Technology can change the way an office operates
Thursday, 11 August 2011 16:00Laptops, mobile tablets, cell phones and e-learning programs have all redefined office space, as many workers are opting to telecommute or make their own schedules. An article in Technology Review, a news source published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggests that the changes may lead to stronger employee performance.
The new, technology-driven workplace does not mean less organization, as companies remain dedicated to ensuring strong employee performance whether workers are near or far. Additionally, there is still a focus on maintaining a healthy staff.
New workplaces "must also become physically healthy places to spend hours of time, since sedentary work has emerged as a significant health threat," wrote author Andrew McAfee.
E-learning programs may be especially helpful, since they reduce commute time and allow for more flexibility, according to the University of Iowa. Additionally, the school reported that the venue allows users to develop stronger computer skills.
Employee wellness programs that utilize e-learning software may allow workers to reduce stress when away from the conventional office and making telecommuting a more effective, convenient way to conduct business.
Revitalize You! program shown to effectively reduce stress, healthcare costs
Tuesday, 19 July 2011 16:00HeartMath recently conducted an extensive survey to measure the outcomes of its Revitalize You! program, and the results may provide hope for administrators seeking to lower workplace stress and improve the health of their staff.
Revitalize You! is an e-learning program that allows employees to measure their stress levels and triggers, and provides coaching on how to alleviate anxiety in a health-centric way.
The results of HeartMath's study revealed that an organization that used the program was able to decrease costs stemming from employee hypertension by 22 percent, compared to a 47 percent increase for employees who did not participate in the employee wellness program.
Additionally, users of the program had average pharmacy costs that were about 5 percent lower than non-users.
The company also measured the return on investment (ROI) for use of the e-learning program, which they determined to be about two to one for the first year. HeartMath estimates that the second year ROI may be as much as four to one. They calculated that the program may save $585 annually per employee.
Hospitals to share HeartMath best practices
Sunday, 15 May 2011 16:00May 17 marks the beginning of the three-day HeartMath Best Practices Conference, where hospital administrators will gather to share the ways in which the employee wellness program has boosted performance and reduced workplace stress.
Moreover, Todd C. Linden, president and chief executive officer of Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Iowa, will be blogging daily about the most interesting findings of the 19 scheduled panels and presentations.
"I'm delighted to share my thoughts on a progressive approach to stress management that many hospitals are now providing to their employees," Linden said. "The conference presentations include hospitals that have employed HeartMath's research-based approach, which depicts the stress and performance relationship through science."
Linden's blog will be accessible through HeartMath.com, GRMC.us and TheHealthcareBlog.com.
Among the topics to be discussed and presented at the conference are HeartMath integration techniques and fostering staff well-being as well as research and findings about the program and its efficacy.
Hospitals are perhaps an ideal setting for programs like those offered by HeartMath, since many healthcare workers endure long shifts, make difficult decisions on a daily basis and are under intense pressure while on the job.
HeartMath adds new member to its line of technology
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 16:00An estimated 10,000 healthcare professionals around the country are helping their patients reduce stress and gain coherence over their physical state of being by using HeartMath's emWave software and personal stress relieving devices.
Now, the company has come out with the emWave2, which allows users to store their coherence data, more easily visualize their physiological changes and use interactive applications to customize the device.
The emWave2 lets users store and review the information from past sessions, allowing them to compare current readings as well as track their progress. Additionally, the information can be printed so that individuals can share their health data with their doctors.
A new game may motivate people to pick up the device time and again. First, it shows the operator a black and white landscape scene, which slowly changes to color as stress melts away.
The My Inspiration feature lets users download their own music and photos to the device, while the Coherence Coach provides guidance on stress relief.
The new addition to the HeartMath line of technology is an example of what sets the company's products apart from other wellness products: a focus on interactiveness and the alignment between body and mind.
Church sees big returns from using HeartMath system
Monday, 25 April 2011 16:00In 2007, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) implemented HeartMath's Revitalize You program in an effort to improve employee wellness and reduce workplace stress. When the church hired a consulting company to gauge how well the intervention worked, they found significant results.
Implementation of the program cost an estimated $300 per employee, but when savings from healthcare costs were measured, it was found that workers who participated in the program saved the company nearly $600 per month.
To conduct the research, McCarthy Actuarial Consulting analyzed the healthcare and prescription cost data of 486 employees, of whom 143 participated in the Revitalize You program. About 80 percent of the cohorts were male, with an average age of about 50.
Between 2007 and 2008, it was found that those who engaged in the HeartMath system had an average decrease of 11.5 percent in healthcare costs, compared to a 14 percent increase for non-participators. Additionally, pharmacy costs for the participants rose by 4.7 percent, while abstainers saw a 15.4 percent rise in pharmaceutical expenditures.
These numbers added up to an average savings of 7.1 percent for participators, and a 14.4 percent hike in costs for those who chose not to use Revitalize You.
The consulting company predicted that future savings stemming from the HeartMath program may include further reduced pharmaceutical costs and continued healthcare expenditure savings for the participating employees.
Research on the link between stress and emotions has been extensive and suggests that individuals do have the power to control their mental anguish using simple techniques. The Revitalize You program works by reinforcing positive feedback between the heart and the mind using technology integrated with HeartMath techniques. By helping to synchronize breathing with heart rate, the system is able to allow users to calm themselves, which may prompt the body to release hormones that are linked with positive emotions.
HeartMath's main purpose is to relieve stress, and given the compendium of human illness related to chronic anxiety and tension, it's reasonable to believe that the program inherently promotes healthcare cost savings for both the employer and employee. Additionally, estimates from the McCarthy analysis report that absenteeism stemming from poor health makes up for about half of health-related costs, while presenteeism - or low productivity due to illness - can cost anywhere from $22 to $157 per employee annually.
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