Yearly Archives: 2020

  • Stop – Stay Home – Start Something

    April 7, 2020

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    We are seeing so many changes to our work, personal, and social life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While these changes can seem daunting and the obstacles they create insurmountable, this can be a time of healthy change. There is always the chance for good to happen when you stop, stay home, and start something.

     

    STOP

    Are you someone that people would describe as constantly “on the go”? Do you always have a list of to-dos in your head and not enough time to do them? If so, stop. Take the gift of this crisis to stop running around and working to check off the box of every task on your list. Slow down. Stop. Rest is important to your overall health in that it allows your body to restore depleted energy. It also boosts your creativity and productiveness because it decreases fatigue and brain fog.  Not being pulled in a million directions will actually boost the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish. Turn this negative situation into a positive by slowing down and re-centering.

     

    STAY HOME

    One big takeaway from this quarantine is that we have all become quite aware of the massive amounts of time we have spent away from our home and family. Whether it be long hours at work, kids’ sports practice, kids’ music lessons and concerts, socializing with friends, or a mixture of all of the above, we may be realizing now just how little time we’ve spent inside our four walls. Now, our government is asking us to stay home for the sake of flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Many cities have taken this a step further and have “shelter in place” orders restricting the amount of time citizens are outside of their home to only essential tasks. These restrictions help lessen the chance of the virus spreading and assist our healthcare system by not overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare workers as they care for the sick. Help your family, your neighbors, and your workplace and stay home during this season.

     

    START SOMETHING

    It is so easy to look at our current situation in the world with COVID-19 and to only feel fear and see restrictions. But, now you have the opportunity to flip the switch on those feelings and choose to find the good during this quarantine. Remember when we were all going to start knitting, or scrapbooking, or photography? Go find those things and start them again! How about that idea you’ve had for years about starting a family game night? Tonight’s the night to start! Ever caught yourself saying “well, back in my day we knew how to <insert long lost basic skill here>” to your kids? Start teaching them about that skill whether it’s sewing or typing or laundry!

     

    NOW

    Now is the time to begin seeing the good in this situation. You can do it. Don’t let this time slip away and feel like it’s been wasted. Stop rushing. Stay home and keep everyone healthy. Start something good and memorable in your house. Don’t waste this global crisis—use it for a positive outcome in your life. – use it as a great opportunity to slow down, stay home, and start something new!

  • Walmart acts smart – and does medical care their own way – in their store | Jordan Shields, Partner

    April 7, 2020

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    Sean Slovenski is the Walmart president for U.S. health and wellness, a $36 billion division that already fills over 400 million prescriptions and operates 3,000 vision centers.  Walmart was the first pharmacy to offer prescriptions for as little as $4, and then began cutting its own health care costs with partnerships like the Cleveland Clinic and offering free health screenings.  Now they have opened large health centers in the Atlanta area, with flat fees prominently displayed, for dental, medical and eye care, X-rays, hearing checks and some diagnostic testing.  “We have taken advantage of every lever we can to bring the price of doing all of this down more than any hospital or group practice could humanly do…our goals, just like in the stores, is to get the prices as low as we can.”  Walmart says their model lowers the cost of delivering service by about 40%.

  • Medicare for Fall – elections in Colorado may push the states do what the feds can’t | Jordan Shields, Partner

    April 3, 2020

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    Colorado lawmakers are preparing a vote on a state-sponsored health plan that would compete with private insurance and offer lower premiums. The governor has the idea of reducing health care costs at the top of his agenda, creating an Office of Saving People Money on Health Care. Colorado follows in the wake of Washington, which already has a public option, and joins Delaware, Massachusetts and New Mexico who have their own proposals. Colorado’s
    state-sponsored plan would start in 2022 and target the 7% of the population that buys their own health insurance, with premiums 11-17% below market. The state will target hospital costs in a transparent manner, replacing carrier negotiations, and also limit carrier profits and their budget for administrative expenses. Hospitals are not happy and have proposed their own idea that would limit total health care spending without interfering in the privately negotiated rates between insurers and hospitals.

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

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    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

  • Remote Work Challenges for HR

    March 23, 2020

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    It’s been said the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has created the largest remote work experiment ever devised.  In fact, there are many recently documented cases where companies have asked at least some of their employees to work from home.  Three of those companies are Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.

    Remote work, of course, is not something new.  In the past, remote work has been largely reserved for customer service representatives but that’s changed now with remote work being a reality for many different industries across the board.  There’s been a 173 percent increase in people working remotely since 2005.  Additionally, 75 percent of workers say they’re more productive at home.  The reasons:

    • Fewer distractions
    • Less commuting
    • Lower instances of office politics

    The coronavirus aside, there are some real challenges for HR when it comes to looking after a remote workforce.  Chief among them is the strategy for keeping those remote employees engaged the company.

    Remote Work

    Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement is not an easy thing to accomplish.  By and large, it really depends on the type of organization and the type of workers typically employed by said organization.  What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.  When a company then adds remote workers into the mix, one can see how it gets more difficult to see success in a strategy.

    In some ways, it’s easy for human resources to develop this idea remote workers don’t need engagement.  The opposite is actually true.  Remote workers tend to be very productive.  Most statistics back up this claim.  A solid remote worker is typically described as:

    • Self-Disciplined
    • Adaptable
    • Flexible
    • Strong communicators
    • Independent
    • Confident
    • Reliable

    Even with all of that said, remote works want to feel like they belong with the company.  It’s imperative they believe they are important and valued members of the company culture and its community.  Remote workers, just like on-site workers, are susceptible to certain trends such as leaving the organization within the first year and leaving to pursue career advancement opportunities.

    Facilitating Remote Work

    All of that said, there are things company leaders and managers can do to set the engagement of the remote workforce on the right path.

    1. Expectations

    The whole point of remote work is not having to go into the office.  As such flexible work scheduling is typically a piece of the overall remote working strategy.  To be more to the point – workers probably aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site.  That being said, managers can set particular expectations such as times the employee is expected to be “on the clock.”  Some people refer to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.”  It’s during this time remote workers should be expected to be prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls as well as be available to collaborate with the team.

    1. Inclusion

    Normally when the word inclusion is used, it’s in connected to diversity.  In this particular instance, the focus is not on the inclusion of workers from any other perspective than the fact they are part of a team.  If a team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy or anything for that matter, remote workers should be allowed to participate.  They should actually be expected to do so.  With tools such as Zoom and Skype available, there’s no reason they should not be included in the conversation.

    1. Rewards

    In a lot of instances, brick-and-mortar employees tend to think remote workers don’t work nearly as much.  That’s actually a misconception.  In most instances, remote workers work longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours a week.  That being said, it’s important to reward these workers.  If they are hitting their goals, that needs to be recognized.

    Productivity Case Study

    One area where companies tend to cringe when it comes to remote work is in productivity.  There are some real fears presented from leaders with respect to workers not being as productive when working from home as compared to those brick-and-mortar employees.  Some of it, like it or not, stems from the need some leaders have with respect to seeing their direct reports work.  Is this fear founded or unfounded?  If the results of one case study (and several others) are to be believed, the answer is definitely unfounded.

    Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency.  A professor from Stanford studies whether or not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for productivity.”  It took two years to complete the study and what the professor found is a profound increase in productivity for a group of remote workers over their in-office counterparts.  It wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”, however.  Those remote workers did report an increase in feeling lonely and many reported they didn’t want to work from home all the time.  In the end, the recommendation was to create a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from home and in the office.

    In summation

    Here’s what we know.  Right now, there are some 26 million Americans who work, at least part of the time, from home.  And that number is only going to grow.  According to a report from Buffer, 99 percent of employees say they want to work from home some of the time for the rest of their careers.  Additionally, IWG says their research indicates 80 percent of workers would choose a position with flexible work over one that didn’t offer the benefit.

    It can only be hypothesized the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to push employers to test the boundaries of remote working.  In doing so, they will have to take a very hard look at their current employee engagement strategies to ensure workers still feel connected to the organization and each other.  While it’s not the single most important thing when it comes to continued profitability, especially in an economy rocked by a worldwide coronavirus outbreak, it will go a long way to ensuring companies can continue delivering on business promises and supporting the bottom line and the company workforce.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • California Law Review – you MUST have seen all of this | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 17, 2020

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    Minimum Wage:  $12 (under 25 employees) or $13 in California.  But beware that many municipalities have filed their own (notably Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Richmond, San Jose and San Francisco), which are higher or accord workers greater rights (usually surrounding health insurance).  Note, too, how to count telecommuting and thresholds for commissioned salespeople.

