Carrot or the Stick?

CarrotThe truth about motivating people with money

There’s a reason the 900-plus employees at SAIF Corp. in Salem, Ore., were recently named the healthiest in the state. The company’s wellness program has evolved to encourage healthy behaviors with a variety of different incentives.

Just about everyone wears a fitness tracking device at the state-chartered workers’ compensation company. And employees who move more, sit less, and track their activity can earn up to $300 a year for being active.

It’s one reason SAIF Corp. earned a first place award at the Oregon Healthiest Employers event last fall. But it wasn’t always that way, says SAIF Benefits and Wellness Manager Renae Coombs.
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Eat This. Not That.

dga-2015Digesting the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans

What’s for dinner? Unless you’re living on the Biggest Loser ranch where every meal is made for you, it’s a choice people have to make every day. Eat this, not that. Hit the drive-thru or cook at home? You know the drill, right?

Every food choice you make has a cumulative effect on your overall health. And for the typical American, convenience often trumps healthier food choices. And that’s a problem the U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to change.
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Shifting Gears

Shifting GearsTotal well-being approach to wellness gaining traction

What’s the bottom line? It’s the kind of straight-to-the-point question you would expect from a CEO, especially about spending money on wellness programs and incentives. The recurring question echoed in boardrooms and budget meetings across corporate America even prompted a team of Harvard researchers to dig up a dollar figure a few years ago.

But are health outcomes and cost-savings the only benchmarks you should look at to promote health, prevent disease, lower healthcare costs, and improve quality of life for your employees or participants? Probably not.
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Court Ruling on High-Stakes Wellness Incentives

Court.WellnessDistrict court rules in favor of mandatory participation

Chalk up another “win” for employers in the latest legal battle involving wellness programs.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a number of high-profile employers up the ante on their wellness program requirements. From requiring completion of a health risk assessment (HRA), running all staff through a biometric screening test, and/or insisting on a tobacco-free workforce (both on and off the job) in order to qualify for group health insurance, these companies are sending a clear message to employees: “We’re serious about our health initiatives.”

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Booming Boomers Hit Medicare Rolls

baby boomer medicareMedicare is a reminder to the Baby Boomer generation they are getting older. Did you know that on average 10,000 people enroll in Medicare a day?

Getting older inherently means more health risks, and it can cost more than $12,000 a year to treat each Medicare patient. 1. But there’s hope for improving quality of care and preventing some of the costs before they even occur.

That’s where the Annual Wellness Visit with a Medicare-focused Health Risk Assessment comes in.

Check out this infographic (click to enlarge) to discover where the highest Medicare costs are and how Annual Wellness Visit with an evidence-based Medicare HRA can enable you to reduce costs and care for seniors like they were meant to be.



Lifestyle Techniques to Combat Chronic Conditions

Chronic diseases affect over 117 million people in the U.S., nearly half the adults in the country. Heart disease and cancer are two chronic diseases that cause nearly 50% of all deaths each year. Meanwhile, obesity and diabetes are behind many of the painful and costly  disabilities treated annually.

There is good news amid this frightening array of statistics. Many chronic diseases can be prevented before they occur by making the right lifestyle choices. View the infographic here on   the importance of encouraging healthy lifestyle habits in the workplace.

Lifestyle Techniques to Combat Chronic Conditions

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Healthier Companies are More Profitable Companies

As more and more companies take advantage of corporate wellness programs like those offered by Wellsource, the most skeptical business executives and financial managers are scrutinizing the cost-benefit of bringing a health program to their organization, and are wondering how such a program will impact their bottom line. Research shows that health and wellness initiatives help businesses save money and become more profitable.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that company health programs help improve the bottom line:

  • Reduced healthcare costs – According to the CDC, 75% of total healthcare costs in the U.S. are spent on treating and managing chronic diseases,[i] such as heart disease and type II diabetes. Most of these chronic diseases are what are known as lifestyle diseases, or diseases that can be avoided or mitigated by making healthy life decisions. When employees understand the status of their health and risk factors for disease, they may be more motivated to make regular exercise, good diet, and other healthy lifestyle choices a part of their daily lives. Employers who offer support and incentives tied to employee health assessments and wellness programs will find their employees motivated to change their lifestyle choices. According to the National Prevention Council, medical costs and costs associated with employee absenteeism are reduced by $2 to $3 for every $1 spent on workplace wellness programs.
  • More productive employees – When employees are healthy, the indirect costs associated with lost productivity due to absenteeism and poor performance are reduced. Corporate wellness programs enable businesses to reach new levels of productivity by helping employees adopt healthier behaviors – a change that has a positive impact on workers’ personal lives and on their employers’ bottom lines.
  • Increased employee loyalty – The best (and most cost-efficient) kind of employee is a loyal employee – one who cares about the company he or she works for, and who is committed to helping that company achieve its goals. Corporate wellness programs are a way for businesses to demonstrate their concern for their employees’ health and wellbeing. Wellness programs in the workplace that are designed based upon the needs, risks, and interests of employees can enhance employee retention and increase loyalty over the long-run.

