Award-winning Discovery employee proves that small acts of accountability make a big impact

When a company sets hefty goals to deliver profound client value and create highly engaged employees, it’s not enough to communicate those goals to everyone. To be transformational, every single employee must be 100% committed to contributing to the company’s goals. 

Discovery has invested in a comprehensive accountability model based on the concept that when people take personal ownership of the company’s goals and accept responsibility for their own performance, they work at a higher level to ensure their own success AND the company’s overall success. 

Working with the culture management firm Partners in Leadership, Discovery has built a culture of accountability by sponsoring training workshops and holding weekly small-group huddles that let employees work on the four best practices of accountability—recognizing when there are gaps in execution, fully and personally owning responsibilities and aligning them to the company’s key results, creatively and collaboratively working on solutions, and actively executing on the solution while building an environment of trust.

“As I like to say, accountability is every Discovery employee’s best friend,” says Phil Garrison, VP of Human Resources at Discovery and the executive sponsor of the company’s accountability program. “For each of us at Discovery, the principles of accountability give us easy-to-use tools to improve our individual work performance, share honest feedback with each other, and contribute very directly to the company’s overall goals.  The concepts are so foundational, they can even benefit us in our personal relationships.”

Discovery has integrated the model into many aspects of the company’s processes, onboarding, and expectations, and accountability is a cornerstone of the company’s culture. The company’s new Accountability in Action award is one example.

Each quarter, this award recognizes Discovery employees who demonstrate they have a stake in the company and go above and beyond to contribute to the company’s key results by living the “what else can I do?” attitude.

The first-ever recipient of Discovery’s new Accountability in Action award is Beverly Orwig, an MSP Recovery Specialist who has been with Discovery less than a year. 

Beverly received the award—which includes a cash reward, an extra day off with pay, and other perks—for a small gesture done consistently at a challenging time for her team. When COVID-19 hit, Beverly recognized that the pandemic was causing a lot of stress for her coworkers and they were struggling to keep a positive mindset. She asked herself what else she could do to stand out, to make a difference. Beverly took it upon herself to start each morning by posting a positive message to motivate her team, help them push through the challenges, and hit their goals. Focusing on how the team was reacting to the new environment caused by COVID-19, Beverly knew that it can be very hard for people to stay engaged, stay aligned to company goals, and maintain a connection with the team. Beverly’s positive communication among the team members promoted the understanding that the team had the ability and would be able overcome obstacles.

Commenting on receiving the award, Beverly says, “I was beaming—winning made such an impact on me! It made me realize that one individual employee can make such a big difference in the company. This company empowers me every day. It’s what makes Discovery who we are—everyone pushing each other to continue the momentum, to move forward in the same direction.”

Beverly credits her supervisor Shawn Daniels with inspiring her and driving her motivation. “I never want to disappoint him,” Beverly explains. “When he sets a goal for me, well, I’m going to push to overachieve that goal. He takes a personal interest in me and my success and is consistently available to help me.”

Beverly feels she is succeeding at Discovery because of the tools and transparency that the company provides. “Discovery gives me all the tools I need and empowers me to do my job every day,” she says. If I don’t know something, there’s transparent management all the way up to the top to get questions answered. It doesn’t get better than that.” 

“I want to be here…I want to come here every day. How many people can say that? I love coming to work every day.”

When she’s not demonstrating accountability at work, Beverly is a murder-mystery bookworm; enjoys Blues, jazz, and swing music; and spends weekends baking and cooking great dishes.


Discovery has built a culture of accountability throughout the company and created a quarterly award to recognize employees that have a stake in the company and go above and beyond by living the “what else can I do?” attitude.

Congratulations to Q1 2020 Accountability in Action award runners-up!

Christine Garcia, Accountability in Action award runner-up
“Christine works to get the issues fixed rather than come up with temporary solutions. She is in constant contact and responds within minutes, often working late to make sure issues are resolved.”
Chad identified ways that Discovery’s platform could better support the business. He immediately took ownership and spearheaded the development of an app in record time—in addition to his day job.

If you’d like to learn more about the steps to accountability and building this kind of culture at your organization, we recommend the book The Oz Principle.

