Tackling Obesity in the Workplace

Obesity and overall health in the corporate world is becoming an increasing problem especially in the United States. Jobs that require sitting at a desk all day do not help. But should workers care? More importantly, should employers worry about the weight of their workers?

Aaron Landry / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Obesity is more than just a number on a scale

  • Larger employees cost employers.  MarketWatch says, “Obesity-related health problems account for a big chunk of medical claims, insurance experts say, leading some executives to believe the best way to trim their budgets is to get workers to trim their own fat first.”
  • Obesity in the workplace costs businesses billions of dollars each year. “Full-time workers in the US who are overweight or obese and have other chronic health conditions miss an estimated 450 million additional days of work each year compared with healthy workers — resulting in an estimated cost of more than $153 billion in lost productivity annually, according to a 2011 Gallup Poll.” (via Obesity Campaign)
  • Obesity can compound other injuries. According to an article in Insurance Journal, “Obesity increases the healing times of fractures, strains and sprains, and complicates surgery.”
  • The Obesity Campaign states there are more than 60 chronic diseases associated with obesity.

So there is an argument to be made that obesity is more than just a personal issue. It’s a professional liability in some instances. The question then becomes what can be done. What can/should employers do, and what options are available for more sedentary work environments?

  • Employers should encourage employees to get up from their desk each hour or so, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Where possible, employers might consider providing standings desks. Read about one Philly business offering this option.
  • Offer treadmill desks. Researchers speaking with Harvard Business Review suggest treadmill desks may be a good fit in terms of health and productivity.
  • Instead of having a coffee machine, provide fresh fruits and water to boost energy and productivity.
  • Provide healthier options at the cafeteria such as salad bars and healthier vending machine options.
  • Instead of having sedentary brainstorming meetings, try having a walking meeting outside (weather permitting!)
  • Offer wellness programs tailored to individuals to meet their specific needs.

Sure, incorporating healthier options and wellness programs might offer upfront costs, but a wealth of research indicates the savings in terms of workers’ compensation matters, sick time and overall employee health are significant.

Photo credit: Aaron Landry / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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Hack of a Whopper

On Feb. 18, 2013, Burger King's Twitter account was hacked garnering national media coverage and the ire of brand followers.

On Feb. 18, 2013, Burger King’s Twitter account was hacked garnering national media coverage and the ire of brand followers.

Crisis happens. When the crisis involves social media, it can have one heck of an impact on brand.

When Burger King’s Twitter handle was hacked today, the brand’s logo was changed to that of McDonald’s. The hackers also posted crude language, @ messages to questionable accounts, and video and photographs that had little to do with the brand and no doubt annoyed followers. Oddly, they boosted Burger King’s followers by more than 20,000 before the account was suspended.

Twitter followers noticed, as did CNN, ABC News and Fast Company’s Teressa Lezzi who published stories about the hacking within minutes.

If you manage a Twitter account for a brand and that account is hacked, what steps should your crisis plan include?

At the first indication of trouble, immediately log in and change the password. If you are able to log in and change the password, go into your settings and review all of the third-party apps connected to your account. Revoke access to all third-party apps until you can better assess the situation. (Be sure to revisit these apps once the situation is under control to ensure all brand account functionality.)

If you are not able to access the account and change the password, go to the Support Request section of Twitter and under Account Access select the “Hacked account” option. This will give Twitter the necessary “heads up” to suspend your account and avoid endless amounts of spam being sent to your followers. It will also allow you to reset your password.

While you work to regain control of your Twitter account, post a notification to your brand’s blog, website and other social platforms. This notification should simply state:

  • Your Twitter account has been compromised
  • You are working to remedy the situation, and
  • Your Followers should not click on any posted links until otherwise notified.

Such action lets your followers know you are aware of the situation. It can even foster good will among followers irritated by the hacking event.

As a precaution, make sure you use a secure password including letters, numbers and capitalization that cannot be easily determined. This password – especially if multiple people have access to the account – should be changed regularly.

Using dashboards like SproutSocial or HootSuite can also help minimize risk. We also suggest you follow @Safety or @Spam to stay alert to the latest spammer activity or malware.

Some crises can’t be avoided. But they can be mitigated through close monitoring, training and ensuring a workable plan is in place.

Interested in training your team to handle a social media crisis? Email us at info@kimballpr.com for information.

You’re the One that I Want

With the introduction of Vine in January, business owners and managers have all the more reason to ask, “What do I want out of my business’ online relationships?” Take Valentine’s Day as a reminder to think about what social media outlets and features are the best matches for your business.

Admiralspalast Berlin / Foter / CC BY-ND

Here are five points to follow to keep successful relationships with your customers or clients on social media:

1. Social is Seductive, so be Selective

Social media can be seductive with the amount of platforms out there, and all of the various tactics one can use to reach a customer – from hashtags to video. We only see this increasing in 2013 and beyond. But, this means businesses – both B2C and B2B – need to be more and more selective about what social networks and services they include in their social media strategy.

Businesses should also focus their social strategy because users will more often pick and choose which social networks they want to pay to join. As seen with YouTube, social media will continue to be monetized. Developing the verbal and visual content that make the relationship between a business and its followers work takes time – and money. So, choose your accounts carefully.

2. Find your Social Media Sweetheart

Just like magazines and newspapers have varied demographics for readership, so do social media channels. In the crowd of companies and organizations online, you have to choose the best ways to reach your audience.

Plus, businesses don’t want just any number of followers – they want the right ones. Social media is just another powerful tool to engage the important customers and decision makers that affect your business. Don’t waste your time on Facebook if all of your potential fans have moved their attention to Twitter. To find where you want to attract followers, and what to expect from some social media outlets throughout the year, here are a few insights. Forbes shares specific stats for B2B businesses.

3. Ask, What are you Willing to Share?

In 2013, consider sharing content that is visual. More than ever, online users don’t just appreciate visual content, they expect it. Social media speaker and author Mari Smith called 2013 the “year of the video.” Before the New Year even began, we also saw social media becoming increasingly visual.

Now you have a surplus of options for visual content strategies – from quarterly infographics to a monthly Google+ Hangout video series or weekly original photos. If Vine is any indication, developers will continue to expand the multimedia possibilities that businesses can take advantage of online.

4. Fine Dining is Better than Fast Food

Image aside, be sure that any content you produce is original with substance. Consistently allotting time to develop quality content on one or two social outlets can pay off more than publishing watered-down content over eight platforms.

As Social Media Strategist Jason Miller writes, “The cookie-cutter SEO driven, keyword stuffed, generic regurgitated content is becoming a sort of white noise that blocks all of the real quality stuff from surfacing.” Remember to also give time for accuracy, grammar and punctuation (“If Your Writing Sucks, So Will Your Content”).

5. Be a Matchmaker

When pursuing your social media outlets, always integrate them with one another to ensure you’ve hit all of your target audiences. And, keep in mind how your social media sites will appear on all forms of mobile devices, as this is where your readers will live, more and more. According to the Nielson State of the Media report, consumers’ time spent with social media on mobile devices increased 63 percent in 2012.

The Social Media Examiner predicts that a new social media platform that “no one saw coming” will surface in 2013 (#16 on this list). If this does transpire, just consider if the social media site will marry well with your business plan before you start yet another online relationship.

Photo credit: Admiralspalast Berlin / Foter / CC BY-ND