Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why Being Busy is NOT a Good Reason to Skip a Workout

I had an extremely full day. As I drove home, my nerves were on fire and my patience was short. Between processing the day’s events and foreshadowing a busy evening, my stress level was rising.

My first reaction was to scratch the planned pre-dinner jog from my agenda. After all, I truly had too much going on to waste my precious time out on a trail. Deep down, I knew better. This type of activity was exactly what I needed.

As I entered the house, the distractions and excuses inundated me. My instinct again moved towards ditching the workout. Fortunately, I was able to overcome the objections, get situated in my shoes, shorts, and t-shirt, and get out the door.

I managed to squeeze physical activity in between the BU and SY of busy.

The result?

I returned home with a clear mind and the words too busy evaporated with the sweat.

The day’s events were sorted and rationalized.

The evening’s agenda suddenly became easily tolerable and full of enjoyable endeavors that previously appeared gut-wrenching.

My outlook on tomorrow also changed from anxious to excited anticipation. My calendar was transformed from way too busy to an invigorating full day ahead.

The takeaway…

Though life gets chaotic and our schedules are often so full they can overwhelm, don’t forgo physical activity. Give it the priority it deserves. Doing so will ALWAYS reflect abundantly on your productivity, your attitude, and your gratitude.

Being on the move has a magical way of bringing order to chaos and optimism to a tireless schedule.

Whether it’s a 10-minute walk, a 10-kilometer run, or 10-mile bike ride, don’t make it the convenient scratch from your agenda. Instead, find a way to make it happen!

Your stress-level, your schedule, your coworkers, and your family will thank you for the investment.

Authored by:

Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Dangers of NOT doing Workplace Wellness

One of the biggest arguments against investing in workplace wellness is “We don’t know if there is a return on investment (ROI) in wellness.” 

It makes sense, since wellness solutions are rarely free - whether you are paying for a dedicated wellness coordinator, biometrics, coaching, a platform, devices, education and so on. It’s logical to wonder what will come in return for those dollars spent.


What happens if instead, you to forget calculating a hard ROI and solely focus on what happens if a company does nothing to improve the health of the employee population?

What costs are you guaranteeing the organization if you don’t intervene? Or said another way, what is your return on lack of investment? (ROLOI)

Let’s start with calculating the cost of physical inactivity the workforce.

A study in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases showed that inactive adults spent $1,313 more in annual health care expenditures than active adults. The study also showed that 34% of the participants fell into this category. (1)

The cost of the physical inactivity for a 100-person group would then total $1313 x 34 = $44,642.

We can also look specifically at the costs of elevated BMI or obesity, which is one of the biggest drivers of healthcare costs and preventable chronic diseases. (2) Data from the CDC shows that the medical cost for people who have obesity is $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. The CDC also states that the prevalence of obesity is 39.8%.

Going back to our 100-person group example, the cost of obesity would cost the organization an additional $56,874 per year.

Though we start to get into some overlap of risks here are a couple more statistics:

  • Adults with high blood pressure are estimated to pay $1,920 more in annual costs than those without normal blood pressure at a prevalence rate of 36.9% or $70,848 for our 100-person group (3)
  • Adults of working age (24-65) spend about $9,600 on average per year treating their diabetes at a prevalence rate of 25% equaling $240,000 for our 100-person group (4)

The data here clearly shows that a 100-person group would cost over $150,000 per year in health care expenditure. So if your organization avoids a wellness program that targets lifestyle diseases like physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes you can guarantee you’ll be writing a check for that amount, or more.

It’s time to intervene with that cost and negative trend line.

Here’s a huge positive we have to offer – effective wellness doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

You can make a dent in that check by focusing on basic initiatives that have broad impact. For example, instead of bringing in speakers on maintaining blood pressure, running educational campaigns, or directing participants into coaching for their blood pressure, consider a companywide activity program that can engage the masses while targeting many risk factors.

Not only would motivating physical activity go a long way in cutting down the $1,313 average amount of annual expenditure for physically inactive participants, but it would help with metabolic measures, high blood pressure and weight. It doesn’t end there, it would help employees with healthy measures remain in the healthy category.

And there’s more… it could also help employees to sleep better, stress less, and improve their mood. This mean higher productivity and happiness!

What would a simple, effective wellness program cost our 100-person company? Motion Connected’s best practice, turnkey and results-orientated Selectproduct would be $3,100 annually. A palatable investment with the possibility of impacting the greater than $150,000 expenditures on lifestyle diseases.

It comes down to two choices:

$3,100 or $150,000?

Do nothing or wisely wager a small investment in your people and their health?

The ROI argument is a complicated one. The ROLOI argument is more relevant and more urgent.

