Advanced Tools for Financing Employee Benefits Globally – Digital Transformation: Four Critical Workplace Planning Areas Holding Organizations Back – R&D: Antigen Tests For COVID-19 – R&D: Chronic Lyme Disease – Does It Exist? – R&D: COVID-19, Smell and Taste – R&D: No Evidence That ECT Works For Depression – R&D: HPC and the Race To Understand COVID-19 – R&D: The Original SARS Virus Disappeared, Coronavirus Won’t Do the Same – R&D: Why Coronavirus Death Rates Don’t Fall as Quickly As They Rose
In early 2020, it seemed like people with diabetes were disproportionately dying with COVID-19, but the data provided more questions than answers. What type of diabetes did people have? Were people dying because the condition itself put them at greater risk, or because those with it tend to be older and have other illnesses? And what should people with diabetes do to protect themselves?
Many countries are moving to exit a lockdown triggered by COVID-19, but the virus has not gone away and there are real concerns that a second wave of infection could happen. We urgently need to understand more about how the body deals with this infection and what we can do to tackle it. Immunology has taken centre stage here in revealing what happens when our body fights this virus, and brings us the possibility of treatments and vaccines.
Some people question why the current coronavirus has brought the world to standstill while a previous deadly coronavirus, SARS, did not. Others have questioned why a vaccine is so urgently needed now to stop the spread of the current coronavirus when a vaccine was never developed for SARS.
As an academic who regularly worked from home in the days before coronavirus, my friends often joked about what they imagined my daily routine might be (such as enjoying a morning gin and not changing out of my pyjamas). But as many people now realise, the reality is quite different. Working from home can be quite a challenge.
Taking a holistic view in managing their global employee benefit programs is the chosen way forward for an increasing number of multinationals that want a better overview and cost control of these programs. Many companies find that outsourcing the day-to-day handling and reporting of the insured benefits to local experts coordinated by a central team with one of the global consulting / brokerage firms is the preferred approach.
Jimmy Johansen: A Holistic Approach to Employee Benefits – R&D: The Mysterious Disappearance of The First SARS Virus – R&D: Working from Home? Why Detachment Is Crucial for Mental Health – R&D: Exercise May Reduce Risk Of ARDS Complication – R&D: Coronavirus: Step Up Research in The Immune System – R&D: Coronavirus and Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes
Publishing and running a fully digital magazine has its benefits as well as downsides. We, here at GBV, are generally used to working remotely. In fact, we have a diverse group of people who oil the wheels, based across the world, covering topics of interest for our readers. Countries where our staff are based include Luxembourg, New Zealand, France, Hungary, and the U.S. So, how has our work changed during COVID? Not a great deal, is the short answer. We have been ahead of the curve with video conferencing, our publisher, Eric Muller-Borle has been running the show online for the last 5 years now. We have a fully integrated online process to manage each monthly edition of the magazine across editors, writers, contributors, and graphic design. Each segment of the process has sub-processes and online meetings to discuss breaking trends in the sector: we are in touch with leading insurers and EB providers, who are now also facing work from home regimes, and implementing processes which necessitate social and business distancing. Some of the products we have been using to facilitate the flow of information across our organisation include Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom, Microsoft Exchange, Bitlocker, and Microsoft Office 365 (and a working internet connection, of course). These and others are becoming more widespread and Zoom’s valuation has increased exponentially as people realise value and necessity during these times. We see how our correspondents in the industry are now working from home, using remote working tools despite confidentiality issues and overloaded telecommunications. It can be done, is the simple answer. Businesses can be run, savings can be leveraged (expensive office space can be dispensed), and functionality over form, at least in terms of processes, can be implemented. In fact, we are under the impression that most of our counterparts work harder than ever, with travel, commuting, and coffee machine chats all gone. At GBV, we have had weekly slots for each segment of the business for quite some time – coordinated by our publisher, who manages the hub of GBV completely online and remotely. Content calendar meetings, content strategy, magazine design, marketing, and publishing all require detailed task management and guidance, especially in a fast-paced world where uncertainty is becoming more common. When we launched GBV five years ago, we decided to try and dispense with physical offices. As it turns out, we never looked back. Working from home offices all around the world, using loaned meeting rooms when necessary, our only permanent physical location is a 12-square meter room with a desk, three chairs, a cabinet, and, most importantly, a high-performance file server which strangely enough, is only used for backup purposes. For daily operations, we use a combination of off-the-shelf cloud solutions, i.e. DropBox, OneDrive, and Creative Cloud. As soon as the law catches up with the reality of modern digital work, we will dispense with even that room, digitize whatever is now in the filing cabinet (accounting records and the like, I am told), and move the file server to the basement. 4 Tips for successful remote work and cooperation In essence, we have found that working remotely works well – as does flexibility (technology is still catching up with what and how we want to achieve things – which applies to large as well as small and medium organisations). And given that we have 5 years of total remote work experience, or running everything through the medium of technology, here are some tips from us: Patience: technology does have to catch up with us. We have to work with glitches that happen for no reason apart from conflicting software or overloaded telecoms. Be patient. Be organised. Flexibility: meetings are often delayed, overrun. This seems to be happening less and less as social distancing and home isolation gives us time to sit in one place and do things. Need to change: we have realised – looking from the outside as early implementers of the fully remote work environment – that acceptance of change is important. We do not waste time on meetings about meetings, but rather have learnt to be concise, utilise necessary tools and ditch the long meeting structure of corporates. The trick is: trust team members to do the right thing. Direction: organisation is the key to have remote working parts of any organisation work smoothly. Task division and allocation become more and more important (this means not general tasks, but detailed task and goal identification. And, again, trust in all team members). While these are all things that organisations are implementing now, we feel greater implementation and leveraging technology will prove to be more important as time progresses. This necessity, we have seen, is filtering into large organisations and technology providers who are innovating at breakneck speed to come up with solutions to working remotely (which is a positive step all round). Process, product, and client re-engineering is something which still needs work. Data and technology are pervasive in business, now more than ever. GBV sees this as a positive outcome of these unfortunate times. Large EB providers are publishing guidelines and advice at breakneck speed – answering calls from clients, regions and industry sectors. We feel this is all a positive step in the corporate psychology and development and encourage working more efficiently. And while it has taken a pandemic for this to happen, we do feel that complacency has given way to more cooperation among divisions of companies, and at the (very important) social level. This can only be beneficial to most industry sectors in the long run.
