5 Innovative Ideas To Support Employee Health and Wellbeing

Employee health and well-being is critical to business success. Below are some great new ideas to help everyone reach their full potential.

1. Portable Electronic Device to Increase Blood Circulation

With the potential to help those who undertake a lot of air travel in the course of their work, the Geko is a simple solution for those at risk of deep vein thrombosis.
www.gekodevices.com

2. Professional Nutritional Advice While You Eat

Good-for-you food along with the right advice is proving to be a successful path to a fit and healthy workforce.
www.tanita.co.jp/company/shokudo/index.php
* Note: site is in Japanese, browsers such as Google Chrome offer a pretty good translation service.

3. Wristband Pedometer Motivates and Rewards

Designed with school kids in mind, the MOVband could also be a great way to motivate office workers to move around more. Promoting exercise through friendly competition between individuals and groups … that’s just crazy enough to work!
http://www.dhsgroup.com/movbands/

4. Mapping Sickness Trends Through Social Media

Sickweather scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness in your area.
http://www.sickweather.com/

5. Increase Work Life Happiness

Happiily’s web offering allows employers to get an accurate picture of how their employees are feeling. Employees are able to speak honestly and anonymously about any emergent problems. That has to be good for the bottom line!
http://happiily.com


Healthy Employees

Understanding our customer’s needs identified a need not only for training courses but the ability to manage and maintain the total compliancy of certifications, and aspects of legislation over and above just training. Alsco’s Managed Training Service is a complete solution that will compel action within your business. Our Training Guarantee ensures you manage your training costs irrespective of staff turnover.

Why not give us a call to find out all the details. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Image courtesy: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

What to Do to Limit Allergies in Your Workplace

When it comes to health and safety in the workplace, we tend to think more about hazards and dangers than many of the everyday health issues. We worry about chemicals in engine cleaning solvents, for example, or how hygienically clean the washroom is, but what about those fits of sneezing brought on by allergies?

Allergies are common-place, and usually have only a very temporary impact on our health, but they certainly affect our comfort levels at work. Limiting allergies, and their effects, can improve the situation considerably – increasing productivity as well as workplace satisfaction. Of course, knowing how to go about that is the secret.

Much of it comes down to the level of cleanliness at your desk or in your work area, while making simple changes like the soap in restroom soap dispensers, introducing a more hygienic hand drying method, or switching to a non-solvent parts washer can make a huge difference.

If you are the employee, the first step is to make your boss aware of the situation; and if you’re the boss, it would be a good idea to consult your staff. After all, the advantages of a happy workforce far outweigh the minor effort the steps might require.

What Causes Allergic Reactions?

Typically, allergies are caused by the body’s immune system reacting to relatively harmless substances. Some of the best-known triggers are dust mites, mould spores, pollen, animal skin and hair, and even animal urine and feces. Chemicals and food types can also be the source.

Reactions range from hives to rashes, and nausea to respiratory problems (like an asthma attack), with levels of severity ranging from general discomfort to life threatening.

But what can you do? We look at three common varieties of workplace and recommend what might be done.

In the Office

Usually, allergens associated with an office are air-borne. Paper stacks usually result in high dust levels, dust mites and spores, while a dirty air conditioner or ventilation system may also be the cause.

Meanwhile, products used to clean restrooms or the consumables stocked in soap dispensers, hand sanitisers or even paper towel dispensers, might be a source of skin irritation.

… What to Do

  • Have the ventilation system cleaned, or replaced if it is an old system.
  • Keep your desk clean and tidy. Don’t give mites and spores a place to reside.
  • Make sure paper is put away, not stacked in the open.
  • Think about installing an air purifier, or more effective air conditioner.
  • Consider more hygienic hand drying systems in the restroom (like a closed roller cloth towel dispenser), using pH neutral hand soaps and sanitisers, and non-chemical based cleaning products.

In the Warehouse

This kind of workplace is usually cleaned less regularly, since the area is designed to stock boxes and crates of various sizes. There can be hidden areas behind shelves that are rarely cleaned where unwanted pests can scurry around, can have poor ventilation (especially in bad weather) and high dust levels due to items being lifted, replaced and carried by staff and machinery.

