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Prioritizing Employee Health while Transitioning Back into the Office

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As we experience lifting of government mandated restrictions related to COVID-19, businesses are beginning to reopen. This means employees are starting to transition from their home office back to the work environment. Employees have been out of this environment and routine for months now. This disruption to the life we had known will take time to adjust to. And we must consider how our employees have been impacted by quarantine. Ultimately, we need to consider how employee health has changed.

 

We have all been more isolated than ever before. We have been facing higher stress, anxiety and mental health and well-being challenges. As we begin moving back to an in-person work setting, these health challenges will not simply disappear. So as this transition occurs from our at-home offices back to the work office, employers must consider how they can make returning to work easier and safer for employees.  

 

Ask yourself:

What can be done as your workforce transitions out of quarantine and back into the work environment?

And how can you prioritize your employee health?

Rethink the Office to Protect Employee Health

Make changes to your workspace that allow for social distancing. Organize your space to limit employees’ exposure to health hazards. Review the CDC’s recommendations for developing hazard controls. `

  • Use methods to physically separate employees in areas where groups are possible. 
  • Replace high-touch communal items with single-serve items.
  • Improve the ventilation in the work area.
  • Prohibit any close contact and limit occupancy in elevators.
  • And enforce social distancing and outdoor seating.

Practice Proper Hygiene and Sanitation to Protect Employee Health

Think about how you can provide a cleaner and safer work environment for employees. Now ask, what can you do to optimize cleaning and sanitation practices? 

  • Everyone should be washing hands for 20 seconds throughout the day. If handwashing is not available, sanitize with effective solutions. 
  • Provide employees with general preventative recommendations. This may include:
    • Routine cleaning for frequently touched surfaces
    • Wearing PPE when cleaning
    • Drying surfaces thoroughly
    • Using house-hold cleaners, correctly

Provide Flexibility with Employees

Maintaining a flexible approach is necessary in helping employees navigate the transition back to the office. Employees may have difficulty finding child care. Or they simply may not feel safe or comfortable returning to the office just yet. Employees may be struggling to cope with returning to an environment where they feel they are at risk. Therefore, a flexible work approach should be considered.  This can be achieved by offering flexible work hours or extended ability to work from home (if possible).

Provide Wellness-Based Incentives and Wellness Programs

Employee health and wellness is more important now than ever before. And managing stress and promoting overall wellness is key to maintaining a strong immune system. 

 

A wellness program is the perfect way to promote employee health and wellness. And the benefits of wellness programs are numerous. While this is true, cuts to these programs may seem like an easy way to save your business money in the immediate future. However, investing in employee health and wellness is more important now than ever. Not only does workplace wellness help reduce employee stress and  improve productivity, it ultimately saves companies money in the long run. Wellness programs can help employees:

  • Reduce COVID-19 risk factors
  • Promote health, strengthen the immune system, and avoid illness
  • Reduce stress, lessening distraction on the job
  • Cultivate strong mental health, allowing employees to focus more fully on their work responsibilities
  • Improve eating habits, helping employees gain natural energy and focus
  • Improve your employee benefit package and make your workplace more attractive to new hires
 

Contact info@bkomplete.com to schedule your complimentary wellness consultation. And learn how you can offer wellness strategies to your employees.

 

Offer Individual Support and Counseling to Support Employee Health

Make mental health a priority for employees. Studies have shown that  there have been significant psychological impacts as a result of the pandemic. These impacts include increased fear and anxiety, among others.

 

So be there for your employees. Offer individual counseling for all employees to be able to get the help they need. Do you have an EAP in place? Contact us to learn about our counseling options.

Offer Financial Wellness Education

While employees may have been able to work virtually, they may have faced financial hardship from a spouse that has lost a job. Or they may have faced large medical expenses. Consider offering financial wellness education to empower employees to improve their financial strategies and overall wellness. Show employees that you will be there for them in any way you can. Evolution Financial Group provides individuals, families, and businesses with  insurance, financial planning, investment management and retirement income strategies that align with each client’s unique needs, goals and vision. They provide financial wellness for groups and individuals.  Visit their website to learn more. Email us at info@bkomplete.com and we can introduce you to one of their financial professionals.

Effectively Communicate with Employees

Now that you have safe guards and precautions in place to protect your employees, communicate your efforts. Outline the steps of reopening for your employees. Highlight the changes that have been made, so employees can feel a sense of security and know what to expect upon returning to work. Additionally, outline expectations for social distancing and protective gear such as face masks/coverings. Help ease employee stress and uncertainty by keeping them informed and remaining open to questions and suggestions regarding reopening. 

