Women with normal blood pressure less likely to develop cardiovascular disease

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News - Employee Wellness

Monday, 24 January 2011 16:00

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Women with normal blood pressure less likely to develop cardiovascular diseaseResearchers in 11 different countries examined some 10,000 people for 11 years and found that high systolic blood pressure is a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease, uncovering one more way to prevent complications.

Results from the study may suggest that organizations could lower costs stemming from sickness-related absenteeism by implementing employee wellness programs that promote physical and mental well-being.

Smoking and high cholesterol were other common and preventable indicators of the disease, which can cause stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

Employers may also want to consider concentrating on women's health when choosing an employee wellness plan, since researchers noted that hypertension had more of an effect on females than it did on their male counterparts.

"We found that a 15 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 56 percent in women compared to 32 percent in men," said Dr. Jan A. Staessen, director of the Studies Coordinating Center in the Division of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

By introducing workers to employee wellness plans that can help reduce stress and improve physical health, employers may be able to cut costs by preventing more serious diseases. 

Healthcare costs from cancer on the rise

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News - Health Care Costs

Sunday, 16 January 2011 16:00

Healthcare costs from cancer on the riseResearchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute have reported that by 2020, costs stemming from cancer treatment could reach $158 billion — a 27 percent increase — if current rates of cancer incidence and survival continue.

Increasing healthcare costs could possibly push that number further, but employers who implement wellness programs that stress disease prevention and offer employee health benefits that include preventative measures may be able to curb some of these hikes.

The study reports that if healthcare and technology costs increase by 2 percent each year, they could reach $173 billion in 10 years. If costs increase annually by 5 percent, the number could be as high as $207 billion. Such figures do not factor in loss of productivity due to the illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screenings, especially for cervical, colorectal and breast cancers. Vaccines for the human papillomavirus and hepatitis B can help reduce cervical and liver cancers, respectively. The CDC also advocates eating fresh produce as well as staying fit and active to help prevent chronic health conditions.

Employee wellness programs and health benefits that include taking action on such measures may not only help keep employees healthy, but hold rising costs in check. 

Emotional intelligence makes for positive workplace

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News - Employee Performance

Sunday, 16 January 2011 16:00

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Emotional intelligence makes for positive workplaceA recent study from the University of Haifa has shown that private sector employees with a high level of emotional intelligence tend to have more positive attitudes toward their workplace and are less likely to engage in negative behavior.

The study may suggest that employee wellness programs that build a worker's ability to identify and assess their own emotions as well as those of their coworkers' could help ease workplace stress and potentially improve employee performance.

Employees who were more in touch with their emotions showed an increased perception of fairness in their organization, commitment to their company and satisfaction at work. These workers were also less prone to burnout, shirking and engaging in forceful influence tactics.

The study showed the presence of emotional intelligence was not as likely to positively influence workers in the public sector, however.

According to an article on the Employee Wellness Programs' website, tools and activities to help promote or improve emotional intelligence include health coaching, self-help groups, writing in a journal, an assessment of one's emotional health and the presence of a support system at work. 

Positive attitude at work may reduce stress

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News - Workplace Stress

Sunday, 16 January 2011 16:00

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Positive attitude at work may reduce stressEmployees who suppress positive attitudes at work drain themselves of energy and end up with more negative feelings regarding their job and organization, according to a recent study by researchers from Rice University, Purdue University and the University of Toronto.

Some professionals - like journalists, doctors and law enforcement officers - are obligated to retain a neutral demeanor in order to do their jobs. However, the study showed that in a customer service position, participants who were asked to suppress their positive emotions had poorer employee performance and experienced higher workplace stress.

Employers in industries like medicine or law enforcement where a straight face is required may be able to counteract these negative feelings through employee wellness programs. Studies have shown that regular exercise combats stress, so a workplace gym or gym membership could help professionals in these fields. An article on the Atlanta Business Chronicle website says fostering open communication, honesty and encouragement are key things bosses can do to help workers. It also suggests implementing a company sports league to build morale and support systems.

Individuals who do not work in fields that require a poker face may want to keep in mind that a positive attitude can be contagious. The study showed that customers who interacted with happy employees rated the organization better in the end.

Whatever the job description, studies have shown stress to be detrimental to health and productivity. Employee wellness programs are available to combat stress and help support a company's bottom line. 

Employers hold the key to reducing workplace stress

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News - Workplace Stress

Thursday, 13 January 2011 16:00

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A study by the American Psychological Association reveals that three quarters of Americans are stressed out, with 70 percent of respondents saying work is the cause of their worries.A study by the American Psychological Association reveals that three quarters of Americans are stressed out, with 70 percent of respondents saying work is the cause of their worries. In addition to providing wellness programs, bosses and managers can take small steps toward a lighter work environment and enhanced employee performance.

Employers should be mindful of their own actions, remain aware of sources of stress around the office, be positive about wellness programs and encourage employees to take personal time to create a balanced workplace, according to an article on NuWire Investor's website.

Research has shown that employees sometimes mimic their managers' reactions to stressors. This could mean that a happy, stress-free boss will shape workers with a similar demeanor.

Employers should also be able to communicate with employees regarding sources of stress in the workplace. Communication and observation are key in deciding whether changes should be made to avoid conflicts, the news provider further reports.

Finally, personal time to refresh is essential to a happy employee. Companies should make sure workers are taking allotted vacation time and consider using unoccupied office space as a break area.

Small steps toward a stress-free workplace make excellent supplements to wellness programs and can help boost employee performance. 

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