    Santa Rosa     $14 or $15 as of July 1, 2020

    Petaluma         $14 or $15 as of January 1 and raising one dollar January 1, 2021

    Sonoma          $14 or $15 on January 1, 2021

    Overtime for Agricultural Workers – with splits for under 25 and 25 or more employees

    Lactation – all California employers must meet minimum guidelines for providing a safe and secure place for mothers lactating.  Employers with less than 50 employees may request an exemption.  There are also rules against discharging employees with these rights.

    Harassment Training – now applies to all companies with at least five employees

    Independent Contractors – this is a big one, and complicated – but basically institutes rules regarding who is an independent contractor in California.  Fair warning – almost no one is.

     

  • Dental Health Benefits You Can’t Afford to Lose

    March 16, 2020

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    Did you know that a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene can actually reduce your likelihood of other serious diseases? Your mouth is more than just a gateway to enjoying delicious food. Your mouth is an indicator of your overall health. Let’s chew on the facts about dental health and what it can mean for the rest of your body.

    Gum Disease = Warning Sign

    Decayed teeth and gum disease are more than just unattractive–they are a report card on how the rest of your body is doing. Inflammation of your gums can first show up as bad breath. From there, this warning sign can point to more serious cardiovascular problems like blocked blood vessels and even elevated stroke risk. Think your diabetes is under control? Think again if you have the warning sign of gum disease. Check with your doctor if you feel like you just can’t get your swollen and bleeding gums to heal. Uncontrolled diabetes is linked directly to the inability to fight infections like those gum issues. Finally, the warning sign of gum disease has also been tied to higher risk for arthritis and even cognitive issues like slower verbal recall and slower ability to perform subtraction problems.

    Oral Bacteria = Major Health Risk

    Bacteria buildup in your mouth leads your body towards major health issues. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and can be traced back to oral bacteria that is left unchecked and enters the bloodstream. These same bacteria, left unchecked, can start major heart issues as coronary disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. Pneumonia has been caused by bacteria from your mouth being pulled into your lungs. And premature birth and low birth weight can be the result of periodontitis in the birth mother.

    Tips to a Healthy Mouth

    While the end result of poor oral health can lead to disease, the way to avoid this scary pathway is by practicing these good dental habits.
    • Brush your teeth twice a day. If you are unable to brush, chew sugar-free gum or use on-the-go toothbrushes like the Colgate Wisp.
    • Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen weak spots and exposed roots.
    • After brushing, use mouthwash to rinse away any leftover food particles.
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed bristles are not strong enough to remove food from between teeth.
    • Schedule regular dental visits for both cleanings and exams.
    • Adhere to a healthy diet that is low in sugar.
    • Avoid tobacco.

    Understanding that good dental health leads to good overall health is key. Conversely, poor dental habits have been shown to lead to everything from minor infections to major diseases. When you take care of your teeth and gums the benefits to your overall health are innumerable. Follow the tips outlined here for good dental health and your body will reap the benefits for years to come.

    Want to educate others on the benefits to good dental health? Check out these resources:
    World Oral Health Day—March 20
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    American Dental Association—Printables and Activities for Children

  • Taxing Issues continued – whither will the ACA wither when the Supreme Court rules? | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 10, 2020

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    The biggest controversy, and the item that pushed the ACA over the goal line, was Chief Justice Roberts siding with his liberal colleagues and approving the law, based on disputed logic that likened the mandate penalty on individuals to a tax, and thus subject to federal approval (and Supreme Court affirmation).  When the federal government decided to eliminate the penalty, they also eliminated the Supreme Court justification for ACA continuation.  That was upheld in a recent US Court of Appeals decision (Fifth Circuit), saying the mandate is now unconstitutional.

    Now the states who joined the original suit and the House of Representatives have filed two petitions asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue immediately for both its constitutional position and the ACA viability if the mandate is struck down.

  • Employee Burnout in 2020

    March 10, 2020

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    For a long time, employee burnout has been dismissed. In some instances, it’s been written off as employee laziness or simply an employee being contrary. That, however, is no longer the case.

    In 2020, HR professionals are going to have to deal with it as a realized syndrome and one that is becoming more prevalent in the workplace. By going unmanaged, it has become an issue for companies all over the world. And if the trends are to be believed, it’s going to continue to go as a problem in the years to come. The impact is overwhelming. According to one article, in 2019 there was an increase in stress and burnout incidents reported. The result had an impact on workplace cultures actually causing them to decline.

     

    Employee Burnout
    Impact on Workplaces

    Employee burnout cases have increased to the point where the World Health Organization has officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. In fact, the WHO has included it in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The handbook describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

    “As work becomes more intertwined with technology and work becomes more portable, the boundaries of personal time and work time are getting blurred,” Vishal Bhalla said. He’s the Chief Experience Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System. “It’s important HR doesn’t puff its chest up and pretend it doesn’t exist and actually address it.”

    Why? Bhalla says it can impact so many things in the workplace and outside of it.

    “Burnout impacts safety issues. It impacts turnover. And there are many social effects because individuals who experience burnout tend to numb themselves by indulging in things one should not indulge in and they eventually end up hurting themselves or others,” Bhalla explained.

    Gallup recently surveyed more than 7,500 full-time employees about burnout. 23 percent of those workers said they felt burned out more often than not. An additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. To put that into context, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers are dealing with burnout at some point while at work.

    As a result, those employees were nearly three times as likely to start looking for another job. Additionally, Ginger, an on-demand behavioral health provider, says 50 percent have missed at least one day.

     

    Causes of Burnout
    Bhalla said any number of things can lead to an employee experiencing burnout. Sometimes, it has to do with the relationship between the employee and his or her manager. It can also be tracked back to instances of bullying or discrimination. Another big component to employee burnout is the employee doing more than his or her fair share of work. Bhalla says this relates to, for example, the time it takes for the company to replace a member of the team that was promoted, left the organization or was terminated. In most situations, the team is expected to pick up the slack. That can lead to stress which can ultimately translate into burnout.

     

    Conclusion
    So how does HR solve for the problem?

    “We can leverage technology. We can leverage culture work. We can leverage engagement because the other end of the spectrum is an engaged team member,” Bhalla said. He also pointed to design thinking as an option.

    “It’s more incumbent on HR to take care of their people well. There are a lot of resources that are available for us to be able to impact burnout.”

    Creating a workplace where an employee is excited to come to work can help curb the possibility of an employee developing burnout. In reality, no one is immune, but creating an environment where employees feel happy, engaged and motivated along with having the tools they need to succeed goes a long way.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • Trust in God – All Others Pay Cash – the government goes after faith based plans | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 3, 2020

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    The concept is simple, just like insurance.  Get a group of people in a common pool to pay premiums, collected for the purpose of paying them back in claims.  The problem is it is not insurance, and there is a notable absence of protections against a run on the pool.  Christian cost-sharing ministries that enroll individuals are now facing scrutiny from several state regulators who believe that their claims about claims are not what they seem, and may lack the financial resources to allow faith to function.  Yes, the premiums are lower than what is found in the market, but so are the protections, with either internal or external caps and, of course, faith in the finances of the ministry group holding their money.  State regulators in New Hampshire, Colorado and Texas are doing some investigation on the practices, promises and reality of what is being offered.  Washington State has fined one of the larger health sharing ministries, Trinity Healthshare, $150,000 and banned it from offering its products to state residents.  Nevada has sent out a warning, with the Department of Insurance saying “they may seem enticing because they may be cheap, look and sound like they are in compliance with the ACA, when in reality these plans are not even insurance products.”  Texas has brought suit against Aliera Healthcare.

  • March Madness 2020: The Ball is in Your Court

    March 2, 2020

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    March Madness is upon us, and there is no avoiding it. Selection Sunday, when the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Committee announces which 68 teams made the 2020 tournament, is March 15th. Games begin with the First Four on March 17th and 18th and culminate with the Final Four April 4th and the 2020 NCAA championship game on April 6th.