Do you believe in ROLOI? Please share your thoughts.

Sarah Troup
Director, Wellness Strategy
Sarah has over 10 years of experience helping employers, healthcare systems and Brokers implement engaging wellness programs that drive positive health outcomes.

1. Carlson, Susan A., Fulton, Janet E., Pratt, Michael, Yang, Zhou, Adams, Kathleen. Inadequate Physical Activity and Health Care Expenditures in the United States; Progress in Cardiovascular Disease 57. 2015;315-323

Friday, July 27, 2018

How to Make Physical Activity a Cornerstone of Your Leadership Style

Endless stressful hours. Little time for exercise. Bulging waistline.

This does not need to be the recipe for “success” as an effective leader. Instead, by intentionally making physical activity a core part of your leadership approach and taking care of yourself, you can do an even better job taking care of others.

Here are a few ways to weave activity into your workday and leadership style.

Walking meetings

Take a few minutes and dissect your calendar for today. Any meetings that you could take out the door and handle on the move?

The walking meeting is a very healthy way to multitask – the meeting gets done while you and your colleagues get some steps in. I particularly find success in having 1x1 meetings on the go. It’s a great way to connect with your team members in a comfortable, conversational way.


We often view a mid-day walk as a refreshing break from our work. This is a fantastic, carefree way to spend a walk!

However, don’t be afraid to designate a walk as a purposeful tool in your workday. If you’re like me, you sometimes need a change of environment to help you think through topics of magnitude.

Have a difficult decision on your mind? Lace up your shoes and get out the door! The trifecta of moving, thinking, and soaking in nature tends to spark increased clarity, creativity, and confidence.

Give it a try. Declare a working walk with a prescribed issue to solve or decision to ponder. Then, get going and get thinking. Get ready to be surprised. Ideas and answers that hide in the corners of your office find a way out with a dose of movement and some fresh air.

Take care of yourself

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

We’ve all heard this quote before.

As leaders, it’s easy to dismiss care of self in exchange for solving business issues or helping develop talent. Keep in mind that physical activity is a very effective way to keep your cup full and fresh.

“Selfishly” investing a small amount of time each week on your physical well-being has the potential to make you a more selfless leader. The time spent sharpening yourself pays dividends in energy, focus, and confidence – all critical components to be the best leader you can be.

Take care of yourself so that you can do an even better job taking care of others.

From time management to better meetings. From strategic thinking to better relationships. Physical activity is a go-to, often underutilized leadership tool.

Being intentional about incorporating this tool into your daily approach will make you a better leader… and a prime example of how wellness and work successfully coexist in your organization.


Mark Cumicek 
Engagement & Operations Leader

Mark helps Motion Connected bring energy and action to their strategy. He loves helping people grow and thrive along the way! Mark provides creative strategic advice, cultural insight, and project leadership in a way that embraces Midwestern values.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

We're Hiring! Wellness Engagement Specialist / Customer Care Advisor


This dynamic position will split time between two roles – both of which are critical to helping partner organizations build a healthier tomorrow.

The first role, Wellness Engagement Specialist, is focused on supporting our new and existing clients with the design and implementation of their wellness programming while leveraging our myInertia platform and related products and services. This includes helping an assigned portfolio of clients most effectively engage their populations in their wellness program. 

The second role, Customer Care Advisor, is focused on actively working with a collaborative team to provide frontline, direct care and service to administrators and program participants. Providing friendly, timely, and knowledgeable care is a key differentiator for us and vital to our future success and growth! This includes investing in continual learning to best advise our clients on account set-up, integration with top activity tracking devices, and maintaining initiatives in our unique platform to support an engaging and thriving wellness program.

This position is designed to provide learning opportunities through a variety of experiences, with the ability to grow your career with us… as we grow! Let’s build a healthier tomorrow together.

High-level Responsibilities: 
  1. Collaborate with the sales and operations teams to execute effective new client onboarding processes and current client renewal processes. 
  2. On-going management of new and existing client relationships. This may include advising on best practice wellness program and scorecard design, scorecard implementation, communication plan development and execution, and administrator support. 
  3. Own the “Challenge Calendar” development, communication, and participant assignment process. This includes identifying and implementing new Challenge ideas and process improvements. 
  4. Collaboratively contribute to our growing, cross-functional Customer Care team. This includes a primary focus on serving our wellness clients. Secondarily, with time, this may include growing an understanding of our other businesses to support seasonal spikes in demand. 
  5. Identify and implement strategies to organically grow existing client revenue and engagement while deepening our relationship with them. 
  6. Identify and implement approaches to help our entire client base more effectively reach higher levels of engagement. This includes hands-on involvement in designing and developing communication pieces and educational modules. 
  7. Assist with activity device fulfillment and service as needed. 
  8. Professionally and positively represent Motion Connected at trade shows, in the health & wellness industry, and in the local community. 
  9. Active and engaged participation in team meetings. 

