How Do You Increase Workplace Productivity?

We recently read an article that suggested each person has a different time of day in which they are the most productive; some people love to wake up for an early morning workout, while others to prefer to wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee before beginning their days. Either way, it’s important to allow your employees to work in a way that will benefit them, therefore increasing productivity and personal investment in the work place.

 

With a rise in millennials joining the work force, a higher importance is being placed on flexibility within the work place. Employees value the ability to leave early for a personal circumstance, if need be. This applies to working parents who wish to attend their children’s extra-curricular activities, as well as single people who have personal commitments outside of work. This isn’t to say that you should allow your employees to leave early every day, but allowing them the freedom to enjoy their personal life shows that you, as a business owner, place importance on your employees’ happiness.

 

Another interesting idea the article mentions is allowing your employees time to develop creative ideas away from their desk. Sitting at a desk and answering emails for eight hours a day can become robotic; as an employer, you should try to encourage your employees to take a walk at lunch, or to simply get up and stroll around the office every now and then. This will encourage creative thinking and new ideas as your employees experience a change of scenery and give their brains a small break.

 

In our office, we make a point of visiting new restaurants for team lunches, or we eat lunch outside on sunny days. As the insurance industry can become repetitive, we take the time to walk around the office, give our minds a break, and visit our co-workers to share ideas or work through problems together. It is very important to us to maintain a positive work environment with happy employees who feel supported, taken care of, and pleased to come to work each day.

What do you do in your office to increase productivity?


To read the article referenced, click here 

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which focuses on the flow of energy throughout the body. When the flow is disrupted it can lead to pain, illness, or lack or normal function; your acupuncturist will focus on various acupoints in your body to relieve tension and to help release your body’s natural pain killers by targeting some of the body’s main systems, including the nervous, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, and digestive systems.

Your acupuncturist will start your appointment by examining your tongue, checking your pulse, and asking you some questions about your medical history; once they have determined the best treatment plan for you, they will start with your acupuncture treatment. Your practitioner will insert needles as slim as human hair into your acupoints. After insertion, the acupuncturist might manipulate the needles by hand or by adding an electrical stimulant.

Although some people might shy away from this treatment due to a fear of needles, most patients report little to no discomfort and leave the treatment with a sense of relief.

The most common reason for visiting an acupuncturist is to manage neck, back, joint, or head pain, including the treatment of migraines. Additionally, acupuncture can help with nausea, allergies, menopause symptoms, and infertility.

Depending on the severity of your condition, your acupuncturist might recommend coming back for a series of weekly treatments, or he/she might suggest continuing acupuncture as a form of maintenance.

Regardless of physical condition, acupuncture is generally suitable for most people. It can help to treat the root cause of your malady and can reduce your dependence on medication and/or prevent you from needing medical procedures.

Some people might experience minor discomfort after treatment, including stiffness and/or soreness, but these symptoms are not generally a cause for concern.

Clinical studies have also shown acupuncture to help treat the following:


  • Depression,
  • Knee pain
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Cardiac neurosis
  • Ear pain
  • Female reproductive pain
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension

Acupuncture is generally covered under your group insurance plan. Please talk to your plan administrator or review your employee booklet form more information.

 

Read More: Advantages of AcupunctureClinical Care

Simple Ways to Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Are you one of the many people who suffer from common aches and pains? It’s much more common that one might think and can often be helped by increasing your daily activity, and this doesn’t have to mean buying a gym membership and cutting your favourite foods out of your diet

We found an article with some simple suggestions to relieve every day aches and pains.

One of the simplest ways to increase your activity level is to get social with your friends. If you’re the type who frequents local coffee shops, try taking your coffee to go and exploring nearby neighbourhoods or venture down to the river valley for a peaceful change of scenery. If you’re looking for a bigger challenge, try signing up for a fitness class, like spin or yoga with your closest friends.

Another way to soothe pain is by frequently stretching your muscles. If you work in an office, you should stand try to stand up from your desk every 15-30 minutes. In doing so, you can take a short walk around the office, walk up and down the stairs if you’re able, and take the time to stretch your muscles.

