You Are What You Eat: Nutrition, Health and Wellbeing

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Nutrition can improve your physical health and wellness

Nutrition, health and wellbeing at home and in the workplace

In recognition of World Food Day (supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger) and National Nutrition Week in Australia we turn our focus to nutrition.

In today’s health-conscious society, we’re always hearing about nutrition and how we should pay more attention to it. Yet, despite its importance to wellbeing, the exact nature of nutrition remains shrouded in mystery for many. So let’s dig a little deeper into learning more about such an integral part of our lives.

More than Just Numbers

Perhaps the most basic of understandings regarding nutrition involves the existence of calories. Essentially treated as fuel by the body, calories are derived from the food that we eat. The first layer of personal healthcare—weight management—is commonly attributed to the balance shared between caloric intake and expenditure. Put simply, if you take in more than consume, you’ll gain weight. The inverse is also true; taking in less than you require results in weight-loss.

However, human biology cannot be regarded using such a simplistic equation. Firstly, caloric density can vary between similar foods just by method of cooking (which can also alter glycaemic index values). Secondly, not all calories are created equal. While “calories in vs calories out” is the primary consideration for weight management, where you derive calories from matters too.

Bring in the Big Guns

Nutrients are the next most pertinent subject when it comes to this discussion. The three most prevalent ones—protein, carbohydrates and fat – are collectively referred to as macronutrients. Just as the word “macro” denotes a larger capability, macronutrients fulfil a variety of functions within the human body. From promoting cellular health to regulating hormone production and repairing body tissue, macronutrients are vital to just about every aspect of physical and mental health.

Ensuring that your body gets the proper ratio of macronutrients is crucial to good health. While this figure does fluctuate accordingly to numerous variables (age, gender, physical occupation, body composition, medical status, etc.), the key takeaway here is that it is far better to internalise a ratio rather than to not have one at all. If, for example, your body needs 2,000 calories a day to fuel its activity, having 90% of it as carbohydrates will be akin to short-changing it of the benefits afforded by a balanced diet.

DO Sweat the Small Stuff

Micronutrients stand somewhat diminutively next to their macro counterparts. Despite occurring naturally in trace amounts, micronutrients (ie vitamins and minerals) play the vital role of supporting the macronutrients’ efforts to keep the body up and running. Despite it being almost impossible to separate micronutrients and macronutrients (they’re a package deal in whole foods), the “modern” diet makes it all too easy to come up deficient in them. Heavily processed and refined food products often lose their micronutrient value, or even having them replaced with synthetic variants.

Possessing a micronutrient deficiency may seem harmless, but its effects are far-reaching and can cause something more serious. Magnesium deficiency—one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies—carries as many as 23 symptoms (both neurological and physical) and is known to be related to 16 medical conditions. Not surprising when you consider its key role in over 350 enzymatic processes and its involvement in virtually every metabolic activity of the body. It is a natural process for our bodies to deplete its store of micronutrients, so it becomes essential for us to replace them at the earliest opportunity.

Weird Diets and Nutritional Supplements

Bringing things back to the crux of the matter, what we eat is important because it has a direct impact on how much energy our body receives and its ability to function optimally. A balanced diet rich in whole foods ensures your body gets what it needs, in terms of quantity and quality. A poor diet, on the other hand, skews your intake and leaves you in a semi-deprived state. While there are some scientifically proven diets that advocate a large-scale de-emphasis on certain food groups (eg the ketogenic diet), bear in mind that these diets are typically prescribed for a predetermined amount of time, or for very specific populations.

Nutritional supplements are another important factor when it comes to health and wellbeing. While you shouldn’t build a nutritional plan around supplements, intelligent use allows you to address shortcomings and promote recovery. Active people require more nutrients, so things like protein powder and fish oil can help keep the body healthy.

The Effects of Good Nutrition

One thing to remember about nutrition, and its effect on our health, is that it’s not something immediately apparent. However, there are a number of ways you can ensure you’re not secretly sabotaging yourself. Building a diet around quality whole foods and keeping your consumption to reasonable levels, while also minimising alcohol and sugar intake, can do wonders for your wellbeing. A lot of it boils down to good old common sense—you get out what you put in!

