Your One-Stop W3 Covid-19 Resource Center

Need answers? Find them here.

As we continue to deal with the ramifications of COVID-19 on our lives and livelihoods, W3 is staying vigilant. We are continually striving to answer the question: What does this pandemic mean for businesses? The answers vary day-to-day; therefore, we have developed a one-stop W3 COVID-19 Resource Center to provide regular updates and issue sound advice.

W3 Coronavirus Resource Center

Within this Resource Center, you’ll find timely information regarding:

  • Insurance coverage – How will your policies be affected? Can premiums be deferred or delayed?
  • Human Resources and Compliance – HR professionals: How will you keep your office in compliance with federal regulations surrounding COVID-19? For those non-essential businesses facing a newly remote workforce, how should you navigate this ‘new world’ of employment?
  • Financial and Tax Legislation – Interested to know the latest financial and tax legislation news? -We’ve done the research for you.
  • Employee Benefits – How does COVID-19 affect employee benefits?
  • Health & Safety – Are OSHA concerns different for remote employees? How can an organization strive to keep the workforce as healthy as possible in the midst of a pandemic?
  • Reasons to Smile – It’s not all ‘doom and gloom’ out there, friends and colleagues. In this time of social distancing, businesses are providing grocery cards to employees, sending heart-warming messages and encouraging everyone to slow down and smell the proverbial roses. Here, you’ll read real-life examples of employers doing what they can to give their employees a reason to smile.

Visit w3ins.com/covid-19 and view our extensive information library. And remember: We consider ourselves your ‘partner in protection.’ This pivot of providing information related to COVID-19 is just one more way we offer you ‘Raving Fan’ service.

Let’s all take care of each other. Hopefully, the W3 COVID-19 Resource Center will make doing that easier.

Put Down the Snack Cakes – National Nutrition Month

Welcome to National Nutrition Month! Grab an apple, take a crunch, and read onward as we share healthy workplace outreach strategies. No, you can’t snatch Twinkies from desktops or institute a “no fries” rule in the employee manual. However, by sharing reputable dietary information and committing to fostering a healthier workplace environment, you can make a real dent in that employee pizza habit.

First, remember that you are not the Food Police. A healthy diet should contain a variety of foods from different sources; that means those diets composed of one or two items are not advisable. Who remembers the grapefruit diet (shudder)? Healthy eating is not just a bandwagon – it’s a lifestyle that allows for plenty of choice.

Plenty of medical evidence exists to prove that a healthy, well-rounded diet leads to better health outcomes. You can tell people that – but it won’t matter if they haven’t eaten since yesterday and there’s a box of donuts beckoning in the breakroom. You can get your employees to ‘buy in’ to the nutrition data without causing a run on the last cruller. Here are a few ways to nudge your employee population toward healthier choices.

  • Just say ‘no’ to the following: donuts, cronuts, croissants, muffins….you get the picture. But no one wants healthy birthday cake! We agree – so choose your battles. Healthy birthday cakes can be a real bummer. Instead of providing one for every birthday, why not celebrate employees monthly with a communal cake? And replace those donuts with ingredients for serve-yourself yogurt parfaits. Low fat yogurt, granola, fresh fruit and chia seeds make for a healthy, filling breakfast.
  • Look at your catering menu. When you order food for meetings, are you offering gluten-free and vegetarian options? The classic ‘sub sandwich ring’ is likely not going to be the number one choice. Remember that adage ‘An army runs on its stomach’ and take it to heart. Your employees and clients may be satiated by the double chocolate cookies you purchased for dessert – or they may be so drowsy that they fall asleep. We dare you to take this moment to ask for the sale.
  • Now for an examination of the vending machine. Can you replace those sugary, preservative-filled candy bars with high quality dark chocolate options? Are there baked options for the chips that everyone seems to be crunching at 4pm? Is there room in the company budget to simply stock a bowl with fresh fruit and invite employees to eat it free of charge? It doesn’t take huge gestures to nudge an employee population to make better nutritional choices.

Workplaces that go above and beyond the everyday nutritional hacks may opt to invite an organization like Weight Watchers to host meetings at the office. They may hire a nutritionist to do a lunch and learn presentation – complete with a healthy gratis menu. Whatever you decide, know that a healthier workplace is possible. For more tips, put down the snack cakes and contact W3 Wellness Coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777 ext. 173 or tblocker@w3ins.com.

Find more information here: https://www.eatright.org/

W3 Insurance Welcomes Employee Benefits Advisor to Team

Conor J. Fitzgerald Joins our St. Petersburg Office

Wallace Welch & Willingham (W3 Insurance) has hired Conor J. Fitzgerald  as an employee benefits advisor. Fitzgerald comes to W3 from Bouchard Insurance, where he was responsible for employee benefits and business insurance production. He looks forward to helping W3 clients achieve their financial and organizational goals through innovative and consultative strategies.

“Conor should make a great addition to our team of benefits professionals,” says W3 Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Hammond. “He has proven experience in customer service, sales and benefits.”

