Category Archives for The Trouble With Busy

Employee Wellness Program Challenges

What Is Missing In Your Employee Wellness Program?

Recently Eliz keynoted the Biz Times Wellness Summit and facilitated roundtable discussions about “What’s Missing In Your Wellness Program” with HR professionals, CEOs, and wellness providers.  These discussions resulted in insights on challenges facing employers and best practices beneficial to anyone managing an employee wellness program.

Employer Challenge: Overcome Stigma To Supply Mental Health Resources

One of the themes of the Summit was mental health and addiction.  This theme carried through to the roundtable discussion as we addressed how to overcome stigma to supply mental health resources. Two insights in this area include:

  • Managers need a way to start supportive conversations about mental health and addiction. Managers are often provided with training and even scripts to have supervisory conversations about attendance, performance, and discipline. Most, however, receive no training in starting a conversation about mental health.  The stigma of mental health is often a barrier to discovering when employees would benefit from assistance.  Develop scripts and training to start supportive conversations about mental health and addiction is essential.
  • Employee Assistance Programs must be highly visible. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) often seem like a well-kept secret.  Employees need regular reminders of the benefits available to them.  Whether it is a visit to a lawyer or the opportunity to talk with a mental health professional, these services need to be communicated regularly.  Having a physical presence of the EAP is important.  Providing education programs on mental health, addiction, and other EAP services is essential to visibility as well.

Employer Challenge: Low participation or engagement in wellness programs

Many of the companies attending the summit struggle with engaging more than 30 to 40 percent of their employees in their wellness programs.  Three insights from the roundtables include:

  • Wellness programs must be led from the top down. Eliz shared in the keynote stories of wellness programs defeated by inconsistent communication from leadership.  For example, a “leave work at work” theme encouraging employees not to answer emails between 7 pm and 7 am is easily defeated by a boss emailing at 11 pm.  Also, leaders have to share personal experiences to place importance on wellness efforts.
  • Wellness programs must be flexible enough to serve different locations, job categories, fitness levels, and environments.
    Managing a wellness program to serve employees in multiple states or vastly different job workspace is challenging.  For example, the needs of warehouse employees are different than the needs of business office employees.  Using an evaluation tool, such as Eliz’s stress study, to discover needs across the organization is essential to providing programs to serve different populations.
  • Wellness programs must be assessed regularly. Surveys are often the best tool to examine the success of wellness programs.  Best practices involved allowing employees to sample wellness offering and then choose programs to fit their needs and goals.  Incentives to encourage participation were also suggested as a best practice.  One organization rewarded participation in programs throughout the year with a playing card.  At the end of the year, the employee with the best poker hand won a prize.

Employer Challenge: Negative work environment is overshadowing wellness efforts.

As Eliz’s keynote demonstrated, often the largest source of stress is the work environment.  Offering yoga at lunch or access to cooking classes can’t address this problem.  Best practices from the group for addressing negative work environments include:

  • Employers must shift communication, interaction, and even location to address negative environments.
    • Using an improvisation game such as “Yes and…” can be useful to shift negative attitudes at the beginning of a meeting.  If everyone speaks and is encouraged to be collaborative before any work discussion begins, people are more likely to contribute to the conversation, and the outcome is more likely to be positive.
    • Changing the way interaction happen can also have a positive effect.  Having a meeting while standing can speed up communication, avoid one person monopolizing the discussion, and keep the group on topic.  Having a conversation while walking side-by-side can add emotional cover during more uncomfortable situations as eye contact is diminished.
    • Shifting locations changes interactions as well.  Holding meetings outside of the regular workspace can reset communication patterns.
  • Employers must recognize employees with rewards of real value.
    Employee recognition efforts only work if the employ values the reward.  A trinket might hold value for one employee and be an annoyance to another.  Some suggestions of “real value” included extra vacation days, early release Fridays, and late start days.  One organization uses a program which encourages employees to nominate team members who are then rewarded with things which benefit the entire team.  For example, an outstanding employee can earn a catered lunch for the whole team.

