There’s no denying that employees waste time at work on non-work related browsing, communications, and transactions – everybody does it now and then. Or, is it much more than “every now and then?”
Earlier in the year, a Kansas State University researcher studied cyberloafing (wasting time at work on the Internet) and the results were quite shocking: between 60 and 80 percent of people's time on the Internet at work has nothing to do with work.
For business owners trying to build a profitable business model through effective and efficient personnel, this statistic is nothing short of a nightmare! But is there anything you can do about it in an office that needs to utilize computers all-day, every-day?
Fortunately, yes. No business owner or HR manager likes to play “bad cop,” but having a social media policy or computer-usage policy within your employee handbook can help. But, this is a two-step process. As many of us are well aware, policies that are never or rarely enforced don’t get the best of results.
In order to determine who is wasting countless hours on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter each day, and to actually enforce your Company’s social media policies, you’ll need to recruit the help of those in IT. Employee internet monitoring is an option, as is setting up your network to prohibit logging on to select sites. Because the computers are company property, usage can be restricted and/or observed, while keeping the company within compliance standards.
Keep in mind that many companies have a social media presence; you may even have a social media manager or coordinator on staff. In this type of scenario, certain employees do need to be logged on to social media sites as part of their job description. But again, this is something that needs to be outlined and defined within the employee handbook so that certain employees don’t feel as if they are being treated unfairly or discriminated against.
Did you know that each HR Shield Membership comes with an Employee Handbook Review? This includes the review of all social media policies. Sign up now online or call us at (877) 636-9525 for more information.
Added Bonus: To watch a video on social media policies, click here!
If you’re an HR Manager you’ve got a lot of things to oversee… compliance…benefits…employee management…training…perhaps even payroll. But nothing seems to set you back like an inbox overload! Sending and receiving emails can take up the better half of your day when you’ve got lots of employees and vendors to interact with.
The following 6 tips are brought to you on behalf of HR Shield! We’ve talked to countless office professionals and these simple steps can help make you work much more effectively and efficiently!
- Create Templated Replies: If you find yourself answering the same questions all of the time – such as “how do I update my timesheet” or “where can I find a copy of our employee handbook” or “how do I fill out Form W-4 or Form I-9,” start saving your replies! Cutting and pasting is A LOT easier than rewriting a step-by-step response each and every time someone emails you. Even if you need to edit a portion of the reply to better adhere to the person’s question, you’ll still save yourself a significant amount of time.
- Turn Off Video and Audio Alerts: Many of us start to feel overwhelmed when we’re trying to do too many things at once. You’re right in the middle of onboarding a new employee, and the phone won’t stop ringing and the emails won’t stop coming in. Force yourself into turning off the notifications and checking your inbox only at set times throughout the day. If you’re in the middle of something, the emails can likely wait. This will allow you to focus entirely on what you’re working on. And when it’s time to work through those unread items, you’ll be more relaxed with nothing else going on.
- DELETE: Remember that email conversation that went back and forth 45 times yesterday? If it was casual conversation or something that absolutely will not be needed at a later date, delete it! This will make searching for items in the future much easier.
- Make The Shift Toward Messenger: There are many messenger systems (Skype is one) that can easily be installed in the workplace and permit coworkers to communicate via conversation windows on their desktop. Messenger is perfect for asking your coworkers, boss, or HR manager quick and easy 1-line questions or comments. It’s also easier than walking down the hall into another department! This can prevent you from having an inbox full of quick 1-lined emails going back and forth.
- Use "Rules:" Many email programs permit you to establish "rules" to automatically filter messages. If there are a handful of people in your work life that are high volume senders you can have their emails forward into their own designated folder, rather than flooding your inbox.
- Get Rid of Junk Mail: Maybe it’s not considered junk to you, but daily horoscopes, news updates, social media happenings and more should go to your personal address – not your work address. On a slow day you’ll thoroughly enjoy them. But on busy days they’ll become your worst enemy; you’ll wonder why you ever subscribed to them in the first place! If you’re receiving unsolicited emails you don’t want to be receiving anywhere, be sure to update your spam settings and opt-out of all emails you do not wish to receive.
