Workplace Wellness: Where Do We Start?

Workplace Wellness: Where Do We Start?

There’s quite the buzz about workplace wellness at the moment. Organisations of all sizes are switching on to the fact that healthy and happy employees have a positive impact on company culture, morale, engagement and productivity. Ensuring the wellbeing of staff can increase employee attraction and retention, reduce levels of absenteeism, improve team spirit and reduce costs. Why then are so many companies reluctant to start a wellness programme? And for those that have started, how come so many of them have been unsuccessful?

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Why Is Wellness So Important?

Why Is Wellness So Important?

An overview of Irish demographics tells us that the average age of Ireland’s population will increase significantly over the next 20 years (by as much as 85%). It is projected to be the fastest increase in Europe. Add to this the projected upturn of 40% in the incidence of chronic disease between 2007 and 2020 (cancer is now categorised as a chronic disease). This will result in increasing healthcare costs and significant impacts not just on the healthcare systems but also for our health in general.

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Workplace Wellness Ireland

Workplace Wellness Ireland

Health promotion in the workplace has come a long way in Ireland in recent years. The vast majority of employers that I work with now appreciate the fact that a yoga class and a lunch and learn here and there does not constitute a wellness programme.

The reason why organisations introduce wellness initiatives is slowly changing too. Historically the end goal was simply to save money; to minimise absenteeism rates and to reduce health insurance premiums. Cost benefit is still a factor for many and a properly executed wellness programme WILL deliver long term savings but I don’t believe this is the main driver any more.

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Workplace Wellbeing Certification - The KeepWell Mark

Workplace Wellbeing Certification - The KeepWell Mark

It’s an exciting time for workplace health promotion in Ireland. Businesses are coming around to the fact that healthy workers are happier and more productive. This trend has not gone unnoticed by a number of organisations. Ibec, the business and employer association, launched a national workplace wellbeing accreditation called the “KeepWell Mark” late in 2017. Later this month the team behind Great Place to Work are launching a new programme called “Healthy Place to Work” and the government body Healthy Ireland are working on a project called the “Healthy Workplace Initiative”. So within a 12 month period it looks likely that we will have gone from no recognised certifications to three separate bodies offering an award for workplaces with a real heath focus in Ireland.

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Exercise: How much do I need each week?

Exercise: How much do I need each week?

I'm asked this question all the time and it really amazes me how few people are aware of even the minimum requirements for healthy adults. In the short video below, I talk about the World Health Organization's recommended levels of physical activity for adults.

Are you hitting the minimum recommended levels? Check out the video to find out!

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Radio Interview - Health and Wellness in the Workplace

Radio Interview - Health and Wellness in the Workplace

It was a real pleasure to chat with Mary Mullins from the In Business show on Radio Kerry during the week. We spoke about the role employees and employers have to play in making workplaces healthy places to spend time in, we discussed the recommended physical activity guidelines for healthy adults and we even had time to consider what the office of the future might look like with Fitbit's Dublin offices providing the inspiration for that.

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The 5 Building Blocks for a Healthy Day at Work

The 5 Building Blocks for a Healthy Day at Work

It’s important to lay a solid foundation to give yourself every chance of having a healthy and a productive day at work. There will always be factors that impact our day that are outside of our control. How we deal with these unplanned issues and events is important and the more prepared we are the better chance we have of hurdling them successfully without allowing them to negatively impact our day.

There are 5 areas that are fully within our control that I always try to stay on top of. They are the building blocks of my day and lay the foundations for my most productive days at work.

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Healthy Snacking in the Workplace

Healthy Snacking in the Workplace

When I hear the word “snacking” mentioned it often comes with a negative or unhealthy connotation. This should not be the case. Snacking is great way to support a balanced diet and should be encouraged. During a busy day at work, good quality snacks can help get you through the long mornings until lunch and over the final furlong in the afternoon before dinner time. Of course from a nutrition and health perspective, it’s really important to pay attention to the snacks you’re consuming.

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Overcoming Mental Obstacles

Overcoming Mental Obstacles

A few weeks ago I spoke about my plans to tackle Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. I'm delighted to report that the climb was a success. My good friend and I managed to reach the summit despite the testing conditions and the mental obstacles that we placed before ourselves. The visibility was so bad as we made our way towards the famous "devil's ladder" section that we couldn't see the mountain we intended to climb!

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