Your Monthly Check-Up: New Year, New You!


The holidays are a time for indulgence, but once they’re over many people resolve to cut back on sweets and fatty foods, reach for the fruits and veggies and spend more time at the gym. With the New Year upon us, it’s the perfect time to take a look at what your workplace provides by way of health and wellness initiatives.

“Employers are realizing that wellness initiatives represent a solid business strategy with myriad benefits,” says Tom Mason, President of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota, in the Small Business Trends article “Employers Say Wellness Programs Work” by Rieva Lesonsky.

The article points to a study conducted by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota called “The State of Workplace Wellness in America.” According to the study:

Business leaders nationwide and in six states were polled to find out what they thought of workplace wellness programs and what challenges they faced in implementing them. Three-fourths of respondents said community-based networks of business leaders would be useful resources to learn about workplace wellness initiatives and share information and ideas. 

The article cites that some of the benefits of these programs include lower healthcare costs and reduced workers’ comp claims, boosts in productivity, lower absenteeism rates and the overall enjoyment employees experience from living healthier lives. More than half of employers in the survey already had workplace wellness programs in place, and the majority (92 percent) stated that improving employee health was their most important goal, followed by reducing healthcare costs, according to Lesonsky’s article.  

If your company has yet to establish a wellness program for its employees, now is the time to do so, and Lesonsky outlines some steps in her article that you can take to make implementation a little easier:

1. Lead the Way – Model positive habits yourself instead of taking the “Do as I say, not as I do” approach.

2. Designate a Leader – Put someone in charge of the wellness plan and give them a budget and time frame to  work with.

3. Make it Relevant – Ensure your new initiative is tailored to your company’s culture and your employees’ needs.

4. Involve your Insurance Company – Check and see if your carrier offers corporate wellness plans or reduced rates on classes or gym memberships – or have someone come out and talk to your staff about healthy lifestyle options.

The ways in which you can create a healthier environment at your company are nearly endless, and all it takes is a few steps to get your employees engaged in their own wellness and moving toward a lifetime of health and happiness. Why not make your workplace wellness initiation your new year’s resolution?

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Your Monthly Check-Up: Winning at Workplace Wellness


In the last month alone, several great articles have come to our attention focused on just how important wellness in the workplace is. Clearly this is not just a passing fad, but an issue of growing concern that is calling for immediate attention and action. Employees and companies as a whole are responding very positively to wellness incentives and fitness programs. Hopefully some of these stories will inspire you to instill a wellness initiative at your company – or at least change a few habits to benefit your own life.

To begin, an article in EXPERIENCE LIFE magazine (a publication of LIFE TIME FITNESS) titled “Healthy Profit” makes the case for employee wellness as a means for increasing productivity and reaping fiscal benefits. The article centers on three US companies – SAS, Patagonia and Hypertherm – that are putting the well-being of their employees first and rewarded handsomely in the form of low employee turnover and decreased medical plan costs.

The article points to a study published in the February 2012 issue of Health Affairs that found that “for every dollar invested in a comprehensive workplace wellness program, companies saved $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in costs related to absenteeism.” According to “Healthy Profits,”

…the days of simply tacking up a smoking-cessation poster and calling it a wellness program are quickly coming to an end. In a world of ballooning healthcare costs and exhausted employees, more businesses are adopting comprehensive workplace wellness programs that pay closer attention not just to the physical health of their workforces, but also to their employees’ overall sense of well-being.

A few examples of the initiatives these companies have adopted include onsite daycare, onsite health centers, subsidized healthy lunch programs, paid leave for parents of sick children, free yoga, paid time off to volunteer, wellness fairs and fitness club membership reimbursement. We’ll note that these companies are exceptional examples and not every organization is able to adopt all of these initiatives; however, making small changes now will go a long way with regard to your employees’ well-being.

The September/October issue of Premium Incentive Products also features a case study focused on employee wellness, titled “Working Toward Wellness at Hilton Head Health.” According to the article, Hilton Head Health, or H3, is a premiere health and wellness center in Hilton Head, SC.