… What to Do

  • Ensure warehouse cleaning is thorough, getting behind shelves and into every corner.
  • Improve ventilation levels by keeping skylights, windows and doors open as much as possible.
  • Again, the air system may need to be improved or changed.
  • Remove the clutter, even if they are old drums or boxes – dispose of them sensibly.
  • Ask your workmates or staff to smoke in designated areas only.
  • Again, consider making restroom changes.

In the Garage

Possibly the hardest workplace to keep hygienic, mechanics are constantly dealing with dirt, grit and grease because of the parts and engine cleaning that is done. But there is no reason why acceptable levels of cleanliness can not be achieved.

Chemicals, oils etc can cause skin conditions, like dermatitis, while clutter and unkept corners are loved by rodents. A mixture of odours and vapours can irritate eyes, skin and the lungs.

… What to Do

  • Ventilation is hugely important so make sure it is sufficient.
  • Keep lids on cleaning substances, oil drums etc and store them away from the general working area.
  • Consider getting a chemical-free parts washer, like the EcoSafe Washer from Alsco. Alkaline water-based cleaning substances are proven to be better for workers and the environment alike.
  • Make sure face masks, and other personal protection items are worn when necessary.
  • Introduce strict and eco-friendly clean-up process to deal with spills and waste.

No More Allergies

A clean office will benefit both employees and customers; this will give everyone a very good impression. Our Dust Control & Floor Protection Mats, Wet Area Mats, Anti-Fatigue Mats, Personal Mats, Message Mats and the  Eco Mat – made from recycled eco-friendly materials – help reduce dust in your workplace.

Just imagine how beneficial this will be. Only one thing to do, just call Alsco and we’ll be happy to serve you.

Image courtesy: wisegeekhealth.com

Foodservice 2016 – Who Will Be Chef Of The Year?

Alsco Sponsors Foodservice Australia Chef of The Year 2016

Foodservice Australia 2016

Foodservice Australia are holding their annual event in Sydney from 22nd to 24th May 2016.

The yearly competition attracts contestants from restaurants and cafes all over Australia. Using a strict set of criteria, the judges choose a winner after 3 rounds that occur during the course of the event.

Exciting! Each chef has 1 hour to plan, prepare and create the best dish from a mystery box of ingredients.

From a stellar field of over 150 entries for Chef of the Year the judges have chosen 32 incredible finalists who will compete live at the show. The contestants include the best chefs from around Australia, including Matt Weller (Royal Canberra Golf), Anthony Unwin (Caversham House), Dane Poke (Bruce’s Cafe), Kurt Sonneman (Ziva).

Looking Back at the Foodservice Australia 2015

Last year’s Foodservice Awards was held at Melbourne’s historic Royal Exhibition Building. It was a 3-day show for food managers, hospitality business owners, suppliers, and chefs to showcase their bests.

The highlight of the annual show is the “Chef of the Year” competition. Chef Chris Malone from Balthazar in Perth won the title and took home $6000 cash prize and a trophy.

Last 5 winners of the prestigious competition are the following:

  • 2015 winner Chris Malone of Balthazar
  • 2014 winner Matthew McCool of Altitude Hotel, Shangri La Hotel
  • 2013 winner Neil Abrahams of Royal Canberra Golf Club
  • 2012 winner Neil Abrahams of Royal Canberra Golf Club
  • 2011 winner Nicolas Poelaert of Embrasse Restaurant

Alsco as Gold Sponsor

Alsco has always been a proud sponsor of this exciting annual event, even before. Alsco will be providing the best quality aprons and chef gears for the finalists. And will also be exhibiting products and services (like food and beverage linens, first aid kits and hygiene systems) to reach out to the hospitality industries.

Visit our friendly team at Stand B19. Find out more from Foodservice Australia website.

We look forward to congratulating the eventual winner.

Do you want your restaurant’s chef and kitchen employees to look just as smart and professional as these year’s Chef of the Year finalists? Contact us and we’ll provide all your kitchen workwear needs – from chef jackets, waiter’s jackets to chef pants and aprons – we’ll take care of it all. Plus a customised logo, too!

