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5 Free Solutions to Keep Your Employees Healthy and Focused

Laura Nolan, Health Solutions Executive at Humana, is a strong advocate for bringing a healthy lifestyle into the corporate office environment. We spoke the other day and she spoke passionately about how health solutions can positively affect output for any company AND the community.

Here are the numbers:

  • Productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 BILLION (or $1,685 per employee). Source: CDC, International Monetary Fund

  • People going to work when they’re sick (presenteeism) accounts for nearly TWO-THIRDS OF THE TOTAL COSTS of worker illness. Source: Harvard Business Review

  • More than 48 million workers—or 38 percent of the U.S. working population— have no paid sick leave. Source: NHIS, 2008

  • Companies that have exemplary safety, health and environmental programs OUTPERFORMED THE S&P 500 by between 3 and 5 percent. Source: Fabius R, Thayer R, Dixon BA, et al. 2013

And then it hit me:

Why aren’t all companies already doing this? It would save them so much money!

After 16 years with Humana, Laura has to say this to employers:

“…with wellness, each and every employer should consider it. Even if they aren’t, [or if] they don’t have the funds with the budgets to purchase a high tech wellness program for their employees, anything that you can do to think outside of the box [to ensure your employees are treated well.]”

There are BILLIONS — okay, maybe not billions – but a lot of apps out there to help you and your employees on their health journey!

Check out these other articles:

The best 8 Apps for a Calm, Focused Mind by Huffington post

15 tools that will help you stay focused by Product Hunt

Personally, I’m old school and if I try to take a break, I try to do it away from tech. So, here are some of the things that are free (or close to free) that can help you through the day.

1. Set up reminders to take a break

“[At Humana,] twice a day I get an email that tells me to be mindful and to take a moment to meditate, to stretch or to do yoga and it’s linked to YouTube videos, so right. They don’t want me sitting and stuck at my desk all day zoning out and becoming less productive because I’m in the zone, so twice a day I get an email.”

This takes time, yes, but overall a free alternative and makes you (your company) an ‘accountability partner’ to your employees’ health journeys.

2. Stretch

Do some chair yoga! This sound intense, but even just not looking at your computer, or stretching forward while sitting down will do your body some good! Our bodies take so much physical strain from sitting. YES, you heard correctly! Or as Laura would say: Sitting is the new smoking.”

3. Dance

Now for those who follow me on “the” social media, you know that I don’t waste any time. In the morning, I like to get my blood pumping! Some mornings I spend at The Gym Jax, but in the office, I like to dance…with my office! We usually do the YMCA, we blast the volume, share some laughs.

Check out this sweet video of us in action. AND YOU’LL LOVE THIS: I did the #inMyFeelingsChallenge, check it.

Are you in Jax? Check out some classes at The Gym Jax here or listen to our other podcast episode about The Gym Jax, here.

4. Walk it Out

Bring your phone, don’t bring your phone, whatever you choose, just set a timer to 5 minutes and see how far you can walk away from your desk! Whatever you do, the point is to get those legs moving and your brain a break from going 100MPH all morning/afternoon.

5. Play a Game

Get your office involved, too! Arren was telling me about her college job: she worked at the Dean of Students office and at 2:55pm every day the entire office gathered and would play a game. The games would range from doing icebreakers, light team building activities, and or just being in the room together silent and listening to classical music – just something unrelated to work!

So there they are; 5 free, easy solutions to get your employees happy, healthy, and more productive.

Keep workin’ hard my friends!

5 Free Solutions to Keep Your Employees Healthy and Focused

Benefits in Using Contractors

A recent trend seen around the globe is businesses moving towards utilizing contractors versus full-time employees. Not only is this an attempt to incorporate more lax employee methods and culture within the workplace, but it is also seen as a huge money saver for employers. Though contracts differ based on the person and assignment, this approach ultimately spares the company in various internal and payroll costs while providing the contractor flexibility in roles and organizations within their field of interest. Due to high demand, specifically in the IT industry, professionals are needed to cover multiple projects that may only last for a few months – This is where contractors are seen as a huge advantage. If you are considering hiring outside expertise, here are benefits around securing contract workers for year-end, IT-based ventures.

