standing stretching desk guy

5 Workplace Well-being Trends to Watch in 2018

standing stretching desk guy

As we wrap up 2017 and prepare for a fresh, new start in 2018, health and well-being at the workplace (and at home) remains a top priority for many companies, employee benefits providers and wellness professionals. As I stand here at my standing desk, reviewing the  workplace well-being trends predicted by various industry sources for 2018, five well-being program components continue to stand out. I’ve had conversations about the benefits of these five components based on past programs initiatives, research findings and health screen results with some our wellness clients at Cairnstone Benefits Group and believe these “trends” by benefitsPro Magazine are worth considering as part of your wellness program strategy.

5 Workplace Well-being Trends to Watch in 2018 

As published by benefitsPro Magazine writer Ann Wyatt, Nov 20, 1017

Workplace well-being programs, it seems, have never been more popular. From technology advances (especially those in the wearable tech space) to increased corporate interest to more media coverage, workplace well-being programs are on everyone’s minds these days.

It’s also trend season—which means you’ll start seeing more posts and articles predicting what to expect in the well-being industry in the year ahead. Since we work in this space, Here are five key trends we’re noticing as we cast our gaze into 2018.

 1. Personalization plus!

Fact: Employees are looking for personalization in their corporate well-being programs. And companies are getting smarter about using digital platforms, apps and wearable devices to meet employees’ preferences to have personalized experiences for their well-being—whether they’re in the office, working remotely or on-the-go.

We’re starting to see companies use all the well-being data they’re capturing via this technology to more readily design experiences for employees that match their preferences and needs. What does this look like? Typically, recommended well-being content, specific program offerings, and fine-tuned offerings based on employee interest top the list.

Employee health a competitive advantage?

While a direct cause and effect between a healthy workforce and superior share price returns is difficult to establish, there…

All this focus on personalization will help increase well-being program effectiveness and adoption rates and support the awareness and communications issues currently at hand—one of the main barriers to adoption for employer well-being programs today is simply a lack of knowledge that such a program exists.

Looking ahead to 2018, I don’t see technology replacing the live, human element of workplace well-being (think classes and health coaching). Rather it will enable connections that weren’t otherwise possible (like linking colleagues with similar health goals and interests around the globe to build camaraderie and support one another’s progress).

2. Tackling workplace stress

Over the last few years, we’ve heard quite a bit about the compounding effects of stress on today’s employees—and their employers. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has noted stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. One recent study found that work-related stress costs U.S. businesses $30 billion a year in lost workdays (some estimate it being $300 billion!).

In response, many companies are turning to meditation and mindfulness for help. And they’re finding mindfulness can boost creativity and sharpen focus—two things that employers are eager to retain in the “always-on” age.

Others are looking more closely at on-site fitness centers, which can facilitate everything from creative fitness classes (like hula hooping, ballet barre and kangoo jumps) to five-minute energy breaks that can keep employees refreshed and less stressed throughout the day.

3. Napping in the workplace?

Once considered laughable, workplace napping is now a concept many employers are embracing as a way to give employees a break and boost productivity during the workday.

And for good reason. Sleep deprivation is a serious issue. One RAND study estimates sleep deprivation costs U.S. employers roughly $411 billion annually. As a result, employers are taking notice and looking for creative ways to support their employees.

In the year ahead, I think we’ll see more employers tackling sleep deprivation head-on through sleep awareness and education programs, as well as incentive programs that track employees’ sleep and provide points towards rewards for achieving set sleep goals. And yes, we’ll see those nap rooms pop up, too! 

4. Vending machines make a comeback

Another onsite well-being offering that I see resurging in 2018: vending machines. But, we’re not talking about your Father’s vending machines. The vending machines of 2018 will include healthy options.

We’re also seeing this in the consumer space with CVS experimenting with machines that are filled with vitamins and healthy snacks. Expect to see vending machines pop up in an office near you soon (if they haven’t already!).

5. The standing desk boom

 2018 will be the year standing desks really make inroads in corporate well-being programs. Given the lifestyle of today’s average office worker—sitting all day with minimal breaks—“sitting” has been labeled as worse than smoking. As a result, employers are looking to help employees get a little more movement in their day.

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has called the standing desk the fastest growing employee benefit in the U.S. An added bonus for employers? These offerings are easy to implement and are exactly the types of perks that younger, health-minded workers are looking for when they walk through an office during the interview process.

Article Posted on NOV 20, 2017 | BY ANN WYATT



office wellness board

The new Blood Pressure Guidelines & Your Wellness Program

office wellness board

You’ve probably heard by now about the new Blood Pressure guidelines. But, what does it mean to us as consumers and to employers with a workforce that is likely to have almost half (46% average) of employees (Yikes!) now diagnosed with high blood pressure?