Fitzgerald’s civic participation fits in well with the W3 spirit of giving back. An active community member, he volunteers in various capacities, including shifts with organizations such as Metropolitan Ministries, Tampa Bay Frogman Swim and Sal’s Soldiers – The Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis.

Founded in 1925, Wallace Welch & Willingham (W3 insurance) is an independent insurance agency with a rich history of providing quality service and unwavering commitment to its clients and community. The agency represents an extensive list of “A rated” insurance companies in order to provide the best coverage at the most affordable rates available.  Wallace Welch & Willingham has insurance products to fit the specific needs of both businesses and individuals, offering commercial, homeowners, auto, boat and life insurance, as well as employee benefits coverage. For more information, call (727) 522-7777 or visit www.w3ins.com.

New Year, No Alcohol? Embracing Dry January in the Workplace

After all the holiday toasts, hot toddies and themed party cocktails, is it time for your workplace to go dry? The movement dubbed Dry January ironically stems from a land full of pubs and pilsners; since 2013, England has spread its message of New Year, No Alcohol worldwide. It’s catching on, and breweries are noticing; according to CNBC, many are now promoting low alcohol or even no alcohol alternatives.

To jump on the no alcohol bandwagon and encourage employees to put down the pints (at least for a while), consider the following strategies:

  • Find a Dry Champion. Have you heard anyone talking about going dry? Ask them to lead the campaign and recruit others.
  • Design a pledge-signing event and make it a focal point in your break room. Those who sign the pledge will have a visible reminder from Monday through Friday about their commitment to forgoing alcohol.
  • Circulate a quiz to help employees identify how much they are actually drinking. Heavy drinkers can see definite benefits from going dry, including decreased liver fat and lower cholesterol levels. Others report better sleep and concentration – both which could affect workplace performance.
  • Consider crafting a self assessment to showcase how alcohol changes the body. It’s very possible that your workforce doesn’t know how many drinks can result in impairment; usually, it’s fewer than people think. Share this article from Good Morning America to illustrate the health connection.
  • Organize a tasting for your employees – a sort of happy hour that involves plenty of ‘mocktails.’ Have a resident mixologist who’s always the life of the party? Ask him/her to judge the competition. Employees can feature their best creations (pineapple and orange juice with a splash of cherry juice is a great place to begin).
  • Have a competitive employee roster? Give incentives. Who can stay dry the longest? Hand out mocktail ingredients at the kickoff party. There are so many ways to be creative about going dry. Tailoring your strategy to what works for the individuals involved is always a great idea.

Take January to dry levels, and you could see a more productive workplace. For more information about how you can help your workplace go try, call W3’s wellness coordinator Trish Blocker at 727-522-7777.

Food Poisoning: A Survival Guide

‘Tis the season for tummy trauma. Holiday grazers, pay special attention to this article. Your habit of digging into tepid sausage dip left out during that marathon Christmas party can cause major issues. Enjoy yourself without ingesting a hearty dose of salmonella, parasite or virus. Here’s a survival guide to avoid food poisoning during this time of year and beyond – and what to do if you’re infected.

Step One: Thou shall adhere to the rules of food safety – namely, the two-hour rule. This is not to be confused with the five-second rule, which dictates that any food dropped on the ground is safe to eat if consumed before five seconds. (This rule is false, by the way). If food has sat out for more than two hours, throw it away. That’s right, toss even the delectable prime rib that fits so snugly into those leftover potato rolls. It’s not worth the risk. After refrigerating your favorites, eat them within three or four days, and make sure to reheat. Ignore the steps inherent in Step One to your peril; doing so may result in Step Two.

Step Two: Even when you say ‘no’ to that late-hour shrimp cocktail appetizer, food poisoning can still strike. Know the symptoms that can arise within hours or sneak up within days. Either way, this is not usually something you can ‘power through.’ How you feel will vary based on the severity and type of the poisoning, but one thing is for certain: You are going to feel lousy – and you likely will need to stay near a bathroom. This is where your medical plan savvy comes in handy. Consider telemedicine – that way, you won’t need to leave your home. If that is not an option, the primary care provider or convenient care clinic are likely your best bet. Only go to the ER if it is absolutely necessary.

Step Three: If you believe the offending food is still in your possession, throw it away before a household member can unwittingly infect themselves as well. Think your illness is due to a restaurant item? Call the restaurant. Most do not want to give their patrons a side of illness with their meal. Next, rest up. Don’t force yourself to do more than your energy level provides. The effects of food poisoning can linger, depending on the severity. Hopefully yours will prove short and mild.

Foodborne illness is a real threat to holiday hoopla. It causes approximately 3,000 deaths yearly in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Over a hundred thousand are sickened; some are hospitalized. Many others suffer in silence at home until the symptoms subside. If you experience fatigue, nausea, cramps, or diarrhea, there’s a possibility that you’ve fallen victim to food poisoning. May your bout be short and your health return as soon as possible!