It seems no matter how much information comes available online, people thirst for more.
To illustrate this point, just take a look at all the online news services sprouting up on the web like garden weeds.
With the click of a mouse you can instantly search thousands of news sources for specific and timely information on virtually any topic you choose.
Heck, if you’re a real news junky, you can even get up-to- the-minute news emailed straight to your desktop!
Now, I’m the first one to say that nothing beats a good old-fashioned newspaper you hold in your hands.
Few things rate as relaxing as a cup of coffee, a quiet morning, and today’s newspaper ready for my inspection. In fact, my day doesn’t officially start until I walk to the end of my driveway to retrieve the paper (occasionally from under a bush).
But as much as I love the paper, it rarely contains stories on highly-specialized subjects such as the latest email marketing laws, html parsing, and search engine promotion.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense for virtually any local newspaper to carry news about email marketing laws (other than how they affect consumers) because the market demand simply doesn’t exist on that level.
However, around the world, thousands of people just like me want to know the instant a news story breaks on the latest “Can Spam” legislation, and that’s where online news services come into play.
Log on to http://news.google.com, http://news.yahoo.com and www.news.com to search thousands of different news sources from around the world.
On these sites you can dig up information on anything from current world events and your favorite Spanish soccer team, to cattle tagging regulations in Argentina (no kidding) and the exploding online auction markets in mainland China.
News from around the world on virtually any subject waits literally just a few keystrokes and a mouse-click away.
An incredibly useful feature offered by many of these sites includes email notification based on your keyword search criteria.
So instead of paying a “clipping” service to find articles and send them to you, these websites will do it free.
Now how could you use this type of news notification service?
Well, imagine you own stock in a specific company. You could subscribe to a number of different news services and have them send you breaking stories about the company, CEO, affiliated companies and anything else you choose.
Or, let’s say you deal in a very specific industry, such as real estate investment publishing.
You could sign up to get notified any time a news story gets published about changing regulations, interest rates or other factors affecting your business.
All this online news certainly does not rate a substitute for morning coffee, local and national news, and an important ritual to start the day, but it has a place, especially for extremely specialized areas of interest, hobbies, or business news.
Watch for many new services, software, and opportunities to arise from this growing and dynamic area of online publishing.
The wellness program movement has generally ignored the small employer. I think employees who work for this size employer should have access to wellness programs too, don’t you?By far, the largest group of employers when ranked by size is the small employer. The U.S. Census shows that 75% of U.S. small businesses employ 10 employees or less, and another 23% employ 99 employees or less. 1.Small businesses employ the majority of the workers in any community and therefore represent a very important concern for all communities. Historically, for a number of reasons, these employers have generally not initiated worksite wellness programs. While their need is great, they equally have great potential to affect the health of their community. I have written previously that, I believe, small employer wellness programs are the next frontier for worksite wellness. 2.Traditionally, worksite wellness programs are employer centric. Each employer creates their own stand- alone program. This approach is just not feasible for the employer with less than 50 employees. So I asked the question: What is reasonable and realistic to ask of each and every small employer?I came up with the following five actions I believe every small employer can undertake with a minimum amount of support from a community partner such as a public health agency or community based health related non-profit.Strategy #1: Solicit Employee Input Periodically ask employees for their input and ideas regarding the work environment, work processes and their needs and interests.Suggested Specific Actions:• Ask individual employees and groups of employees – use focus groups• Conduct needs and interests surveys• Conduct culture/climate surveys• Conduct safety surveysStrategy #2: Provide Health/Wellness and Safety Awareness Materials and Educational OpportunitiesEither alone or in cooperation or collaboration with other nearby employers, the small employer can provide health/wellness and safety awareness materials and educational opportunities to employees.Suggested Specific Actions:• Use the National Monthly Health Observances monthly calendar to guide awareness material delivery.• Give out newsletters, bulletins, tips sheets etc.• Link to community health and wellness educational opportunities• Invite your local hospital, local community agencies and non-profits to deliver on-site educational opportunities based on employee needs and interestsStrategy #3: Utilize or Modify the Work Environment Small employers should look to see how they might utilize or modify the work environment to make healthy and safe choices the easiest choice.Suggested Specific Actions:• Establish an employee break-room with sink, refrigerator and microwave• Create opportunities for recognition or rewards• Follow safe housekeeping best practices• Use available indoor and outdoor facilities such as stairs and parking lots for physical activitiesStrategy #4: Adopt and Implement Appropriate Employee Management PoliciesSmall employers should adopt and implement appropriate policies regarding health, safety and wellness. At a minimum, employers should make sure they have the policies in place required by state and federal law or regulation.Suggested Specific Actions:• Wellness related policies such as tobacco use, physical activity, nutrition, lactation support• Safety related policies• Work/life related policies such as availability of flex-timeStrategy #5: Promote Connection with Community Based ResourcesSince the small employer can’t do it all, they should look for ways to connect employees with health/wellness/safety related community based resources, activities and events.Suggested Specific Actions:• Farmers markets• Community 5K – Fun Run• Walking trails• Tobacco cessation services at the local hospital• Activities at local non-profits, schools and other locationsThese five specific strategies can start the wellness ball rolling. There is no reason why small employers cannot offer their employees a worksite wellness program.References:1. U. S. Census Bureau – http://www.census.gov2. McPeck, William. Ryan, Mari. Chapman, Larry. 2009. Bringing Wellness to the Small Employer. American Journal of Health Promotion, Vol. 23, No. 5, May/June.