out the types of health and wellness activities your employees want to engage in and provide options to appeal to all fitness levels and major health issues. Gather the data and use that to craft your wellness program; stepping away from prescriptive formulas and prebuilt playbooks. Each staff member is different, which usually means that each employee wellness program will need to be different. Listen to your staff to ensure your program success.

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.

The CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter: February Edition

wellness newsletterTop stories from the February CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter!

Wellness programs continue to evolve into 2016, challenging employers to keep things fresh. This edition of the CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter focuses on using rewards and incentives to encourage healthy behavioral changes, resources on how to maintain engagement and secure long-term program success, CVS news and more.  Read below for more on what this edition has to offer.

CVS in the News

dosomething.org

Quitting Smoking: Priority #1 – DoSomething.org and CVS Health team up with hip-hop duo Kalin and Myles to encourage young people to create  and share handmade cards encouraging smokers to quit.

 

project health

Schedule Your Health Screenings – CVS Health is hosting no cost health screening events in many major metropolitan areas across the U.S.  Check your BMI, blood pressure, blood sugar, and more.

More on this section…


Health & Wellness News

Wellness Challenges

Creating Wellness Challenges – Create wellness challenges that encourage employees to become happier, healthier, and more energetic at work.

 

wellness tools

Wellness & Fitness Tech Tool to Help You Stay Fit – These 8 tech tools will change your mindset about using the word “diet” when discussing  your health & wellness goals.

 

More on this section…


CVS Health Brand

CVS/pharmacy Gift Card Product Suite

With more than 8,000 locations, CVS/pharmacy is the most convenient place to get the prescription medications, healthcare, and beauty products you need. CVS/pharmacy has a range of gift cards available that are ideal for using as rewards and incentives in your wellness programs. Discounts are also available based on volume!

Contact us today to learn more.

Learn more

The CVS/pharmacy® Wellness Newsletter is brought to you by GiftCard Partners, Inc. and is designed with your needs in mind.

Jennifer DiPietro has been managing B2B gift card programs since 2010. A lover of social media, she has recently decided to get back into blogging as well as delve deeper into the world of marketing. Native to New England, she enjoys the beauty of the coast, but also loves the cold, snowy winters. She is obsessed with Boston sports and the Denver Broncos.

Insurance Brokers: The New Wellness Consultants

wellness consultants

Insurance broker involvement in wellness programs is on the rise. In the past insurance brokers may have helped human resources departments select and negotiate the best insurance plans for their workforce. But with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and the incentives that are geared toward employee wellness, a broker’s job role is expanding. Now just how far that expansion reaches is still dependent on the broker. The graph below is taken from RAND’s latest employer survey and breaks down the involvement levels that different insurance brokers have in their clients’ wellness programs.

3 Main Ways Insurance Brokers are Involved in Wellness

  1. Do Nothing Brokers- Over 50% of brokers chose to do nothing in relation to their clients’ wellness programs. While this is the most prevalent approach, it may not be advisable. From a business growth and consultative partnership approach to client relationships, getting active in your clients’ wellness program might be the key to future business and longevity. If you want to be a transactional broker who has client turnover from year to year, involvement in wellness programs may not be for you, but if you want to create long-term client relationships and exceed expectations…keep reading.
  1. Hire Wellness Vendors- 29% of insurance brokers assist clients in hiring a wellness vendor. The broker vets the vendor and brings them in once the insurance deal is done. This shifts responsibility for the accomplishment of client metrics from the broker to the vendor and the client. It allows the vendor to provide added value for clients without creating direct accountability, and without liability, to help clients reach certain milestones. Additionally, hiring a wellness vendor allows brokers to bring in real wellness program experts. As wellness programs grow and expand, along with the addition of incentives related to the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to have true experts guiding a clients’ program to ensure success within government guidelines.
  1. Advise Clients on Wellness Programming- 10% of brokers chose to get more involved in their clients’ wellness program by offering advice. This allows brokers to have that trusted partnership level with clients without committing to metrics. It also allows brokers to build long-term relationships without committing to the development and execution of a plan that’s out of their wheelhouse. Advising clients’ usually involves identifying resources that they can use to build out their program and ensure its success, without the obligation of continued counseling and monitoring. This approach is like providing a playbook without coaching the actual game. It can build trust, without monopolizing broker time.

No matter what level of involvement brokers take in their clients’ wellness programs it’s safe to say the wellness isn’t going anywhere. And as the year goes on and incentives and rewards continue to cement themselves in this space, so do the legalities and conditions that go along with them. So how do you think the RAND pie chart will change in the coming year?

Rachel Merkin is a digital marketing professional. She has been exploring the worlds of social media and B2B gift cards since 2006. When she is not blogging, tweeting, or finding ways to leverage Facebook as a marketing tool, she spends as much time at the beach as she can.