Health e-News
April 2013
EAP Makes $ense
Train the Trainer
How to Identify a Troubled Employee
Stress Relief at Work
Relationship Issues and Productivity
Breakfast With the Experts
Exercise: A Stress Buster
Quick Links

Stress. Heartache. Conflict. Depression. Emotional struggles are common in today's hectic world, and they can easily spill over into the workplace. How can employers help?


This edition of Health e-News explores how employers can recognize the signs of a troubled employee, know what resources to offer, and help decrease stress on the job. 


We encourage you to share this valuable news with your employees. A version of this month's newsletter designed just for them is available at:

To your good health, 

Connie Mahaffey

Director, Wellness and Employer Solutions

Affinity Health System

Dollar signEAP Makes $ense  

You know employee health is tied directly to productivity. But budgets are tight. How can you afford an employee assistance program? The real question is--how can you not?
  • Stress costs American employers $200 billion per year.
  • 75 percent to 90 percent of visits to primary care physicians are related to stress.
  • For every dollar invested in EAPs, a $5 to $7 loss is avoided.
  • EAPs can reduce sick leave by 37 percent.
  • 10 percent to 15 percent of all employees have serious problems affecting their work performance.
Affinity offers a cost-effective EAP, locally operated and priced affordably for your company's provident pocketbook. Our counselors are experts in short-term, solution-focused therapy. We understand the impact personal problems can have on productivity, absenteeism and safety, and we work to resolve issues for the benefit of your employees and your bottom line. Affinity EAP offers three convenient locations throughout Oshkosh and the Fox Cities.

For more information, visit us online or call us today at (920) 628-1532.

TrainerTrain the Trainer   

Supervisors should know their way around an EAP


Your EAP isn't just for employees. It's for supervisors, too. If your company makes a concerted effort to train managers on how to maximize their EAP, everyone reaps the benefits. Here's why:
Early detection leads to early intervention.
Supervisors need to be trained to identify issues in employees so they can refer them to the EAP before the situation gets out of hand. The sooner an employee gets help, the greater the chances of thwarting disaster down the road.
Early intervention prevents lost productivity.
Consider, for instance, an employee struggling with depression. When a supervisor is trained to recognize the signs early on and knows how and where to encourage the worker to get help, weeks or months of poor productivity can be prevented. Counseling helps employees personally, so they can perform professionally.
Help for conflict situations.
Sometimes supervisors need a little help of their own. EAP counselors can coach supervisors on healthy ways to address issues among staff members. This is especially valuable to new managers who may be inexperienced at resolving employee conflict.

Call Affinity's EAP at (920) 720-1090 or 1-800-894-9327 to learn more about how supervisor training can make a positive impact on your organization. 

Troubled EmployeeHow to Identify a Troubled Employee 


Did you know that one in ten employees suffers from depression? Depression costs employers tens of billions of dollars each year. It's the leading cause of absenteeism and lost productivity in American companies today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, offering minimal programs to help employees cope with depression could result in a nearly $3,000 savings per 1,000 employees over five years. How do we curb the impact of this disease and get our workforce back on track? Start by recognizing the signs of a troubled employee.

Calling in sick. Employees battling depression, anxiety or severe stress may often lack the energy to face another day. If you notice a worker is frequently absent, tardy or leaving early and doesn't have a solid excuse, it may be a sign that the employee is battling an emotional crisis.

Difficulty concentrating. Troubled employees often struggle with their daily responsibilities, take more time or effort to complete the job, and become easily or unnecessarily frustrated.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Depression may cause workers to display uncharacteristic mood swings and spasmodic levels of productivity--high one day, low the next.
Deteriorating job performance. If you notice a once-productive employee becoming progressively lackadaisical about the job, missing deadlines, turning in subpar work, making poor decisions or generating complaints from customers or co-workers--make note of it. It may be a sign of emotional trouble. 

StressTry This! Workplace Wellness Tip:

Stress Relief Tricks You Can Do at Work  

By Megan Klug, wellness account specialist
Affinity Occupational Health

Stress at work is hard to avoid. Each day we are faced with endless to-do lists and unexpected requests. Try using relaxation tips to help you de-stress and reenergize throughout the day.

1. Progressive muscle relaxation can help relieve tension by slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. Start with the muscles in your toes and finish with the muscles in your head. This technique can be done almost anywhere, even while you are at your desk. 

2. Breathing exercises are quick, easy, and you can do them anywhere. One example of a simple breathing exercise is to take a slow, deep breath, by pushing out the stomach muscles to bring oxygen and energy to your body. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds and then exhale and let go of the stress.

3. Use affirmations throughout the day while you are doing your work. Saying these positive thoughts can reduce stress and improve your mood. Some examples of affirmations are: "I can handle this," "Staying calm helps me solve problems," "I am successful," and "I am appreciated."

4. Laugh! Laughter is a great form of stress relief. Even if you have to force a fake laugh, it can help improve your mood and relieve stress. Positive emotions can decrease stress hormones. Watch a funny movie clip or keep a folder of cartoons, funny pictures, and jokes at your desk.