    While this annual event can impact productivity, employers may find that the positive effects it has on team engagement and camaraderie outweigh any negatives. Consider these facts from both sides of the coin:

    • An estimated $1.9 billion is lost in workplace productivity during a typical March Madness tournament. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)
    • Employees will spend 25.5 minutes per workday on March Madness, for a total of 6 hours spread over the 15 workdays when games will be played. (OfficeTeam) This includes time spent by 76 percent of employees who admit to checking scores during work hours and 53 percent who watch or follow sporting events on their computers while at work. (Randstad)
    • As much as $3 billion will be bet on workplace bracket pools during March Madness this year. (FordHarrison) About 40 percent of workers say they have participated in college basketball brackets in their offices, with an average of $22.44 contributed to the pools. (Randstad)
    • Nearly 9 in 10 employees said participating in NCAA brackets at work helped build team camaraderie, and 73 percent said they look forward to going to work more when they are part of an office pool. (Randstad)

    So how can an employer embrace the fun of March Madness while enforcing the rules it may push the limits of? Whether you view the tournament as a minor distraction that creates an opportunity to boost morale, or as a potential pitfall of legal liability, missed deadlines, and dissatisfied customers, the ball is in your court. Here are five ways to maximize the positive aspects of March Madness while minimizing disruptions.

    1. Have fun: Make it clear to your employees that you want them to enjoy work and March Madness while not letting the tournament put a full-court press on their work. Encourage employees to wear their favorite team’s clothing and/or decorate their workspace in their team’s colors.
    2. Watch together: Put televisions in break rooms so that employees have somewhere to watch the games other than the internet. That way, connectivity is not slowed and productivity lost even for those not participating in the Madness activities. Provide snacks for the viewers.
    3. Be careful with brackets: Organize a company-wide pool with no entry fee to avoid ethical or legal issues surrounding office gambling. Give away a company gift to the pool winner that is not cash. Keep the brackets posted and updated in the break room.
    4. Be flexible: Allow workers to arrive early so they can work a full shift and still leave in time to see big games that overlap the end of their shift. Conversely, allowing employees to delay their start time the morning after big games may help reduce absenteeism.
    5. Follow the rules: Review applicable company policies — such as gambling, use of personal electronics and company computers, and work and break hours—with your employees before engaging in any March Madness activities at work, so it will be clear to all what is considered acceptable.Determine how March Madness fits with your business culture and customer deliverables. If employees are getting their work done, customers are happy, and the biggest problems are reduced internet bandwidth or a little more noise in the cubicles or lunchroom for a couple of days, it’s nothing but net. (See what we did there?) Decide how you’ll be playing this before the opening tipoff and the Madness begins!

    By Rachel Sobel

    Originally posted on thinkhr.com

  • Let the dismantling continue – the ACA | Jordan Shields, Partner

    February 25, 2020

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    The massive Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed in the waning days of December, made several substantive changes to the Affordable Care Act, a goal President Trump first trumpeted in his campaign and has continued to pursue since he began his office term.

    • Repeal of the Cadillac Tax – a classic case of “now that we have it, what do we do with it” given that it was going to charge many medical plan policyholders a tax for having a “rich” plan.  Revenue was supposed to pay for ACA reductions, so now what?
    • Repeal of the 2.3% medical excise tax (will the manufacturers reduce their pricing by a commensurate amount?)
    • Repeal of the Health Insurance Premium Tax (HIT) after 2020 (which carriers have been passing along two policyholders since it was imposed – and now?)

    There is no waiver or end to the PCORI (Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute) tax, though no one is quite sure what the institute is doing.  This only applies to self-funded plans.

    It is also apparent that the Trump administration, following an executive order filed early in the term, has no intention of pursuing any further action on discrimination testing.

    The repeal of the three taxes, designed to pay for ACA coverage expansion, result in a collective loss of $373.3 billion over ten years.  No replacement for the revenue is suggested.

    There is also something in the bill regarding “silver loading” which deals with allowances for the premium tax credit for those who qualify for the subsidy.  The premium for the second lowest cost marketplace silver plan is used to determine the credit allowance.  As a result, carriers loaded the cost of the silver plan, despite the actual actuarial considerations.  If silver loading were prohibited, it is speculated that carriers would spread the load among all medical plans.  The expected increase was 11% for non-silver plans with a 5% reduction in silver plans.

  • Service Animals in the Workplace | California Benefits Advisors

    February 24, 2020

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    In 2020, many people with disabilities use the emotional and physical support provided by a service animal. This means that the workplace has seen an increase of these service animals over the last decade and therefore the workforce needs to be educated on this changing environment. Let’s take a look at what constitutes a service animal and the accommodation of such in the workplace.


    Americans with Disabilities Act

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides a framework of protections for people with disabilities in the workplace. Title I of the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against potential candidates and employees with disabilities. In fact, Title I outlines that the workplace must make “reasonable accommodations” for this specific group of people. “Examples of reasonable accommodations include making existing facilities accessible; job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; changing tests, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters.”


    “Service Animals” Definition

    According to the Department of Justice’s revised Title III of the ADA, a service animal is now defined under Title III as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability.” Currently, a “service animal” can also include another species of helper: a trained miniature horse. Of course, there are limitations to what a workplace can accommodate in terms of miniature horses and the employer would make those limitations known if approached with the need of a person with a horse as their assistant.


    Accommodation Requests & Documentation

    When an accommodation is requested on behalf of a disabled candidate or employee, the employer must consider the request. However, the employer is simply required to assess and suggest options for the reasonable accommodation for the employee. Some examples of job accommodations may include installing a ramp or modifying the layout of a workstation. Technology accommodations may be providing sign language interpreters at events or providing screen reader software. The ADA does not specifically address or require the inclusion of service animals in the workplace. So, if the employer has a no-animals-in-the-workplace policy and is asked to allow a service animal for an employee, the employer must consider modifying this policy but is not required to modify it. A “reasonable accommodation” for an employee does not always equal their “preferred accommodation.”

    As for documentation for service animals in the workplace, the ADA does allow for an employer to request medical documentation for the need for the disabled person to need this accommodation. It also allows for the employer to request proof from the employee that the service animal is appropriately trained to assist them and that it is trained to not disrupt the workplace under normal conditions. It is worth noting that an “emotional support animal” is NOT classified as a “service animal” by the ADA unless it can perform a specific task, such as sense when an anxiety attack is about to happen in the case of someone with PTSD and the animal helps avoid or lesson that attack.


    Conclusion

    Every workplace should have written policies on reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. Of course, there is no way to include all possibilities and so the policies can include the language of consideration of requests on a case-by-case basis. The key to this policy is that those who are in charge of assessing accommodation requests must be willing to truly consider the accommodation of service animals.


    Resources

    Need help? Check out these resources on workplace accommodations for those with disabilities:

    Office of Disability Employment Policy

    FAQ about Service Animals and the ADA

    Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion

    Job Accommodation Network

  • No Gym Required for These (Financial) Fitness Tips

    February 20, 2020

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    If you’re like me, your social-media feeds are jammed with headlines about getting “healthy and fit” in the new year. Of course, they’re referring to diet and exercise and common resolutions to drop pounds and work out more often.

    But it’s just as important to be concerned about your financial fitness—where you can also drop some baggage and get some strength training without going near a gym. (In fact, if you have a subscription to a gym membership but aren’t going, that’s one financial fix you can make right now.)

    Here are some tips to consider for any age:

    IN YOUR 20s:

    Workout: Have a portion of each paycheck deposited into your savings account, or take advantage of bank programs that “round up” or have other automated savings features. Trust me, you won’t feel this burn.

    Diet: Start making coffee at home or at the office instead of going for expensive lattes. Fewer calories, and more money in your pocket. This is a good time to consider getting life insurance (whether you are single or attached) as it is less expensive the younger and healthier you are.

    You also need to consider disability insurance, which pays you a portion of your salary if you are sick or injured and unable to work—because who would pay your bills if you couldn’t? Your work may offer this as an employee benefit, so check with your HR department to find out if you have it and what it covers (short-term, long-term disability, etc.)

    IN YOUR 30s:

    Workout: You probably have a retirement program at work or some other preliminary retirement planning in place. If you don’t, start.

    If you do, why not increase the amount you divert into retirement by a percentage point each year—equaling your company match percentage, if they have it, is a good target.

    Diet: You may not have gotten life insurance beyond what you have through your workplace, but now is the time to consider an individual policy that you own. Remember, when you leave a job, you typically lose that life insurance offered through your workplace. And, given that life insurance through the workplace usually equals one or two times you salary (or a set amount like $50,000), it’s no longer going to cut it if you have a growing family.