 

Transitioning back to the office can be scary and stressful for employees, but you can help make it easier. ADP has put together return-to-work checklist that you can review for more tips. For additional ideas on how to prioritize employee health as you return to the office – or to book a wellness event – contact us at info@bkomplete.com

 

Remember, as employees return to work, the top priority should be focused on their health and wellness.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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Why Laughter Works in Wellness

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Laughter is just what the doctor ordered

We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. Now let’s talk about why this is the prescription we could all use. 

Think about how you feel when you watch a funny show or movie, or you’re told a funny story. You can’t help but to smile and feel good. Well, when this sensation happens, a similar positive response happens internally to your body systems. Laughter benefits us in many ways. These benefits can be physical, emotional, spiritual and can help us to heal.

So, how does this work and how can you take advantage of these benefits?

Short-term Benefits of Laughter

Laughing has the ability to benefit our short- and long-term health. In the short-term, it can be an immediate relief for us.

 

Laughing can… 

  • Relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. By laughing, you can increase circulation and help relax your muscles.
  • Stimulate organs. When you laugh, more oxygen enters circulation in the body, helping to stimulate body systems.
  • Stabilize blood pressure. Laughter has been shown to relax blood vessels, helping to decrease blood pressure.
  • Aid digestion. The act of laughing stimulates activity of the digestive tract and can aid in digestion. 
  • Reduce stress. Laughing decreases stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, in your blood. In other words, it demonstrates a reversal of the body’s stress response

Long-term Benefits of Laughter

When we fill our life with laughter, there’s more than just an immediate feeling of joy and catharsis. We  can experience benefits way beyond that immediate moment. For instance, laughter can profoundly impact our health overtime.

Overtime, laughter has the ability to …

  • Improve your immune system and mood. When you experience negative thoughts, these trigger a stress response in the brain and suppress the immune system. But when you experience the positive emotions that laughter brings, endorphins– the “feel good” hormones, are released.  Then your immune cells and antibody activity are strengthened. This all helps to support your immune system.
  • Relieve pain. Studies have shown that when you experience laughter, your brain releases endorphins.  This response enables you to better tolerate pain. 
  • Help with coping. By finding humor in stressful or difficult situations, you can turn a negative perspective to a positive one.  As a result, you may be better able to cope with stress.
  • Benefit mental health. Laughter has the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase your resilience.  Therefore, you may bounce back faster from life challenges and see the positive in hard situations.  
  • Improve relationships and social connectivity. Laughter has the power to unite and connect people. It also increase perceptions of others as likable. 

How Can You Fill Your Life With More Laughter?

  • Make it a habit to be around people who make you laugh and improve your mood
  • Watch a funny show, video, or movie to relax and unwind
  • Call a friend who you can laugh and joke with 
  • Tell a story of something funny that happened to you 
  • Do fun activities that spark joy and laughter (games, sports, goat yoga, reading, etc.)

Along with these laughter-eliciting activities, there are scientifically studied therapies that include laughter as a form of healing.

Laughter Therapies

  • Laughter yoga is a technique that combines simulated laughter and breathing exercises for physiological and psychological benefits.
  • Laughter meditation is the practice of focused laughter to release emotional and physical stress.
  • Humor/Laughter therapy includes a range of laughter-eliciting activities. And it has been used in healthcare for its physical and psychological benefits.

Humor for Wellness Marketing

Humor and laughter don’t just have a direct contribution to our body health. They also contribute to the effectiveness of health interventions for a broader population. For example, humor is a great tool for marketing wellness. It engages us and makes us laugh and tune in. As a result, humorous messaging is shared more often and passed along, broadening the reach of a message. And when the message is something that can help individuals improve their health and wellness, it is even more important that we pass it along. 

If you are looking to spread the message of wellness to your employees, contact us at info@bkomplete.com to sign up for our wellness newsletter. 

Humor to Empower Health

When we talk about our health, it can be an intimidating or overwhelming discussion. But when we use humor, we have the power to eliminate some of the stress associated with confronting one’s health. That’s why there is nothing wrong with using a funny meme or video to initiate a discussion on health. Otherwise this topic may be too difficult for some to address.

 

By empowering people to talk about their health, goals, and needs, we can help them take steps to improving their health and being the best version of themselves. 

Humor is empowering, healing, and therapeutic. So take advantage of the power of a good laugh and enjoy the benefits that follow. To learn more about how you can reduce stress and bring positivity to your life, contact B.Komplete.

And for a quick laugh and wellness tip, check out our video below!