For best practices and various HR tips, follow our blog each week! If you have any questions, simply contact your HR Advisor at HR Shield: (877) 636-9525.
Walk around any shopping mall, food court, hotel or sporting arena and you’ll see a defibrillator or two built into the wall. Defibrillators deliver a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart of someone who is under cardiac arrest. This “shock” depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle, terminates the dysrhythmia, and allows normal rhythm to be re-established.
Sounds high-tech doesn’t it? Because it is! These devices save people’s lives every day. But as a business owner or HR professional you probably can’t help but get anxiety over the thought of having one in the workplace.
What if the pads are applied in the wrong spot? What if the defibrillator malfunctions? What if a bystander or person trying to help is injured in the process? Am I held liable because it’s my place of business?
Fortunately, the federal Cardiac Arrest Survival Act was enacted in 2000. This Act has a Good Samaritan clause to protect anyone that attempts to aid an individual suffering from sudden cardiac arrest by using an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and performing CPR. This person is free from any liability if the victim becomes injured or dies so long as they delivered CPR correctly and utilized the device correctly.
Any organization that purchases an AED is free from liability as long as it has notified the proper authorities of the medical equipment, and has maintained and performed tests on the medical equipment. Most defibrillators go unused for years, but still only have a 5-10 year lifespan.
According to OSHA, about 10,000 cardiac arrests happen at work each year. If you do decide to install one in the workplace, training all workplace employees how to correctly utilize one is mandatory under the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act. It’s also very important to pay attention to details surrounding this act that may or may not concern you in an emergency situation. For specifics on this act, click here.
If you have questions about compliance, contact our team at HR Shield today.
Are you trying to piece together an employee benefits package for the first time? Perhaps you’re a growing business looking to cut costs yet still provide your team with highly desired benefits. In either one of these scenarios, voluntary benefits could be the solution for you!
Voluntary benefits are insurance products that are not paid for by the employer, but are offered to employees at rates that are lower than they could obtain on their own. A few examples of voluntary benefits are dental, vision, supplemental health, cancer insurance, life and disability.
Many employers prefer voluntary benefits versus offering full-suite employer-sponsored packages for the following reasons:
- Employers can offer extremely robust benefits packages with little to no employer costs.
- Additional administrative costs can be offset by the payroll tax savings the employer gains from Section 125.
- Employees also enjoy low costs when set in comparison to individual plans (by utilizing the purchasing power of your group, the employees get access to benefits at low group rates).
- Customization: Employees choose from options that fit their individual health care situations and don’t pay for the extra products they do not want or need.
- Voluntary benefits offered through your organization may provide employees with insurance products they otherwise would not be able to obtain at all (especially if the select product is only offered through employer sponsored plans and not on an individual basis).
Need some help putting together a plan that makes financial sense for both you and your employees? Your HR Advisor can point you in right direction! Get immediate assistance by calling (877) 636-9525.
If you’re a business owner or hiring manager you’re likely aware of who the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is. This government organization processes about 80,000 job discrimination complaints each year, many of which turn into lawsuits against employers. Your business may be at risk for having discriminatory practices without even knowing it!
For example, did you know the following about interviewing and hiring a disabled individual?
- You can NOT ask a job applicant to answer any medical questions, take a medical exam or identify a disability during the application and interview stage. The law places strict limitations on employers and if you do this, you could face a complaint, or even worse, a lawsuit. You can however ask an applicant whether or not they are capable of performing a specific job function with or without reasonable accommodation.
- After the position has been offered to a candidate, you can then ask certain medical questions or ask the candidate to pass a medical exam. However, you are only permitted by law to do this if you require that all other new employees (disabled or not) with the same job type also answer the questions or take the exam.
- Once an employee is hired, you cannot ask medical questions or require a medical exam unless you need medical documentation to support a request for a certain accommodation within the workplace, or, you are concerned about the employee’s ability to safely or successfully perform their job.
Does your workplace need help with specific hiring situations? A second opinion is almost always worth it. As employers, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to compliance. HR Shield’s expert team is ready to help; just contact our team at (877) 636-9525.