Learn more about the benefits of corporate health assessments and wellness programs by contacting Wellsource today at 800-533-9355.



Corporate wellness news

How Stress at Work Hurts the Health of Your Employees

Life can be stressful, and that goes doubly so when you’re on the job. Talking with clients, meeting deadlines, and coordinating with uncooperative team members can all quickly lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed, which often leads to a drop in productivity and workplace morale. Even more troubling, is the negative impact all that stress can have on an employee’s physical and mental health.

The Effects of Stress

Medical research has found a clear connection between stress and a multitude of negative health effects. Negative health effects from stress can be as small as headaches, to as big as panic attacks, depression, heart problems, and diabetes, just to name a few. In one study, employees who worked longer shifts were found to be more likely to suffer from hypertension, experience an accident on the job, make mistakes at work, and engage in unhealthy behavior like smoking.

Reducing Stress in the Workplace

While it’s impossible to have a completely stress-free workplace, there are steps that businesses can take to help relieve stress on their employees, making their lives healthier while also improving their performance. Some of these steps include:

  • Make employees feel appreciated – One of the leading causes of stress at work is the feeling among employees that they are unappreciated, or that they are being treated unfairly. Employees who feel that their workplace is a “just” one – one where their issues are heard, and where employees are dealt with fairly – are much less likely to suffer the negative health effects associated with stress.[iii] Being recognized for going above and beyond scope of responsibilities, for hitting challenging deadlines, and for achieving goals goes a long way toward making an employee and their teams feel like they and their work matter.
    Be responsive to employee needs – When stress starts to affect an employee’s health and/or work performance, managers should encourage and lead employees in stress relief activities and stepping away from their desks. Activities that help relieve workplace stress include a 15-minute walk, healthy snacks, laughter, and giving employees the time and space to stretch or meditate.

Wellsource offers comprehensive tools for company wellness programs. . Learn more today by calling 800-533-9355.


How to deal with stress at work




Why Fall Is a Great Time to Start a New Fitness Program

Fall Fitness TipsHave you been promising yourself you’ll start exercising more any day now? Planning on getting in better shape, but just can’t seem to find the time? We’ve got some good news for you: Fall is here, and it’s the perfect time to start a new fitness routine! Whether you’re making plans with your coworkers to improve worksite wellness or going it alone, here’s a list of reasons why there’s no better time to start exercising than right now.

  • The weather is mild – In most places in the world, the weather in fall is some of the mildest and most agreeable of the whole year. That means it’s the perfect time to go outside and start running, walking, or jogging before winter arrives and the cold adds one more reason to your list of reasons to put off exercising.
  • Get in shape for the holidays – The arrival of fall also means that the winter holidays are just around the corner. For most people, the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a time for indulging in rich foods and taking a break from normal routines. In other words, it’s not a time of year when most people are thinking about exercise. By starting a new fitness routine in the fall, you’ll be able to shed some extra pounds ahead of the winter holidays.
  • You’ll already have your New Year’s resolution – For all the people who swear every New Year’s Eve that next year will be the year they get in shape, not many people actually follow through on their commitment. If you start getting in shape now, however, you’ll already have a head start on next year’s weight-loss goal.

For more great health tips for fall and the rest of the year, contact Wellsource today at (800) 533-9355.

5 Employee Health Tips for Fall

Fall Health TipsFall is here, which means it’s out with the heat, and in with the turning leaves and cool breezes. In honor of the passing of the seasons, we thought we’d pass along some staff wellness tips  to help keep you and your coworkers healthy and happy this fall.

  • Get a flu shot – Worried you might end up having to take time off work when you inevitably come down with the flu? There’s an easy solution to this problem – get a flu shot! Going to your doctor for an annual flu shot is the best possible way to avoid falling sick this flu season. You’ll be doing yourself and your coworkers a favor.
  • Drink lots of water – “But what about the common cold?” you might be asking. It’s true that the flu shot doesn’t protect against the cold, but there are ways that you can guard yourself against it. Drinking water boosts the immune system, helping the body fight off invading germs.
  • Have some pumpkin – As everyone who loves Halloween will tell you, fall is pumpkin season, and, since pumpkins are full of vitamins A and C, enjoying everyone’s favorite squash can also boost your immune system and help you get the right amount of nutrients into your body.
  • Enjoy the weather – If the summer heat kept you indoors for the last few months, then autumn is the perfect opportunity to make up for lost time outdoors. Take advantage of the moderate weather to get in some running or walking before the winter cold arrives.

Interested in learning more about worksite wellness? Contact Wellsource today at (800) 533-9355 for more information on our corporate health programs.