When H3 implemented a physical fitness support system, “The benefits were immediate,” says president and CEO Robert Moore. “The first year was a 3 percent reduction in premiums, and the second year a 7 percent reduction at a time when premiums were increasing 12 to 15 percent.

In order to be effective, of course, a program such as this has to be widely accepted by the staff, and H3 is a great example of a program not only being widely accepted but successfully implemented and expanding, as well. “While H3 employees might know more about fitness and be healthier than the average worker, it also proved to be a challenge to increase the level of H3’s employees’ fitness. Enter the idea of incentives, challenges, classes and a little friendly competition to get the ball rolling.”

At H3, each activity is based on a point system.  A highly visible leader board is updated with top performers’ names and points awarded and employees are encouraged to compete not only with each other, but with themselves. Completing fitness classes, competing in races and taking healthy cooking classes are all eligible for points. Other types of activities include book club, volunteering, webinars, biking, swimming and walking. This shows that not only is H3 concerned with wellness, but the overall well-being of its employees.

As quoted in the article, CEO Moore says, “I’m a believer in incentives. You have to get people to try living healthier lives, then they develop the habit and they won’t want to give it up. There is no better way to do that with incentives.”

As a recognition company with our own wellness initiative, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And especially with the holiday season quickly approaching, what better way to fend off cold and flu season than by adopting some of these wellness principles now!

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Happy Birthday to Dave Peer!

Last Friday, the whole office gathered together to celebrate the birthday of Dave Peer, Hinda’s president. The day started out business as usual. Our quarterly meeting was about to wrap up in the warehouse when all of a sudden, music started blaring and “Puddles,” the mascot for the Oregon Ducks football team, came running out from between the aisles to surprise Dave for his birthday. As you can see from the pictures on our Facebook page, Dave is probably the world’s biggest Ducks fan.

After the meeting, everyone loaded up on beef sandwiches, eggplant parmesan, sausage and peppers and salad from Ferrara’s. Mid-food coma, we were called into the kitchen for another surprise for Dave. Soulful singer Joselyn Sims came to sing “Happy Birthday,” along with hits by Aretha Franklin and Beyonce. Safe to say she did a much better job than we would have done. After her serenade, everyone enjoyed Dave’s birthday cake and tried their hardest to concentrate on work for the rest of the day.

Happy birthday, Dave! We hope it was the best one yet!

Check out pictures from the party here.

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Your Monthly Check-Up: A New Way to Walk

Beginning in mid-June, Hinda launched its first-ever walking challenge sponsored by the Wellness Committee. The walking challenge is the first official Beta CarrotTeam event – which is Hinda’s recently formed wellness program. More than half of Hinda’s employees signed up to compete in this eight-week challenge.

After being issued pedometers, measuring stride length and participating in a weeklong trial run, employees were divided into 10 groups of six or seven participants each and the competition began. The idea is to wear the pedometer at all times and check in twice a week with designated team “secretaries” who record and save the steps using the pedometers’ included software.

Not only are there prizes for the winning walkers at the end of the challenge, but there are opportunities to win weekly if specific goals are met. For example, during Week 1 the daily step goal was 5,000 and everyone who hit that goal each day during that week was entered into a drawing. Week 2’s goal was 6,000 steps per day, with all walkers with over 42,000 steps for the week entered into a drawing for $20 in Hinda points. Each week, the step goal increases, the challenge gets harder and the prizes get better. The best part is that there is an equal opportunity for each walker to win.

When the competition wraps up mid-August, each participant of the winning team will win $75 in Hinda bucks. The second place team will win $50 in Hinda bucks for each walker. To win, each member of the team must have completed all eight weeks of the program and logged his or her steps on time. The two winning teams will have the two highest total combined steps.

Prizes for individuals include Top Performer – most steps taken of all participants; Most Improvement – highest percentage of steps from Week 1 to Week 8; and Challenge Champion – a random drawing of participants who completed all eight weeks. We will keep you posted on the big winners in a few weeks!

