Focus on heart health to reduce stress
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 16:00Numerous studies have suggested that there is a strong association between mental and physical wellness. For instance, poor cardiovascular health may induce stress, and vice versa.
Research that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that stress is as significant of a risk factor for poor heart health as age or genetics. However, unlike these factors, individuals can control their stress levels.
"Cardiovascular responses to stress are exquisitely coordinated and functional up to a point," said study authors. "These stress effects, like other settings of cardiac risk, are potentially modifiable, if not by cardiologists themselves, then by their colleagues who help patients change their behaviors and cognitions."
The Mayo Clinic reports that chronic stress can lead to sleep disruptions, digestive issues, depression, weight gain, poor memory or skin conditions, in addition to cardiovascular disease.
As a result, it's a good idea to keep both stress levels and heart health in check in order to ensure overall well-being.
The workplace may be the most common site where people experience stress, so employee wellness programs that provide anxiety management tools and resources may be a good way to target tension where it matters most.
Employees can exercise during the workday without sacrificing productivity
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:00Some supervisors may be hesitant to encourage staff members to take a walk or hit the gym in the middle of the day out of fear that workers will be wasting valuable production time toning their abs.
However, researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that employees can take a daily 30-minute exercise break without sacrificing their productivity.
"This increased productivity comes, on the one hand, from people getting more done during the hours they are at work, perhaps because of increased stamina and, on the other hand, from less absenteeism owing to sickness," said study authors Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz and Henna Hasson.
Additionally, volunteers reported a perceived increase in their ability to work as well as the quality of their physical health in a post-trial assessment.
Since daily exercise has been shown to be an effective anxiety-reliever, it's possible that the strategy may also help reduce workplace stress. Combining exercise breaks with an employee wellness program that provides tools and resources for stress management and healthy living may be a powerful way to strengthen employee performance.
Worker satisfaction with benefits and opportunity for advancement drops
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 16:00A recent Gallup poll revealed that the number of workers who are dissatisfied with their employee health benefits and opportunities to move up in a company has risen by 11 percent and 7 percent, respectively, from 2008 to 2011.
This brings the total percentage of dissatisfaction in these job aspects to 19 percent each. Moreover, workplace stress remains the top reasons that employees are unhappy at work, with 28 percent of surveyed staffers reporting job anxiety, a 6 percent increase from 2008.
While interesting, the findings aren't exactly novel. A New York Times article from 2005 reported that job satisfaction requires more than fair pay.
"The reason is simple: worker satisfaction, as ordinarily measured, depends at least as much on social aspects of work, and having a sense of meaning and interest in work, as it does on material rewards," wrote Alan Krueger, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.
This suggests that organizations that make a point of showing employees that they care about their well-being may boast a happier, more productive staff and reduced workplace stress.
Showing appreciation for employees may lead to a stronger workforce
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 16:00Neglecting to give workers due credit for their dedication, long hours and sacrifices can lead to decreased productivity and hostility in the workplace. Conversely, a simple in-person "thank you" or a positive report to a senior manager for a job well done can boost confidence in workers, thereby improving their performance and satisfaction.
An article in Inc. magazine reports that there can sometimes be a disconnect between what supervisors view as an adequate reward and what employees desire. The news source cited a study which showed that workers value face-to-face time over monetary incentives.
"Especially during tough economic periods, it's important to give people face time and basic human appreciation on a regular basis," says Debra Condren, a business psychologist and founder of Manhattan Business Coaching, quoted by the news source.
A PostCrescent.com report revealed that showing appreciation, combined with open communication and fair pay, are key to retaining talented workers.
Implementing employee wellness programs may show staff members that an organization is looking out for their best interest. Additionally, giving individuals tools and resources for stress management and healthy living may result in stronger employee performance and reduced costs stemming from employee health benefits.
Healthy nurses may lead to better patient well-being
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 16:00Regular physical activity has been linked to decreased stress levels in multiple clinical studies. Considering the benefits of both exercise and low anxiety, it makes sense that nurses should recommend healthy lifestyle habits to their patients in an effort to promote overall well-being for the ill.
Researchers at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University agree that nurses can serve as good role models. However, these healthcare staff members may be in need of some healthy lifestyle lessons themselves.
A secondary study by scientists at the Physicians & Ambulatory Network Services at the North Shore revealed that about half of the nurses at a New York hospital were overweight or obese. Moreover, all of the male nurses included in the research fell into one of these unhealthy categories.
Authors of the study said that nurses who lead lifestyles that promote wellness are more likely to instruct their patients to do so, and that sharing personal struggles is very helpful in encouraging patients to follow an exercise regimen.
The findings suggest that many nurses are in need of employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for well-being, including stress management techniques and tips on diet and exercise. This may have the added benefit of improving patient health, which can be good for the whole organization.
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