Employer Challenge: Change in the workplace is overshadowing wellness efforts.

Undergoing change often creates stress in a work environment.  Addressing the change head-on is often essential before progress on wellness initiatives can be made.  Insights from the roundtables include:

  • Employers must clearly communicate the end goal of the change consistently and often. Without the end goal, the frustration of change, especially technology changes, can overwhelm employees.  One announcement will not be enough, regular reminders of the reason for the change will keep the focus on the big picture rather than the daily frustration. During times of change employees often fragment their focus onto small details and lose sight of the goal. Conversations about “why we do what we do” on personal and organizational levels reset the focus as well.
  • Employers must allow employees to grieve what is lost.  Loss of comfort in familiar routines, technology, or people often results in anger.  Adjusting to something new naturally requires letting go of what is known.  Acknowledging and allowing time to process this loss speeds adoption and lowers stress.
  • Employers must celebrate incremental progress towards goals.  Any large change consists of smaller steps.  By celebrating short-term milestones, the change seems more achievable and success more possible.  These celebrations also offer a reprieve from constant stress.

Employer Challenge: Starting or reenergizing a wellness program:

Many of the attendees came from smaller organizations searching for ways to integrate a wellness program.  Best practices included:

  • Employers must assess the unique needs of their organization. Wellness programs should be tailored to address the causes of job stress in the organization.  Using a tool such as Eliz’s job stress study or internal surveys allow employers to create opportunities for impact.
  • Small employers should take advantage of grant opportunities.  The State of Wisconsin offers grants for companies with 50 or fewer employees to start wellness programs.  Contact your local American Heart Association for assistance in finding your state’s opportunites.
  • Download AHA’s resources:

The Biz Times Wellness Summit Roundtables were a wealth of wisdom and lively conversation.  For more information on Eliz Greene’s Employee Wellness programs and Job Stress Research visit www.ElizGreene.com/Wellness/

 

Heart Month Cover Story

Heart attack survivor and motivational wellness speaker Eliz Greene is featured in the cover story of the February 2017 Queen of the Castle Magazine.

In the article, written by Jenn Chapman, Eliz shares the story of surviving a heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins and he mission to inspire women to pay attention to their heart health and manage stress.

Exerpt:

“What’s really interesting and alarming is that 7 out of 10 people report they are highly stressed at work. Stress is a fascinating chemical reaction in our body , which makes our blood pressure, and heart rate goes up. Blood actually gets stickier which is good for survival. We need that burst of energy to deal with crisis but eventually when that crisis pass we are supposed to be able to recover, but because we live at this high stress all the time we don’t have time to recover and the cortisol level builds and builds,” Eliz says.

And that’s where most women find themselves. Luckily, Eliz message to her audience is one of hopqueen-of-castle-cover-eliz-greenee. There are proactive steps that all women can take.

“I am often asked to present on work-life balance and yet if I’m honest with myself I am constantly figuring that out. I don’t think I’m alone. The idea that work and life are supposed to balance each other out doesn’t work because they don’t happen separately,” she shares.

“It’s not that we can’t manage our homes it’s just all blended together. We can do things to clarify priorities and protect time to recover from stress, but it take a cultural change to make a real difference. I think that is possible,” Eliz says.

So when that work email pops up on your phone when you’re at home watching TV with the kids, whether you respond to it or not, your mind will begin processing the message. Ultimately taking away the divider from home and work life and thus the stress rises.

One of the most common effects of stress is added weight around the mid section. The most efficient way to process cortisol out of the body is to sleep but studies show that very few women get enough sleep. And so the cycle of busy and stress continues.

“We eat away at the margins of the day to get stuff done. But yet sleep is the most efficient way to get rid of our stress. We have to be working not just for our family but also for our quality of life that makes it worth it. If we work so much we don’t see our families, we missed it,” says Eliz.

