Corporate Health: Better Relationships

Good interpersonal relationships are one of the most important factors in mental wellbeing, with studies showing that not having close personal relationships is as big a health risk as smoking or obesity.

In this blog, you’ll find articles on why good relationships are so important, and techniques you can use to improve interpersonal relations in your workplace.

clasped-hands-541849_960_720


Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 16.21.50
(Action for Happiness)

Action for Happiness is a movement of people dedicated to creating a happier, more caring society.

They recognise that connecting with other people is key to a happy, fulfilling life – here’s their rundown of why it’s so important, with links to suggestions for improving your relationships. They also have a range of posters and resources for creating a more supportive environment in your own workplace, like the one above!


 

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 15.47.31
(TED)

Brené Brown is a researcher that studies human connection. In this TED talk she discusses the importance of vulnerability, empathy and honesty for building healthy, fulfilling relationships – why not share the video with your team to start a conversation about communication?


friendship-986676_960_720

This great article from Fast Company outlines the 7 key habits that you and your staff should cultivate to start building better relationships. This advice can apply to pretty much any relationship in your life!


Nudjed Health Resources are collections of online content and tools that offer simple, low-cost ways to improve specific areas of health. To discover which areas of health are affecting productivity in your organisation, check out Nudjed Insights. 

Corporate Health: Swimming

Swimming is a great way to stay in shape – it’s suitable for almost anybody, works out your whole body, and isn’t dependent on the weather. No excuses!

You know by now that staying physically active has a whole host of benefits that carry over into a business environment, so why not incentivise your team to hit the pool?

swim-422546_960_720


(Berkeley Wellness)

This article from Berkeley Wellness outlines all of the health benefits of swimming, and the advantages it has as a low-impact activity. Share with your staff to encourage them to get wet!


(swimming.org)

Swimming.org is a great online hub that contains pretty much everything you could possibly want to know about swimming in the UK. Their poolfinder is a great online tool that your staff can use to find the most convenient place to swim!


water-103817_960_720

This article from the NHS is full of tips and advice for those that are new to swimming. It’s really one of the most accessible activities, so share this piece with staff members that are a bit unsure!


 

Nudjed Health Resources are collections of online content and tools that offer simple, low-cost ways to improve specific areas of health. To discover which areas of health are affecting productivity in your organisation, check out Nudjed Insights. 

Corporate Health: Measurement and Tracking Weight Loss

Accurate measurement is important for your staff to understand their own bodies. And if they want to lose weight, keeping track of how they’re doing can offer continued motivation and can ensure that they’re doing it in a healthy, sustainable way.

This blog looks at different ways to measure weight loss, and the tools that you could suggest to your staff to help them.


scale-403585_1920

At Nudjed, we’re a bit wary of using BMI (Body Mass Index) to measure weight loss – it can be inaccurate, especially as it doesn’t account for the difference between muscle and fat. Why not suggest your staff measure weight loss using waist to height ratio instead? Here’s an explanation of why it’s great and how to measure it.


(MyFitnessPal)

Keeping track of the exercise they’re doing and the food they eat is a great way for your staff to stay focused on their weight loss goals. MyFitnessPal is a free app that tracks all of this and more – it even tracks different food groups, encouraging users to eat a healthy, balanced diet. No more cabbage soup!


(Lifehacker)

This great article from Lifehacker covers the issues many people face when trying to track weight loss, the best methods for dealing with those issues, and tips for staying motivated. Why not share it with your staff?


Nudjed Health Resources are collections of online content and tools that offer simple, low-cost ways to improve specific areas of health. To discover which areas of health are affecting productivity in your organisation, check out Nudjed Insights. 

How Data Literacy Can Boost Workplace Health

HR professionals, along with those from a range of other professional and managerial roles, will be well aware of the increasing demand for data literacy. This article from SiliconAngle argues that the ability to understand and analyse data is just as important now as  computer literacy became 20 years ago. As business evolves, making data-driven decisions is a skill that is expected of more and more people. But where to start – how can you become data literate?