As we are reaching near global consensus that business needs to resume, and countries ease lockdown, Global Benefits Vision explores the possibility of a link between COVID-19 and CFS/ME, highlighted by BM Systems of France led by Francois Iris and Manuel Gea, and how employers and insurers can prepare for such an outcome from an employee wellbeing perspective.
Disease has afflicted humans ever since there have been humans. Malaria and tuberculosis are thought to have ravaged Ancient Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. From AD 541 to 542 the global pandemic known as “the Plague of Justinian” is estimated to have killed 15–25% of the world’s 200-million population. Following the Spanish conquest of Mexico, the native population dropped from around 30 million in 1519 to just three million 50 years later. Today we are battling to control the spread of COVID-19, which has the potential to cause the most deadly pandemic in human history.
Regardless of whether we classify the new coronavirus as a pandemic, it is a serious issue. In less than two months, it has spread over several continents. Pandemic means sustained and continuous transmission of thedisease, simultaneously in more than three different geographical regions. Pandemic does not refer to the lethality of a virus but to its transmissibility and geographical extension.
Bernie Sanders, who’s currently in the race for the Democrats’ Presidential nomination, pledged to deliver “an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy.” On the other side of the political spectrum, and across the Atlantic, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May gave a maiden speech that promised to create “a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us”.
Exercise is not only good for your physical health, it’s good for your mental health, too. Indeed, many people even take up exercise as a way of boosting their mental well-being. But is all exercise equally beneficial – and does it matter whether you do it alone or in a group?
A new year typically brings new resolutions. While making resolutions is easy, sticking with them is not. Exercise-related resolutions consistently make the top 10 list, but up to 80% of resolutions to be healthier, including promises to exercise more, are tossed aside by February.
As many as one in six adults experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety every week. And not only is mental ill-health one of the most common causes of disease worldwide – it’s also on the rise. Finding ways to improve mental health is therefore essential.
How did those new year’s resolutions work out for you? Old habits will have already returned for many – you’re not alone if you’ve already stopped using that new gym membership. Similarly, you’re in good company if 2020 is already stressing you out.
Even though mental illness affects one in five adults – and depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide – secrecy and stigma around the issue continue. The problem is especially acute in the workplace. While individuals with mental illness often wish to work and are able to, their unemployment rates remain three to four times those of individuals without mental illness.
Having a few drinks at Christmas is, for some people, as much a part of the festive tradition as presents, decorations or carols. So if you find yourself nursing a hangover on Boxing Day, you might be interested to know what’s actually going on inside your body and why you feel so bad.
When we started Neyber, we set out to help employees be better with their money and knew that companies would benefit from the knock-on effect. Now, five years on, we know that we and our clients completely underestimated the impact a financial wellbeing programme would have.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when holiday parties collide with collegiate and professional athletics events. What do they all have in common? Booze, lots of it, and often free. It’s no wonder the lead reindeer has a red nose. Of course, drinking isn’t limited to a single season, but it holds a prominent place during the holidays. Across a few short weeks, consumption of spiked cider, boozy nog, wine, beer, cocktails and variations thereof may be higher than at any other point in the year. One industry study suggested that drinking doubles at this time of year. During this party time, we see up close the drinking habits of our partners, co-workers, relatives and, of course, ourselves.
More than 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions have already given up on their goals by February. While there’s a lot of resolution advice on the internet, much of it fails to highlight the crux of behavioral change.
It’s a new year and many people are in the mood for making a fresh start. And that often means giving something up (cigarettes, alcohol, junk food). Unfortunately, the odds of sticking with new year resolutions are not good. Come February, 80% of people will have given up giving up. So what can we learn from the 20% who make it?
You’ll no doubt be all too aware of just how important employee benefits (EB) are to any business when attracting and retaining talent. Along with salary and pension, insured benefits like life, health and disability insurance can be the difference between keeping an employee engaged and losing them to a competitor. It can also be the deciding factor for a candidate when choosing a company to work for.