    If money’s tight, as it often is with a growing family, lingering student loans, and perhaps a mortgage, a term life insurance policy can protect you through the lean years. But don’t overlook the long-term benefits of a permanent life insurance policy. The cash value can be tapped later for needs that may arise. Plus, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a combination of both.

    Also, consider an individual disability insurance policy that you personally own and follows you throughout your career. If you’re relying on work coverage, know that it goes away when you leave that job, and often these policies have bare-bones coverage.

    IN YOUR 40s:

    Workout: Do you have a financial professional helping you out? Navigating the ins and outs of a growing investment portfolio can be tricky as you move through your career and want to use traditional or Roth IRAs, and the tax benefits of various planning strategies. This may also be the time that you can add a permanent life insurance policy, if you haven’t before, which allows you to accrue cash value and obtain benefits that extend later into your life.

    Diet: If you’re still carrying extra debt at this point, it’s time to get that paid down. Tackle higher-interest debts first, and celebrate each paid-off card or loan with … a bigger payment to the next one on the list.

    IN YOUR 50s:

    Workout: Max out your retirement contributions, especially once your kids are through college. This is also a good time to start researching things like long-term care insurance, and to make sure that your investment portfolio is built in such a way that you can reach your goals.

    Diet: It may be very tempting to take on a new debt now: some folks want a vacation home, or the time may be right to start a business. But beware of any super-risky moves that can spell catastrophe with limited time to recoup losses, or that leave you with unexpected bills.

    IN YOUR 60s and beyond:

    Workout: Evaluate your Social Security situation against your retirement portfolio to determine the best time to retire. Understand the “living benefits” of your life insurance policies and how annuities may help you create a retirement income stream that you can’t outlive.

    Diet: Is it time to downsize? It can be hard letting go of “stuff” so that you can go from that four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo. But the financial benefit of doing so may surprise you—plus there is less to clean and take care of (not to mention the ease of jetting off at a moment’s notice with no need for someone to look after your home.)

    A lot depends on factors like your relationship status, your career path, whether you have kids or not, and what your long-term goals are, and these can change at any time in our lives.

    The long and short of it is that just as when it comes to “health and fitness” goals, you’d get an annual physical. Need to know if you’re financially fit? Talk to an insurance professional or financial advisor today.

    By Helen Mosher

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart

    February 10, 2020

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    Each February we focus on ways to improve our heart health in honor of American Heart Month. This year we want to help you by turning your attention to the foods you eat and how to make smart choices with our “This or That” challenge!

    Below you will see two foods to choose between. Your goal is to choose the food that is the healthier option. Answers can be found at the end of the challenge.

     

     

    Diet Soda vs Carbonated Water

    Skip the drink with the high levels of artificial sweeteners and choose carbonated water! Diet drinks have been linked to symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Some symptoms of this include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and lower than normal HDL cholesterol levels. Pour yourself a glass of carbonated water and put a slice of fruit in your glass instead!

     

    Butter vs Olive Oil

    Pour on the olive oil to maintain good heart health. Butter is full of high amounts of saturated fat. Butter is also known to raise the bad cholesterol levels in your blood. Olive oil and even canola and sunflower oils contain heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.

     

    Sweet Potato Fries vs French Fries

    Warm up your new Air Fryer and start cooking sweet potato fries with a little olive oil. French fries are full of fat and salt and a study linked eating 2-3 servings of fries a week to a higher chance of an early death.

     

    1 oz Salted Nuts vs 1 oz Potato Chips

    Pass the pecans, please! When you choose nuts over chips, you are also choosing your health. Regular nut snackers are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

     

    1.5 oz Dark Chocolate vs 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

    No matter how much you love Grandma’s cookie recipe, your heart needs you to choose the dark chocolate. A study has found that those people who eat dark chocolate 3 times a week reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by 11%.

     

    T-bone Steak vs Grilled Salmon Fillet

    Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Salmon is chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which reduce fat in your blood and reduces clogged arteries. Steak is famous for high levels of saturated fat and LDL cholesterol.

     

    Coca-Cola vs Red Wine

    Pop the cork, not the soda tab. Carbonated sodas are full of artificial ingredients and sugar. Red wine has been shown to increase your good cholesterol levels and has many antioxidants that can help protect the lining of the blood vessels in your heart.

     

    You are now a “This or That” Food Challenge winner! Go celebrate with a grilled salmon dinner, a glass of red wine, and a handful of dark chocolate!

     

    Sources:

    https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/ss/slideshow-foods-bad-heart

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-hearthealthy-food-swaps

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281

  • The Importance of Sleep

    January 29, 2020

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    Everyone knows that eating healthy, getting exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and not smoking leads to a healthy lifestyle. Did you know that sleep is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle? With 1/3 of our lifetime being spent sleeping, this part of our life must take importance. Let’s delve into why sleep is important and what you can do to improve this area of your life.

     

    No Snooze, You Lose

    At different stages in our life, we require different amounts of sleep. From birth to 4-years old, toddlers need about 11-14 hours of sleep. They are growing and learning both cognitively and emotionally and this takes lots of energy. To restore that energy that is expended during these active toddler years, they require lots of sleep! School-age children are some of the most active humans on the planet. Being at school from 8-3 everyday really wears their little bodies out. Because of their activity, these children need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep each night. As they grow into their teen years, kids need 8-10 hours. And, as adults, we need 7-9 solid hours of sleep a night.

     

    Why?

    During our restful time of sleep, our bodies are hard at work restoring, rejuvenating, growing muscle, repairing tissue, and synthesizing hormones. To say the least, our bodies are never at rest. When we are awake and moving, we are busy processing stimuli, converting calories to energy, and growing, to name a few basic functions.  When we sleep, these processes continue but our body also does the intricate work of strengthening our immune system, fighting disease and infection, and processing the day’s emotions through dreams. Scientists say the benefits of good sleep include:

    • Sharper brain
    • Healthier heart
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Weight control
    • Mood boosters
    • Steadier blood sugar

     

    Rhythm Section

    To get the optimized benefits of sleep you have to get your body in the correct circadian rhythm.  According to the National Institutes of Health, “Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.” Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and even external lights can interfere with this rhythm and therefore have a negative impact on your overall health.

     

    How?

    To get the best sleep and the right amount of sleep, you need to optimize that circadian rhythm. Here are some tips:

    1. Stick to a consistent schedule of both bedtime AND waketime
    2. Go for a morning walk—getting your body up and moving when it wakes up from overnight sleep helps reset your rhythm.
    3. Limit evening technology
      1. bright lights confuse the brain into believing it’s still daytime
      2. blue lights—specifically in laptops and cellphones—should be turned off within 2 hours of bedtime

     

    Understanding the importance of and the benefits from a good night’s sleep will help you prioritize this task each day. Start doing the basic work of setting a consistent bedtime and build up to turning off that cellphone game early.  You can’t afford to skimp on sleep—your body depends on it!

  • Obamacare going down? While rates are going up? Court Challenges Continue

    January 21, 2020

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    A District Court in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional as soon as they dropped the penalty, saying that its elimination ended the tax justification cited by the Supreme Court when they reviewed it.  A group of 17 states filed suit and said that the ACA should stay…but an appeals court voted 2-1 against it.  And the controversy continues.

  • International Hiring Strategy

    January 15, 2020

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    In today’s business world, there is more pressure than ever to maintain a high rate of growth and reach new revenue goals. And growth usually means hiring.

    The work of HR is an important part of that work, especially where fast-growing companies are concerned. There are many reasons why going beyond borders and hiring talent internationally can help a company reach its objectives.

    Why International Hiring?

    Growing globally Grab Market Share

    Over the last ten years or so, companies have seen huge growth, but they’re starting to exceed their size regionally.  As a result, companies are hiring internationally to take advantage of new markets and job applicant pools.

    Debbie Millin is the Chief Operating Officer for Globalization Partners, the organization behind the Global Expansion PlatformTM.  Millin says one popular way companies kickstart their expansion is by hiring sales people in new countries where they want to expand.  At the end of the day, companies need to grab global market share and hiring those workers is a good way to start.

    Competitive Advantage

    Millin says companies are going global earlier and faster than they used to, because if they don’t, someone else can use the idea and set up an in-country competitor.  One example:  Didi and Uber.  Uber didn’t get into the market quickly enough and lost out to Didi.