(Graphic by Jehoaddan Kulakoff)
Health and wellbeing is a key area for ‘Big Data’. Business in the 21st century is very different to anything before – the majority of office-based jobs depend on the cognitive performance of staff. However, the very nature of these jobs means that  more people are living sedentary lifestyles – and lower levels of activity are linked to lower inductive intelligence. In simple terms, sitting in front of a screen all day is having a negative impact on employees’ mental ability.

At the same time, the nature of ill health has changed. Due to modern lifestyles, 1 in 5 people now have some form of mental illness, and almost a quarter of UK adults are obese. High blood pressure and diabetes are also more widespread than ever before. The combination of these factors means that health in the workplace is now incredibly important – which is where health and wellbeing initiatives come in.

Traditionally, wellbeing programmes have failed to deliver consistent results. Some workplace initiatives have been little more than entertainment – like the trends for desk-based head massage and aromatherapy. This webinar from AXA Healthcare outlines a clear method that HR professionals should follow to measure and improve health within an organisation. We highly recommend watching the webinar, but in case you don’t have time, we’ve summarised it below.

HR needs to identify health risks (like obesity, high blood pressure, etc) and then work to mitigate them. Outcomes can be measured in the removal of risk factors, which will have a direct, measurable impact on productivity. An effective wellbeing programme requires the following components:

    • Strategy – a clear goal, in numbers. For example, making your organisation 1000 years younger, or removing 100 health risk factors.

    • Capability – building a sustainable platform for long-term activity. The whole organisation needs to be aware of, and involved in,  initiatives.

    • Programme – the actual actions undertaken. This can be very diverse, using a range of suppliers and partners to improve different areas of health.

By following a plan like this, you can begin to become data literate in your activities – setting clear targets, tracking progress, and communicating outcomes to management by demonstrating risk reduction. This logical, data-driven approach requires commitment, sustainability and a long-term strategy. The benefits are clear – HR will be able to show long-term value creation and a tangible ROI, as well as contributing to corporate social responsibility practices.

So how does Nudjed fit in? Our unique Insights tool gathers data you can’t get anywhere else. We find out how your staff actually feel about their health, and identify the areas they’re most interested in improving, so that you can create a health and wellbeing programme with the greatest possible impact. Old HR approaches were based on guesswork and assumptions about which health initiatives would be effective, resulting in low levels of engagement and difficulty showing success. With Nudjed, you can make data-driven decisions about how to spend your wellbeing budget to maximise engagement and effect real change in your organisation. Better yet, we crunch the numbers for you and provide you with clear, actionable insights – making it as easy as possible to become a data-literate department.


To learn more about how Nudjed Insights could help you to create a more effective health and wellbeing programme, visit get.nudjed.com/insights.

Healthy Workplace: Flu-Fighting Food

Foods to fight off minor illnesses

Man sneezing

The majority of short-term sickness absence is caused by minor illnesses that are easily preventable with good hygiene and a strong immune system. The immune system can be boosted by certain foods, which can help to fight off colds, flu and other minor illnesses!

These foods are separated into groups with the following functions:

Anti-inflammatory foods

Foods in this group have properties that can reduce inflammation (pain and swelling) that is associated with many minor illnesses and aches & pains – for example swollen glands, or joint pain.

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oily fish
  • Dark Green Veggies
  • Almonds

Antiviral foods

These foods have properties that can reduce the symptoms of viruses including the common cold.

  • Garlic
  • Coconut
  • Chillies (decongestant)
  • Prawns (and other seafood)
  • Elderberry
  • Green tea
  • Liquorice

Colourful foods (rich in vitamins)

You can get loads of  vitamins and minerals from fruits and veg, and each different colour is related to a different group of nutrients, with different benefits.

For fighting off minor illnesses and viruses, you should focus on:

  • Reds, yellows and oranges
  • Dark greens, purples and blues

Drink more water

Good hydration is key for almost every aspect of physical health, and your immune system is no different: keep a water bottle with you and drink regularly!

Find more from our workplace health series here.


Healthy Workplace: Fighting Fatigue

Maintaining Energy Levels

297669b

Drops in energy levels and feeling generally tired are all too common in modern office environments. Managing energy levels effectively is possible, and it can lead to huge improvements in performance.

