The new year's only weeks old and life around the office is returning to normal despite sub-zero temperatures and some hometown NFL heartbreak.


As part of that, Monday this week brought its share of bad news (sometimes I wonder how much of a self-fulfilling prophecy that really is).


At any rate, that frame of mind lends itself to stray thoughts.

  • There's a lot of talk about wellness these days, as if employers (and employees) are finally getting it. Better late than never, I suppose. But so little of that includes talk of all these people showing up to work, sniffling, sneezing and wheezing all over their coworkers. Some hospitals have even been taking a harder line approach, firing nurses for refusing flu shots. Sound Draconian at first blush, but in light of this year's near flu pandemic, is it? And no more harsh than firing (or not hiring) smokers or drug users. As health care (premium) costs continue to rise, employers will only become even more proactive. But maybe that proactive approach should include a new way of thinking about sick time. It's staggering how many stories about this historically bad flu season have been pouring over the wire the past few weeks. It's certainly something we've touched on here at BenefitsPro, and maybe someday we'll get there. Baby steps, right?
  • Speaking of wellness, word is Coca-Cola's working on an ad tackling obesity. (Maybe it'll be one of those big, bloated Super Bowl productions…or not.) Pardon my cynicism, but isn't that a little like having Frank Lucas cut a "Just Say No" PSA? And instead of pushing for things like moderation of balance (which would be bad for sales), all the soft drink giant seems to do is say, "look we have diet, too." Not unlike Philip Morris touting the benefits of low-tar cigarettes (how very 1980). This isn't going to end well…
  • …which brings me to all of our other problems. As my colleague touched on last week, we as Americans are in pretty bad shape, leading the civilized world in obesity, STDs, gun violence and auto accidents, among other things. In fact, this new international report from The National Academies reveals American men rank dead last—so to speak—in life expectancy among the 17 industrialized nations surveyed with American women ranking next-to-last.
  • And it's not as if employers had enough to worry about with the biggest health reform changes hitting all of us next year with the employer mandate dropping in January.

Is it spring yet? I'm tired of the cold.

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