<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1602061480087256&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

R&R Insurance Blog

Ask Better Questions

Posted by Taylor Hahn

Questions

When beginning a conversation, we are accustomed to ask:

"how are you?"

There's no doubt that many of us ask that very question multiple times a day. When on the receiving end of that question, you now have two options which are to answer truthfully or give the standard:

                               "good and you?"

What information are we really obtaining with that vague question? Could we begin to ask better questions not only in the workplace but at home too? At the most recent Wellness Council of Wisconsin Conference, Zach Mercurio, PhD provided attendees with better questions to ask.

No more "How are you?"

Try asking these six questions instead:

  • What has your attention right now?
  • What kind of day have you had?
  • What do you need help with today? How can I help?
  • What's been most meaningful to you today?
  • Who did you help and who helped you?

By asking better questions, you will begin to have more insight into your co-workers and families day and start having meaningful conversations. Hopefully, you will try testing these out immediately--team meetings is the perfect place to do so!

Lastly, while asking better questions, Zach Mercurio, PhD also emphasized the importance of creating mattering. Follow the NAN points from him below too!

NAN PointsIf you are interested in discussing wellness programming further please reach out to our Strategic Wellbeing Consultant, Taylor Hahn.

 

Topics: Wellness

Anxiety Disorders | The Most Common Illness

Posted by Taylor Hahn

Calm-Panic Anxiety

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that adults over the age of 19 and under the age of 65 get regularly screened for anxiety. This is the first time the Task Force has recommended anxiety screenings in adult primary care without symptoms. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), "anxiety disorders are the most comment mental illness in the U.S. affecting 40 million adults (19.1% of the population) age 18 and older every year." While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, less than 40% of those suffering are receiving treatment. 

While this proposed recommendation is not final and is in the public comment period through October 17th, this is an opportunity for the public to provide input and perspective for final approval considerations.

This News Brief explains further details around this. 

If you are interested in discussing wellness programming further please reach out to our Strategic Wellbeing Consultant, Taylor Hahn.

 

Topics: Wellness

Next Exit: Flu Season

Posted by Taylor Hahn

istockphoto-468243163-612x612

Fall is right around the corner, so that means you may be considering how to promote the flu shot to your employees. Just like last year, flu symptoms are very similar to COVID symptoms; receiving a flu shot could save lives and resources. Not to mention, having healthy employees benefits the company since sick time is significantly reduced. While the flu season is unpredictable, you shouldn't take any chances. Consider hosting an onsite clinic or promoting employees to visit an in-network pharmacy/provider. Either way, education on the flu shot is very important.

Sending email blasts, showcasing posters around the office, even a direct mail reminder with specific steps on how to obtain a flu shot will be beneficial to communicate to your employees. That way, it takes the guess work out of the research for the employee. If you're interested in hosting an onsite clinic, feel free to contact our Strategic Wellbeing Consultant to begin the facilitation process; keep in mind that the minimum participation ranges vary from 25-50 participants. 

Lastly, common myths employees have about the flu shot vary from the flu vaccine will make you sick, vaccines aren't safe, the flu isn't bad, etc. Consider promoting this Get the Facts flyer to your employees in time for flu season.

If you are interested in discussing wellness programming further please reach out to our Strategic Wellbeing Consultant, Taylor Hahn.

 

Topics: Wellness

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Posted by Taylor Hahn

summer kayaking

Can you believe these last few months of summer are already here in Wisconsin?

In order to make the most of these beautiful summer days that remain, this month's topic will be centered around the mental benefits in conjunction with exercise. It is known that exercise is fantastic for your body. However, research also indicates that exercise helps to reduce anxiety, depression and negative moods.

The U.S. Department of Health indicates that adults should be targeting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. If that seems like a lot, try to break it down. Start with 10 minute increments three times a day. For example, 10 minutes of walking before work, 10 minutes on lunch, 10 minutes after work. If you repeat that each work day, Monday through Friday, any additional activity you complete on the weekend will be a bonus!