    Accessing a larger applicant pool

    Millin says you must go to the talent.  As the world continues to develop, it’s going to feel much smaller than it does now.  Organizations must start looking outside their current regional offices to scout the best talent available. Unemployment rates are low, and hiring is competitive so staying in your own backyard could severely limit the talent pool.

    The Contractor Trap

    But acquiring international talent does not necessarily mean hiring contractors. This is one of the common mistakes companies make. Leaders identify great talent in a place like Brazil or France and attempt to hire those workers.  The only problem? International contractor laws are the same as those in the United States; if the person acts like an employee, they are an employee. Following this action opens the company up to significant legal risk and financial penalties.

    Falling into “the contractor trap” really is a trap, because it’s not always easy to get out. If the relationship with the contractor begins to deteriorate, they could easily expose the working arrangement to the authorities, and you could potentially owe back taxes, fines, unpaid benefits and more.

    When companies are truly ready to go after the best global talent, hiring full-time makes the most sense. The best talent wants a full-time role, with benefits, and opportunities for growth.

    Where’s the growth?

    Based on data from Globalization Partners, Millin says the following 10 countries are at the top when it comes to expansion.

    1. Canada
    2. UK
    3. Singapore
    4. Mexico
    5. China
    6. Australia
    7. Brazil
    8. Germany
    9. India
    10. South Korea

    The UK tends to be the first stop after Canada 90% of the time, but that’s changing with Brexit. Companies are more hesitant to enter the UK of with the uncertainty of what Brexit will bring, showing how important it is for companies to be aware of the social and political issues in a country as you plan your global expansion.

    Millin says for HR professionals at companies that have decided to take advantage of the many opportunities associated with global growth, the next step is to figure out how to make it happen.

    The Process

    Decide whether to set up shop in another country

    Opening a compliant business entity in any country is challenging – and some are much harder than others. If the company chooses to set up a branch office or wholly-owned subsidiary, it can take six months to a year, or longer, before the company is legally able to operate in the region, not to mention several thousands of dollars.

    Plus, leaders will need to know about local registrations, bank accounts, corporate/tax filings, administering compliant payroll and benefits in country, and more. Some of the “gotchas” to look out for include bank account setup – it can take months. And some countries require in-person signatures. It’s not always feasible to be physically in-country throughout the entity set-up process.

    Lack of At-Will Employment

    In the United States, companies can hire and fire at will – as long as the reason for termination isn’t illegal. Outside of the U.S., this is an unknown concept. Employers must prove that an employee dismissal is legally justified, and in many countries, that is difficult to do, and evidence must be documented.

    If legal process aren’t followed properly, the company can open itself up to a wrongful termination lawsuit, which can be vastly more expensive, and take years to resolve.

    No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    Benefits vary from country-to-country and from individual-to-individual. A global company must adhere to the idiosyncrasies of each country’s laws and customs and still offer “equal” benefits to all employees.

    On the plus side, so many countries have statutory benefits plans that in some locations your company may not need to provide supplementary benefits at all.

    Understanding the local market norms can help you stand out as an employer of choice.

    For global teams, HR should shape equitable benefit offerings around perks that maximize the quality of life for the company’s employees within the context of their own culture.  Research what benefits are most valued in a particular location, and what other employers are offering in that market beyond what is required.  This helps the company stay competitive, and gives the candidate confidence from the very first interaction with your company.

    But all of this takes time, as well as local knowledge and expertise, which can put additional burden on in-house HR teams who are managing the process alone.

    Going Forward

    So what are the options? One solution to expanding internationally is to use a Global Employer of Record. An employer of record is an organization that serves as the employer for tax purposes, while the employee performs their work at a different company.

    Specifically, an Employer of Record such as Globalization Partners helps:

    • Onboard employees in over 170 countries
    • Manage payroll and taxes – compliantly
    • Navigate the complexities of local benefits, PTO, and bonus structures

    Working with a Global Employer of Record provides a quick time-to-market, until you reach a critical mass in country, or you can continue with this model indefinitely depending on your business.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • What Workers Really Want – MetLife study about emerging employer trends for employees

    January 14, 2020

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    If employers rely on benefits to attract employees, what is it about the benefits that are attractive?  Essentially, alleviating the financial stress people may feel, coming from a variety of sources.  Is that working?  According to the recent MetLife survey, only 64% of employees agree.  With companies of less than 100 employees, that number plummets to 47%.  Surveyed further, the number of employees who agree with the statement “I am interested in having my employer provide a wider array of non-medical benefits I can choose to purchase and pay for on my own,” the number stratified by the length of employment.  Among those with less than five years in the workforce, 73% agreed.  For those with 5 to 10 years it was 69% and it only drops to 66% for those with 10 to 15 years in the workforce.

  • Communication in the Workplace

    January 7, 2020

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    Today’s workforce looks markedly different than it did just 10 years ago. 1 in 3 workers in the US are millennials and this makes them the largest generation in our current workforce. The way this generation communicates makes it necessary for the office to adjust its messaging strategy. What was seen as top-notch communication tech in the early 2000’s has been replaced by new options. As we peer into 2020, let’s take a look at some new ways to communicate effectively with employees both in an office setting and across the globe.

    Video Conferencing

    Utilizing tech to communicate in your workplace is essential. Office spaces that were previously filled with people who interacted with one another daily now house screens and common space workstations. Because of this, video conferencing has become a necessity to build a sense of unity and community within a department. Employees that are in the office are able to see and interact with their coworkers that may be at their home office or even across the globe in a different country via video services like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype. Collaborating on projects no longer requires you to sit across the table from your team as you can sit in front of a computer screen and share ideas and update progress.

    Project Management

    Since it is no longer commonplace to have all employees in the same office each day, managing workflow digitally is a necessity. Sites like Basecamp allow projects to be created and teams assigned to jobs within the project. As tasks are completed, team members update their progress online and everything stays organized. Information is easily shared because anyone can log on and read the latest update or ask for help. Emails aren’t lost in an inbox or spam box as the communication happens on one platform. It’s a great way to manage both a physical or virtual office.

    Sharing is Caring

    There are so many options for sharing files across platforms and with team members. Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive are just a few examples of online tools to assist your team with sharing data, storing information and files in the cloud, and syncing files across multiple devices. These options can range from very basic and free to very secure and costly depending on your needs. Some services only offer small file storage and sharing capabilities and so you’ll want to do your homework to find an option should you have a large image file or data file that needs to be shared.

    TXT 2 TLK

    According to a survey with OpenMarket, 76% of millennials say texting is more convenient and allows them to communicate on their own schedule. 19% of them say they never check their voicemails. Why is this important to you? With millennials comprising the largest percentage of of the current workforce, you need to make sure you are communicating with them the best way possible. Texting to communicate upcoming events, meetings, reminders, or even to conduct employee surveys is a great option for relaying information to your staff. One thing to remember is that when sending a message via text, the context or heart behind the message is somewhat harder to convey than when delivering it verbally. Make sure the message is not open to interpretation so that the end result isn’t skewed.

    As we ring in the new year, take the time to consider new ways to communicate and conduct business in your physical and virtual offices. Test out the methods mentioned here and maybe you’ll find a great new avenue for connecting with your employees!

  • It may work unless it doesn’t – NBER Paper shows pitfalls of Medicare for All

    January 6, 2020

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    A recent study by three high-level economists shows some of the flaws in the current Medicare system, which means placing a large bet on Medicare for All may be problematic.  Main points:

    1. Medicare provides more generous access to providers and new treatments than public programs in other developed countries.
    2. Three major shifts make a uniform design less efficient today than when Medicare began in 1965: rising income inequality, a dramatic expansion of expensive medical technology and the mounting economic costs of the plan with tax financing of the system.
    3. The recommendation is not just a blanket “Medicare for Everyone,” but a base system that everyone can use (less generous than current Medicare) with the option of “topping up” for a private insurance plan as a supplement, with individuals choosing their own coverage.

  • Stop – Stay Home – Start Something

    April 7, 2020

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    We are seeing so many changes to our work, personal, and social life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While these changes can seem daunting and the obstacles they create insurmountable, this can be a time of healthy change. There is always the chance for good to happen when you stop, stay home, and start something.

