wellness digest–week of january 31

February 7, 2011

in wellness digest

this week’s roundup of articles that informed, inspired, intrigued or irritated.

1. employee wellness programs should be designed for all

this article serves up an important reminder that wellness efforts need to consider all employees’ realities.

“Imagine how a low-wage, manual worker in environmental services at your hospital might view the idea. Maybe that worker has to get up at 4 a.m. every day to take a bus to work, where he’s on his feet all day wrestling with heavy objects. Maybe that worker has a second job to make ends meet, or he’s a single parent with two kids at home. That worker is probably not going to take advantage of your lunchtime Jazzercise class, or spend a couple hours after work running a treadmill.”

2. financial literacy shares spotlight with employee wellness

during our last cohealth tweet chat, i tweeted that today, wellness means physical health. tomorrow, i hope it’ll mean physical, mental and financial health. this article covers some companies that have moved in that direction.

“Financial distractions like these play out in workplace absenteeism and tardiness. Stressed-out employees spend an average of about 20 hours a month dealing with their financial problems, according to Mark McAvoy, a member of the Organizational Development Expertise Panel of the Society for Human Resource Management that conducted national surveys with managers.”

3. survey: employers are a reliable source for health data

employee benefit news reports on a national business group on health study that finds the number of employees who look to their employer for health information spiked from 54% in 2007 to 75% in 2010.

“Employees have scaled back on accessing health information from the doctor’s office, magazine and newspaper articles and pharmacists. For example in 2007, 72% of employees said they receive health information from their doctor’s office or clinic. In 2010, the number dropped to 61%.”

4. it’s because we are asking, listening and acting: creating workplaces for the 21st century

this week the society for human resources management (SHRM) and the families and work institute (FWI) announced a multiyear partnership, moving work forward. their partnership is dedicated to increasing workplace flexibility.

“At the press conference, Hank Jackson, the Interim President and CEO of SHRM, said that this [workplace flexibility] ranked even higher than compensation. As the former CFO of SHRM, he said this got his attention.

“‘If you think that this is one of those nice things to do for over-stressed employees, you’re wrong. This is the next business imperative. This is the next revolution in boosting productivity because empowering people to do their best at all stages of their lives, regardless of their industry, background, or culture leads to innovation, a higher quality of work, more employee commitment, and yes, higher productivity.’”

5. 7 predictions for how healthcare will evolve by 2020

a snapshot from ogilvy commonhealth’s 202020 vision, a digital-health report with 20 scenarios of what healthcare could look like in 2020. of the seven ideas included here, most are an extension of current phenomena, except for this one:

“The terminally ill or severely handicapped struggle with the most basic of communications, yet by 2020 the growing field of brain-computer interfaces will have progressed to a level where these patients can communicate with others via their thoughts. This will enable them to significantly improve their quality of life, let the terminally ill ‘get their affairs in order’ and otherwise transform long term patient care environments.”

6. most health solutions aren’t medical, they’re social

the future well is one of my favorite blogs, along with its partner, jay parkinson + MD + MPH. in this post, jay parkinson writes about his personal health evolution, thanks to new friends.

“My relationships changed, and thus my everyday changed. I began eating with someone who ate differently than me. I adopted her eating habits, which spurred me to change how I ate. I also spent more time with Grant, who introduced me to the world of urban cycling. I adopted his lifestyle and his interests. And then I changed myself and started pushing my heart in the gym.”

the article includes a link to the latest atul gawande article for the new yorker, the hot spotters. technically, it doesn’t qualify for this week’s digest, since it was printed on jan 24, but boy. read it. even though it’s about the health care system, there are so many lessons here for employee wellness design and implementation.

and that’s a wrap.

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