Discovery Health PartnersAward-winning Discovery employee proves that small acts of accountability make a big impact
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Core values help Discovery’s Subrogation team navigate the pandemic

The end of June marks National Subro Professionals’ Day—in honor of these experts, Discovery is celebrating the month of June by turning the spotlight on a few of our very own subrogation professionals who make a unique difference in the value we’re able to deliver to our clients.

Breanna Zima is a Subrogation Operations Manager. She is responsible for helping the Discovery Subrogation team deliver on the company’s core values, including reliable results, trusted quality, and profound client value. A member of the Discovery family for almost five years, Breanna shares with us how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her personally and professionally.

At the Discovery holiday party last December, my fiancé and I took a picture wearing 2020 sunglasses. I was thinking “2020 is going to be the best year yet!” We’ve been together for 12 years, have been planning our wedding for over a year, and were almost at the finish line. Little did any of us know what was in store for us right around the corner. The COVID-19 pandemic rocked everyone to the core and created obstacles most never imagined. Two weeks into the reality of the pandemic, my fiancé and I were faced with the difficult decision to postpone our wedding. We were devastated. We allowed ourselves to be sad for a time, but then picked ourselves up and focused on what we can control. My work as a Subrogation Operations Manager at Discovery has helped me navigate through these tough times. 

Subro professional 2020

I manage the paralegals on the recovery side who review applicable statutes, analyze case law, and negotiate resolutions that are most favorable for our clients. The commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare lines that I manage require specific skill sets and adaptability, which is especially needed during these challenging times.  

Many of us don’t even realize how this pandemic has changed us as people. COVID-19 has tested my strength and ability as a leader. It has been hard to stay motivated. Not leaving your home for weeks at a time causes fatigue, pessimism, and a plethora of excuses NOT to do what we are responsible to do. What has helped me the most is staying organized and dedicated to my team members. I rely on them, and they rely on me. Period. 

Back in April 2019, the Discovery Subrogation department went through the transition of moving to a remote workforce. So when the pandemic hit, I naively thought there wouldn’t be much change for us as a team. But surprisingly, our team mentality has shifted its perspective in an immensely positive way. Conversations and support among teams has greatly increased, and we now host more video calls than ever before. It is great to start our meetings with friendly, smiling faces! I try to make it a point to spend time asking everyone how they are doing, really pausing for answers, discussion, and support for one another. 

Keeping our core values in mind—delivering reliable results, trusted quality, and profound value for our clients—is key for me to stay focused and positive on a daily basis. As the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan says “If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  We’ve been using the pandemic as an opportunity to focus on pending and settled files and clearing those out. With our focus on recoveries, our team’s productivity has actually improved throughout the pandemic, and that’s showing up in recoveries for our clients. 

With many courts closed during the pandemic, our team has been picking up the phone and working with attorneys to resolve as many cases as we can. I’ve also been having more phone conversations with clients to add a human element to the conversations and make it more of a dialog and let them know we are here supporting them. And our offshore team has done an excellent job of reaching out to those we haven’t heard from in a while to get older files resolved.

I’ve noticed that parties are showing each other more compassion during negotiations and being more flexible. We’ve move from fax-based communications to emails so parties can negotiate back and forth more easily. We still have a lot of work to do, but I am proud to have the folks on the Subrogation team stand with me!

The pandemic has reinforced that I am a strong person and can handle whatever God places on my path, and I truly love this company and those who are a part of it. Most importantly, what keeps me going is my gratitude to have my career, a roof over my head, food on my table, and people in my life that have my back. 

We cannot anticipate what the rest of 2020 has in store for us, and given the climate of our nation, all I can hope for is that love spreads and positive change marches forward for everyone. What I do know is that throughout Discovery’s history, we have found ways to build strong bonds, overcome obstacles, and stay positive. I know we will continue to do so!

To learn more about what makes Discovery’s Subrogation solution unique, visit our Subrogation page or contact our team today.

Breanna ZimaCore values help Discovery’s Subrogation team navigate the pandemic
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Discovery Subrogation is where I find my passion

The end of June marks National Subro Professionals’ Day—in honor of these experts, Discovery is celebrating the month of June by spotlighting some of our very own Subrogation professionals who make a unique difference in the value we’re able to deliver to our clients.

Lisa Baldwin is a Subrogation Operations Team Lead. She is responsible for helping the Discovery Subrogation organization deliver on the company’s core values, including reliable results, trusted quality, and profound client value. A member of the Discovery family for two years, Lisa shares how Discovery has fed her passion for subrogation. 

