If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive way to stay healthy or lose weight, you need nothing more than your own two feet. Walking is an ideal form of exercise—it’s free, and you can do it almost anytime and anywhere. Walking is also a great way to maintain a healthy weight or to shed those extra pounds.
The First Step: Good Shoes
Whether you walk outdoors, on a treadmill or at the local mall, you will want to invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Walking shoes are designed to give you the flexibility, support and proper push off needed for walking. Everyone’s feet are different, but look for shoes that are light, flexible and immediately feel comfortable. Walking shoes should not require a “breaking in” period.
Setting the Pace
You can walk to maintain your health or as part of a weight-loss program. To get moving, experts advise beginners to start with a 15- or 30-minute walk daily, adding five or 10 minutes to the walking session time per week. More specifically:
1.) To maintain your health, walk 30 minutes a day most days of the week at a “talking” pace, which means you are able to carry on a conversation comfortably while walking.
2.) If you are walking for weight loss, walk 45 to 60 minutes a day at a medium to fast pace. In addition, do not skip more than two days per week.
3.) For aerobic and cardiovascular fitness, walk 20 minutes at a very fast pace (you should be breathing hard), three to four days a week.
After walking, gentle stretching can help keep your muscles from being sore. It is also wise to warm up before walking fast or going a long distance.
Make sure to be safe while walking outside:
1.) Always walk on sidewalks (or on the left side of the street facing traffic if there are no sidewalks).
2.) Be aware of traffic.
3.) Carry identification and your cellphone in case of emergencies.
4.) In the evening hours, wear reflective gear and/or carry a flashlight in front of you.
Going the Distance
Once you get started, you will want to stay motivated. Consider finding a walking friend, joining a walking club or registering for a challenging walking event. Remember that you will not notice immediate physical changes to your body, but by adding walking and a healthy diet to your daily routine, it won’t be long before you look and feel better.
Note: Before beginning any walking program, consider discussing your exercise plans with your doctor, particularly if you have health issues such as diabetes.
Workplace wellness programs may not only increase employee morale, but also reap a positive return on investment for employers. Although Work Wellness programs are often expensive, there are ways employers can make positive changes for little or no cost.
Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
The following are low-cost strategies that encourage healthy eating:
Provide healthy eating reminders to employees using posters, emails and intranet posts.
Offer healthier food options in the vending machines and in the cafeteria, as well as at meetings, conferences and catered events.
Ensure that on-site cafeterias follow healthy cooking practices and set nutritional standards that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Provide cookbooks and cooking classes for employees and their families.
Offer locally grown fruits and vegetables at the workplace (this could be a workplace farmer’s market or a community-supported agriculture drop-off point).
Price non-nutritious foods in vending machines and cafeterias at higher prices than healthy options.
Provide an opportunity for on-site gardening, if possible.
Below are tips for encouraging employees to practice portion control:
Label foods to show serving size and nutritional content.
Provide food models or food scales for weighing and pictures to help employees assess portion size.
Offer appropriate portion sizes at meetings, workplace events and in the cafeteria.
Consider the following tips to support nursing mothers in workplace:
Provide rooms for expressing milk in a secure and relaxed environment and a refrigerator for the storage of breast milk.
Create policies that support breast-feeding and lactation education programs.
Offer flexible scheduling and on-site or near-site childcare to allow for milk expression during the workday.
Adopt alternative work options (for example, telecommuting, part-time or extended maternity) for breast-feeding mothers returning to work.
Educate employees on the importance of supporting breast-feeding co-workers.
Physical Activity and Weight Management
The following are low-cost wellness activities that promote physical activity:
Allow access to on- and off-site gyms and recreational activities before, during and after work. Encourage and support participation in after-work recreational leagues.
Provide incentives or reduced insurance costs for participation in physical activity or weight management or maintenance activities.
Provide showers and changing facilities at the workplace.