 

Photo Courtesy: Flickr Image by LexnGer

10 Better Ways To Cut Wage Costs

10 Ways To Cut Wage Costs

For most businesses, whether they are startups or established ones, wages are one of the major part of the costs. Most of the time, there is no helping that, because people are needed in running a business, but there are things that you can do in order to cut wage costs.

No, we’re not talking about firing some employees and giving their work to the remaining ones, we’re talking about legitimate and sustainable ways.

Here are ten ways that you can do to cut wage costs in your business:

1. Consider Outsourcing

Outsourcing has become more common these days. There’s a reason behind its popularity. It guarantees that experts can work on a certain task and be more cost-effective.

You do not have to hire a full-time employee in order to perform all of the tasks involved in running your business.

Aspects of running your business like washroom maintenance and the cleaning of uniforms can be outsourced to trusted names like Alsco.

2. Pick Productive Employees

It all starts with your hiring process. You need to pick the right people from the start. Choose those who are productive.

It is not easy to know right away which applicant is productive but that means spending more time in the selection process.

While you might end up paying the same amount to employees whether they are productive or not, you might be forced to hire more people if you employees are not very dynamic, so in the long run, it pays to spend the extra effort in picking the right people.

3. Make Things Automatic

Automating a process would, of course eliminate the need for a worker, or in some cases workers, handling it. While getting a machine can be costly, in most cases they can perform the work faster and handle the work of multiple employees and so would be more than worth its cost eventually.

4. Track Wage Costs Using Tools

There are plenty of tools now that you can use in order to track wage costs. You should equip your business with those tools so you can have a clear picture of how much you are spending on wages.

These tracking tools can allow you to predict how much you would have to spend on wages on the coming weeks.

5. Set a Wage Budget

Once you have can predict your wage costs for the coming weeks using tracking tools, you can set a budget.

The amount of time that employees would be working should be based on that budget. If more workers are needed on a certain day that should be offset by reducing the number of workers on other days where there is no rush.

You have to be strict when it comes to following the budget.

6. Crack Down on Time Theft

Time theft can be costing you a great deal without you even knowing it. When the controls are lax and the there are no effective monitors late or early sign-offs can become common. That means your business ends up paying for nothing.

You should use more reliable methods for employee sign-ins like face recognition or finger scanning.

7. Offer Incentives

With effective tools that you can use in tracking time effectively, you can save a great deal of money. You can use that money in order to save even more.

Instead of just stashing away the amount, use that money to fund incentives. These incentives should be given to the most productive workers.
The more quality work that you employees perform, the more your company can save on wage costs.

8. Provide Excellent Training

A top reason why some workers are not as productive is because they don’t know how to perform their jobs properly. One of the best ways that this can be avoided is making sure that employees get proper training.

If you hire a worker to do a certain process for your business and that worker does not receive the right training to perform that process, you might be forced to hire another worker. Not to mention the fact that you have to pay that person the same amount that you have to pay for someone who knows how to do his job properly.

Avoid this scenario by providing in-depth training to all of your newly-hired employees. The cost of the training would be more than worth it in the long run.

9. Get the Right Layout

The layout of a workplace has an obvious effect on its output and productivity. This is most obvious in workplace involved in a manufacturing process where the layout determines the efficiency of the workers.

But even in an office, the layout would have a direct effect on the productivity of workers. Remember that the more efficient and productive your workers are, the more that you can save on wage costs.

10. Cross Train

You should forget about employee categories that are quite narrow and look for people who can take on more diversified roles.

Don’t put workers in boxes where they are restricted in what they can do. Train them in different roles for your business and see how much more they can perform.

You should not try to drastically cut down on your wage costs. It would always be one of the biggest costs of your business, but the ideas that we have listed here should put you on the right track.

Get in touch with Alsco to learn more about our professional renting services to help you reduce cost, while you maximise your business’ full potentials.

 

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

8 Top Tips to Avoid Sedentary Behaviour at Work

Top Tips to Avoid Sedentary Behaviour at Work

We’ve all become familiar with the idea that sitting for long bouts of time can be bad for our health. Maybe it’s the steady increase of working hours, or maybe it’s the awareness of the overall decline in our health caused by too much long-term sitting, the subject of some scientific studies in recent years.