If this decreases your productivity too heavily, you can try some simple neck, leg, and arm stretches at your desk. Not only will this give your body a break, but it’ll also give you a chance to rest your eyes and to re-cooperate your mind from tedious work tasks.

In addition to stretching, you should try to maintain proper posture as much as possible throughout the day. We know it is much easier to slouch in an office chair, but keeping your head up, shoulders back, and chin tucked can really help to prevent shoulder and neck pain.

The article also notes that we should try to maintain our lower body strength to prevent falls as we age. An easy practice to keeping your lower body in check is to stand on one foot as you are engaged in conversation or standing in line at a store. This is a very simple task that will help to maintain your balance and improve your lower body strength.

Keeping healthy doesn’t always have to be a daunting task, however it should always be placed as a priority to keep you strong and healthy into the later stages of your life.

If you’d like to read the full article, please click here 

How Can Dieticians Help Us?

It's hard to keep up with the latest food trends, the latest fad diets, and the latest health crazes, but what if we actually visited someone who could help us to better understand what we should be eating in a day?

We did some research to learn more about Dieticians and what they can really offer us. 

Dietician

First and foremost, dieticians are registered nutrition experts who are trained to help us with our overall health and wellness. They are able to coach us through our daily diets and learn about lifestyle changes we can make to improve our eating habits; they help us to set goals and to follow through on them. Dieticians can help us to steer clear of the fad diets and to understand practical solutions to unhealthy eating habits, resulting in long term results and and overall improvement to our physical health. 

I think we all know how difficult it can be to understand the labels we find on our food; how is one ever supposed to fully understand a list of ingredients we can't even pronounce?! Luckily, registered dieticians can help us to read labels and fully understand what we should be getting from our foods. When we understand the labels we are given, it is much easier to stay on track and feed our bodies with proper nutrients. 

It's also important to realize that changing our diets doesn't necessarily mean we have to miss out on our favourite foods. Dieticians can help us to adapt our favourite recipes to better suit our diets, therefore keeping us healthy and happy! 

Registered Dieticians don't only work with clients one on one, they also work with families, communities, and professionals to develop healthy eating habits and to set reasonable health goals. They help patience who are in long term care, and they help hospitals, and nursing homes to maintain healthy menus for their residents. Further to that, Dieticians can work with corporations to develop a corporate wellness plan for you and your employees. 

As an added bonus, Registered Dieticians are covered under your Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan! If you'd like to learn more about your coverage, contact us today. if you'd like to learn more about Dietitians, click here.

Chiropractic vs Massage Treatments

Are you amongst the many people who experience soreness and/or stiffness at the end of a long work day? Regardless of whether you have an active job that requires you to be on your feet, or a job that requires you to be sitting all day, our bodies can become tired and worn out by the end of the week.

Two of the best and most common forms of pain management for sore muscles and joints are chiropractic and massage treatments, which are generally covered under your group benefits program. Using your benefit program to cover the cost of treatment allows you to maintain your overall health and well-being with regular visits to your licensed chiropractor or registered massage therapist.

However, there is often confusion about which treatment is right for your needs. So how do we know which one is best? First things first, we should know the difference between the two practices:

Massage is aimed at solving muscular issues such as tension, spasms, or strained/pulled muscles. Massage therapy can also reach into your nervous system by helping fluids to move more freely throughout your body. While massage therapists cannot adjust your joints or prescribe medications, they can be a great source of holistic healing to relieve tension and make sure your body is performing at its full potential.

Unlike massage therapists, chiropractors are able to address the issues lying within your musculoskeletal and nervous systems. They can write prescriptions and provide rehabilitative exercises tailored to your specific needs. Chiropractic care is especially useful in helping with joint pain, headaches, insomnia, and neck or back pain.

To take your course of treatment one step further, you can combine the two practices to help with chronic pain. Massage therapy is a great way to warm up your body and ensure you are relaxed before going in for a chiropractic treatment; your chiropractic adjustment is more likely to last longer if your muscles are relaxed before. Similarly, your massage is likely to be more effective when your joints are properly aligned.

Both forms of treatment can bring relief to your body and help with your overall wellbeing, but we know they can be expensive when they are not covered by your insurance. If you have questions regarding coverage of these treatments, please talk to your plan administrator or call our office for the details of your extended health care coverage.