Map out on-site trails or nearby walking routes and destinations. Host walk-and-talk meetings when it is nice outside.
Provide bicycle racks in safe, convenient and accessible locations. Sponsor a “bike to work” day and reward employees who participate.
Create activities that have strong social support systems like buddy or team physical activity goals or programs that involve co-workers and their families.
Set up programs to encourage physical activity, such as pedometer walking challenges.
Offer flexible work hours and breaks to allow for physical activity during the day.
Post motivational signs at elevators and escalators to encourage stair usage.
Encourage employees to map out their own biking or walking route to and from work.
Provide or support physical activity events on-site or in the community.
General Health Education
The following tips can help improve overall employee well-being:
Have a wellness plan in place that addresses the purpose, nature, duration, resources required and expected results of a workplace wellness program.
Promote and encourage employee participation in the physical activity, nutrition and weight management programs.
Provide health education articles, handouts or fliers to employees.
Create a committee that meets at least once a month to oversee your wellness program.
Offer regular health education presentations on various physical activity, nutrition and wellness-related topics.
Ask health associations, health care providers or public health agencies to offer free on-site education classes.
Host a health fair as a kick-off event or as a celebration for completion of a wellness campaign.
Conduct preventive wellness screenings for blood pressure, body mass index, blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
Provide confidential health risk assessments.
Offer on-site weight management or maintenance programs for employees.
Add counseling for weight management or maintenance, nutrition, and physical activity as a benefit in health insurance contracts.
Consider the following tactics to curb smoking at your workplace:
Establish a company policy prohibiting tobacco use anywhere on company property.
Provide posters to support your tobacco-free policy.
Establish a policy supporting participation in smoking cessation activities.
Provide tobacco cessation counseling through an individual, group or telephone counseling program.
Make sure your health plan covers a variety of tobacco cessation medications.
By considering the strategies above, you can implement low-cost wellness activities at your workplace. For help setting up one of these initiatives, contact The Unland Companies.
Forty-five percent of Americans don’t have a primary care doctor, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Considering how important an annual doctor visit is to an employee’s health, this statistic is alarming. Remind employees of the benefits they can reap from scheduling one today.
New research reveals the current consumer sentiment surrounding identity crime threats. We Divide Identity Crimes into three distinct areas:
The theft or misplacement of information that can be used to identify you as an individual.
The theft and misuse of a victim’s existing accounts, primarily financial accounts.
The theft of an individual’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to create new accounts under the victim’s name.
Lost/Stolen PII Identity Fraud Identity Theft
As a leader in identity protection partnerships, we break down these findings to uncover the best practices for implementing your own value-add identity protection program.
History of Identity Crimes
It was a record year for fraud in 2016. According to Javelin Strategy & Research, 35.2 million Americans fell victim to an identity crime. That’s a new identity crime victim every second. Of particular importance was the peak in overall fraud incidence rates, which affected 15.4 million consumers. While progress has been made in the fight against identity crimes; including the introduction of EMV technology – these efforts have simply redirected criminals to other fraud methods.
Rise of Identity Crimes
The rise of identity crimes can be attributed to three primary drivers:
Rising data breach incidents
A thriving black market for PII
Shifting fraud patterns
Protective Fraud Prevention
In recent years, proactive fraud prevention measures have taken the spotlight, with EMV being the poster child of these efforts. While EMV aims to keep payment cards safe from skimming and cloning (the theft and fraudulent use of card data), this nation-wide effort only diverted criminals to other methods. Soon after the U.S. rollout of EMV, new account fraud (identity theft) and account takeover rates began to rise. In 2016, new account fraud losses topped $3.6 billion. Both crimes take far longer and are far costlier to repair than credit or checking account fraud.