Here’s what we know: Our blood pressure range gives us a good picture of our overall health. High blood pressure is directly linked to higher stress rates and increased risk of cardiovascular complications such as heart attack and stroke.

If you work in an HR or Wellness capacity, you know that workplace stress is a top concern for many organizations. Stress has been dubbed the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year!

The good news is that medication (thus, higher claims and health insurance costs) is NOT the first answer to this problem!

Healthy lifestyle choices and changes, annual health screens and BP checks every 3-6 months are what is being prescribed and recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACA).

Two Statistics That Matter:

  1. More than 75% of health care costs are due to preventable chronic conditions (including blood pressure)
  2. 80% of heart disease and stroke are preventable (and tied to high blood pressure)

For most people with a high blood pressure range, it’s changes in diet and exercise (behaviors), not drugs, that is needed to bring the high numbers back down to normal.

This is where the true value of a well-designed employee wellness program can create change, help save lives and make a difference, both in the health of your workforce, and to your company’s financial bottom line.

“At its core, a corporate wellness program is built on the belief that, by investing in health promotion and incentives, employers can create a healthier workforce by rewarding behavior modification including better utilization of preventative care, better healthcare choices, and healthier lifestyle choices. These behaviors will result in reduced risk of chronic disease, lower medical costs and improved productivity. – Corporate Health & Wellness Association

By incorporating health promotion initiatives focused on lifestyle changes, creating awareness and education, wellness programs can support people in reducing, preventing and eliminating high blood pressure. By providing education on the “How To’s” of healthy lifestyle choices and behavior modifications, exercise, nutrition and healthy eating, including how to avoid excess sodium (which can help lower BP by 2-3 points in some people), in line with preventative care adherence and prevention, employers can help employees reduce their risks.

Two other important wellness program components to help manage the BP risk are incorporating yearly health screens to identify those at risk and health coaching to provide support and accountability in behavior change management.

So, whether you’re reviewing your 2018 Wellness Program Strategy (a corporate financial strategy), or reviewing implementing a new program, consider these new guidelines and program recommendations as an effective solution.

For more on the new Blood Pressure Guidelines, I like this overview from Consumer Reports, who breaks it all down in a simple, easy to understand manner.

To learn how Cairnstone may help you and your organization wellness programs, contact us at,

New 2018 Blood Pressure Guidelines

New 2018 Blood Pressure Guidelines

Cover Cough & Sneeze

5 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick at Work This Season


December 3-9 is National Hand Washing Week. Tis The Season – cold & flu season is upon us and can easily take you down for a couple days or a even a week. The good news is that there are some very simple things we can do to help avoid and prevent catching someone else’s cold or flu and avoiding germs that spread (often at the workplace!) and make us sick.

Here are my Top 5 Tips To Help Stay Well and Avoid Getting Sick This Season:

1. Wash Your Hands With Warm Soapy Water Throughout The Day – Especially Before Eating &  Drinking, Before Heading Home From Work/School and after Shaking Hands with ANYONE, especially Those Who Still Don’t Seem To Know Proper Cough & Sneeze Etiquette and Cough or Sneeze in Their Hands, Not Their Elbow. Yikes and Gross! This is exactly how germs spread and we get sick. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer in lieu of access to a bathroom to wash your hands.

These 4 Basic Principles of Hand Awareness were endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians in 2001.

  1. Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating (and after shaking hands)
  2. Do not cough into hands.
  3. Do not sneeze into hands.
  4. Above all, do not put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth!

2. “Cough & Sneeze Into Your Elbow Please” – Remind others & teach your children of this healthy habit, common courtesy and germ spreading avoider. Post a Sign At Work or School. Speak Up, Be Bold & Avoid The Cold!

3. Wipe Down Cell Phone, Electronics, and Shared Devices & Spaces With Alcohol – Carry Alcohol Wipes To Have on Hand to wipe door handles, computers, and shared spaces.

4. Drink Extra Water & Load Up on Vitamin C – Two Healthy Habits to Practice In General, But Especially During Cold & Flu Season! It’s Important to Stay Hydrated and Help Rid The Body Of Toxins (add in Lemon To Water For More Benefits) and Increase Vitamin C Through Vitamin C Rich Foods (strawberries, berries, oranges, etc.),  And A Daily Vitamin C Supplement and be sure to eat Vitamin C rich foods like these favorites:

Strawberries, Citrus Fruits, Kiwi, Bell Peppers, Pineapple, Brussels Sprouts, Melons, Dark Leafy Greens, Broccoli & Cauliflower.

5. Rest and Moderate Exercise – Yes, BOTH are important in maintaining health and wellness and in cold prevention.  Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night and continue a moderate exercise routine when you feel like you may be getting sick. Studies show that movement – moderate exercise, such as walking, boosts our immune system!

Spread the Health & Share at Your Workplace (and at home) and Stay Well.

Cheers to A Season of Health & Wellness!

Hand Clean