To quote Bishop T. D. Jakes, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” I know that’s true in my personal life, because managing a Kiss tribute band with my husband allows me to enjoy my passion for that type of music. I’ve also learned this to be true in my professional life. I found that my love for the legal field and negotiations has made subrogation a perfect professional fit for me.  

With six years of subrogation experience under my belt, it’s apparent that I’ve found my passion! At Discovery, I am able to share what I’ve learned to help the company shine. One of the reasons I came to Discovery was for the opportunity to help grow and mature our subrogation practice. The transition was perfect because we have a very diversified employee base of people like me who are working together toward continuously implementing best-practice processes and procedures, instead of just sticking with the status quo.

Now in my second year with Discovery, in March I became team lead. This is a newer role that was created for the purpose of focusing on productivity. I have responsibility for day-to-day activities with the subrogation specialists, and I also handle files as a Senior Paralegal. This has helped the team become more efficient so we can expedite the whole process for clients. We also work with the IT department to do user acceptance testing to ensure proper functionality of our processes and procedures prior to them going into live production. This improves the capabilities of our case management platforms, which also benefits clients.  

Being a mid-sized company in the subrogation world has lot of advantages. It gives employees equal opportunities to help shape our success and contribute ideas. It requires a lot of hard work, but here at Discovery, we collectively pull together and work to find the best solutions for the issues at hand. We are always working to find ways to deliver more value for our clients. 

In our Subrogation organization, we have an Idea Forum that’s open for everyone to submit their ideas for management to review and potentially implement. I must admit, I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas and then finding out one of my ideas was chosen! Some of the successful policies and procedures that I brought to the Idea Forum are already being implemented in our department. One of these is holding team lead roundtables where we bring in paralegals and leverage their knowledge, review case files, and discuss issues. These roundtables help us leverage our in-house subrogation expertise, level up our team’s knowledge, and, ultimately, serve our customers more effectively. 

It’s very rewarding to be able to contribute to progress and efficiencies within the Discovery Subro organization. Our leadership is very focused on engaging the whole team to ensure we’re bringing our best responses and results to our clients. It’s amazing to experience all the ways the Discovery Subro organization feeds my professional passion and encourages that passion to grow!

To learn more about what makes Discovery’s Subrogation solution unique, visit our Subrogation page or contact our team today.

Lisa BaldwinDiscovery Subrogation is where I find my passion
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Thriving during unsettling times

At the beginning of 2020, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Authority Magazine on the things I do to thrive in the areas of body, mind, and heart. 

You can read the full interview here. 

Oh boy, how the world has changed since January! From the COVID-19 pandemic and shelter-in-place orders to racial injustices and protests, we live in an unsettling and different world. 

As I reflect on how I answered the question “how do I thrive?” in the original interview, it’s comforting to see that some of the things I hold most dear—Friday pizza night dates with my husband, family time, red wine!—are the same things that sustain me in our new world order. Of course, I’ve had to add some creative tweaks to my routine, but I’ve also found some new ways to continue to thrive amid COVID and this time of uncertainty.

I’ve captured my updated thoughts in this video—I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration that helps you to thrive!

Heather RodemannThriving during unsettling times
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Discovery Subrogation is like a family

The end of June marks National Subro Professionals’ Day—in honor of these experts, Discovery is celebrating the month of June by spotlighting some of our very own Subrogation professionals who make a unique difference in the value we’re able to deliver to our clients.

Sarah Kawash is Discovery’s Subrogation Specialist Manager. Sarah leads the onshore and offshore Subrogation Specialists in case development work and is responsible for helping her team deliver on the company’s core values, including reliable results, trusted quality, and profound client value. A member of the Discovery team for over six years, Sarah shares with us why Discovery continues to feel like a family.

Discovery Subrogation feels like a family

I always say that I’ve grown up at Discovery over the past 6 years, and my second family has been right here beside me the whole time. When I started at Discovery, I was fresh out of college with only prior restaurant work on my resume. Discovery introduced me to individuals that took me under their wing and showed me what corporate life was all about. The company has grown exponentially since I started in 2014, but the closeness I have always felt within the Subrogation department has not changed at all. While we are all here working to support our company and our clients, we’re also here to support our teams and each other. 