To learn more about improving nutrition, health and wellbeing in your workforce, get in touch with WellteQ team.

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Millennials, Let’s Talk About Mental Health in the Workplace

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Mental wellness, Millennials

Millennials and mental health in the workplace

The world united this week for World Mental Health Day to recognise mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. The event takes place every year on 10 October and is supported by the United Nations.

The theme for this year was “Young people and mental health in a changing world”, so in this article we turn our attention to the rise of mental health issues in the workplace among millennials.

Millennials at Work

The way we work has changed dramatically over recent years, and, with millennials set to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 (Deloitte Millennial Survey), will evolve even further. However, with this changing landscape comes an increase in mental health issues. Millennials are experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide than generations past.

Earlier this year, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in the UK conducted a survey of more than 4,500 people regarding stress in the workplace. It found that millennials felt more under pressure at work than older generations, with 28% reporting stress-related illness.

Cause and Effect

There are several potential reasons why millennials seem to be particularly prone to mental health issues, including:

Perfectionism

A recent study from the Psychological Bulletin found that millennials have “multidimensional perfectionism” meaning they feel pressure to measure up to an ever-growing number of criteria. By striving to reach impossible standards they increase the risk of mental health issues. In the workplace, this can be exemplified by a feeling that they are not being given the recognition, and promotions, that they feel they deserve.

Screen Time

Research suggest that millennials check their phones up to 150 times a day! This excessive use of their phones, means they allow themselves less time to “switch off”, which can be detrimental to their health. This reliance on their phones becomes a form of addiction—they feel they need to constantly check what is happening in the digital world for fear of missing out.

Financial Wellness

Millennials have lower employment rates due to increasing competition for entry-level positions. Many new graduates also carry the burden of large student loan debts. Millennials are also less likely to own a home than previous generations at the same age.

Advice to Millennials

So, without wanting to come across too preachy, here is some advice for millennials:

Be comfortable in your own skin

Social media has created an unhealthy culture of perfectionism where people can now airbrush their lives to create flawless photos. But it’s not real. By idealising other people’s lives on social media you are setting yourself unrealistic goals and inevitably setting yourself up  for a fall.

The same is true in the workplace. No-one expects you to be 100% perfect, 100% of the time. Making, and admitting, mistakes is a necessary part of learning and will make you stronger.

You don’t have to compare yourself to other people–accepting who you are is a positive step towards happiness.

Learn the art of patience

It is often said that millennials live in a world of instant gratification—everything they need is “on demand”. This can have a negative impact on their professional lives as they may feel they are entitled to a promotion, pay rise or business trip, but are disappointed when it doesn’t materialise.

You don’t need to get everything you want right now. Working hard to achieve your goals will give you a greater sense of fulfilment in the long term.

Cut down on your screen time

Constantly checking your phone at work can lead to loss of productivity and work-related stress. If we take smartphone usage as a form of addiction, then, like other addictions, it can be overcome with the right approach. While a full digital detox simply isn’t practical for most people, there are several things you can do to help you be present in the moment.

  • Limit yourself. Set strict boundaries on your smartphone usage at work so that you only use it on your break time.
  • Turn your unimportant notifications off. Your world will not stop if you don’t check the notifications within 10 seconds of receiving it.
  • Look up more. Do you really need to walk and text or can you enjoy your surroundings with your phone in your pocket?

For more ideas on cutting down your screen time, check out this article.

Have conversations with older generations

It may be a cliché , but millennials can learn a lot from older generations—everything in this article and more.

In a professional capacity, one of the best ways to learn from older generations is by finding a good mentor. Life in the digital age brings improved connectivity that’s conducive to building supportive online communities for tacit knowledge sharing and professional networking. There is a huge array of business productivity apps that can matchmake young professionals with industry mentors looking for career advice, eg apps like Woomentum, Shapr and Unibly.