 

To read more about the benefits of chiropractic and massage treatments, please see this article.  

Wondering About Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance

Planning a family vacation or a romantic get-away? Carrying travel insurance is one of the most important things to remember when travelling out of the country. 

We know it's easy to forget about, so we've included it in the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan! 

Your extended health care insurance covers out of province and out of country travel - just have your wallet cards handy and you'll have access to emergency treatment when you're away from home. 

Your travel insurance will cover the cost of emergency treatment not covered by your provincial plan, including hospital rooms, physician charges, and prescription drugs. It also covers the cost of air fair changes, the return of a vehicle, chaperoning minors who must return home alone, and a bedside visit by a family member if the injured person was travelling alone. 

Your wallet cards have a toll free number on the back that provides access to a 24 hour telephone support system. This number will connect you to a helpful professional who can help you to find medical facilities and can even provide translation services in all major languages. 

Check your employee booklet, visit the Chambers Website or call our office to discuss travel coverage before taking off on your next trip! 

The more you know, the safer you will be in the event of an emergency!

Submit Health and Dental Claims on Your Smart Phone

 

 

1. Download the mobile app in iTunes or Google Play. 

Chambers of Commerce Group Plan participants can submit most health and dental claims using a smartphone or tablet. Submitting claims electronically is a convenient way to have your claims processed quickly and easily, resulting in faster reimbursement. 

 

 

 
Login, submit claims online

 

2. Enter your username and password. If you have not created an account, please visit the website to register. 

All plan members must first register online through the       www.my-benefits.ca.  You will need your firm and certificate number, which can either be found on your wallet cards or through your plan administrator. 

Once you have registered online, you can download the app and have immediate access to your plan information. 

You can even tell the app to save your ID cards and remember your username for easier sign-in purposes. 

 

 
Health care, disability, life insurance, dental benefits

 

3. Review your benefits

Upon sign in is a list of all of the benefits provided through your group plan. 

For a comprehensive explanation of each benefit, follow the purple arrow. This is a quick and easy way to review your coverage before booking health and dental appointments. 

If you have Extended Health and Dental coverage through your group plan, you can check your claims usage, next eligible service dates, remaining coverage, and a summary of previous claims. 

You are also able to access your prescription drug cards and all travel insurance information for out of province/out of country travel. 

 

 

4. See recent claims, update personal banking information, or submit claims using the menu on the left hand side of the screen.

Further explore the details of your benefits by clicking on each of of the options in the menu.

View your recent claims, change your banking information, and submit new claims for faster reimbursement.  

Side screen menu
 
Submit extended health and dental claims online

 

 

5. Submitting claims is easier and faster than ever when using the app

Fill out this form with the correct information and receive your automatic reimbursement much faster than manual claims submission. 

Select the family member who used the plan, the type of service, the date, and the amount charged. Upload a legible picture of your receipt and click submit!

 

If you'd like more information about the mobile app, or care to set up an in-person tutorial to learn the website and/or app, please contact our office. We are happy to walk you through the steps and help you make the most of your plan! 

Health and Dental Care Revisions

The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan is implementing a 12-month pilot project beginning in January, 2017. 

Currently, the Chambers Plan does not allow employees to claim services and/or treatments provided to them by their employer.

For example, a dental assistant cannot receive treatments from the dentist who he or she works alongside. 

The pilot project will revise this rule to allow employees to claim health or dental services provided to them by their respective employers. 

We hope that this rule allows for ease of access to health care providers and look forward to the positive changes this will bring to our Chambers Plan members. 

Learn more about your Health and Dental Benefits here.

Health and Dental Coverage for Disabled Employees

When one of your employees becomes disabled and has been approved for Long Term Disability the employer needs to decide what happens with their health and dental benefits. As an employer, there are a number of questions to consider, such as:

  • Should health and dental benefits terminate for an employee who becomes disabled?
  • Will the cost of carrying the benefits for the disabled employees impact your ability to provide a competitive and affordable program for active employees?