But the fact of the matter is this: the environment we live and work within can impact our health far beyond our immediate and present comfort. New research in the fields of health and workplace ergonomics has aimed to quantify the damage caused by long-term sedentary behaviour.

New research shows each hour of sedentary time is associated with a 22 percent increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Prolonged sitting times have been found to increase our risks for several types of serious health ailments like:

So aside from first aid and safety training to address these health risks, better lifestyle at work should be practised. But while many of us have traditionally thought of regular exercise as a cure-all to this issue, the fact of the matter is that just reducing sedentary behaviour alone can have a dramatic difference.

In fact, just swapping just 1 hour of sitting each day with standing results in a 5% decrease in risk of early death.

Understanding the negative impacts is only half of the equation; finding solutions that are practical for everyday life is what sets the research into productive motion. Here are our top 8 tips for reducing sedentary behaviour at your workplace.

1. Standing Desks

Sit-to-Stand, or height-adjustable desks are all the rage today, and rightly so. But if you thought you had to spend big to get in on this trend, you couldn’t be more wrong. A new product has just hit the market in the USA, a low-cost standing desk made out of cardboard, and is expected to be available in Australia soon.

A study reported in American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that employees with sit-stand desks stand for 1 hour more a day at work and that the walk an additional 6 minutes a day at work, burning an extra 87 calories on average.

2. Simple, Quick Exercises

Many find that a full-blown workout simply isn’t compatible with their everyday lives, but quick, simple and gentle exercises can easily be worked into a regular workday. Check out a few that were featured in UK’s The Independent.

3. Take Breaks

Repetitive strain injuries can happen when your employees are lassoed to their seats without regular breaks, representing a direct health cost to fit alongside the indirect potential costs of losing productivity. Encourage breaks with reminders, or with computer programs like Stretch Break which address repetitive strain injuries by reminding employees to take breaks while also reinforcing good posture.

Keep in mind that that it’s important not only to stretch during a break, but to actually stand up and move around as well. Additional tips on taking effective breaks that result in improved relaxation and focus include:

  • Allot breaks during the most beneficial times of the day, which studies have shown to be during the morning hours. Morning breaks result in higher motivation and energy for employees compared to afternoons when we’re already feeling sluggish.
  • Employees need to use breaks for activities they actually enjoy, whether work-related or not, which results in higher morale, happiness, and energy. Just pick something you like doing, whether it’s a work task that involves walking around,
  • Several short breaks are better than one long break, as they can help break up the monotony of a long workday.

4. Pedometers

Pedometers can track your movements throughout the workday, and other devices are available too. While they won’t make employees stand up on their own, devices like these do provide a way to track your progress in encouraging more activity, as well as some inspiration and recognition. A new personal monitoring device tests your sweat, which you can check out here.

5. The Workplace

For employees, it’s increasingly important to choose a company that values the health and wellbeing of its staff. You can gauge this from surveys, turnover rates, health care costs or just by bringing workers and managers together for an open chat. From the organisation’s perspective, making employee health and wellbeing a priority will show your care and support, making it more likely that you’ll see the benefits of a reduction in workplace sedentary behaviours when tackling the issue. Business News Daily recently featured some thoughts on how to harness your intellectual capital to promote wellbeing.

From the organisation’s perspective, making employee health and wellbeing a priority will show your care and support, making it more likely that you’ll see the benefits of a reduction in workplace sedentary behaviours when tackling the issue. Business News Daily recently featured some thoughts on how to harness your intellectual capital to promote wellbeing.

6. Target Sitting Times, Not Exercise

Some recent studies have shown that it’s not the amount of exercise that counts. Rather, the single biggest factor is how long you’re sitting down on a regular basis. Exercise sure does help, but make sure you’re focusing on reduction of sedentary behaviours rather than just the promotion of more exercise, and start by looking at the workday.