These tips are not exhaustive, but hopefully will help you on the path to mental wellness in the workplace. To find out more about our mental wellness initiatives, get in touch with the WellteQ team.

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Safety First! 5 Simple Ways to Avoid Injury in the Office

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fatigue, safety, stress, injury, office, wellness

Safety in the Workplace

When we think of workplace safety, we usually associate it with blue-collar work. While the risks of working at an industrial plant, shipyard or building site are obvious, office environments also have their fair share of incidents. You may not be required to wear a hardhat or steel-toe boots, but that’s doesn’t mean you can take your safety for granted.

A Moment is All it Takes

A lapse in attention or a moment of carelessness is often all it takes to trigger an incident that could have easily been avoided. Some of the more common accidents in the office include:

  • Slips/trips/falls
  • Muscle strains
  • Hit by falling objects
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Crashes/collisions
  • Cuts/lacerations

After the Event

While many of these may seem trivial, they can have a negative effect on health and productivity. One solution is to have a dedicated first aider who can they quickly attend to minor injuries, and even save someone’s life in serious cases. In many countries, having a first aid kit in the office is a legal requirement. 

However, before you scramble for the first aid kit, try these five preventative measures to avoid workplace injuries:

1. Prioritise Rest

The effects of stress in the workplace are far-reaching and can prove problematic if left unchecked for too long. More often than not, such cases can be traced back to poor sleeping habits. Constant late hours and excessive device usage puts our minds and body in a hyper-excited state and deprives us of restorative rest.

This leads to fatigue, which is one of the most common reasons for workplace injuries. Be it from lack of sleep or excessive workloads, fatigue plays a significant role in determining situational and personal awareness. Shoot for a minimum of seven hours of uninterrupted rest and avoid accumulating a hefty sleep debt.

2. Use Aids if Necessary

If injured, you need to protect the afflicted area. Things like wrist and ankle sprains are pretty minor, but they can lead to dropped objects or falls. Wearing braces or using movement aids is not a sign of weakness; these devices promote recovery while also preventing any exacerbation of existing injuries.

3. Abstain from Drugs and Alcohol

Going out on a bender the night before can easily affect the way you work the next day, even if you’re used to heavy drinking. An altered perception of your physical surroundings can lead to accidents and serious injuries. Certain prescription drugs carry similar side effects. While recovering, and on medication that causes drowsiness, stay at home until you’ve completely recovered.

4. Highlight Safety Hazards

Tangled wires, exposed electrical outlets/wiring and loose fans/floorboards/ceiling panels are things that need to be immediately highlighted to HR upon identification. Aside from the obvious threat to occupational health and safety, these hazards could be indicative of a deeper systemic issue in the building/office.

5. Stay Home if Sick

Illnesses like flu tend to make us feel more tired than usual due to the stress our bodies are under while fighting infection. When you feel like deadweight, your ability to react to your surroundings is thoroughly compromised and it’s better to stay at home to avoid infecting anyone else. 

Final Thoughts on Workplace Safety

It’s one thing to clock in all sleepy-eyed after missing your morning coffee fix, but it’s another to be exhausted to the extent where you can’t even pay adequate attention to your surroundings. Accidents in the office are more common than you think, and a small error can easily snowball into something much worse causing injury to yourself or others. So take the precautions above, remain vigilant and stay safe at work! 

This October is National Safe Work Month in Australia. To find out more about this excellent initiative, visit the Safe Work Australia website.

To discuss how to combat fatigue within your workforce contact the WellteQ team.

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Winning the Hearts of Your Employees!

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heart health, stress management, nutrition, alcohol consumption, smoke free

Getting to the heart of the problem

Putting your heart into your work is a phrase that plenty of us are familiar with. While it may be an admirable work ethic, some people inadvertently take it too literally. As reports of job stress increases, the negative impact it has on health and wellness has become more prevalent. Short of packing things up and retiring to a private island (one can only dream!), what can we do to prevent our hearts from redlining? With World Heart Day coming up on 29 September, we have some top tips on how to look after your heart. 