Like a family does, our Discovery team celebrates accomplishments and milestoneswhether it’s hitting metrics for the week, learning a new client, welcoming grandbabies, buying a new house—we’re all here, cheering each other on. I learned early on that my relationships with coworkers didn’t have to stop at business-related things.  Right away I experienced the support we give each other on everything, always.

The past few years, my Subro family and I have gone through it all together. When we raised performance metrics for our Subro Specialists, some of the team’s initial reaction was that the new targets weren’t achievable. Others on the team stepped up and cheered on those who were in doubt, offering support by motivating and convincing them we could not just meet, but exceed the new targets by applying our great work ethic. Now a year after the new goal was established, the team as a whole is overperforming on average and we continue to push and support each other to hit even higher. 

Discovery is very committed to setting and meeting high quality standards for our clients. Over the last nine months, the entire Subro team (not just the Specialists) have hit above and beyond our quality goals! One reason we’ve been able to accomplish this is because when someone is struggling, the teams work with one another, helping each other out, showing they have faith in their abilities and believe they can do it and achieve their goals. And the times when everyone on the team hits their individual goals—well, then it’s a real party and truly a celebration for us all! 

There are also the challenging times, to be sure. When things like the global pandemic take over our personal and professional lives, it’s easy to be negative. What I’ve seen from my Discovery family is that they’ll always do whatever it takes to help us stay positive. I am not saying negativity or going below the line doesn’t happen, but it never lasts long. We are truly all in it together—listening, learning, and pushing through.

Work goals and metrics aside, the personal support I see and feel from my coworker family shines the brightest. Two years ago, one of our Paralegals passed awayshe was like my second mom. A few weeks ago, we lost yet another Paralegalagain, she was like family. Each time was hard, and I would be lying if I said it has gotten easier. It never will. Having such a close-knit work familyeveryone coming together, telling stories, sharing pictures, reaching out, praying for each otherit makes the hardest things bearable. The texts and chats of people extending a hand or just reaching out to see if you are okay, these are moments I will treasure and remember forever.

Like most families, we know how to have a good time and celebrate here at Discovery! When one of our own was deployed this past April, the team gathered for a virtual happy hour to send her off. Additionally, one of the ladies on the team just became a grandmother for the first timeI absolutely love receiving texts of grandbaby pictures! If I’m having a bad day or just need to vent, I know I can message one of my peers and they’ll talk it out with me. I’ve gained so many close friends since my start at Discovery, and no doubt there will be more to come.

We all came to Discovery for a job, a career. I stay for the family I never expected to gain.

Sarah KawashDiscovery Subrogation is like a family
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Merging AI and human intelligence for big recovery results

Technology plays a key role in health plans’ transition to more proactive, data-driven payment integrity results. We sat down with Dan Iantorno, Chief Information Officer at Discovery Health Partners, whose team received the FutureEdge 50 award from IDG/CIO magazine for Discovery’s work with machine learning and AI. We discussed how technology is driving a transformation in payment integrity and what Discovery is doing to help clients access new technologies to improve revenue, avoid costs, and enhance their members’ experience. 

Data and analytics are transforming many industries, including healthcare. What are the biggest challenges health plans face when implementing these new technologies? 

We know that health care costs are skyrocketing, driven by administrative complexity, fraud, and abuse. It’s estimated that as much as $935 billion, or nearly 25% of total spending, is wasted in the US healthcare system every year. As a result, providers are under intense pressure to manage costs and ensure payment integrity, while at the same time continuing to provide quality care for their members.

Technologies that leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics can enable plans to implement process efficiencies and dramatically increase recovery rates, while reducing member abrasion. But many health plans lack the internal tools and resources to identify and pursue recovery opportunities for high-cost, complex claims. Discovery is partnering with health payers to support data-driven payment integrity solutions and help them identify and pursue the highest-value cases to drive bottom-line results.

What are some of the ways Discovery is innovating to help clients transform their payment integrity approaches?

Since the company’s inception, Discovery has been at the leading edge of analytics-powered technology solutions to help clients address payment integrity challenges. Today, we are using machine learning and predictive analytics to tap into the potential of more than a decade of case outcome data to improve results, drive efficiency, and guide our customers to more proactive payment integrity strategies. Last year, we unveiled our Case Open Logic solution, an initiative that uses machine learning as part of our claims ranking process in our Subrogation practice. 