7. Anything Helps

Aside from breaks during the workday, other lifestyle changes that make a lasting impact include walking or cycling to the office instead of driving (and even taking the bus has been shown to make a measurable difference in one UK study), and reducing TV-time in the evenings or watching TV while exercising. Lifestyle changes that give you more energy, such as a more nutritious diet or better sleep quality, will also keep you on track to be more active.

8. Partner with an Ergonomics Provider

When you partner up with an ergonomics provider or organisation, you’re committing to include health, safety and comfort as part of your organisation’s values. It will get your entire team together and teach the principles of ergonomics and workstation setup, or take a personalised approach and work one-to-one with each staff member, at their workstations, to optimise setup, review good habits for everyday tasks and suggest some stretches to use throughout the day. It will also bring activities like Pilates, yoga, boxing or fitness workouts to your office on a weekly basis.

Improve the health of your employees and yourself by targeting your sitting times and making concentrated efforts on the reduction of those times. A quick glance at your office as well as the regular habits of your employees can reveal a lot about sedentary behaviours of your employees. Sometimes, simple changes to the workday can result in improved workplace health across the board.

HSG offers Ergonomics Workshops tailored to your industry and your objectives, for all major cities across Australia. We also provide Workplace Ergonomic Assessments, where an occupational health expert will visit each employee’s workstation for a personal mini-consultation.

 

HSG

Alsco would like to thank Holistic Services Group for this article. Holistic Services Group is a leading provider of corporate wellness solutions and well-being programs in most major cities in Australia. If you’re looking for corporate wellness program ideas, visit www.holisticservices.com.au.

Always make your staff’s health and safety a priority, get fully-managed first aid kits from Alsco. Alsco have the kit for your company’s unique needs. Enquire now! Our friendly and informed staff are waiting to help.

Can Leveraging Technology Help Create A Greener Workplace?

Can Leveraging Technology Help Create A Greener Workplace?

You, like many organizations, may believe that creating a greener workplace is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.

However, innovative ideas demonstrate that leveraging technology for a greener workplace not only saves your business money but also enhances your reputation as an eco-friendly business.

Studies have shown that a greener workplace results in a more productive and healthier workplace and a lighter ecological footprint. Regardless of whether you are an employee, boss or business owner, leveraging technology for a greener workplace will result in a more productive work environment.

Many aspects of the workplace such as commuting options, product preferences and office management can use technology to achieve green objectives. The following list of suggestions, while not in any way exhaustive, will get you started on the path to a greener workplace.

Review Power Saving Options on Electrical Devices

Your modern workplace runs smoothly by utilizing equipment ranging from computers to coffee makers. Yet many of those gadgets use a lot of power. Consider the following to create a more energy efficient workplace:

  • Unplug equipment that is not in use. Think of unused scanners and old printers that your office only keeps around as a backup option in the first place.
  • Set computers to utilize energy-saving settings that turn them off after a given period of being in standby mode.
  • Consider investing in technologies such as the eco button, a USB device that at the touch of a button will switch off your computer every time you leave your desk.
  • Plug electrical devices into a smart strip that comes with an on/off switch. This will ensure that you turn off multiple devices at once.
  • When you replace worn out appliances and devices, upgrade to a greener counterpart.

Digitalize All Documentation

While we are in the digital age, your workplace may still be creating a lot of paper documents that you use once or twice and then trash. The ideal situation is to eliminate all use of paper, yet this is not possible. Nevertheless, the greenest solution is to transition to digital documentation to the degree to which your business is able. Innovative and safe cloud solutions such as Google Drive make it easier to store all your documents on secure offsite servers. This eliminates the need to keep paper backups.

Moreover, keeping your data on computers and cloud servers makes it easier to store such documents. This prevents the inconvenience of losing documents when your moves offices. Also consider reviewing documents onscreen as opposed to printing them out. Invest in software such as Greenprint, which converts documents to PDF format for safe and paperless document sharing.