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

Blog

How to Help Employees Cope with Crisis and Prioritize Mental Health

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We are all in crisis (COVID-19) and the challenge to our mental health is overwhelming. In a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. This is a problem because when our stress increases, so does risk of physical and psychological issues. These issues include digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional distress, and triggers to mental health disorders. Under these conditions no one can perform their best.  And when you relate this to your employee population, the challenges to employee well-being are significant.  Poor mental health affects employee productivity, performance, and health. By helping your employees cope with stress and crisis, your business will see more productive, safer, well-adjusted and happier employees.

As a result of the ongoing global health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented surge of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If these mental health issues are not addressed now, this can lead to prolonged suffering with long-lasting impacts. The question is, how can you help your employees cope with crises now and avoid these negative health outcomes in the future?

Encourage your employees

Be there for your employees. Providing guidance for employees during times of crisis is imperative. Focusing on employee wellness will allow you to help employees better cope with crises. Encourage the right behaviors that will lead employees toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. Help your employees with some of the tips below. 

Social Connectivity for Mental Health

Studies show that people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of anxiety and depression. During times of social distancing, employees may feel more isolated and may struggle to remain social.


If working from home, add virtual group meetings and check-ins. This will keep social ties between coworkers and instill a support system. Encourage video chat lunch breaks or a walking club to remain connected as a work team.  Healthy competition is a great way to keep employees connected – schedule a B.Komplete Online Wellness Challenge to engage your employees across the Country (and the World).

Physical Activity for Mental Health

Now more than ever, it is important to encourage physical activity. Regular physical activity positively impacts the mind and body. The problem is, people are participating in less physical activity as a result of mandated quarantines. Getting active and adding physical activity into your day will bring better energy – better sleep – sharper memory – and more positive feelings. 

Encourage employees to get outdoors on days when the weather is nice.  If working from home, take the time that would be spent on commuting to do something physical, no matter how big or small.

Start an exercise group for employees to share home workouts and tips. This will provide employees a support system to help them stay motivated in their fitness goals. If employees need a little extra support and accountability, video chat walks are the perfect solution. It’s as easy as calling a friend or co-worker during your lunch break or at the end of the work day and getting moving. This is a great way to get active while staying social.

Healthy Eating for Mental Health

When employees eat better and focus on nourishing their bodies, they are better prepared with the energy to take on stressful situations. The nutrients in our food affects how well our mind and body are able to function. It is important to choose a healthy balance of foods to be able to take on the day and cope with stress. One recommendation to aim for is to consume 2, 4-oz servings of oily fish a week for DHA benefits. 

Encourage employees to take lunch breaks and prep meals ahead of time as would normally be done for an in-person work week.  We can help make cooking simple (and delicious)!  Contact us to learn more.

Self Care for Mental Health

Practicing self-care means finding ways to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. This can include physical activity, meditation, sleep/rest, journaling, engaging with friends and family, or taking on a new hobby. 

Self-care can be anything really- it just depends on the person and what makes them feel good.  Encourage employees to find the activities they enjoy that benefit them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Seeking Professional Guidance

Normalize the practice of reaching out for help and seeking professional help when needed. Talk about the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help.

Encourage employees to seek professional counseling or assistance if their mental health is not well. Some resources to turn to for further help include the disaster distress helpline, crisis textline, national suicide prevention lifeline, and resource hotline for substance abuse disorders. Visit mentalhealth.gov for crisis numbers and resources.

Finding Positive Hobbies for Mental Health

With many of us experiencing increased stress, it’s so important to add positive activities into the day.  This can help as a distraction from any negativity and can act as an outlet to release stress. 

These positive activities can include any of the previously mentioned behaviors such as exercise, self-care practices, and socializing. Creative activities can also be incorporated to reduce stress and relax. 

Work-Life Balance for Mental Health

Navigating a work-life balance is a difficult feat in and of itself, but adding the element of working from home, possibly with family in the mix, is a whole new challenge. Consider a more lenient approach to the workday.  Discuss work plans with employees to understand their availability and needs.

Utilize these tips and find an approach that works best for you and your employees. Coping with a crisis is not easy, but you can offer encouragement and be there for your employees so that they can continue to be there for you and your clients.  B.Komplete is here to help.  We are offering all of our wellness services virtually.  Contact us to learn how we can engage your population, reduce employee stress, and ensure connectivity and positivity with your workforce.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

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Top 10 Best Immune System Boosters

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“The immune system is a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.  Quite a number of researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. Although interesting results are emerging, thus far they can only be considered preliminary (Harvard Health Publishing).”

During our world pandemic due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) we all must take preventative cautionary steps to maintain optimal health and reduce the spread of the virus.  We have been advised to practice social distancing and stay home. But what else can we do? The next most important step is to maintain a healthy immune system.

