Home Office Sun Deck

Recent studies have shown that quality of life can outshine a big pay raise when it comes to job seeking. Many people are giving up extra money to work for a company that allows a flexible workweek and/or the ability to work from home.

There are many reasons for this, but one of my favorite reasons is the reduction of stress. Having a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home has exponentially reduced the amount of stress in my life. Being able to shave off that morning and evening commute, as well as not having to worry about dressing for my day at the office are also things I love about our flexible work environment.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being in the office with my co-workers. Our office environment is full of smiles and laughter and everyone gets along well. However, some days, it just feels nice to be able to sit quietly in my home office and work alone, in my pajamas, without make-up.

A flexible workplace can also benefit the company. One study showed that when given the opportunity to work from home, productivity of those workers went up. When asked, the employees stated that they felt they could better focus at home with a quieter environment. The same study also showed the rate of turnover for those allowed to work from home dropped significantly from the control group.

Of course, not all businesses are set up to allow this kind of a workforce. In addition, there are some positions, or departments, that need to be in the office every day. For example, a front desk receptionist wouldn’t typically be able to do their job from home. It would be challenging to meet and greet walk-in clients/members/vendors if you were not, in fact, at the front desk of the office.

What I am trying to say is, this option will not work for everyone. But why not at least take a look at the possibility? If you can find a simple, inexpensive way to help improve your employees’ work-life balance, isn’t it worth a shot?

Take a look at your workplace and see if you have some positions you could experiment with. Start small, and if things go well, slowly expand your experiment to other positions. Figure out the kind of supervision remote employees might need and set expectations for performance. Once those things are established, and you have positive results and feedback from your staff, you can keep pushing forward. Then, it could be time to think about rolling out a telecommuting policy across the board.

If you are not sure where to start, give us a call and we can help you!

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Money

You hit it … the maximum of a pay range! Now what? When I get this question, I have a few questions that I need answered:

The answers to these questions are essential when figuring out what to do once you reach the maximum of a pay range. Realistically there should be a cap on pay, and ideally there should be added opportunities provided for those employees who want them. However, you may have that content employee who is happy as a clam doing the same thing day in and day out. They are consistently performing acceptably. Do they deserve some form of cost-of-living adjustment? The simple answer is yes. Yet the real question is, do they deserve anything more than that?

Not having a consistent practice in place makes situations like this difficult. Further questions need to be considered: Have they consistently gone above and beyond what has been asked of them and are they consistently adding to the bottom line either directly or indirectly? Those questions may be harder to answer.

Having a policy in place for employees who are happy right where they are at is necessary, and providing opportunities to cultivate employee skills and abilities for those who want them is a good way of avoiding the range maximum. As their position evolves and they gain more skills and responsibility they will most likely move into higher pay ranges. It eliminates questions and you know what to do when faced with this issue as it comes up.

Here are a few simple options to consider:

  1. Paying a lump sum bonus; it may not always be guaranteed and it eliminates the fixed cost of a standard pay increase
  2. Providing new opportunities for your employees to further develop their skills and abilities
  3. Implementing a pay for performance or variable compensation program
  4. Widening the spread of your current ranges
  5. Finding alternative ways to reward employees that may not be tied to an annual increase

Typically it is your long-time tenured employees who will reach the maximum of the range. Finding creative ways to reward them for their service, and showing them you appreciate their dedication to the job, is essential in retaining your best people. Having the formal policy in place will make your job a whole lot easier!

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Insomnia.

Oregon has become somewhat of an innovator when it comes to passing laws for the working citizen. Our tiered minimum wage law was the first of its kind, and other states are taking notice.

One of Oregon’s newest changes is the new limits on overtime in manufacturing establishments. Essentially, unless the business is exempt, or qualifies for a limited-duration hardship waiver, employees in manufacturing environments are only allowed to work up to 55 hours a week, with a maximum of 60 if they sign a voluntary waiver, which can be rescinded at any time.

These new rules have led to frustrations for employers, as it causes issues with scheduling and production if they don’t have employees who can work when needed. It has also caused frustrations for employees, many of whom are used to working 70 or more hours a week, as it means a drastic cut in pay.

With the shortage of usual working hours, more employees are starting to look for second jobs to cover the difference in wages they are accustomed to bringing home.

The point of these rules seems obvious from an outsider’s view: employee safety, of course. We want to limit the time these employees spend at work because their safety is paramount. When working in a manufacturing environment, there are a lot of inherent dangers and those dangers should be taken seriously. If we can prevent even one accident by limiting working hours, shouldn’t we?

It’s a good question, and one that I keep asking myself. More and more, I am not so sure that it is doing the job that was intended. If employees are seeking secondary positions to supplement their lost income, the whole reasoning behind employee safety is moot. Those same employees would still be working the same hours overall, and depending on the schedule for their second job, they may be working more hours than before.

What can a business do to protect themselves in these situations?

  1. Set clear expectations that this job is the employee’s primary job.
  2. Include a policy in your handbook that addresses secondary employment, and that it should not cause a conflict of interest. Encourage employees to inform their manager or HR if they have, or plan to take, a secondary job. This will give the company an opportunity to remind the employee of the expectations of their position with the company.
  3. Focus on employee performance and productivity, rather than the fact that they have a second job. Make it clear that if their secondary job is beginning to affect their work, there will be consequences, up to and including termination of employment.

The truth is, you generally can’t prevent someone from working a second job. However, you can do your best to make sure employees are focused on their position within your company and that they understand their work performance must be consistent with expectations.

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Between Two Filing Cabinets

If you’re a subscriber to our blog, we know you love great content about HR, leadership and what it takes to be a great place to work.

If you want even more great content, subscribe to our YouTube channel and catch our regular episodes of “Between Two Filing Cabinets” where we bring you tips, trends, troubles and stories from HR. We’ve got so many great stories to share with you that make us laugh, shake our heads, ask “Did that really happen?”, and feel inspired.

In one episode we give you some great tips on recruiting in today’s hyperactive environment. In another, we give the “Best Worst Response” award to an employer that had an epic response to employee reviews of the employer on Glassdoor. When you’re done with each episode you’ll have some great tips and ideas.

Hope you join us soon!

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