Here are 4 key actions to avoid crashing:

1. Manage your caffeine intake

Caffeine is a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s great for giving you an energy boost or making you more alert; on the other hand, when the rush wears off your energy levels can crash, leaving you irritable and sluggish. Some ideas to try:

  • Reduce caffeine dependency by offering and promoting alternatives such as water, fruit tea, or juice.
  • Try switching to decaf, especially in the afternoons.
  • Swap coffee breaks for walks – you can stretch your legs, get some fresh air and give your brain a break, which should perk you up!

2. Snack smart

All too often a drop in energy has us reaching for a quick fix in the form of a sugary snack or drink. It’s like plugging a leak with a piece of kitchen paper: it’s not going to hold for long! Some better options are:

  • Trail mixes – the perfect high energy, high nutrient snack for when you need a boost. Here’s how to make one.
  • A banana – the right blend of nutrients for a healthy energy boost!
  • Crackers and cheese – a mixture of complex carbs and protein to keep you going.

3. Improve hydration

Drinking enough water is really important for maintaining energy levels. Over 2/3 of your body is water; dehydration makes you feel tired, irritable and unable to work at your best.

4. Eat more complex carbohydrates

This is all about eating foods which release their energy more slowly to help maintain more consistent energy levels. You can find out more about how it works from this simple explanation of Glycaemic Index (GI) levels in different foods. The main food groups to include are:

  • Wholegrain/wholemeal varieties of bread/rice/pasta/cereals
  • Fresh vegetables with the skin left on where possible
  • Nuts, seeds, beans and lentils

nudjed_-_gi_graph_-_mar_15_720

In the graph, you can see that a high GI food makes the blood sugar rise and fall quickly, leading to drops in energy levels throughout the day. Low GI foods keep the energy levels more stable.

Find more from our workplace health series here.


Healthy Workplace: Dealing With Digestion

Digestion

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.11.28

Perhaps it’s not the most glamorous subject but feeling uncomfortable, bloated or a bit below par digestively is a common issue, and one that is rarely noticed or reported for fear of embarrassment. Nevertheless it can throw you off your game!

Here are 4 easy ways to remedy the situation:

1. Reduce bloating

There are some foods that have been shown to reduce bloating, and the good news is that lots of them have been added to herbal teas to provide an easy method of consumption. If you’ve got a tea cupboard at work, it might be worth stocking it with teas that contain:

  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Fennel
  • Mint
  • Papaya

2. Eat pre and probiotic foods

Some foods (probiotics) contain live ‘good’ bacteria that support your gut function, others (prebiotics) contain a special type of carbohydrate that feed the good bacteria that are in your stomach and improve digestion. Some good options are:

  • Sweet potato – Prebiotic
  • Parsnip – Prebiotic
  • Jerusalem artichoke – Prebiotic
  • Chicory – Prebiotic
  • Live yoghurt – Probiotic

3. Eat more fibre

Fibre is the cornerstone of good digestion, it comes in two forms but both are important for good digestive health. Increase fibre by eating:

  • Wholegrain foods
  • Lentils, beans and other legumes
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Vegetables

And leave the skin on whenever you can!

4. Improve hydration

Good hydration is at the centre of so many essential processes. Having plenty of water is an essential part of any healthy routine and contributes significantly to healthy digestion.

Find more from our workplace health series here.


Healthy Workplace: Rest, Relax, Recover

R & R & R

(Rest, Relaxation and Recovery)

tumblr_npn9rembKr1smapx8o1_500

Recovery is just as important as performance: without fully recovering, you cannot expect to repeat a great performance, at work or anywhere else!

Here are five techniques for making sure you’re always ready to give 100%:

1. Get good sleep

Good sleep is the foundation of good recovery. It’s when our brains work out problems, and when our bodies repair and reset. Some simple ways to improve sleep are:

2. Take time to calm down

After periods of intense activity (physical or mental), it is important to find time to be calm and relax to relieve tension and stress so that they are not carried over into the next day and beyond. Stress is growing problem in the UK and accounts for lots of time off and lost productivity. Here are a few things that can help:

  • Allocating 20-30 minutes to sit quietly, perhaps with a book or a drink, and calm down after work.
  • Practicing yoga
  • Learning to meditate, even for 10 minutes a day
  • Find or build a calming playlist that you can listen to when you’re feeling stressed.