So make the most of the last summer month and take your aerobic activity outside! Find a new park, meet up with friends or take your beloved pet for a walk. We know we will miss this weather come January, plus your body and mind will be benefiting tremendously. 

For additional information on the specific mental health benefits of exercise along with more information about getting started, please view this article.

If you are interested in discussing wellness programming further please reach out to our Strategic Wellbeing Consultant, Taylor Hahn.

 

Topics: Wellness

Chronic Diseases | Containing the Costs

Posted by Taylor Hahn

Employee Wellbeing

As an employer, if you are not promoting and investing in wellbeing programming for your employees, you may fall behind the curve in a few aspects.

As the younger generation is venturing into the workplace, they are expecting concrete wellbeing programming to be implemented and creative components towards overall wellness and ease of access to be intertwined. Having a functioning wellbeing program can help with your retention rates as this great resignation is upon us. If that aspect doesn’t motivate you to consider investing and starting a wellbeing program, what about the costs involved with chronic diseases?

What’s important to note is chronic diseases can be avoided, reduced or even stopped through lifestyle changes.

Chronic Disease - the costs involved

Of course there are specific direct costs and percentages associated with chronic diseases, but often times we forget the indirect costs if an employee cannot be present at work and the cost of that lost productivity.

For more information on containing the costs of chronic health conditions please view this resource.

If you are interested in discussing wellness programming further please reach out to our Health & Wellness Consultant, Taylor Hahn.

 

Topics: Wellness

Resources for OSHA's New Heat Emphasis Program

Posted by Mike Paddock

Heat Stress2

On April 8, 2022 OSHA launched a national targeted program to protect workers from heat-related illness. A National Emphasis Program like this typically determines the prioritization of inspections.

On June 14th, OSHA Region 5 issued a reminder to the Great Lakes region's employers that workers need protection from dangers of heat illness: indoors and outdoors.

They ask employers to have workers drink water every 15 minutes, take frequent rest breaks in shade, have an emergency plan ready to respond when a worker shows sign of heat-related illness, train workers on the hazards of heat exposure and to allow workers to build tolerance for working in heat.

On the last point, OSHA has found that:

  • Almost half of heat-related deaths occur on a worker's very first day on the job

  • Over 70% of heat-related deaths occur during a worker's first week

On October 27, 2021 OSHA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking for Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings. This was a significant step toward creating a federal heat standard.

The courts currently hold employers liable for heat-related hazards through OSHA's general duty clause. The clause requires employers to provide their employees with a place of employment that "is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees."

Heat stress killed 815 US workers and seriously injured more than 70,000 workers from 1992 through 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Heat Stress Resources

HR Software You're Using Might Be Violating the ADA

Posted by Pete Frittitta

HR Software LaptopRecently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) each issued new technical assistance documents about how employers’ use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other software tools to make employment decisions may result in unlawful disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Employers increasingly use software tools to help select new employees, monitor performance, determine pay or promotions, and administer or score tests. Without safeguards, this use may result in ADA violations.

The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations and have other processes in place to ensure that their software tools do not unfairly rate or screen out qualified individuals with disabilities.

EEOC Guidance

The EEOC’s new guidance focuses on the following three ways an employer’s use of software tools for employment decisions may violate the ADA:

  • The employer does not provide a reasonable accommodation necessary for an individual to be rated fairly and accurately by the software;
  • The software “screens out” an individual with a disability, even though the individual is able to do the job with a reasonable accommodation; and
  • The software makes disability-related inquiries or includes medical examinations.

The EEOC also provides best practices to help employers avoid these violations.

DOJ Guidance

The DOJ’s new guidance provides a broad overview of rights and responsibilities under the ADA. It also provides examples of the types of software tools employers use, clarifies that employers must consider various disabilities when designing or choosing their software, and explains when an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation when using software tools.

Employer Takeaway

Several factors have led these agencies to address this topic. One is the ongoing unemployment challenge for workers with disabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April data revealed a labor force participation rate of 23.1% for people with a disability, compared with 67.5% for those without. Employers should review this guidance and assess their employment technology and processes to ensure they are not at risk for ADA violations.