Exclusivity Factor
In many cases, especially towards the end of Q3, organizations need an IT professional’s complete attention for only a short but intense period of time. Realistically, hiring a full-time employee would only delay the project status due to formalities and onboarding. Looking to a contractor will cut this time in half and will allow you to dedicate someone fully to that need – This guarantees exclusive concentration to the assignment and deadlines until the end of their contract.

Specialized Worker
Along with full dedication comes the opportunity to hire a very specialized professional in the information technology field. Depending on the client and job, requirements could be for someone with knowledge in very small niche. Knowing what the project entails prior to forming the team allows the company to properly identifying exactly what is needed in this worker that may not be found in the present job force.

Urgent Hire
On the contrast of hiring for specialized talent, there are also many circumstances where a new job appears with no bandwidth available from current team members. In these situations, hiring contractors become very critical. With the common knowledge of IT workers being stretched thin between projects, contracts become a vital part of the process.

Benefits in Using Contractors

How to Get Back on Track in the Office Post-Vacation

No matter what career environment or industry you are in, it is safe to assume that everyone deserves one thing – Time away from the office. Whether it is an extended holiday break or much needed week of vacation in the middle of the summer, it is important to disconnect from your day-to-day routine to recharge. However, returning to your desk after time away can be challenging. Here at three ways to reboot your productivity without needing a vacation from your vacation.

Organize Your To-Do’s
Organization prior to your time away is key for maintaining your tranquility upon returning to the office. Spend the days leading up to your PTO defining all tasks that need to be complete by the end of the month. Then, identify the urgent action items that must be done while you are out, and those that can wait until your first day back – Including due dates per items. This will help you decide how you’ll spend your first few hours post-vacation.

Strong Team Communication
Before you jet off, be sure to connect with your team, communicating the above deadlines. Give them clear direction on the current status of your projects, as well what must be completed while you are out of the office. Along with the status, provide them with any necessary documents to efficiently do the job – Not only will this set them up for success but will also give you the confidence that things are moving while you are out.

Prioritize Emails
The moment you turn your out-of-office off, you will likely be flooded with many emails. To ensure your day is not spent getting your inbox to zero, go through them all then label in order of priority based on the subject line – Categorizing as urgent then those that can wait until later in the week. While it is instinct to respond as soon as you read to check them off your list, take the time to have all details needed to answer appropriately, and do not worry about the time it takes you respond. Your colleagues know you are playing catch-up and will bump the email to you again if it is more urgent than you realized.

How to Get Back on Track in the Office Post-Vacation

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is an annual process whereby employees elect benefits for the following year. During this time, employees can opt into not only insurance options, but also benefits such as flex spending or health savings accounts. During this period, employees have the option to enroll, modify or opt out of benefit programs. While this can be a stressful time, here are a few reasons why this process is important.

Why Is It Important?
In most circumstances these options cannot be modified until the next open enrollment period so it is critical employees understand their options. Beyond premiums and deductibles, employees should consider other potential out-of-pocket costs. Employees should also be cautious in assuming that options and their related costs have not changed from the prior year.

Where Does It Affect Organizations?
While open enrollment may only require a few hours of an employee’s time, employers spend months planning, executing and finalizing this process. If an employee fails to enroll or opt-out during the open enrollment window, this falls back on the organization regardless of whose mistake. Human Resource functions spend considerable effort in preparation for this process. Long before open enrollment begins, decisions about changes in available benefits must be made, new employment and healthcare laws must be understood, technology and data-related tasks must be performed and a strong communication plan put in place. Once begun, the open enrollment process is a significant administrative and operational undertaking that continues beyond the deadline. All of that information must be transmitted to each benefit provider, set up accurately in payroll records and budgeted.

At SNI, we work to relieve your workload by providing you the talent you need – for only the time you need it. We are happy to access the additional resources you may need during this stressful process. We can provide the following types of talent: data entry, HR generalists, payroll benefit processors, and more.

What is Open Enrollment?