Americans earn an A+ in Awareness but Lack Appropriate Protection
Almost a quarter of our respondents have had their phone, wallet or laptop stolen and 17.7% of them were unable to recover their stolen device. And it’s no surprise, that 27% of consumers have already been the victim of identity theft. Data shows 74% worry their personal information will be compromised. The truth of the matter is that once information is out of their control, it’s gone forever. A single year of post breach identity protection does little to safeguard consumers. 46% of all identity theft victims were victimized multiple times – 15% experienced it three or more times. These individuals needed comprehensive, long-term protection.
The DIY Approach
Independent identity theft resolution, without the help of an identity protection service provider, requires numerous parties to be involved in clearing the victim’s name. On average victims dedicate 18 hours resolving the crime.
Trusted providers must step in where breach solutions fall short. While consumer preferences say “protect me,” their actions often fall short due to a lack of viable sources. Many of these users receive complimentary post-breach services. These services can often be riddled with problems and lackluster customer service, as breached companies have little time or capital to invest into superior protection products.
Still, consumers want identity protection – just the right kind. More than half of consumers believe identity protection is important, but want to receive it as a benefit from a trusted provider. The need for superior protection presents a major opportunity for companies with existing relationships. Promoting an identity protection program can ignite engagement, loyalty and satisfaction
Program Best Practices
Seven Best Practices for Launching an Effective Identity Theft Protection Program
Know Your Culture
What makes sense for your organization? Look to your own strengths to understand how an identity protection program can cohesively fit into your existing offerings and image.
Align Your Organizational Goals
What’s driving the demand for identity protection? Whether you hope to engage, retain or even incentivize action with identity protection – your goals should always lead the way.
Assess Consumer Demographics
Consumer tastes are never cut and dry. Investigate the preferences of your desired demographic to implement a truly action-worthy protection program.
Find a Trusted Partner in Protection
With expert guidance, world-class support and a focus on your goals – an identity protection partnership acts as an extension of your brand and brings more than just a new product to the table.
Pair the Right Products and Processes
Choose products from an industry leader that follows the latest compliance and security protocols. Back these with proven processes such as secure data transfer and streamlined implementation.
Practice Clear Communication
Back your program with effective communication tools. These can include ads, fliers, educational handouts, a dedicated website, emails and training to help spread the word.
Review program results and compare it to your initial goals. Revisit your analytics often and make changes as needed.
Results Happen When You Protect What’s Really Important
As criminals evolve, with the rise in technology and the birth of the connected consumer, identity theft protection must evolve as well.
The consumer data in the EZShield 2017 Identity Crime Report is based on information collected in a random sample of 1,203 individuals. This research consisted of an online quantitative survey conducted on August 22, 2016. Respondents were over the age of 18 with varying household income levels and resided in the United States.
At EZShield, we have a multitude of products to protect against identity crimes. We’re proud to exemplify the program best practices as the leader in identity protection partnerships. Our award-winning products are trusted by more than 15 million consumers and small businesses through a network of over 2,000 trusted partners. Our success lies in the comprehensive, partner-focused approach we take. From our always serving, never selling customer service appeal to our expert strategy insights and analysis – EZShield can help propel your organization’s identity protection program to new heights.
It costs nearly 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace a current employee. If you are experiencing high turnover, chances are you are experiencing high losses as well. The costs of reviewing applications, processing candidates, conducting interviews, training and purchasing equipment for new hires aren’t only monetary—they also cost time and lost productivity.
Given the high cost of losing an employee, retention should be a top priority for every organization. If you do not already have a retention strategy, now is the time to make one. The first step in curbing turnover is figuring out why employees are leaving.
Why Employees Leave
Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons, depending on their unique circumstances. However, there are some common reasons that may help determine the best retention strategy for your organization. Below are some of the most common reasons employees leave:
Stagnation—Employees are often looking for career and personal growth. If they have no upward mobility at your company, they may look for it elsewhere.
Pay—Compensation needs to be competitive to attract the best talent. Likewise, good pay is needed to retain top talent.