     

    STOP

    Are you someone that people would describe as constantly “on the go”? Do you always have a list of to-dos in your head and not enough time to do them? If so, stop. Take the gift of this crisis to stop running around and working to check off the box of every task on your list. Slow down. Stop. Rest is important to your overall health in that it allows your body to restore depleted energy. It also boosts your creativity and productiveness because it decreases fatigue and brain fog.  Not being pulled in a million directions will actually boost the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish. Turn this negative situation into a positive by slowing down and re-centering.

     

    STAY HOME

    One big takeaway from this quarantine is that we have all become quite aware of the massive amounts of time we have spent away from our home and family. Whether it be long hours at work, kids’ sports practice, kids’ music lessons and concerts, socializing with friends, or a mixture of all of the above, we may be realizing now just how little time we’ve spent inside our four walls. Now, our government is asking us to stay home for the sake of flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases. Many cities have taken this a step further and have “shelter in place” orders restricting the amount of time citizens are outside of their home to only essential tasks. These restrictions help lessen the chance of the virus spreading and assist our healthcare system by not overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare workers as they care for the sick. Help your family, your neighbors, and your workplace and stay home during this season.

     

    START SOMETHING

    It is so easy to look at our current situation in the world with COVID-19 and to only feel fear and see restrictions. But, now you have the opportunity to flip the switch on those feelings and choose to find the good during this quarantine. Remember when we were all going to start knitting, or scrapbooking, or photography? Go find those things and start them again! How about that idea you’ve had for years about starting a family game night? Tonight’s the night to start! Ever caught yourself saying “well, back in my day we knew how to <insert long lost basic skill here>” to your kids? Start teaching them about that skill whether it’s sewing or typing or laundry!

     

    NOW

    Now is the time to begin seeing the good in this situation. You can do it. Don’t let this time slip away and feel like it’s been wasted. Stop rushing. Stay home and keep everyone healthy. Start something good and memorable in your house. Don’t waste this global crisis—use it for a positive outcome in your life. – use it as a great opportunity to slow down, stay home, and start something new!

  • Walmart acts smart – and does medical care their own way – in their store | Jordan Shields, Partner

    April 7, 2020

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    Sean Slovenski is the Walmart president for U.S. health and wellness, a $36 billion division that already fills over 400 million prescriptions and operates 3,000 vision centers.  Walmart was the first pharmacy to offer prescriptions for as little as $4, and then began cutting its own health care costs with partnerships like the Cleveland Clinic and offering free health screenings.  Now they have opened large health centers in the Atlanta area, with flat fees prominently displayed, for dental, medical and eye care, X-rays, hearing checks and some diagnostic testing.  “We have taken advantage of every lever we can to bring the price of doing all of this down more than any hospital or group practice could humanly do…our goals, just like in the stores, is to get the prices as low as we can.”  Walmart says their model lowers the cost of delivering service by about 40%.

  • Medicare for Fall – elections in Colorado may push the states do what the feds can’t | Jordan Shields, Partner

    April 3, 2020

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    Colorado lawmakers are preparing a vote on a state-sponsored health plan that would compete with private insurance and offer lower premiums. The governor has the idea of reducing health care costs at the top of his agenda, creating an Office of Saving People Money on Health Care. Colorado follows in the wake of Washington, which already has a public option, and joins Delaware, Massachusetts and New Mexico who have their own proposals. Colorado’s
    state-sponsored plan would start in 2022 and target the 7% of the population that buys their own health insurance, with premiums 11-17% below market. The state will target hospital costs in a transparent manner, replacing carrier negotiations, and also limit carrier profits and their budget for administrative expenses. Hospitals are not happy and have proposed their own idea that would limit total health care spending without interfering in the privately negotiated rates between insurers and hospitals.

  • 8 Creative Ways to Move More When You’re Stuck at Home

    March 30, 2020

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    The latest coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to be a major source of concern. Sports teams have cancelled seasons, companies are urging employees to work from home and social distancing is in full swing — all of which has anxiety at an all-time high. One way to help calm your nerves: exercise.

    “It can help reduce tension and elevate mood by releasing endorphins, as well as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine,” says Alexandra Kreps, MD, a board certified primary care physician and internist at Tru Whole Care in New York City. “It can also work to stabilize mood and regulate sleep.”

    Plus, it’s “a proven strategy to help improve, strengthen and maintain a good immune system,” says Percell Dugger, a certified strength coach and founder of GOODWRK. Something we can all benefit from right now.

    But with gyms and studios clearing out and more folks finding themselves quarantined — either as a precautionary measure or by doctor’s orders — you may feel it’s inevitable that your workouts will fall by the wayside. To make things more complicated, you may now be working from home full-time while also taking care of your kids.

    Fortunately, staying active at home doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. We tapped fit pros for a couple of creative ways to get moving without risking your health — or the health of those around you.

    1. Dance It Out

    Put together a playlist of your favorite songs — “ones that get your heart pumping by just listening and that zap you into your own mental music video,” says Ivy Ledon, an instructor at 305 Fitness — and dance like no one’s watching.

    Not only has cutting a rug been shown to improve cardiovascular health, fight the effects of aging in the brain and improve your balance and stability (which can lower the risk of falling and getting injured), it’s also just plain fun!

    “Music is a universal language,” says Ledon, noting that 305 Fitness currently offers free online dance workout videos. And if your little ones are home from school, an impromptu dance party keeps them active and entertained, while helping them expend pent-up energy.

    2. Take a Squat Break

    Who says you need to be at the gym to drop it like a squat? You can do them pretty much anywhere. Plus a March 2020 study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that squatting, which is a natural and functional movement pattern, not only offers higher levels of muscle activity than sitting but may also help reduce some of the associated health risks (think cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, etc.)

    In other words, a squat break may be just what the doctor ordered. Try while brushing your teeth, says Victoria Brown, a senior instructor at SoulCycle. Considering the American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, that’s a nice chunk of time to target every muscle in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings and glutes, while you practice good oral hygiene.

    3. Strike a Pose

    Whether you’re a yogi or not, when anxiety is high, yoga should be a go-to. Here’s why: It’s a proven stress and anxiety buster. All you need is a mat or towel.

    Faheem Mujahid, a certified yoga teacher, personal trainer and mindset coach, suggests trying the following two poses while you’re on lockdown. They get your whole body involved and engaged your entire kinetic chain from head to toes, which if you’ve spent multiple hours horizontal, is likely needed.

    Move 1: Warrior I

    Why? Strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest, and stretches the arms and legs

    Start with your feet about four feet apart, right in front of left, turning the toes of your back foot out to a 45-degree angle.
    Keeping the back leg straight, bend your front knee, making sure it’s stacked over the right ankle. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front.
    Reach your arms straight up alongside your ears and bring your palms together to touch. Gaze up.
    Hold for three breaths, then switch sides.

    Move 2: Crow Pose

    Why? Strengthens the core, arms, back, wrists and inner thighs.

    Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your torso between legs.
    Place your hands on the floor, scoop in your lower abs and lift your hips high, placing your knees into your upper arms.
    Transfer your weight into hands, tip forward and slowly lift one foot off the floor, followed by the other, tucking them in towards your butt.
    Hold for three breaths.

    4. Combine Cooking and Calisthenics

    Since you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen, use that time to do some leg lifts while you’re whipping up a healthy meal for yourself and your family.

    “By lifting your leg either to the side or behind you in an arabesque while you’re cooking, you can tone your glutes and outer thighs in a fun way,” says Robbie Ann Darby, a certified personal trainer and creator of RAD Experience.

    Looking for more of a challenge? Darby suggests adding a mini resistance band around your thighs or ankles to intensify the exercise so you really feel the burn.

    5. Walk This Way

    Whether you’re taking conference calls while working from home or FaceTime-ing with your friends, make the decision to simultaneously move your feet. Walk the length of your home, around the kitchen table or even up and down the stairs if you have them.

    Research shows it can boost your mood, energy and immune system. And all you need is at least 20 minutes. That’s two 10-minute calls or four five-minute calls, which is totally doable, and much better for you than sitting on your behind.

    6. Get Creative With Furniture

    Your house is full of non-traditional workout equipment just waiting to be used. Darby likes to head to her couch for killer core work. Her move of choice: V-sits. “When you do this exercise on the couch, which is cushy and therefore unstable, you get an extra burn.” It’s a great way to make your Instagram scrolling sessions more productive.

    Move 1: V-Sits

    Lie on your back on the couch with legs and arms extended.
    Simultaneously lift your torso and legs, bringing your hands and feet to touch. Hold.
    Slowly lower back down to the start and repeat.
    Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15.

