Health education is linked to wellness
Thursday, 14 July 2011 16:00Individuals who are well-informed on medical conditions, risk factors, healthcare systems and doctor and pharmaceutical instructions tend to be more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle when compared to their counterparts with low health literacy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that an estimated 90 percent of Americans find it troublesome to understand medical information provided by the media and healthcare facilities, a fact which underscores a need for improved education.
In order to rectify this, the DHHS has developed the National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, a campaign aimed at providing more accurate and accessible information, delivering individual-centered services and supporting continued learning on healthy lifestlye factors.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine reports that individuals should have the skills to evaluate information, weigh risks and benefits, calculate medication doses, interpret test results and find credible health information.
Employers may want to consider making efforts toward educating staff members on health risks and keeping stress levels low, since chronic anxiety is linked with a host of illnesses. Employee wellness programs that provide information on medical issues and well-being that is both accurate and easy to understand may result in a healthier staff, with stronger employee performance and reduced workplace stress.
Summer poses certain risks for outdoor workers
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 16:00The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported that 30 employees died last year due to heat stroke. As a result, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) made some suggestions for organizations to help keep their workers safe from intense heat.
Education appears to be key, as the organization recommends that both employees and employers learn about factors that can cause heat stroke, symptoms of exhaustion due to overheating and prevention methods for the condition.
"Heat and humidity can be a serious safety threat to all workers during the summer – from utility workers to agriculture, construction and roadway workers," said ASSE president Terrie Norris. "People should act quickly when they begin to feel these symptoms."
Signs of heat exhaustion include headaches, dizziness, fainting, weakness, changes in mood, irritability, nausea or vomiting. An individual may be experiencing heat stroke if they have stopped sweating, are feeling confused, lose consciousness, or develop seizures or convulsions.
In addition to providing water, cool resting areas and fans for workers, organizations can educate their staff on the dangerous condition.
Employee wellness programs that allow workers to recognize when they are feeling overly stressed or exhausted may also help prevent heat stroke while improving employee performance.
Survey reveals drop in employee confidence
Monday, 11 July 2011 16:00The SFN Group Employee Confidence Index took a 5.8 point dive in June, reflecting a drop in workers' feelings of job security and optimism for a better economy, according to the Harris Interactive survey.
The decrease puts the index at 48.1 points, indicating below-average levels of employee confidence and, possibly, an increase in workplace stress as staffers become more worried about their earning potential in a down economy.
"Recent stumbles in the economic recovery, such as slower job growth this quarter and increasing unemployment claims, have clearly shaken workers' confidence," said Roy Krause, president and CEO of SFN Group. "With the largest monthly decrease in our Index to date, workers appear to be very apprehensive about their own personal employment situations and the future of their current employer."
The survey included input from 1,434 employees in the U.S. and revealed that 57 percent of workers are confident in the future success of their current employer, which is a 5 percent decrease from May. The number of workers who feel security in retaining their current job decreased 12 percent from last month, bringing the number to 68 percent.
Results of this survey suggest that employee wellness programs that address stress management techniques may be helpful in alleviating feelings of anxiety in workers during uncertain economic times.
Sitting for prolonged periods may lead to health risks
Monday, 11 July 2011 16:00In August, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine will feature a collection of research articles that support the idea that sitting, as opposed to a lack of exercise, may be harmful to a person's health.
The literature is meant to examine various aspects of how sedentary behavior can cause problems as well as determine which efforts may be effective in reducing sitting time.
"To build evidence-based approaches for addressing sedentary behavior and health, there is the need for research to develop new measurement methods, to understand the personal, social and environmental factors that influence sedentary behaviors, and to develop and test the relevant interventions," said researcher Neville Owen, Ph.D.
The research may be especially relevant in the workplace, where employees sit for hours on end. Previous studies have suggested that interventions that encourage healthy living and physical activity for workers are effective in getting staff members moving.
In addition to improving employee wellness, the added physical activity may alleviate workplace stress, a significant factor in worker burnout and employee turnover.
Strong manager-employee relationships may improve performance
Sunday, 10 July 2011 16:00UK company Chartered Management Institute conducted a survey which revealed that 39 percent of employees in the country are feeling intense stress at work, and experts are saying that one-to-one communication may help.
YouAtWork.com reports that the communication gap between management and staff members may lead to a loss of workers' confidence in their company, which can heighten feelings of tension as well as reduce productivity.
Programs that help strengthen the relationships between higher and lower level employees may help alleviate this effect.
"I think employers should be putting in place programs and services to improve resilience and actually teach people the skills for resilience," said employee wellness expert Kevin Friery, quoted by the source.
News provider Chron.com reports that a healthy relationship between managers and workers is key to a strong organization. Employees rely on their superiors for guidance and direction, so open discourse can be integral to optimal productivity.
Employee wellness programs that help workers with stress management may send a signal to staff members that their organization is looking out for their health and well-being, thereby strengthening trust and employee performance.
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