Stress is Subjective

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Not all of us react to work the same way–what you find stressful might be a walk in the park for someone else. Yet the ways stress in the workplace affect our heart health are far from ambiguous:

  • Panic attacks and spikes in blood pressure.
  • Emotional volatility and violent outbursts.
  • Poor sleep quality and low focus.
  • Compromised immune system.
  • Stress/binge eating as a coping mechanism.

Survival Mode

Stress can be divided into two types: short and long-term. Looming deadlines and double shifts may sound bad in theory, but the human body is surprisingly adept at handling short-term stress—even mental ones. However, long-term stress—like a new boss who micro-manages every single thing that you do—is a different story altogether. In both cases, your body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol as part of a natural survival response. When these hormones fail to dissipate after long periods of time, cholesterol levels increase and so does your risk of heart disease.

Keeping the Heart Strong

Proper nutrition and active living might be instrumental to good heart health, but even the best of efforts can be compromised when they’re exposed to a constant barrage of stress factors. Here are some measures you can take at the workplace (or any similar setting) to keep your heart strong:

Limit alcohol consumption

Yes, after work drinks on a Friday can be tempting, especially when everyone else at the office is doing it. However, it is all too easy for a drinking habit to spiral out of control. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention lists excessive alcohol consumption as one of the top five lifestyle-related factors of heart disease, so this is far from an old wives’ tale. Many corporate wellness programs have ways to monitor your alcohol intake.

Stay smoke-free

Even if you’re a non-smoker, second-hand smoke can still affect you. If your social circle at work comprises regular smokers, then you may want to consider distancing yourself whenever they go and light up. Inhaling the smoke from others can lead to atherosclerosis, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Organisations should ensure designated smoking areas are kept well away from non-smokers.

Regular health screenings

Some companies make regular health screenings mandatory for all employees. For those who are presented with an open option, you’d be remiss not to take advantage of it. Health screenings can help identify early signs of heart disease, allowing one to take action and receive treatment post-haste. The earlier the treatment, the higher the chance of making a complete recovery.

Peer counselling

Most stressed employees end up feeling this way due to their perception of being alone in their struggles. In such cases, having someone to lend a listening ear can be a soothing balm for even the most troubled of souls. Talking to a more experienced colleague who’s “been there, done that” might shed some new light on a grim situation. Sometimes, a new perspective might be all that you need to get things going again. As an employer, try encouraging a culture where your employees feel comfortable opening up to each other.

Meditation

You don’t have to roll out the yoga mat if you don’t want to, but basic practices like deep breathing and silent contemplation can be done in a workplace setting without creating a spectacle. Stuck at the desk for hours? Take a few minutes off for a short walk. Another key consideration of meditative practices is proper posture–something that is often lacking in the workplace. When combined with chest breathing, poor posture can affect your lungs’ ability to fully inflate and deflate. This lapse in oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expiration can raise one’s blood pressure, so don’t be a slouch (literally) at work! If you’re in charge of employee wellness, consider setting up regular meditation sessions for your workforce.

Take Heart! 

Heart disease can be mitigated through healthy behaviours. In a workplace environment, we often find ourselves forgoing common sense for the sake of productivity and “blending in”. While the thought of numerous work accolades might seem enticing, it should not have to come at the expense of your health. Your heart might be in your work, but you don’t want to reach a point where your heart NEEDS work.

To discuss how our digital wellness solution can keep your workforce “heart-healthy”, contact the WellteQ team.

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Women’s Health in the Workplace: Are We Doing Enough?

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wellness, women, workplace

Women’s Health in the Workplace

Health in the workplace has never received more attention than it does now. Programmes and initiatives geared towards employee wellness are becoming increasingly commonplace and have been met with significant enthusiasm from both sides. Healthier employees are obviously good for a company, and the benefits reaped usually make their way back to the source. However, is health in the workplace as complete as it should be?

Closing the Gap

A report released by global consulting firm Mercer in 2016 showed that only 60-70% of the eligible female population participated in the global workforce.