    Another go-to for Darby: barstool (or chair) push-ups and dips. “Upper-body work using a place where you usually rest your lower body never felt so good,” Darby says.

    Move 2: Incline Push-Ups

    Get into a high plank with your hands resting on a barstool or chair. Hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders.
    Engage your abs and lower down until your chest nearly touches the stool. Hold.
    Push back to the start.
    Try to knock out as many as you can in 45 seconds.

    Move 3: Dips

    Position yourself between two barstools — a hand on each one — or at the edge of a chair, hands positioned behind you.
    Lower your hips between the stools, so that legs are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor; arms should be straight.
    Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor until your arms form 90-degree angles.
    Push back up to start and continue for 45 seconds.

    7. Crush Calories With Chores

    Being confined to your home gives you the opportunity to turn mundane tasks into exercise opportunities. “Try mountain climbers, driving your knees up, while holding a plank position with dust rags under the balls of your feet or split lunges while you vacuum,” Brown says.

    Move 1: Mountain Climbers

    Press up into a high plank position like you’re about to do a push-up, with hands beneath the shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to heels.
    Bring your right knee into your chest, engaging your abs at the same time.
    Return your right knee to starting position.
    Bring your left knee into your chest, then shoot it back, switching legs at your desired pace.

    Or if you’re tired of watching those dirty clothes pile up and need to do a load of laundry or two, consider a round of biceps curls with the laundry detergent. “Try different angles,” Brown says. “Down the center, hinge at your hips and curl toward your opposite shoulder, then stand tall and curl out to the side.” You arms will thank you.

    Move 2: Biceps Curls

    Stand and hold weights in each hand, palms facing up and about shoulder-width apart.
    Keeping your elbows glued to your sides and your chest upright, raise the weights up toward your shoulders. At the top of the motion, focus on flexing your biceps.
    Slowly lower the weights until your elbows extend fully at the bottom without locking.

    If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have decided to not only wipe down your shelves but also finally color coordinate your books, use this as a moment to work your core. “Fill up a weekender bag with books and do Russian twists on your carpet or yoga mat,” Brown says.

    Move 3: Russian Twists

    Sit down on the floor with your knees bent.
    Keep your abs contracted and twist your torso to the right, bringing your arms out to the right as well.
    Rotate back through center, then twist to the left.

    8. Take a TV Break

    There’s likely to be a lot of television watching over the next few weeks. Each time a commercial comes on, Dugger suggests picking a few exercises — sit-ups, planks, push-ups, lunges, etc. — and doing 20 seconds on and 20 seconds off until your show starts up again.

    More of a Netflix-and-chill type? Either work out during the show or tell yourself you’ll do a dumbbell complex in between episodes. That involves performing a series of movements that complement each other back-to-back in a circuit without putting the weight down, Dugger says. Try this one:

    5 bent-over rows
    5 Romanian deadlifts
    5 cleans
    5 standing presses
    Do 5 rounds total

    Move 1: Bent-Over Rows

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a slight bend in knees, and a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
    Hinge at hips and lower your torso slightly, allowing your arms to hang down.
    Keeping back flat, squeeze your shoulder blades and bend your elbows, pulling weights up to the sides of your ribs.
    Slowly lower arms back to the start.

    Move 2: Romanian Deadlifts

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees, holding a dumbbell in each hand out in front of you.
    Hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back as you lower the dumbbells down.
    Squeeze your glutes, hamstrings and core, driving your feet into the ground to rise back to standing.

    Move 3: Cleans

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart in a slight squat, holding a dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in.
    Driving through your heels, explode up and flip your wrists so they face forward, bringing the weights to your shoulders.
    Straighten your legs to stand tall.
    Pause, then lower weights to your sides to return to the start.

    Move 4: Standing Presses

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand, arms bent slightly, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing your body.
    Press the weights straight up, twisting them so your palms face forward at the top.
    Reverse motion to return to start.

    No weights? No worries. Dugger says you can use filled gallon water jugs, soup cans, heavy books or bags filled with things from your cabinet or even fruit (think apples or oranges).

    By Rozalynn S. Frazier, CPT

    Originally posted on livestrong.com

  • Remote Work Challenges for HR

    March 23, 2020

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    It’s been said the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has created the largest remote work experiment ever devised.  In fact, there are many recently documented cases where companies have asked at least some of their employees to work from home.  Three of those companies are Amazon, Twitter and Microsoft.

    Remote work, of course, is not something new.  In the past, remote work has been largely reserved for customer service representatives but that’s changed now with remote work being a reality for many different industries across the board.  There’s been a 173 percent increase in people working remotely since 2005.  Additionally, 75 percent of workers say they’re more productive at home.  The reasons:

    • Fewer distractions
    • Less commuting
    • Lower instances of office politics

    The coronavirus aside, there are some real challenges for HR when it comes to looking after a remote workforce.  Chief among them is the strategy for keeping those remote employees engaged the company.

    Remote Work

    Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement is not an easy thing to accomplish.  By and large, it really depends on the type of organization and the type of workers typically employed by said organization.  What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.  When a company then adds remote workers into the mix, one can see how it gets more difficult to see success in a strategy.

    In some ways, it’s easy for human resources to develop this idea remote workers don’t need engagement.  The opposite is actually true.  Remote workers tend to be very productive.  Most statistics back up this claim.  A solid remote worker is typically described as:

    • Self-Disciplined
    • Adaptable
    • Flexible
    • Strong communicators
    • Independent
    • Confident
    • Reliable

    Even with all of that said, remote works want to feel like they belong with the company.  It’s imperative they believe they are important and valued members of the company culture and its community.  Remote workers, just like on-site workers, are susceptible to certain trends such as leaving the organization within the first year and leaving to pursue career advancement opportunities.

    Facilitating Remote Work

    All of that said, there are things company leaders and managers can do to set the engagement of the remote workforce on the right path.

    1. Expectations

    The whole point of remote work is not having to go into the office.  As such flexible work scheduling is typically a piece of the overall remote working strategy.  To be more to the point – workers probably aren’t working a 9-to-5 shift if they’re off-site.  That being said, managers can set particular expectations such as times the employee is expected to be “on the clock.”  Some people refer to these as “busy hours” or “office hours.”  It’s during this time remote workers should be expected to be prompt in their responses to emails and phone calls as well as be available to collaborate with the team.

    1. Inclusion

    Normally when the word inclusion is used, it’s in connected to diversity.  In this particular instance, the focus is not on the inclusion of workers from any other perspective than the fact they are part of a team.  If a team is meeting at the office to discuss strategy or anything for that matter, remote workers should be allowed to participate.  They should actually be expected to do so.  With tools such as Zoom and Skype available, there’s no reason they should not be included in the conversation.

    1. Rewards

    In a lot of instances, brick-and-mortar employees tend to think remote workers don’t work nearly as much.  That’s actually a misconception.  In most instances, remote workers work longer hours than those in the office; about 46 hours a week.  That being said, it’s important to reward these workers.  If they are hitting their goals, that needs to be recognized.

    Productivity Case Study

    One area where companies tend to cringe when it comes to remote work is in productivity.  There are some real fears presented from leaders with respect to workers not being as productive when working from home as compared to those brick-and-mortar employees.  Some of it, like it or not, stems from the need some leaders have with respect to seeing their direct reports work.  Is this fear founded or unfounded?  If the results of one case study (and several others) are to be believed, the answer is definitely unfounded.

    Look to CTrip, China’s largest travel agency.  A professor from Stanford studies whether or not remote work was “beneficial or harmful for productivity.”  It took two years to complete the study and what the professor found is a profound increase in productivity for a group of remote workers over their in-office counterparts.  It wasn’t all “sunshine and rainbows”, however.  Those remote workers did report an increase in feeling lonely and many reported they didn’t want to work from home all the time.  In the end, the recommendation was to create a hybrid of sorts; one that balanced working from home and in the office.

    In summation

    Here’s what we know.  Right now, there are some 26 million Americans who work, at least part of the time, from home.  And that number is only going to grow.  According to a report from Buffer, 99 percent of employees say they want to work from home some of the time for the rest of their careers.  Additionally, IWG says their research indicates 80 percent of workers would choose a position with flexible work over one that didn’t offer the benefit.