Rather than relying on human logic to prioritize the 2% of cases that result in 90% of recoveries, our solution uses machine learning to augment human intelligence by selecting the cases with the highest likelihood of success, doing in seconds what would previously have taken hours of manual work. These enhancements help validate subrogation claims faster and more accurately and identify cases that otherwise might be missed. The process also helps health plans reduce member friction because there’s no need to contact members unnecessarily on claims that are not of substance. This solution has delivered immediate results for our clients, and the technology shows great potential to enhance solutions across business lines. We’re very proud that our Case Open Logic solution was honored with IDG/CIO’s FutureEdge 50 award that recognizes cutting-edge applications of emerging technologies to advance business goals. 

What’s in store for the future of payment integrity and how will Discovery support health plans as they evolve their payment integrity strategies?

Discovery’s data science team has a history of blazing new trails in the payment integrity industry. In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to innovate with solutions that drive results for our health plan clients and provide best-in-class models for the industry. For example, our investment in machine learning with our Case Open Logic solution has already helped us boost subrogation recoveries for our customers by 20%. Based on that overwhelming success, we intend to roll out similar machine learning capabilities to other lines of business such as Data Mining, Clinical Audits, and Coordination of Benefits (COB). The application of machine learning based on a decade of data enables Discovery to provide services that are immensely valuable to our health plan clients. Combining technology innovation with our team’s decades of experience in the health payer space is how we will continue to deliver game-changing profound client value.

Find out how Discovery Health Partners can help strengthen your payment integrity initiatives in 2020. Contact us today!

Dan IantornoMerging AI and human intelligence for big recovery results
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Food for thought—an ingredient for good health

Today’s blog post is the third in a special series of posts that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and Employee Wellness Committee ambassador.

I do love me some food! I believe you could deep-fry just about anything and it would taste great. I know it’s not good for me, but it just tastes so good! Growing up in an Italian household probably didn’t help me learn how to make good food choices. When you are surrounded by breads and pastas and wonderful desserts, it’s not easy to pick healthier options to snack on.

The first wealth is health -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Over the years, I’ve come to realize how important it is to incorporate healthier foods into my diet. Healthier foods help maintain a healthy body weight, increase proper nutrition, and promote an overall healthy body. Try some of these easy tips to improve your diet today!

Increase fruits and vegetables

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is known to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, decrease digestive problems, and even prevent some types of cancer. Fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients that can improve the health of your body

Need some ideas on how to increase your intake? Add roasted veggies to your meal. Find seasonal vegetables, sprinkle with olive oil, and roast them up. Stack veggies on your sandwich. Most people already add lettuce and tomatoes, but consider slicing up a cucumber or shredding a carrot and adding it to your sandwich. Make it a lettuce wrap and swap out the bread altogether! Add fresh fruit to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, or pair fruits with cheese and a good glass of wine for an evening treat. 

Good carbs to eat

Carbohydrates are one of the body’s primary sources of energy and are an essential part of a healthy diet. A healthy diet should include more complex carbohydrates than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are high in fiber and starch and take longer for the body to digest. They contain more essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Examples include grains, beans, and oats. Simple carbohydrates contain natural sugars easily digested by the body to provide quick energy. Examples of good simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Some examples of bad simple carbs include refined foods like soda, white sugar, and pastries. These are the items that should be a very limited part of your diet.

When you are cooking, try to use brown rice instead of white. Brown rice is a whole grain and higher in fiber than white rice, which has been processed. Brown rice also helps lower cholesterol, promotes fullness, and can help prevent blood clots. Another good carb to incorporate are vegetables, as mentioned above. Try baking a sweet potato or adding a side of roasted vegetables. You can’t go wrong with a simple side salad either—vegetable combinations are endless.

Water, water, water

Did you know that water carries nutrients to the cells in your body and oxygen to the brain? It helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals essential to the function of your organs. Water also helps regulate the body’s temperature and maintain bodily functions. It can boost skin health and lubricate joints, promoting beauty and reducing pain. Water is also a main component of the digestive system, converting food into energy and excreting waste from the body. 