Read the entire article

 

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T’is The Season To…Unsubscribe

Unsubscribe from emails to limit stress and increase productivity during the holidays!

Is your important email being crowded out by sales emails and e-newsletters?

During the holidays, this is a particular problem.

According to our job stress research, the sheer volume of work to be done is the single largest stressor for a vast majority of people.  Eliminating things which steal time and energy from what is important is a central point in The Trouble With Busy.

So… right now… UNSUBSCRIBE!

Think about it.

Deleting what you don’t need several times per day takes time and energy you could use better elsewhere.  Take a couple extra moments to scroll down and click the link to unsubscribe. Better yet, use a tool such as unroll.me to do it all at once.  Today, using unroll.me I found 132 subscriptions. There are far fewer now. We all “sign up” for activities and relationships that may work in the beginning, but over time we outgrow them or our needs change. Any time we buy something online, the merchant has permission to email us.

It’s okay –- unsubscribe.

Think about it this way.

If you say no to one thing, you are saying an emphatic yes to something else.

Unsubscribing is freeing.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it.  As a person who sends out a regular email newsletter, I only want subscribers who find value in what I provide. If you don’t have time to read it, if it doesn’t fit your needs, if it is just cluttering up your inbox, please unsubscribe.  I won’t take it personally, really!

Unsubscribe for productivity, low stress, and great success this holiday season.

Less stress in the new year with tips from Women's Leadership Speaker and Wellness expertEliz Greene

Pause, Delete & Celebrate: Happy New Year

Thoughts on turning the page to a new year

Holidays such as Rosh Hashanah are an invitation to examine whether we are leading happy and successful lives.

Less stress in the new year with tips from Women's Leadership Speaker and Wellness expertEliz GreeneAs I work through our study on job stress, one of the interesting issues is how we define happiness and success.  Too often we equate our busy, on-the-go lifestyles with being successful when busy-ness gets in the way of doing the things which make us feel content and satisfied.

Days like today are perfect reminders to Pause, Delete, & Celebrate in order to refocus on true success.

Pause:

Turn off the phone, step away from the computer, and take time to reflect on a few important questions:

  • What are the three most important things (or people) in my life?
  • What brought joy to my life this year?
  • What pulled my attention and energy away from important and joyful things?
  • What did I do for my health and spirit this year?

Delete:

Of those things that pulled your attention and energy away, which can you eliminate or delegate? How can you insulate yourself from those things you can’t eliminate?

Celebrate:

It is easy to let the good things slide by unnoticed.  Today, take time to thank those who brought joy to your life, celebrate what you have done for yourself, and reach out to those most important.

Wishing you low stress and great success in the New Year!

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

How Stress Is Like Wine

Some Stress Is Good, Too Much Is A Problem

Stress is often used like a dirty word, or something to be avoided at all cost. The truth is that stress is part of what makes life enjoyable.  We all need a little excitement to keep things interesting.  We often need some pressure to become motivated to complete the task at hand.

Stress isn’t all bad.

In fact, even things we consider happy occasions cause stress:

  • Graduations
  • Weddings
  • Birthday
  • Having a baby
  • Buying a new house

Stress is like wine in that in the proper amount, it can make life more enjoyable. However, like wine, moderation is key.

Our bodies are built to react to stressful situations by releasing a hormone called cortisol.  That hormone quickens the heart, sharpens senses, and prepares the body for action.  We are also built to let that hormone out of our bodies once the stressful situation passes.  This ebb and flow is important.  Which is why stress is like wine, you should have it…

  • Not too much
  • Not too often

Treat Stress like wine

Unfortunately, the research we are conducting on job stress indicates nearly 70% of people are acutely stressed on a daily basis — too much AND too often!

How stressed are you on a daily basis?

Are you taking time to move, sleep, laugh, and relax to allow your body to recover from stress?

Please help us on the next phase of our job search research by participating in a brief survey.

As a thank you for participating you can find some tips to recover from stress here.

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker.  Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com

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