    It can only be hypothesized the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to push employers to test the boundaries of remote working.  In doing so, they will have to take a very hard look at their current employee engagement strategies to ensure workers still feel connected to the organization and each other.  While it’s not the single most important thing when it comes to continued profitability, especially in an economy rocked by a worldwide coronavirus outbreak, it will go a long way to ensuring companies can continue delivering on business promises and supporting the bottom line and the company workforce.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • California Law Review – you MUST have seen all of this | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 17, 2020

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    Minimum Wage:  $12 (under 25 employees) or $13 in California.  But beware that many municipalities have filed their own (notably Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Richmond, San Jose and San Francisco), which are higher or accord workers greater rights (usually surrounding health insurance).  Note, too, how to count telecommuting and thresholds for commissioned salespeople.

    Santa Rosa     $14 or $15 as of July 1, 2020

    Petaluma         $14 or $15 as of January 1 and raising one dollar January 1, 2021

    Sonoma          $14 or $15 on January 1, 2021

    Overtime for Agricultural Workers – with splits for under 25 and 25 or more employees

    Lactation – all California employers must meet minimum guidelines for providing a safe and secure place for mothers lactating.  Employers with less than 50 employees may request an exemption.  There are also rules against discharging employees with these rights.

    Harassment Training – now applies to all companies with at least five employees

    Independent Contractors – this is a big one, and complicated – but basically institutes rules regarding who is an independent contractor in California.  Fair warning – almost no one is.

     

  • Dental Health Benefits You Can’t Afford to Lose

    March 16, 2020

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    Did you know that a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene can actually reduce your likelihood of other serious diseases? Your mouth is more than just a gateway to enjoying delicious food. Your mouth is an indicator of your overall health. Let’s chew on the facts about dental health and what it can mean for the rest of your body.

    Gum Disease = Warning Sign

    Decayed teeth and gum disease are more than just unattractive–they are a report card on how the rest of your body is doing. Inflammation of your gums can first show up as bad breath. From there, this warning sign can point to more serious cardiovascular problems like blocked blood vessels and even elevated stroke risk. Think your diabetes is under control? Think again if you have the warning sign of gum disease. Check with your doctor if you feel like you just can’t get your swollen and bleeding gums to heal. Uncontrolled diabetes is linked directly to the inability to fight infections like those gum issues. Finally, the warning sign of gum disease has also been tied to higher risk for arthritis and even cognitive issues like slower verbal recall and slower ability to perform subtraction problems.

    Oral Bacteria = Major Health Risk

    Bacteria buildup in your mouth leads your body towards major health issues. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and can be traced back to oral bacteria that is left unchecked and enters the bloodstream. These same bacteria, left unchecked, can start major heart issues as coronary disease, clogged arteries, and stroke. Pneumonia has been caused by bacteria from your mouth being pulled into your lungs. And premature birth and low birth weight can be the result of periodontitis in the birth mother.

    Tips to a Healthy Mouth

    While the end result of poor oral health can lead to disease, the way to avoid this scary pathway is by practicing these good dental habits.
    • Brush your teeth twice a day. If you are unable to brush, chew sugar-free gum or use on-the-go toothbrushes like the Colgate Wisp.
    • Make sure you use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen weak spots and exposed roots.
    • After brushing, use mouthwash to rinse away any leftover food particles.
    • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed bristles are not strong enough to remove food from between teeth.
    • Schedule regular dental visits for both cleanings and exams.
    • Adhere to a healthy diet that is low in sugar.
    • Avoid tobacco.

    Understanding that good dental health leads to good overall health is key. Conversely, poor dental habits have been shown to lead to everything from minor infections to major diseases. When you take care of your teeth and gums the benefits to your overall health are innumerable. Follow the tips outlined here for good dental health and your body will reap the benefits for years to come.

    Want to educate others on the benefits to good dental health? Check out these resources:
    World Oral Health Day—March 20
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    American Dental Association—Printables and Activities for Children

  • Taxing Issues continued – whither will the ACA wither when the Supreme Court rules? | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 10, 2020

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    The biggest controversy, and the item that pushed the ACA over the goal line, was Chief Justice Roberts siding with his liberal colleagues and approving the law, based on disputed logic that likened the mandate penalty on individuals to a tax, and thus subject to federal approval (and Supreme Court affirmation).  When the federal government decided to eliminate the penalty, they also eliminated the Supreme Court justification for ACA continuation.  That was upheld in a recent US Court of Appeals decision (Fifth Circuit), saying the mandate is now unconstitutional.

    Now the states who joined the original suit and the House of Representatives have filed two petitions asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the issue immediately for both its constitutional position and the ACA viability if the mandate is struck down.

  • Employee Burnout in 2020

    March 10, 2020

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    For a long time, employee burnout has been dismissed. In some instances, it’s been written off as employee laziness or simply an employee being contrary. That, however, is no longer the case.

    In 2020, HR professionals are going to have to deal with it as a realized syndrome and one that is becoming more prevalent in the workplace. By going unmanaged, it has become an issue for companies all over the world. And if the trends are to be believed, it’s going to continue to go as a problem in the years to come. The impact is overwhelming. According to one article, in 2019 there was an increase in stress and burnout incidents reported. The result had an impact on workplace cultures actually causing them to decline.

     

    Employee Burnout
    Impact on Workplaces

    Employee burnout cases have increased to the point where the World Health Organization has officially recognized it as an occupational phenomenon. In fact, the WHO has included it in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. The handbook describes burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

    “As work becomes more intertwined with technology and work becomes more portable, the boundaries of personal time and work time are getting blurred,” Vishal Bhalla said. He’s the Chief Experience Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System. “It’s important HR doesn’t puff its chest up and pretend it doesn’t exist and actually address it.”

    Why? Bhalla says it can impact so many things in the workplace and outside of it.

    “Burnout impacts safety issues. It impacts turnover. And there are many social effects because individuals who experience burnout tend to numb themselves by indulging in things one should not indulge in and they eventually end up hurting themselves or others,” Bhalla explained.

    Gallup recently surveyed more than 7,500 full-time employees about burnout. 23 percent of those workers said they felt burned out more often than not. An additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes. To put that into context, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers are dealing with burnout at some point while at work.

    As a result, those employees were nearly three times as likely to start looking for another job. Additionally, Ginger, an on-demand behavioral health provider, says 50 percent have missed at least one day.

     

    Causes of Burnout
    Bhalla said any number of things can lead to an employee experiencing burnout. Sometimes, it has to do with the relationship between the employee and his or her manager. It can also be tracked back to instances of bullying or discrimination. Another big component to employee burnout is the employee doing more than his or her fair share of work. Bhalla says this relates to, for example, the time it takes for the company to replace a member of the team that was promoted, left the organization or was terminated. In most situations, the team is expected to pick up the slack. That can lead to stress which can ultimately translate into burnout.

     

    Conclusion
    So how does HR solve for the problem?

    “We can leverage technology. We can leverage culture work. We can leverage engagement because the other end of the spectrum is an engaged team member,” Bhalla said. He also pointed to design thinking as an option.

    “It’s more incumbent on HR to take care of their people well. There are a lot of resources that are available for us to be able to impact burnout.”

    Creating a workplace where an employee is excited to come to work can help curb the possibility of an employee developing burnout. In reality, no one is immune, but creating an environment where employees feel happy, engaged and motivated along with having the tools they need to succeed goes a long way.

    By Mason Stevenson

    Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

  • Trust in God – All Others Pay Cash – the government goes after faith based plans | Jordan Shields, Partner

    March 3, 2020

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    The concept is simple, just like insurance.  Get a group of people in a common pool to pay premiums, collected for the purpose of paying them back in claims.  The problem is it is not insurance, and there is a notable absence of protections against a run on the pool.  Christian cost-sharing ministries that enroll individuals are now facing scrutiny from several state regulators who believe that their claims about claims are not what they seem, and may lack the financial resources to allow faith to function.  Yes, the premiums are lower than what is found in the market, but so are the protections, with either internal or external caps and, of course, faith in the finances of the ministry group holding their money.  State regulators in New Hampshire, Colorado and Texas are doing some investigation on the practices, promises and reality of what is being offered.  Washington State has fined one of the larger health sharing ministries, Trinity Healthshare, $150,000 and banned it from offering its products to state residents.  Nevada has sent out a warning, with the Department of Insurance saying “they may seem enticing because they may be cheap, look and sound like they are in compliance with the ACA, when in reality these plans are not even insurance products.”  Texas has brought suit against Aliera Healthcare.

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