Expectations and Competencies: 
  1. Takes to heart and consistently personifies our guiding principles: 
    • We Care. 
    • We Own. 
    • We Deliver. 
  2. Exudes trust, ownership, and follow-through. 
  3. Consistently shares good energy in the office environment. 
  4. Driven to take action beyond the status quo with a mindset of continuous improvement. 
  5. Demonstrates a consistently positive attitude, outlook, and demeanor. 
  6. Acts with a strong sense of personal accountability - no complaining, blaming, and excuses. 
  7. Ability to act as the “calm in the storm” with an I got this attitude. 
  8. Proven ability to navigate an environment of growth and ongoing change – includes dealing well with ambiguity and shifting priorities. 
  9. Ability to comfortably grasp technology and help others learn to use technology. 
  10. Embraces and thrives in a work environment built around computers and technology – this includes a comfort with use of email, phone, and virtual meetings as main sources of client interaction. 
  11. Actively and intentionally “creates moments” with our clients that lead to satisfaction, foster a forgiving nature when things don’t go perfectly, and lead to referral business. 
  12. Not afraid of a good mind-clearing, energy-inducing walk or a walking meeting with colleagues!
If you are interested in exploring this opportunity further, please submit a cover letter and your resume to Mark at

Monday, July 9, 2018

Is Your Wellness Program Mushed Bread?

Everyday employers look to workplace wellness programs to control healthcare costs, improve employee morale and boost overall productivity.

The problem is, the program approach tends to be off-base. Employers offer a one-time health risk assessment (HRA), or an expensive biometric screening + dollar incentive and wait for the results listed above.

We find this approach is like cutting bread with a spoon. It leaves you with mushed bread and lack luster results.

While HRAs & Biometrics can have a place in wellness, they shouldn’t be the beginning and the end of it. 

Why doesn’t this type of approach work? It boils down to a few fundamental issues:

1. HRA and Biometrics don’t CHANGE behavior

They only allow the employee to become aware of the problem. This approach doesn’t offer them the motivational tools to make changes to their daily lifestyle.

2. It doesn't improve morale

When was the last time you heard employees chat about the riveting HRA they just completed? Your wellness program needs initiatives that can spark conversation and comradery between employees.

3. It's not a year-round program

In a matter of 20 minutes, an employee can earn significant dollars for an entire year with a Biometric or HRA.

The truth is, improving and maintaining health is a result of the choices that are made minute-by -minute and day-by-day. How can taking a biometric help keep us on track throughout the year as we face the choices of what to eat, whether to exercise, staying awake another hour and so on. Year-round programming that engages more than the same group of people can impact those choices on a daily basis.

4. It doesn't factor in environment and culture

As we face these tough choices during our work hours, the unhealthy choice is often encouraged by the work environment: poor food choices, no options for movement,limited flex-time,and leaders not supporting healthy options.

So, how can you bring more meaningful results to wellness?

By focusing the attention on building a year-round program with strategic, well-intentioned goals, and behavior changing initiatives you can start to see a visible change in your culture and the health of your individuals.

Or, said another way, by cutting your bread with a knife rather than a spoon, we’re confident you’ll bring more meaning to your wellness program.

Need help getting started? Download our checklist to meaningful wellness to see what strategies and initiatives can drive real change.

Monday, April 30, 2018

3 Ways to Give Your Workplace a Positivity Makeover

We all like working in an environment that radiates positive vibes. 

In addition to making us feel warm and energized, uplifting environments also provide fertile ground for growing engagement and innovation. All keys to remaining competitive in today’s market.

But it can be hard to remain positive, or feel like you can make a difference in the current state of your culture. Luckily, there are simple ways you can contribute to the power of positivity, no matter your position.

Here are three ways to give while helping foster positivity in your organization.

1. Give Energy

When we enter a room or enter a conversation, we either give energy or take energy from those we interact with. Which we choose is something that is totally within our control. 

I prefer to be around people that share their good energy. How about you?

The opposite end of the spectrum is an “energy vampire” who thrives on sucking the energy from others.

So ask yourself: are you a giver of energy or an “energy vampire?” 

Try to be aware of your energy give and take. Find yourself being negative? Take a breath and refocus on the power of good energy.

2. Give Back

In the book Tuesdays with Morrie, Professor Morrie Schwartz shares the following nugget of wisdom with his student Mitch Albom, “Giving is living.”