 

Adopting healthy behaviors are your first line of defense for a strong immune system

Tip 1: Live Tobacco Free

If you already live a tobacco-free lifestyle you are doing yourself a gigantic health favor.  And if you use tobacco there are resources to help you reduce your intake and ultimately kick the habit.   Visit the Mayo Clinic’s Smoking Cessation Guide. Check out Healthline’s List of Products to help you quit.  Email us admin@bkomplete.com to learn more about our Tobacco Cessation Program.

Tip 2: Eat a Diet Rich in Nutrients

Eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in added sugar, saturated and trans saturated fat.  But, what does that mean to eat exactly?  No stress, we have you covered! Check out our Meal Prep Guide, Healthy Hydration Hacks, What are Pre and ProBiotics, What Foods to Eat in the Winter and What Foods to Eat in the SummerStill not sure?  No problem, email us at admin@bkomplete.com to schedule your nutrition and wellness consult. This is how we can help you learn more about which foods to eat.

Tip 3: Exercise Regularly

In addition to eating  more nutrient-rich foods, it is also important to get regular exercise. That equals at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity and at least 2 instances per week of muscle training for all major muscle groups.  But we know the biggest barrier to exercise is time. Now that many of us are working from home we have gained back the time it took for our commute to the office.  Use that extra time to add physical activity into your day. You will feel great and reduce your stress! Not sure how to exercise at home? Check out this Home Gym 101 article on body weight exercises you can do at home.  You can also visit Fitness Blender on YouTube for hundreds of free exercise routines.   

Tip 4: Maintain a Healthy Weight

 A healthy body weight does NOT mean the lowest body weight.  At B.Komplete we never recommend restrictive diets.  A healthy body weight philosophy means that you have accepted your body and you are practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors.  Body acceptance includes mindful eating, frequent exercise, self compassion, and healthcare prevention. One important measure rather than your weight is your waist circumference.  Elevated waist circumferences can be a predictor for heart issues. The goal for waist circumference is less than 35 inches for women and less than 40 inches for men. Another measure is your body fat percentage. While this can range significantly you can visit Healthline for more information.

Tip 5: Control Your Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure impacts roughly 1 in 3 Americans.  This puts us at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.  But the good news is, by following the guidance of your healthcare team you can control your blood pressure. The first defense is practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors (all of the items on this list). This should be practiced in combination with taking prescribed blood pressure medication.  If you are unsure what your blood pressure is, order a blood pressure cuff to use at home.  

Tip 6: Drink in Moderation

If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.  In times of stress alcohol may seem even more inviting.  But practicing moderation is the key for your success. For men the recommendation is no more than 2 drinks per day. And for women the recommendation is no more than 1 drink per day.  A standard drink is generally equal to 1-12 ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1 – 1.5 ounces of liquor.  And watch out for drinks with a lot of added sugar and make sure that you hydrate well before, during and after intake of alcohol. 

Tip 7: Get Adequate Sleep

“Adequate” sleep generally means 7 – 9 hours per night of restful slumber for most adults.  If this sounds like a dream you may need to work on your sleep health. Because getting enough sleep does more than give you energy. It also helps to boost your immune system and benefits your metabolism.  Learn more from Healthy People

Tip 8: Take Steps to Avoid Infection and Protect Your Immune System

This means washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.  Hand washing has always been our first life of defense against infection.  And with the pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19)public health organizations are providing as much guidance as possible on the proper way to wash your handsSafe food handling has always been paramount to reduce our risk for food borne illness.  For instance, cooking meat to the proper temperature, not using the same cutting board for meat and produce, and storing food properly are just a few basic practices.  Learn more from the USDA on keeping food safe.  

Tip 9: Get Regular Healthcare Prevention Screenings

Get regular healthcare prevention screenings for people in your age group and risk category.  This means visiting your primary care physician at least annually and getting your blood measured. This also means getting your preventative dental exams, cancer screenings, eye exams and meeting with your  B.Komplete Registered Dietitian for your preventative wellness visits.  Learn more about the frequency of various healthcare prevention exams from the Cleveland Clinic

Virtual Counseling

Tip 10: Manage Your Stress

We are facing great uncertainty, illness, and economic challenges with the coronavirus (COVID-19). As a result, stress is higher than everSome of our go-to tips for managing stress include breath exercises, practicing meditation and mindfulness, engaging in physical activity, laughing, and practicing gratitude.  Learn more about some of our go-to stress reduction ideas here

If you enjoyed this post please share with your family, friends and colleagues.  Because the more we can do to support our immune system and stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the better our world will be.