You might be thinking it’s boring to drink a simple glass of water. Well, it can be. But did you know there are many food options high in water content? Cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach are over 93% water. Melon, apples, and oranges are over 85% water. Besides the water consumption, these fruits and vegetables are good sources of the daily nutrients our bodies need. I bet you could grab a few off this list of top hydrating foods and toss them together to make a delicious salad or fruit plate! 

Healthy snacks  

Another way to maintain a healthy diet is to add healthy snacks to your day. Healthy snacks can increase your energy level and help you lose weight. They can improve your concentration, increase memory, and enhance awareness. Be prepared—have an assortment of healthy options available to keep you on track. Examples of healthy snacks include an apple or carrot sticks. Grab a handful of cashews. Have a bowl of cottage cheese and add some berries. Looking for additional snack ideas? Check out SnackNation’s list of healthy and filling snacks.

In addition to these tips, keep in mind it’s not always what you eat, but how! You need to get to the root of your nutritional imbalances. It’s not always where you go for lunch, but how often you go and what you choose to eat. Are you eating food too close to bedtime on a regular basis? Are weekends becoming your cheat days and causing you to binge on unhealthy foods? Mindful eating can even be as simple as looking at how quickly or slowly you eat your meals. There are many factors to look at when trying to sustain a healthy diet. Just remember, baby steps—Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.

James HeffernanFood for thought—an ingredient for good health
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The body issue—because we all have one

Today’s blog post is the second in a special series of posts that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and ambassador of our Employee Wellness Committee.

Not everyone loves the physical cards they were dealt. Believe me, I sure don’t! But there are so many things we can do to change that. First, it starts with your mental approach. You have to get in the right mindset to change the body.

Exercise can make you feel happier. It has been shown to improve mood and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. It helps build stronger muscles and bones, helping to reduce injuries and prevent osteoporosis later in life. Exercise can increase your energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue. It can reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve brain function. And, obviously, it can help with weight loss. According to the CDC, many people sit at a desk all day, making us much more sedentary and leading to weight gain and other medical problems.

excuses don't burn calories

Just because you might be working from home, don’t have access to a gym, or don’t have all the professional equipment doesn’t mean you can’t get a good workout. Sometimes you just have to be a bit creative. Here are some creative workout ideas that might inspire you.

Walking

Sounds very easy—and it is. Grab your favorite shoes and go for a walk. You might even want to invite a friend along so you can encourage each other. Walking can improve your mood and reduce anger and hostility. It will help you burn calories and is one of the best low-impact ways to change your body composition. Walking can boost your immunity and reduce your risk of disease.

Resistance training

Resistance training is a physical activity that is designed to improve your muscular fitness and endurance. Usually this training incorporates weights or tension bands into the workout. But let’s say you don’t have access to weights or bands—then what are your options? Try doing exercises that utilize your own body weight. Try push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, squats. You can even do exercises while holding household items. One good exercise to strengthen your core is planking. Planking engages many muscles across the whole body to improve posture, increase muscle definition, and improve balance. There are always opportunities when at home to get a good workout. Check out this article for additional workout tips.

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on breath control, simple meditation, and body posturing for improved health and relaxation. Its purpose is to bring the body, mind, and environment into harmony. Some benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, muscle strength, and improved respiration. Check out this beginner-level yoga workout.

Pilates consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Its purpose is to increase muscle strength, particularly in the abdomen or core. Some benefits include a total-body workout, improved posture, and decreased pressure on your knees and joints. Check out this beginner-level Pilates workout.

Extra creative workout ideas

Do you like to dance? Even if you don’t, try putting on some fun music and dance like nobody’s watching. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and improve muscle tone. Or try boxing/kickboxing. You can take a class or just set up a weighted bag in your house and throw some punches. It’s my favorite way to relieve stress! How about housework? I’m not a fan of cleaning the house, but adding some loud music can make it fun and help burn some extra calories. If these ideas don’t appeal to you, you can find all kinds of free workout videos online. Find one you like and try it!

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to spends hours in a gym lifting huge weights to improve your overall appearance. You just have to find something you are interested in and stick to it. Make your workouts fun and change them up as needed. Set goals, encourage yourself, and achieve them. In time, you will see a difference, feel better, and—most importantly—improve your overall health.

Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.

James HeffernanThe body issue—because we all have one
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Find the funny—laughter’s healing power

Today’s blog post is the first in a special series that celebrates the month of May as Global Employee Health and Fitness Month, the international observance of health and fitness in the workplace. Our series, titled “Mind, body, and stomach,” is the work of Jim Heffernan, senior accountant at Discovery and Employee Wellness Committee ambassador.