The premise of the thought is that giving to others makes our life all the richer.

You can transfer this premise to your organization for the same effect.

By rallying around a chartable project you can bring your people together in a spirit of positivity. That positivity will easily transcend the project and create an additional light in your workplace.

Foster a core value of investing time, treasure, and talent to the greater good and watch the refreshing impact it has on your culture.

3. Give Praise

Sadly, leadership guru Dan Rockwell reports that 37% of managers do not share positive feedback with their employees. 

1 in 3 managers are only sharing the negative with their team members! This is troubling.

We can’t expect positivity to rise from environments that are absent of recognition and praise.

In 2013, an article titled The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio was published. Though some of the data behind the study has been questioned over the years, the underlying message remains strong. A ratio that tilts to more positive comments than negative comments is a winner over time.

Assess your ratio with tally marks for a couple days. The findings will help you determine what action you need to take. Shoot for a minimum positive-to-negative ratio of 3-to-1.

Dish more praise and you’ll be naturally ditching negativity in the process.

Each of us can lead a positivity makeover in our homes, community, and workplace – it starts with choosing to give a little.

“Do small things with great love.”
~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Give Energy. Give Back. Give Praise.

Which one will you start with today?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

10 Ways to Celebrate Global Employee Health & Fitness Month

Global Employee Health and Fitness Month is celebrated every May. It’s an international observance of health and fitness in the workplace.

It’s goal? To promote the benefit of a healthy lifestyle to employers and their employees through worksite health promotion activities and the environment. (you can learn more about the observance here.)

To help your organization join in on the movement, we put together a list of ways you can encourage health and fitness during the month of May and beyond.

1. Promote the power of physical activity

Post signs in the breakrooms or email out information on the power of physical activity and what getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can do for your health! (We have an infographic you can use here, or find more great resources from GEHFM here.)

2. Give gift certificates for activity trackers

Activity trackers are a great way to help motivate employees to take control of their health and wellbeing. Help your employees’ reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle by offering a gift certificate through our Wellness Outlet Store. You can provide any dollar amount and the site features already discounted Fitbit and Garmin wearables.

Best yet, the store is free to join! Reach out to our sales team at the following email if you are interested:

3. Encourage healthy habits with this reading list

Healthy behavior change is hard. Encourage employees to learn more about ways they can make healthier choices by sharing this reading list of books on the topic.

4. Have a weekly workout class for the month

Hosting workout classes in the office is a great way to promote new social interactions and let employees try something new. Don’t want to hire an instructor? Just use videos online. We love Fitness Blender. They feature simple, straightforward and effective workouts you can stream for free! Simply search for bodyweight only exercises and get moving.

5. Host a walking challenge

We’re big cheerleaders for walking challenges. They are fun, motivating, build social interactions, bring multiple locations together, tap into employees’ competitive nature and more.

Though we understand budget can restrain you from offering ones that feature real-time leaderboards and integration with the top devices like Garmin, Fitbit and Apple Watch, we still want to promote it as an option to celebrate. You can either join in our fun by offering our newest, affordable, turnkey product, myInertia Select, and be up and running with the platform in as little as 5 days, or offer our DIY option in this blog here (scroll to #11).

6. Find sit/stand areas for employees

If you don’t have the budget to get standing options for each employee, get creative. We dedicated two cubicles to standing options, using an old treadmill at one for a walking option. You could go a step further and provide a second monitor for employees to plug into, along with phone and laptop charging options.

7. Dedicate part of your office to a stress-free zone

Do you have an empty area of your office; maybe an office stuffed with an overflow of old computers and dust? Take that area and invest in making it a relaxing area for employees to take a break. Include comfy chairs and lounging options.

8. Hold standing meetings

By now most everyone has heard of walking meetings. While we agree they are great, maybe they aren’t feasible for you and your location, or maybe you need to take notes during the meeting or show a slide deck. When this happens, a great alternative is to encourage those who can, to stand.

9. Take the celebration outside

Last year we put together a great list of activities to try out in spring and summer. The list of 20 includes starting an outdoor garden, joining a volleyball or other sports-related league and more. Check out the full article here. 

10. Host a healthy happy hour

Something we’ve recently implemented in our office for a spring refresh is a weekly happy hour with healthy, non-alcoholic drinks. We’ve had lemonade, cucumber water, tea, coffee, punch, etc. We rotate weekly who brings in the drinks and, if yummy enough, people can share the recipes. It’s a great way to encourage healthy habits, bring employees together and have them try something new!

Any initiative you choose to focus on this month is time well spent. We hope you found a few to inspire action.

What ways will you be celebrating this month? Sound off in the comments if we’ve missed any!