These women consisted of <5% of Fortune 500 CEOs, <25% of senior management roles, and <20% of board executives. While the percentage of female employees varies across different industries, this disparity in gender is evident enough and is even reflected in corporate healthcare.

The fact that women possess physiological and psychological concerns unique to their gender does get glossed over more than occasionally. In the US, for instance, several working women are forced to conceal their conditions for fear of losing of their jobs, due to their ailment(s) not being recognised under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such lapses do put women at a distinct disadvantage in the workplace, regardless of whatever position they might hold.

It Can Be Debilitating For Women

Chronic conditions that affect reproductive and gynaecological health are often the bane of many women’s lives. One such example is endometriosis, which happens to be the second most common gynaecological condition. Aside from the absence of a cure, the symptoms only worsen with age. Many are hesitant to disclose their conditions due to a systemic lack of understanding, and the results of such a choice were found to be staggering. A 2011 study conducted across 10 countries found that women suffering from endometriosis experienced compromises in work productivity, losing an average of almost 11 hours each week.

The crux of the matter lies in the perceived taboo that surrounds reproductive health and its discussion in the workplace. As a result, most corporate healthcare initiatives fail to take female-specific conditions into account. Combined with the fact that the modern workplace still very much male-centric, this can have a limiting effect on progress.

Most corporate healthcare initiatives fail to take female-specific conditions into account

Small Adjustments

Contrary to popular belief, making health and wellness at the workplace more inclusive doesn’t consist wholly of big, sweeping changes. Small adjustments to work arrangements, open dialogue among employers, employees, health professionals and policy makers, and a supportive attitude toward self-management can be a potent enough catalyst. Other measures include:

  • Education: raise awareness on how gender affects certain health conditions, eg heart attacks.
  • Healthcare provisions/concessions: provide time-off for health screenings, eg mammograms, HPV tests, fertility leave, etc.
  • HR policies:  telecommuting options, private areas for breastfeeding and expressing milk and time allowance for maternal antenatal care.

On a larger scale, we need to implement strategies that manage the mobility, physical, psychological hazards that women face. It’s not just about optimising their productivity levels, but also their health and that of their families.

Striving Towards Health Equality  

Last week was Women’s Health Week, and it serves a good reminder of how the various health issues specific to women can be so easily dismissed as a non-issue. Equality in the workplace is an ideal worth striving towards, but it’s only fair that it encompasses all aspects of it, and that includes women’s health.

To find out more about our wellness initiatives, get in touch with the WellteQ team today.

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Four Common Myths Around Active Lifestyles!

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Active lifestyle

What’s holding you back from an active lifestyle?

When it comes to keeping fit, many of us are guilty of creating expectations on the time and level of disruption that such a change brings, which can put us off from pursuing an active lifestyle. 

Balancing Act

While staying active will affect your personal life, the idea that you can’t maintain a balance is untrue. Incorporating it into your lifestyle is far more progressive than most people realise, and the benefits are obvious. Like any other habit, it gets easier with time until it becomes almost second nature. 

One of the first things you should do is dispel the myths around active lifestyles. Here are four common myths we can squash right now!

1. There’s Isn’t Enough Time in the Week 

Many people have a fixed idea of how much time it takes to ‘get fit’. The truth is fitness regimes can (and should) be scaled to individual profiles. No one’s asking you to spend three hours in the gym every day when you already have a packed work schedule! From the number of days per week right down to the time per session, a good fitness plan should allow to make full use of the time you have available to you to get the results that you want.

Multitasking fitness

You can always make time to be active

2. Exercise is Exhausting 

Yes, training can be tiring, especially at the beginning. However, most take the exhaustive aspect of exercise a little too far. A good training session shouldn’t leave you feeling like a husk of your former self. In fact, research shows that staying active regularly maintains and even improves energy levels, focus and productivity. For this reason, it is not uncommon to see employers support fitness within the workplace via several initiatives like free fitness classes, discount gym memberships or corporate wellness programs.