If you have decided to continue health and dental benefits, then you need to consider the length of time you are willing to provide these benefits for disabled employees. Some options to consider are: 

  • Continue the benefits on the same basis as if the disabled employee was an active full time employee 
  • Provide benefits for a disabled employee for a specific period of time
  • Provide benefits based on a graded schedule, based on years of employment. A sample schedule could be similar to the following: 

Things to note when considering the continuation of health and dental benefits: 

  • Employees can be required to continue to pay their portion of the health and dental premiums
  • In order for an employee to be removed from the plan all together, the employee must be terminated 

For more information on extending health and dental benefits, please contact our office.

Leave of Absence from the Work Place

Employers must talk to their company lawyer/human resources department to create a precedent on how to treat all employees during leave of absence situations. 


There are three ways to proceed when an employee needs a leave of absence: 

  1. Terminate the employee from the group plan 
  2. Keep the employee on the plan and continue to pay your portion of the premium 
  3. Keep the employee on the plan and them the employee pay for the whole premium 

We are not legally allowed to recommend any of these methods, therefore you should consult Labor Standards or a human resources expert. 

All companies who are insured with the Chambers of Commerce group Plan receive Business Assistance Service. This gives each employer 6 hours per year towards human resource advice, legal advice, and tax advice from a team of professionals at no extra cost. 

To access the Business Assistance Program, please call 1-877-922-8646


Continuation of Benefits 

Maternity Leave: 

  1. To continue benefits while on maternity leave, premiums must be paid continuously throughout the employee's time away
    1. There would be no interruption on health and dental coverage, however the disability benefits (WI, LTD, CI) would not be effective during maternity leave 
    2. Please notify us within 50 days of the child's birth in order for the child to be added to the plan without penalty
  2. If the employee chooses to opt out of the benefits, we will reinstate the employee for the first day of the month following her return to full-time work. We need to be advised of this within 60 days of returning, and the employee must return after 12 months.

Leave of Absence or Lay-Off:

  1. Benefits under the Chambers Plan typically terminate when an employee stops working. Should firms grant a leave of absence or temporary lay-off, the employer can continue to offer the benefits held by the individual on a premium paying basis (with the exception of disability benefits, WI, LTD, CI) 
  2. For insurance to continue we must be notified before the leave begins, provided with  scheduled date of return, and premiums must continue to be paid
    1. This continuation of insurance cannot exceed 6 months if the employee is on a leave of absence or lay-off 
  3. If coverage is not continued during the lay-off or leave, coverage can be reinstated without evidence of insurability, provided the employee returns within 6 months of the termination date 
    1. Please note that you must notify our office within 31 days of the employee's return.


Health and Dental Coverage for Disabled Employees

Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan 

What happens when one of your employees becomes disabled and has been approved for Long Term Disability (LTD)? Do their health and dental benefits continue indefinitely? How do you balance your corporate responsibility and your fiscal responsibility?

Whatever your firm's position is, it is important that you have a formal continuation of benefits provision that clearly states what the policy is for all employees.

As an employer, ask yourself: 

  • Should health and  dental benefits terminate for an employee who becomes terminated?
  • Disabled employees tend to have a greater need for health coverage than active employees; would you end benefits for someone in that situation?
  • Will the cost of carrying the benefits for disabled employees impact your ability to provide an affordable program for active employees?
  • What are the legal and moral implications of your policy?

The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan allows the employer to continue health and dental benefits for disabled employees, however it is important to consider the length of time your company will provide these benefits for. 

Options to consider: 

  • Continue the benefits on the same basis as if the disabled employee was a full-time active employee
  • Provide benefits for a disabled employee for a specific period of time (i.e. one or two years from the date the employee completes the LTD elimination period) 
  • Provide benefits based on years of employment. As the duration period can vary, please see the following example

Whatever you and your company decide to do, your development of a formal company policy will be based on the relative importance you place on these three issues:

  • The ongoing financial resources you are willing to commit to disabled employees
  • Your corporate responsibility as an employer to look after employees during extended periods of disability 
  • The impact that a policy could have on employee morale and employees' attitudes towards you as an employer

Though it can be difficult to establish a policy, you can fulfill your corporate and fiscal responsibilities in a manner that will be seen as fair and equitable for everyone.