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Walmart Is Sued for Coronavirus Death. How to Protect Workers

Another employee at the same store also died with similar symptoms. Walmart has since changed its procedures, including taking workers’ temperatures and providing gloves and masks for employees. These deaths will probably not be the last ones that essential non-medical workers suffer. If your company is up and running, there’s no need to panic about liability: your worker’s compensation insurance probably already covers you.Call your workers’ compensation provider and double check with themEmployment attorney, Kate Bischoff, explained to me that it’s doubtful this lawsuit will go anywhere other than through workman’s compensation. She said, via message to me”If the person got sick at work, then workers’ comp is the exclusive remedy. But, if the employer wants to fight the claim, I’d think proving causation is going to be a big issue for claimants in these cases. How do you prove that the exposure was at work as opposed to somewhere else?Employment attorney Jon Hyman concurs (also via message): How do your prove where the exposure came from? For a health care worker it’s an easier analysis than a Walmart cashier. But there’s no way to establish where the exposure occurred, especially with community spread and with there …

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3 Ways the Coronavirus Has Changed Your Workplace for the Better

Chances are, your organization made massive changes due to Coronavirus shelter-in-place and other orders. Some of them should be temporary, but some of the changes should be permanent. Let’s look at a few things that have changed.Destigmatized Working From Home Jobs that a month ago, managers said could not …

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Working From Home Reality Check: No, Your Employees Aren’t All Doing Yoga and Folding Laundry

People are working at home at record levels–some happily and some not so happily. Some managers are supportive of this, and some are convinced that their employees will do nothing but, well this all day:If you have the privilege of being able to work from home:1 spend more time …

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What’s in the House Coronavirus Relief Bill for Small Businesses

It specifically amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), giving some key changes. The most important is that this affects all companies with fewer than 500 employees–it doesn’t have the 50 employee floor that FMLA has. However, the Department of Labor has the ability to exempt small businesses if they can show …

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Flashy Perks Aren’t Cutting It for Employees Anymore. Here’s What Will Make Them Stay

It’s time to put away the indoor slides, break-room kegs, and games. While these fun-focused distractions can be a great way to attract young talent, once the novelty wears off, these perks aren’t retaining employees. They actually distract from what will really make the members of a team happy in the long term: feeling individually valued and respected by you. Here are a few ways small-business owners can deliver on this, without the need to bring in games or tap into much-needed funds.

1. Focus on wellness.

Larger companies spend big on wellness programs for employees; that’s likely not sustainable for your small business. And with more questions than answers about whether these programs actually yield significant results, it’s a tough spend to justify. But there are ways you can directly and cost-effectively address your employees’ health.

For example, lack of hydration seems like something only athletes need to worry about, but when someone is even slightly dehydrated it affects their mood and mental performance. One study found that when dehydration reduces body mass by more than two percent, mood is influenced, fatigue is greater, and alertness is lower. Of course, specialty coffee drinks, soda, or sports drinks don’t really help, and they’re loaded with sugar.

What can you do? A company called Lavit created a cold still and sparkling flavored water dispenser that uses 100 percent recyclable capsules. Employees get a perk and a healthy mood boost, while the company sends a positive message about the environmentally conscious nature of its culture.

Another low-cost wellness initiative is to establish a safe space where employees can destress, decompress, cry, or do whatever they need to do, privately, without fear of judgment. For something a little more active, consider creating activity paths outside the building for walking or biking. Supplying employees with a few colorful, retro community bikes to enjoy won’t cost much either.

2. Change the office surroundings.

A workplace with natural light, good ventilation, and comfortable temperatures can reduce absenteeism–which costs companies roughly $2,650 to $3,600 per worker annually–up to four days a year. It’s not just standard office settings that this concept applies to, though. For example, because a significant number of my employee base works in a 400,000- square-foot warehouse, I put a plan into action to ensure 100 percent compliance of a facility that is dust-free and has clean air.

For startups looking for a low-investment upgrade, adding plants to a workspace is manageable and effective. There are plants in our offices that I brought in when I started this business 20 years ago. Greenery adds an aesthetic component to the environment, it’s naturally calming, improves air quality, and can increase attentiveness and raise productivity. Well-positioned plants have also proved to reduce noise levels in an open office setting.

3. Allow employees to personalize their space.

The average worker spends roughly 90,000 hours of his or her life at work. Being given control over an environment where they perhaps spend more time than anywhere else creates a happier, more productive, and loyal team. Especially if you’re unable to make changes to your office infrastructure, allowing for personalization is an excellent alternative that shows employees you respect them as individuals.

Being able to customize temperature, control lighting, and regulate the sound in their workspace provides employees with some autonomy. Today, there are myriad ways to address these preferences at all cost levels, from white noise machines to smart home products like Nest, sound-absorbing wall panels, and more.

4. Offer flexible work schedules.

This is a no-cost benefit that offers employees more work-life balance. According to First Round State of Startups 2019–the industry’s largest data set on what it’s like to run a startup–41 percent of respondents said working from home boosts their productivity. And with 64 percent of companies reporting they have a work-from-home policy in place, this benefit is leaning more toward being simply a part of what a competitive employer offers.

Treating employees as professional, responsible adults by offering flexible paid time off has become a popular incentive, if you can make it work. When employees are away from the office, providing tangible benefits to enjoy during that free time is excellent for morale. If your company is in an industry that offers products or services you’re able to pass along to your employees, consider doing so.

In the end, there is one foolproof trick to discovering what benefits will truly make your employees feel happy and valued: Ask them. You should be customizing perks to your business and your employees. Finding good people can be hard, which is why talent acquisition has become so competitive, but retention is the long game. Challenge yourself to identify the perks that will attract and keep the best people.

Published on: Feb 19, 2020

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