Productivity

Working out doesn’t have to negatively impact productivity

3. Gyms Are So Expensive

While that shiny new gym with the oak interior, steam sauna and jacuzzi pool has every right to charge a hefty premium, it doesn’t mean that you can’t shop around! The fitness industry has come a long way since the ’80s – big-chain gyms and neighbourhood fitness clubs are no longer as polarising as they once were. It really isn’t all that uncommon to see smaller establishments offering the same staples as commercial gyms but at a lower cost, with some even offering special amenities such as 24-hour access. And even if it still exceeds your budget, there’s always the local park to get your sweat session on!

4. Staying Active Means Not Having a Social Life

You hear a lot of stories about how adopting an active lifestyles can affect your relationships, eg being phased out of a social circle for not wanting to drink alcohol the whole time. The truth is that there will be some people in your life who won’t be able to understand your desire to change initially, or even at all. The important thing is they understand how this is your decision and afford you the appropriate amount of respect. When it comes to your end, do your part by not shoving your new lifestyle change down their throats – adopting a holier-than-thou attitude is a sure-fire way to annoy people. You might even find that your active lifestyle leads to new relationships.

Friends at the gym

Social aspects of working out

Step in the Right Direction

Part of the reason why such myths exist is the level of change an active lifestyle requires. We are naturally averse to sudden change, so we come up with excuses to protect ourselves from the unfamiliarity. Yet, change has always been the thing that precedes progress. While you may never know for sure just how far you’ll end up going, rest assured that it will at least be a step in the right direction.

To discuss how you can motivate your workforce to be more active, get in touch with WellteQ today.

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How to Transform Your Employees from Detractors into Promoters

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One of the questions we hear a lot is: how can you use wellness programs to transform employees from detractors into promoters and significantly increase your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)?

What is eNPS?

The eNPS approach is a relatively new phenomenon but it is fast becoming a powerful tool for savvy employers. It was adapted from the Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric, which is used to measure customer loyalty by asking how likely, on a scale of 0-10, they are to recommend a product or service: 0-6 (detractor), 7-8 (passive), 9-10 (promoter). You then calculate the NPS by subtracting % of detractors from % of promoters.

However, the difference is that the eNPS measures employee loyalty through the question: “How likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?”. It’s a pretty brutal scoring system, with only the super-engaged employees becoming promoters.

WellteQ has been proven to significantly improve eNPS

Calculating your eNPS score

But why all the fuss about eNPS? While the system is not perfect, with several critics calling for more expansive measurement criteria, there’s beauty in its simplicity. Asking employees one simple question is a low barrier to gathering feedback on work culture and, if used periodically, can provide good indication of employee engagement. However, anyone who’s worked in HR will tell you it’s hard enough to implement an eNPS, let alone measure it.

Healthy Employees Are Happy Employees

At WellteQ we take an altogether more holistic approach to understanding employee engagement. We believe that employee wellness is intrinsically linked to employee engagement – by improving your exercise regime, nutrition, sleep quality, mental health and financial wellness you can boost your happiness at work, thus increasing the likelihood of recommending your employer.

Happy employees

Healthy employees are happy employees!

One important aspect of employee wellness is stress. A recent case study shows 44% of employees reporting significant reductions in stress at work after the wellness initiative. Perhaps a more surprising result was that 44% of employees also reported a strong decrease in stress levels at home.

WellteQ step challenge among employees from case study

Stress levels pre/post wellness program

The Net Result

By measuring stress and other human factors across our wellness initiatives, we have seen a dramatic rise in the eNPS score ranging from 18-73%.

However, perhaps our most exciting finding is that employees who measured as least engaged before the wellness initiative made the largest positive shift after the initiative – truly transforming detractors into promoters!

Positive Perception

The overarching participant feedback was companies investing time and money in wellness initiatives showed they truly cared about employee wellbeing. This created a much more positive perception of that employer.

This is just one example of how WellteQ leverages technology and analytics to drive demonstrable ROI on employee engagement and wellness.