Make the Commute Greener

The average employee spends nearly 50 hours a year on the rush hour commute. That is a significant amount of potentially productive hours and petrol wasted in rush hour traffic. This reduces productivity at the workplace as employees arrive at the office tired and get home late. Consider the following options to reduce the impact of this waste:

  • Carpooling and ridesharing services such as Lyft, Uber and Carma reduce stress on passengers as only one person drives while everyone else remains fresh.
  • While you may have an attachment to your old vehicle, you may want to consider purchasing either an electrical vehicle or a hybrid.
  • While some people may look down on bike riding, it is one of the fastest ways of getting around in cities clogged with traffic.
  • If you are an employer, consider giving special benefits to hybrid and electric vehicle owners or more leeway to those who use public transit.

Make the commute greener

Implement Telecommuting

Modern technology allows for efficient telecommuting. If you have not implemented telecommuting, you may be missing out on a lot of potential savings. If you or your employees can hold online conferences, use instant messaging or otherwise work from home, by all means do it. You will save time while reducing the pollution commuting creates. With telecommuting, it is possible to replace the five eight hour days with four ten hour days as the time you waste in the commute goes down by up to 20 percent.

That being said, you still have to ensure the security of your company’s sensitive data when you allow staff to work online from outside the office. You might even have a dedicated team for online marketing of your business that needs to be protected. Check out Secure Thoughts’ recommendations on using a Virtual Private Network to ensure the security of your corporate data from hackers. Staff may be using vulnerable public networks while telecommuting which can quickly lead to a disastrous data breach.

Use Recyclable and Eco-Friendly Materials

As I previously asserted, it is almost impossible to have an entirely paper-free workplace, hence the need for envelopes and paper manufactured using eco-friendly technologies. Try using some of these other methods to create an eco-friendlier workplace:

  • Hire cleaning services that use environmentally friendly biodegradable products. These will not only reduce your ecological footprint but will keep your workplace safe from toxic substances.
  • Try using refilled or previously used ink cartridges rather than buying new ones. Using them is also cheaper than buying new cartridges.
  • Use pencils and pens made from biodegradable materials and biodegradable soaps and recycled cloth or paper towels in your office kitchen and bathroom.

Redesign the Workplace

Try looking at the very design of the workplace and making it greener in both the products it uses and the plan it operates under. Consider some of the following options:

  • You could redesign your workplace by replacing your furniture (when the time comes) with items made with recycled materials.
    Consider switching to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED desk and overhead lighting. While they are more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs, they are more energy efficient and save your company more over the long term.
  • To improve satisfaction and productivity, try to redesign the workplace to take advantage of natural daylight by having larger windows.
  • Invest in ventilation systems that offer good air quality that will improve employee productivity while using minimum amounts of electricity.

Redesign the workplace

A green workplace aided through the use of technology will provide numerous productivity and health benefits to any organization. With a reputation for being environmentally friendly, your organization will likely attract more clientele. Moreover, adopting a technology-driven green framework will be efficient over the long term and help out your organization’s bottom line.

 

SecureThoughts

Alsco would like to thank Caroline Black of Secure Thoughts for contributing this article for Greenroom. Secure Thoughts is the industry leader in helping people make sure their information and loved ones’ are protected online.

For more green solutions for your business, visit the Greenroom blog. Spread the word about how easy it is to create a greener, safer and healthier workplace.

 

Alsco Sponsors the Restaurant & Catering Awards

Highlights from the Restaurant & Catering Awards Sponsorship

Alsco – A Major Sponsor

For many years now, Alsco has been a major sponsor of the Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence.

These awards are the most respected industry awards, specifically designed to recognise and promote industry best practice, and with more than 500 trained judges and 2,000 entrants each year, they set the  national benchmark.

The awards presentations have given our Sales Executives and branch staff across Australia the opportunity to meet people within the industry and have led to the acquisition of many new customers for Alsco over the years.

Restaurant Wipes

Restaurants can become rather messy places. Using disposable wipes to clean is an expensive option, not to mention the environmental downside. Alsco’s cloth wipes are an environmentally sustainable alternative: 100% cotton, they are also effective, absorbent and durable. Conforming to all relevant workplace health and safety requirements, Alsco can provide colour-coded food wipes to prevent cross-contamination and glass wipes for detailing and cleaning. Alsco’s restaurant linen rental service is the simple convenient way to manage all your linen needs.