While it may sound simple and straightforward, this challenge is certainly not without its, well, challenges. A big one is remembering to wear your pedometer each day. Another is to remember to take it off before you do laundry or hop in the pool. Unfortunately, some of us had to learn these lessons the hard way.

But overall, the walking challenge thus far has been a success. Employees are coming together to share strategies, compare steps and commiserate over a low-step or forgotten pedometer day. And the most important thing is that people are finding ways to get up and moving throughout the day, which we desk jockeys all know is key.

Hinda’s Credit Manager Connie Iglesias says, “What’s great about the walking program is that, since teams are made up of people from different departments, it gives participants the opportunity to work with people who they don’t normally work with on a daily basis.” In this sense, it fosters a different kind of teamwork and strengthens the Hinda community as a whole.

Does this sound like a program that could be implemented at your office? Do you have a wellness initiative in place? What kinds of things does your office do to promote wellness and exercise? We’d love to hear your ideas and stories in the “Comments” section below!

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Your Monthly Check-Up: Work Out While You Work

Everyone knows that leading a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health, but when you’re eyeballs-deep in the nine-to-five grind, it’s not so easy to take a break from the computer and get the blood flowing. Sure, you get up to refill your coffee and take the subsequent bathroom break – maybe you even stop and chat with a co-worker at a neighboring cubicle – but is there more you can be doing during your workday to stretch the ol’ limbs and prevent secretary spread?

In fact, there’s plenty you can be doing, and you can make it fun instead of turning it into a chore (that’s what your after-hours workouts are for). Fran Melmed highlights five great tips for getting some exercise at work in her recent blog post titled “5 Tools to Help Get Employees Up and Out of Their Desks.”  

In her article, Melmed shines the spotlight on five tools to help get you up and moving during your day. Hotseat, Fitbolt and Workpace are all computer-based platforms geared toward getting employees away from their computers and into solo or group fitness activities intermittently throughout the day. “Instant Recess” is a book and concept that focuses on this very topic. And tip #5 is to bring your dog to work as an excuse to get out for walks.

Why not start incorporating one or two of these tools into your workday? Try one out and see how it feels, or mix and match a few until you find a combination that lets you take a break here and there while still meeting your deadlines. What have you got to lose (besides that fast-food gut)?

Let us know how it goes – maybe we’ll test some of these out, too!

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Recognizing the Pulse of Your Office

Today marks the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals Day®, a noteworthy day within the workplace that began in 1952 as Professional Secretaries Day, according to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Over the course of the last six decades, the role of the administrative assistant has grown and evolved to adapt with changing times, technology and tasks within the office setting. This particular job title has grown from the sometimes-negatively-connotated “secretary” into an indispensable role that no office can efficiently run without. As such, the theme of this year’s Administrative Professionals Week is “Admins, the pulse of the office.”

Here are some fun stats about Administrative Professionals Day according to the IAAP web site:

  • Today, Administrative Professionals Week is one of the largest workplace observances outside of employee birthdays and major holidays.
  • In the year 2000, IAAP announced a name change for Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day. The names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to keep pace with changing job titles and expanding responsibilities of today’s administrative workforce.
  • There are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, and 8.9 million people working in various administrative support roles.

Now, we know what you’re thinking. “This is all well and good, but what can I do to show my appreciation for the administrative professionals in my office?” Great question. According to IAAP members, administrative professionals prefer recognition in the form of opportunities for growth and learning. Some examples are:

  • Tuition reimbursement to attend college classes and work toward a degree
  • Membership and participation in professional organizations
  • Reimbursement for online training programs in technology, administrative and management skills
  • Registration for appropriate conferences, seminars and continuing education workshops
  • Attainment of professional certification. IAAP’s Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) programs are widely recognized standards of excellence

Remember, Administrative Professionals Week is always the last week of April, so be sure to mark your calendar for future years! Read more about Administrative Professionals Day here.

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