To discuss how you can turn your detractors into promoters by maximising employee engagement, get in touch with WellteQ today.

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Give up alcohol for a month

High and Dry – Why You Should Consider Dropping the Drinks This July

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Give up alcohol in Dry July

Bin the booze this Dry July!

 

Since as far back as mankind can recall, no consumption habit conveys a more socialising effect than that of alcohol. Whether it’s for letting off steam with colleagues after a hectic week, reconnecting with old friends or firming up business relations, grabbing a drink at the nearest pub seems to have cemented itself into our modern culture. In celebration of Dry July, consider putting down that drink and picking up a healthier habit instead.

Are You Ready for Dry July?

Yes, this July is all about hanging your booze mugs out to dry. While we’re all aware of the obvious benefits of staying sober (no more hangovers!), there are many other changes associated with adopting a teetotal lifestyle.

Whiskey-soaked Social Bonds

A huge majority of adults like to unwind and socialise over a few drinks, and many of our friendships are actually based around our shared love of alcohol. Yet, passing on the bar over the weekend can be quite a revelation. 

If you manage to rope your friends or colleagues in to join you in Dry July, then congrats – you’ve got a real bunch of pals! While it may seem like the absence of alcohol diminishes the joy of socialising, it actually gives you the opportunity to explore other activities with your friends – park yourselves in a board game café for an afternoon, race each other around a go-kart track or even join that circus fitness class you’re been talking about for ages!

You might very well find that you enjoy these alternative activities more than chugging on a flat beer.

Jump on the Wagon

Here are five other reasons that you should consider lowering your alcohol intake:

1. More money in the bank

Life’s too short to waste on lousy booze, but decent drinks don’t exactly come cheap either, especially if your city has a hefty tax on alcohol. Ultimately, a smaller (preferably non-existent) bar tab means a healthier bank balance. That means you get to either put more away for yourself or have more to play with when the time comes to splurge!

2. Increased productivity

No one likes being at work when their head feels like it’s hosting a party of overenthusiastic woodpeckers. Aside from not having to deal with hangovers, halting the drinks also frees up a bunch of personal time you never thought you had. You can pursue healthier and more restorative activities with your free time, which will lead to you feeling more refreshed and motivated when the time comes to get down to business.

3. Look (and feel) better

Most people who’ve dropped alcohol would agree that the changes are noticeable almost immeditely: weight loss, increased energy levels and improved sleep quality are just some of the physical benefits you can expect to receive.

4. Improved mental health

Alcohol is a depressant, so the more you drink, the more likely you are to feel blue. Easing up on the drink can improve mental wellness, eg less mood swings, decreased anxiety and increased motivation. 

5. Better judgment

You’re also less likely to make hasty decisions while inebriated – the kind that you always end up regretting immensely. You know exactly what we’re talking about – drunk texting is never a good idea!

Last Orders

You don’t have to stop drinking altogether if you’re the sort that enjoys some tipple every now and then. Leading a balanced lifestyle can include indulging in certain vices occasionally, as opposed to maintaining a regular habit of downing several glasses of the strong stuff. Take the time to find something else that you’d enjoy, and you may end up re-evaluating your view of drinking. Or at least try going dry for July and enjoy the benefits!

Team WellteQ are doing Dry July… follow our highs and lows on Instagram!

To discuss how WellteQ can help transform your workforce, get in touch today.

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Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC

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On the back of a recent Colliers International report that APAC countries are losing billions of dollars a year from health issues, employee wellness is now a key business component for HR teams across the region.

So, without further ado, here are WellteQ’s Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC.

1. Realistic Expectations

Sadly, a major problem across APAC is employees working too many hours. This has been recognised at a governmental level, eg in Singapore the Ministry of Manpower has advocated a limit of 44 working hours per week.

However, change has to happen at an organisational level – managers need to open their eyes to the signs of burnout and mental health in workplace. While working overtime might help boost productivity in the short-term, the mid and long-term consequences can be severe.

Overworked employees may lose their motivation, become less productive or even leave the company.