Workplace culture—Expectedly, co-workers matter to employees. If they feel ostracized or marginalized by co-workers (or management), they will want to leave that environment.
Better opportunities—Like with stagnation, employees leave when they believe they have better prospects elsewhere. This could be due to a higher-paying position or simply a job more aligned with their interests.
How to Retain Employees
Retention strategies are not universal. It is possible that techniques and strategies that work for some organizations will not work for yours. This means you need to analyze why your employees are leaving and strategize how to combat those reasons.
Exit interviews are a great way to analyze why employees are leaving. During exit interviews, managers ask questions to employees who are on their way out of the company. Questions should be related to the employees’ time with the company, such as what they enjoyed, what they disliked and what prompted their resignation. Exit interviews will only be useful with employees who resign or leave voluntarily, not those who have been terminated.
Depending on the responses from the exit interviews, you can begin crafting a retention strategy. For instance, if a main catalyst for employee turnover is a lack of upward mobility, think about how to change that. It could mean creating new roles or, if roles already exist, making a clear guide for career pathing at the organization.
Creating a retention strategy does not need to be solely reactive. Consider creating a survey to gauge employee satisfaction with the company. Include questions about what people like and what they do not like about their job.
There is no hard and fast rule for successful employee retention. Creating a retention strategy for your organization requires you to analyze both your company and its industry. Contact The Unland Companies for more information on retention and for materials to help you craft your strategy.
For the unprepared, workers’ compensation (WC) issues can be both confusing and costly. Fortunately for employers, there are ways to actively engage WC issues to influence their outcomes.
Through management controls and active involvement in the WC process, your organization can effectively influence related costs. To do so you will have to establish a number of your own processes that guide decision making throughout your organization.
Through management controls and active involvement in the WC process, your organization can effectively influence-related costs. To do so you will have to establish a number of your own processes that guide decision making throughout your organization.
Areas requiring WC management can be divided into three main categories. These categories include facets that may range from the simple to the complex, but as a whole, address vital issues that can negatively influence WC costs in your company.
Workplace Safety Means Fewer Claims
Simply put, reducing claims reduces costs. Establishing a safety-minded culture throughout every level of your company is essential to keeping workers injury-free. However, establishing such a culture isn’t an overnight solution. To be successful, an ongoing commitment to safety must be made. Such a commitment must be supported by management and given the necessary resources to succeed.
Developing comprehensive safety policies for employees builds a firm foundation for your safety culture to grow. Such policies also encourage OSHA compliance, further improving your safety efforts while helping you avoid costly fines.
Mitigate Loss after an Injury
Unfortunately, even with all the right programs in place, it is still possible for accidents to happen. When a workplace incident occurs, how you respond can greatly influence the outcome of the claim. Prompt claim reporting is essential to keeping costs down. It is also important to have a designated injury management coordinator, someone who can supervise open claims and work with both employees and medical personnel to facilitate the timely recovery.
The longer an employee is out of work the more expensive his or her claim will be. Return-to-work programs that allow injured employees to come back to work at a limited capacity during the recovery process are one of the most effective tools business owners have to reduce the severity of a claim.
Managing Your Mod
Insurers use what is known as an experience modification factor, or mod, to calculate the premiums you pay for workers’ compensation coverage. By managing your exposures and promoting safety it is possible to manage your mod and decrease your premium rates.
Like a good safety program, controlling your mod is an ongoing process. To reap the benefits of lower premiums you will have to keep in regular contact with your insurance provider to ensure they have the most accurate data to use in their calculations.
Talk to your The Unland Companies representative to learn how to better manage workers compensation costs.
When a data breach or other cyber event occurs, the damages can be significant, often resulting in lawsuits, fines and serious financial losses. In order for organizations to truly protect themselves from cyber risks, corporate boards must play an active role and ask 5 main questions.
Learn about the 5 cyber risk questions every board should ask and how cyber insurance may benefit your organization.