You can read the EEOC’s new guidance here and the DOJ’s new guidance here.

Source: Zywave, Inc.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Compliance

End the Stigma | May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted by Taylor Hahn

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health continues to be a popular topic and top concern for workplaces in 2022. Over 30% of employers have added new mental health benefits within the past year, according to McKinsey and Company. Surprisingly, despite the increased efforts, nearly 25% of employees still do not feel supported when it comes to their mental health.

"40% of U.S. adults said they have struggled with mental health or substance abuse during the pandemic."

With all of this in mind, employers need to evaluate their mental health strategies and consider how they can best help maximize their employees' overall well-being. To get a jump-start on this, employers can consider these five trends for 2022 that may influence employees' mental health.

  1. More Mental Health Programs
  2. Increased Scheduling Flexibility
  3. Expanded Virtual Doctor Visits
  4. Greater Mental Health Education
  5. Improved Focus on Individuals

Mental health is a serious concern for employees and their employers. Not addressing mental health issues can result to a host of other problems down the road, including burnout and depression. For more in-depth information on implementing the five trends listed above, click here. We have also included a few additional resources below.

5 Ways to Support Your Employee's Mental Health [blog]

Wellness Mental Health Resources –  Train Your Brain Into Positive Self-Talk [blog]

Effects of Stress on the Body [interactive flyer]

 

Topics: Wellness

HSA/HDHP Limits Increase for 2023

Posted by R&R Insurance

HSA Piggy BankOn April 29, 2022, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2022-24 to provide the inflation-adjusted limits for health savings accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) for 2023. The IRS is required to publish these limits by June 1 of each year.

These limits include:

  • The maximum HSA contribution limit;
  • The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs; and
  • The maximum out-of-pocket expense limit for HDHPs.
These limits vary based on whether an individual has self-only or family coverage under an HDHP.

Eligible individuals with self-only HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $3,850 to their HSAs for 2023, up from $3,650 for 2022. Eligible individuals with family HDHP coverage will be able to contribute $7,750 to their HSAs for 2023, up from $7,300 for 2022. Individuals who are age 55 or older are permitted to make an additional $1,000 “catch-up” contribution to their HSAs.

The minimum deductible amount for HDHPs increases to $1,500 for self-only coverage and $3,000 for family coverage for 2023 (up from $1,400 for self-only coverage and $2,800 for family coverage for 2022). The HDHP maximum out-of-pocket expense limit increases to $7,500 for self-only coverage and $15,000 for family coverage for 2023 (up from $7,050 for self-only coverage and $14,100 for family coverage for 2022).

You can download our convenient chart here: HSA HDHP Limits Increase for 2023

Employers that sponsor HDHPs should review their plan's cost-sharing limits (minimum deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expense limit) when preparing for the plan year beginning in 2023. Also, employers that allow employees to make pre-tax HSA contributions should update their plan communications for the increased contribution limits.

Topics: Employee Benefits

National Financial Literacy Month

Posted by Taylor Hahn

Financial Literacy Month

National Financial Literacy Month is celebrated in April. This is a great opportunity to promote financial wellness to employees, since it is often a neglected well-being component.

Did you know 1 in 4 employees say that stressing about finances is a major distraction at work?

In addition, 7 out of 10 employees say financial stress is their most common stress. Developing and establishing workplace financial wellness will have key benefits for everyone.

You will attracted and keep talented employees, you have a better chance to lower health cost and employees will have increased productivity and will be better prepared for a rainy day. Retirement will not be a daunting thing but rather something employees have to look forward to as well.

How are you currently addressing financial wellness in your workplace?

Are you giving employees the nudge they need with auto-enrollment, keeping the number of investment choices simple, mobile access, recognizing language barriers, along with additional plan add-ons? Unfortunately, this is a topic that cannot be addressed only once a year for employees to really benefit. Consider how else you can add this topic to your well-being program.

Food and fun are often components that encourage employees to participate. Consider this Financial Wellness Challenge created by our Health & Wellness Consultant.

For more information on financial wellness, contact a Knowledge Broker today.

 

Topics: Wellness