In extreme cases, stress-related burn out can result in severe health issues and even lead to death. Tragically, this is so commonplace in Asia that many countries have their own word for “death by overworking”: karōshi in Japanese, gwarosa in South Korean and guolaosi in Chinese.

Effective leaders should discourage working overtime where it can be avoided. In some Asian cultures it is still believed that an employee should not leave the office before their manager – by leaving on time, the manager ensures that employees are not under pressure to stay at the office.

Employee engagement across APAC

Consistently working overtime can have severe health consequences.


2. It’s Good to Talk 

Internal communication is crucial to improving employee engagement, but this is something that has often been criticised across APAC. Whether it’s a corporate or a start-up, it is a manager’s duty to hold periodic appraisals with their employees.

These meetings are crucial for an employee to gauge how their performance is being measured and evaluated. It also gives them the opportunity to have transparent conversations about salary career progression. A good manager will also use this opportunity to identify and solve any issues that may inhibit the employee from carrying out their work.

Managers should proactively encourage employees to have these appraisals, as opposed to employees continuously chasing for it.

However, 1-on-1 meetings may not always allow an employee to air their grievances. By conducting employee surveys regularly, a company can allow unhappy employees to open up anonymously without fear of reprisal. This type of feedback is crucial to improve the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

3. APAC Wellness Programs

The Colliers International report found that “wellness is becoming a key component of workplace strategy with corporates increasingly looking to design the best workplaces to enhance employee engagement and productivity”.

In this increasingly digital age, traditional wellness programs are becoming less and less effective. Instead, organisations are looking at data-driven solutions that can provide more accurate insights into their workforce than ever before, eg WellteQ integrates with main-brand wearables to focus on optimising health goals such as stress, fatigue, fitness, etc.

But a good digital wellness solution can do so much more:

  • Add a dimension of gamification by rewarding employees for partaking in cross-departmental challenges.
  • Leverage smartphone technology to communicate more effectively with connected employees.
  • Identify a workforce’s health issues – companies can enhance risk analysis capabilies in order to reduce health insurance premiums.
  • Incorporate employee surveys to measure the eNPS before and after a wellness program. At WellteQ we have seen a 40% in employee engagement after our wellness program.
WellteQ connects with wearables

Connecting wellness programs to wearables


4. Inclusion Policy

One quick way to ostracise an employee is by making them feel detached from the company. Creating an “us and them” gulf between management and the rest of the workforce can be extremely demoralising. This could include things like reprimanding employees for being late while at the same time being consistently late themselves.

There are a number of things managers in APAC can do to make an employee feel more included:

  • Allowing them the opportunity to own share options means they are more immersed in the success and failure of the company.
  • Injecting a vibrant social calendar into your organisation allows people to forge deeper connections with both their team and management.
  • Incorporating CSR initiatives allow staff to bond over important causes not related to their everyday work. CSR projects can be particularly powerful if there is support from senior management.

5. Moving with the Times

The face of business has undeniably changed over the past few decades. There are now a range of digital tools that employers can get their hands on to boost productivity, eg Slack (team communications),  Skype (video conferencing), Jamboard (virtual whiteboards), and many more.

However, the non-digital advancements have been just as important, eg introducing stand-up meetings as a way to cut down on unnecessary time wasting.

This attitudinal shift can largely be attributed to the rise in startup culture where bootstrapped entrepreneurs needed to streamline their businesses to make them as productive as possible. They started cutting out unnecessary rules that had dominated the corporate world for too long, so things like flexible hours, relaxed dress codes and quirky office spaces were introduced.

The startup scene is thriving in APAC and the corporate world is learning from it as a tool to improve employee engagement.

Co-working space across APAC

Flexible working hours, relaxed dress codes and quirky offices.


Putting it into Action

So that’s our Top 5 Tips to Improve Employee Engagement in APAC!

While this is all very well in theory, these type of changes are difficult to implement and will not happen overnight.

To see how WellteQ’s award-winning analytics solution can help you increase employee engagement, get in touch today.

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