3. Eat good quality protein

Protein helps our bodies to repair themselves and build new cells. Our ability to recover quickly depends on eating sources of good quality protein. Here are some of the best sources:

  • Oily Fish
  • Eggs
  • Lentils and beans
  • Quorn, tofu and other soy products
  • Lean meats
  • Milk and other dairy products

4. Make your diet as colourful as possible

The vitamins and minerals in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, especially antioxidants, contribute to our ability to fight off environmental stressors and recover effectively. Focus on:

  • Dark Greens
  • Blues and Purples
  • Reds

5. Low GI foods

A steady supply of energy is also important for rest and recovery, and stable energy providers like low GI foods are a great choice.

Find more from our workplace health series here.


Healthy Workplace: Staying Positive

Be Positive

dogs_happy_bench_sit_open_mouth_ultra_3840x2160_hd-wallpaper-55519

Feeling good about what you’re doing and what you’re going to do are really important when it comes to performing at your best. It’s an integral part of maintaining motivation and feeling empowered to achieve your best work!

Here are 4 things that can help people to feel more positive and optimistic at work:

1. Focusing on solutions

It’s easy to find problems: no process is perfect and nobody is perfect. Thinking about some possible solutions or committing to working on one, rather than simply pointing out a problem, is a much more constructive way to work. It keeps everyone feeling positive!

2. Practice, not perfection.

In the same vein, chasing perfection is draining and exhausting. It’s unlikely that it’ll ever be achieved, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve something you can be proud of. Create a culture of practice and improvement rather than chasing perfection, and people are able to feel more optimistic even in the face of adversity.

3. Good posture

It might sound like it has come a bit out of left field, but having a good posture and keeping your head up can make a difference to how positive and empowered you feel. Practising good posture, keeping your head up and back straight could provide that little boost of confidence that is required at a difficult time.

4. Flexible working and rewards

It goes without saying that people respond to different motivators. Knowing what works for your team is very important when it comes to getting the most from them. Here are some of the areas where it might be valuable to focus:

  • Notice effort and success equally. Success is often the product of persistence in the face of repeated failure, so it’s the effort that counts in the end.
  • Provide thoughtful rewards, or allow people to choose their own.
  • Be flexible and allow for individual working styles. People work better in different environments, and being accommodating as far as possible can provide great benefits in productivity.
  • Show you care, take every opportunity to support people in their lives, both in and out of work.

Find more from our workplace health series here.


Healthy Workplace: Perfect Posture

Practising perfect posture

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 15.25.21

More people need to take time off work for musculoskeletal issues like lower back pain than anything else. There are 3 simple things you can do to prevent this problem before it happens:

1. Practise good posture

Good posture is a combination of knowing and practising. The key elements of good posture are as follows, but you have to practice them! Check your posture every 10-20 minutes and correct it if you have slouched.

  • Feet facing forwards, legs straight
  • Engaged legs, a little bit of tension in the upper legs
  • A natural curve in the lower back, and straight upper back
  • A slight forward tilt to the pelvis, pushing lower back backwards and bringing thighs forwards.
  • Shoulders back and relaxed
  • Chin gently tucked in towards the neck, with neck straightened

2. Make sure you have the correct equipment

Having the basic equipment to support your body whilst you work can significantly reduce the amount of pressure on your spine, and the amount of problems you experience. The 4 most important things are:

  • A supportive chair that allows the natural arch in your lower back, and ideally has head and neck support
  • A computer screen that is at eye level so that you don’t have to strain your neck to type
  • A screen that is far enough from your face that your eyes do not feel strained from looking at it
  • Space to get up and stretch regularly throughout your day

3. Move regularly

Being able to get up from your desk and move around regularly will help your muscles to relax and allow you to correct your posture. You could try:

  • Getting up and moving every 20 minutes
  • Making the effort to make your own tea or coffee so that you have to leave your desk
  • Conducting walking meetings so that everyone is able to move and stretch

Find more from our workplace health series here.