 

An accountant by trade, I’ve been working on Discovery’s Finance team for over two years and have been in this profession for over 20. One thing I’ve found to be true—accounting and creativity are not a good mix on the job. It’s not a good idea to get “creative” with a company’s finances—it’ll usually land you on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for all the wrong reasons.

In order to express my creative side, several years ago I decided to sign up for an improv acting class to channel my creativity. I found this outlet to be more than just learning improv; it allowed me to be creative and confident with my comedy and found a whole new community to work with. In turn, I formed an improv comedy troupe and have enjoyed creating laughter ever since.

What I’ve learned first-hand over the years is that laughter is a very important part of health and wellness.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Charlie Chaplin

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? How did you feel after that bout of hysterical insanity? I bet it felt great. There are medical reasons for this feeling. It has been proven that laughter improves your heart, lungs, and muscles due to an increase in oxygen intake. Also, laughter can relieve stress and help you deal with difficult situations. When you laugh, the body releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemical. These endorphins lighten your mood and possibly help you live a longer life.1 Laughter is also linked to burning calories. And believe me, I’ll take a good laugh-until-you-cry moment over exercise any day!

We all need to increase our opportunities to laugh these days, especially while working from home due to COVID-19. With limited social interactions, finding the right way to express ourselves becomes more difficult. We need to find those outlets for laughter to continue to improve our well-being and keep ourselves interested and engaged. Here are a few ideas that can help bring some laughter into your otherwise ordinary day.

Fun with children

There was a whole television show based around kids saying the darnedest things! It’s very true. Sit down with your kids and tell funny stories and jokes. Pull out games or puzzles and play together. Suggest something crazy like an obstacle course through the house or dressing up in crazy outfits. You’ll be shocked how much you laugh and, in turn, your child will laugh with you. It’s important to take the time to have fun as a family.

Fun with pets

Laughter is an important part of human interactions. When you live alone with a pet, you tend to treat your pet as your companion, and he can provoke laughter in you. Think about it this way, if you talk to Fido, why wouldn’t you laugh with him, too? Get down on the floor and play tug-of-war or throw a ball. I bet you laugh. People tend to laugh when they see a dog fail at catching a ball or do something unexpected like jumping on the ball. This surely will bring a smile to your face.

Fun with co-workers and friends

Humor is a social activity. That’s why you laugh more watching a movie in a theater full of people rather than alone in your house. Reach out to your co-workers or friends. Schedule a meeting for lunch and share some of the funny things that have happened to you or your family—you may be surprised how happy this will make you. Nowadays, you can do almost anything virtually, from playing games to happy hours. You just have to find the right platform and enjoy the fun.

Fun everywhere

It’s important to find opportunities that work for you based on your individual style. There are many multimedia platforms, ranging from television shows and movies to online videos to visiting a comedy club. During this time, there are many comedy clubs that are offering online performances and classes you can take. Check your local neighborhood listings for these opportunities.

There are literally hundreds of possibilities for increasing laughter in your life. You need to find what’s funny to you. It can be as easy as finding some simple items like comic strips or funny photos—put them on your refrigerator, add funny quotes to your home office, watch your favorite funny movies, or listen to comical podcasts when you need a humor boost. I think it’s safe to say that we are all experiencing a certain degree of new stress these days. Find a way to laugh about your own situation and give yourself the permission to laugh at yourself! Feel the stress melt away. Make it a habit to find the funny every day and improve your overall well-being.

Find out more about Global Employee Health and Fitness Month here.

James HeffernanFind the funny—laughter’s healing power
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Six ways to help your remote workforce thrive

In the pre-coronavirus world, companies moving to a remote workforce could take months to develop and implement their plans. But the sudden onset of COVID-19 gave companies very little lead time to figure out how to set up and support employees to work from home. With no time for formal training, many organizations have been left wondering how they would help their employees stay motivated and productive in this new way of working. 

Discovery moved to a remote workforce model over a year ago and has gained a wealth of work-from-home expertise. Hoping to help other organizations thrive in this new remote world, we’re sharing some best practices based on what we learned.

1. Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Often attributed to management guru Peter Drucker, this adage reminds us that a company’s culture is often the glue that binds employees together and drives the desired behaviors throughout an organization. This holds true—and perhaps becomes even more important—when the “office” is virtual. Leveraging your organization’s culture will help employees feel more connected to each other and to the company. And it’ll create a virtuous cycle—the more you reinforce your culture, the stronger it’ll get. Is cross-functional team collaboration an important part of your culture? Use regular recurring meetings and communications—weekly emails from the CEO, monthly company meetings—to showcase how your teams are working collaboratively. 

2. Effective managers manage, wherever their employees are

Whether employees are in a physical office or working from home offices, effective managers are the ones who use the right combination of motivation, monitoring, and feedback to keep their teams productive and engaged. When faced with the need to manage their teams remotely, some managers may require more support than others. It can’t be overstated how important it is to invest in helping managers be effective—the ROI is huge. Tap into your highly-effective managers as resources to help build up other managers’ skills. Conduct regular meetings and trainings to reinforce best practices and develop management skills. When the pandemic hit, Discovery pivoted from monthly people manager meetings to weekly check-ins. This allows people managers to problem-solve the new COVID-19-related challenges their teams may be experiencing.

3. Make your expectations clear and water what you want to grow

Pandemic or no pandemic, a key to a company’s ability to reach its goals has always been setting clear expectations and ensuring that all employees understand those expectations. Clear expectations act as a connecting force throughout your team and organization, creating alignment so everyone is working together to make the right things happen. At Discovery, we’ve defined our expectations through our five Core Values—Trusted Quality, Reliable Results, Applied Innovation, Mindful Stewardship, and Profound Client Value. These values guide every single employee’s decisions and actions. 

Being clear with expectations must be coupled with holding ourselves and others accountable. Team and company leads need to proactively manage their processes in order to get the results they expect. Water what you want to grow—reinforce accountability, reward positive behaviors, celebrate employees who demonstrate their commitment to goals. When employees are remote, it’s critically important to do these things in a way that others can “see.” Discovery uses an online “Impressions” portal for giving and receiving kudos to employees who demonstrate behaviors consistent with our expectations. Everyone in the company can see who’s living our Core Values.

4. Trust…and verify

If you’ve clearly set expectations and are holding people accountable, then you’re well on your way to mastering this best practice. Being remote requires a good deal of trust that employees are managing their time effectively and concentrating on the right things. But you must also check in and check up. Make it a priority to connect with team members on a regular basis so they know you want to stay connected to what they’re working on. This also gives you an opportunity to ensure every team member has what they need to do their job effectively. Use a combination of instant messaging, video conferencing, email, phone, texts, or whatever works best for you and your team to be available and responsive when questions come up. Remember to also check in with employees frequently just to ask how it’s going.

5. Flexibility is free productivity…and free employee engagement

Flexibility is the secret sauce for helping remote employees stay productive. Nearly everyone’s daily life has been disrupted by social distancing, work furloughs, school closings, and other changes. Managers can help remote employees stay on task by working with them to establish schedules, processes, and timelines that balance individual needs with those of your team. Even a small accommodation like moving a meeting by 15 minutes can make a big difference. And remember, life at home still goes on even while employees are working. Learn to embrace those everyday interruptions!

6. Above all else, stay connected and communicate, communicate, communicate

Make sure your teams know what’s going on and have the information they need to do their jobs. People crave personal interaction, and working remotely can cause feelings of isolation and being cut off socially from coworkers. Carve out time during the day for your employees to connect with others. Take virtual coffee breaks or meet-up by video conference to brainstorm ideas, problem-solve, or just talk. You can even plan a virtual happy hour, virtual escape room, or other team events. It doesn’t have to be formal; be sure to lean on your employees for ideas. An unexpected benefit of working virtually is that co-workers are often more open and relaxed outside the office environment. Use this to your advantage and get to know each other on whole new level! 

COVID-19 has presented some unique challenges for organizations suddenly transforming to a remote workforce, and it may take some trial and error to find the right approaches to managing in this new environment. By focusing on the things that are important at all times—culture, effective management, clear expectations, flexibility, and communication—you and your remote workforce can indeed thrive!

Please stay safe and remember we’re all in this together! 

 

Share your work-from-home management tips with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Learn more about our response to COVID-19.

Philip GarrisonSix ways to help your remote workforce thrive
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