5. Listening to music can help relax your body and calm your mind. Slow classical music works best; take five minutes to stop what you are doing, play some music, and clear your mind.
RelationshipRelationship Issues and Productivity 
By Donna Schmitz, Affinity EAP couselor     

On average, more than 70 percent of individuals seeking help from Affinity's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are coming to discuss problems in their relationship with a spouse or significant other. Many of these clients admit that the relationship problems are negatively affecting their work performance. This tells me that we have two equally important goals to work on in the counseling process.
The first goal is to establish a solid support system for the client that does not include co-workers or bosses. This involves helping people develop ways to respond when a concerned boss or co-worker asks about their situation without letting it distract them from performing their job.
The other important goal to work on in the counseling process is to teach couples new ways to think and respond to each other that will enable them to succeed in their relationship. Research shows that people who are likely to succeed in their intimate relationships are highly likely to succeed in other areas of their life as well. By counseling individuals to have strong, healthy intimate relationships, they will develop the ability to carry these skills over to work and other areas. Most of us have had experience with a difficult co-worker or customer at one time or another. Many of the tools and techniques taught through couples counseling not only help with personal relationships but apply to work relationships as well.
Renowned relationship therapist John Gottman has done studies showing compelling evidence that if couples want to succeed in their relationship, they must have specific interpersonal abilities. If they have them, chances are they will succeed in being treated with love, respect and admiration from their partner. If they don't have them, evidence suggests these couples almost always end up divorced or unhappily married. The good news is that Affinity's EAP counselors work with couples to help them develop these crucial habits so that they have the best chance to have a happy marriage/relationship--and stronger work performance as a result!
To find out what these crucial habits are and how your employees can learn them, please attend Breakfast with the Experts on May 8, where EAP counselor Donna Schmitz will present more details on this important topic. 
Cereal with blueberriesBreakfast With the Experts


Relationship Issues and Work Performance
Presented by Donna Schmitz, MA, NCC, LPC
Affinity Employee Assistance Program

Wednesday, May 8
7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
Bridgewood Resort and Conference Center
1000 Cameron Way, Neenah

Did you know your employees' personal struggles can impact their job performance? Many people seeking help from Affinity's Employee Assistance Program admit that relationship issues affect their ability to focus at work. Join Affinity EAP counselor Donna Schmitz to discuss the important connection between relationship trouble and productivity, and how EAP counseling can improve an employee's ability to succeed at home and work.
To register for this free seminar, contact Tammy Davis at (920) 628-1532 or

ExerciseExercise: A Stress Buster

By Megan Klug, wellness account specialist
Affinity Occupational Health

While some people exercise to control their weight, improve their physical condition, become healthier or physically attractive, there is also a strong correlation between exercise and stress. Exercise can reduce stress for the following reasons.


Exercise releases frustration. Life's frustrations and annoyances can leave us feeling stressed or angry. By performing high-energy exercises, you can release this tension. Try martial arts, weight training, kickboxing, or high impact aerobics, but any form of exercise will help.


Exercise decreases stress hormones. When you exercise, you decrease stress hormones such as cortisol and increase endorphins (your body's feel-good hormones) that give you a natural boost of energy.


Exercise diverts attention. Working out helps take your mind off of your problems and refocus your attention on other activities. It can also provide a change of scenery, such as going to the gym, enjoying nature, walking or biking on a trail, all of which are enjoyable, low-stress environments.


Exercise provides social support. Because exercise often involves others, you can enjoy the company or friends while you beat stress together. Try working out at the gym with a friend, playing softball in a league or walking with a neighbor. Working out with others will help to motivate you and push you harder.


Exercise improves your health. It is a fact that stress can lead to illness, but illness also causes stress brought on by physical pain, missed activities, feelings of isolation, and other costs. Improving overall health with exercise can save you a lot of stress in the short run by strengthening your immunity to colds, flu and other illnesses.


Why walk?

Walking is one of the best forms of stress-reducing exercise. Walking gives you time to think, as well as time to get away from stressors in life. Getting outside, breathing fresh air and feeling your body move are natural stress relievers. When you put physical and mental distance between you and the stress-causing environment, walking can help clear your head.


Make walking a part of the workplace

Think about forming a walking club for employees to join before, during, or after work. If possible, offer flexible lunch and break times where employees can go out for walks. Most people are more likely to go for a walk on their break if a co-worker joins them. Walking clubs form social support and help groups get active and stay active. Use free online tools such as MapWalk to help create walking routes near your job site, with varying distance options. Try to look for streets that have sidewalks or that are not as busy so employees feel safe when walking.


Re-energize during the mid-day slump by having a walking meeting. These work well for meetings with two people or a small group. They're a great way to build exercise into a busy day, and as a bonus, fresh scenery can help inspire new ideas.


Get started!

Conduct an interest survey to see what types of activities employees would be most interested in participating, and the days and times that work best. Remember-healthy employees make for a more productive workplace! 

Your Affinity Occupational Health Sales Team 
Holly Tomlin, manager of wellness and employer solutions for Affinity Occupational Health, enjoys building relationships with clients while finding creative solutions for their needs.  Holly's background includes 15 years of experience in the health care field, with a strong background in employee assistance programs and occupational health. As a certified massage therapist, Holly has a special interest in educating others on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, including wellness and prevention initiatives. 

Tammy Davis, account manager for Affinity Occupational Health, provides corporate clients with valuable information regarding services offered through Affinity Occupational Health. She works closely with clients to determine their specific needs for health and wellness services. Tammy has a bachelor's degree in business administration from UW Oshkosh and over 20 years of experience in marketing, sales, and customer service.

To contact Holly or Tammy, call the Affinity Occupational Health office located in Menasha, at 1-800-541-0351, or e-mail or