Archive for October, 2009

Telecommuting Tips

Telecommuting continues to gain interest and attention in the small business world.  There are many benefits to having an employee telecommute to work, either full time, or just a day or two a week.  Here are just some of the benefits of incorporating a telecommuting plan in your business:

Conserves Energy – Telecommuting conserves the energy and resources associated with a daily commute such as vehicle & road maintenance. Also reduces the materials and energy used in the office.

Maximizes the Employees Free Time – By eliminating the commute, employees have more time to devote to family and personal endeavors.

Improves Productivity/Reduces Stress – Studies suggest that people who work from home are more productive with their time, and are less stressed than those who work in a traditional environment.  Here is some of the research results:  http://psychcentral.com.

 

Decreased Turnover – Employees consider telecommuting a valuable benefit, and are reluctant to leave an employer who supports such flexibility.

Before you start having an employee work from home, be sure to address the following items:

Develop a Telecommuting Plan: Develop a thorough plan that addresses work hours, expectations and deliverables.  Make sure the plan is in writing and signed by the employee.    Also make sure to retain the right to terminate the telecommuting aspect of the position if things are not working according to plan.

 

Make Sure the Employee Is Prepared: Ensure that the employee has been provided all of the tools required to work effectively from home.  A computer, high speed connection and dedicated phone line are just some of the items to be considered.

 

Timekeeping: Consider installing timekeeping and supervisory software on the telecommuter’s computer.  This will eliminate any arguments as to how the employee is spending their day. 

Security: Make sure the employee has a secure computer and office environment that will allow you to keep your company and client information confidential. Article: Telecommuting Security Mistakes.

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 150 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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Minimize the Flu in Your Small Business

With the influenza season upon us, and elevated concerns over the H1N1 virus (also referred to as “Swine Flu”), businesses should be prepared to promote a healthy work environment for their employees.  Small businesses are especially susceptible to a flu outbreak, as they operate with a small staff.  The Secretary of Homeland Security has provided some tips and guidelines for Small Business to assist them through the flu season.  Here are some highlights:

  • Develop policies that allow employees to stay home sick without fear of reprisal.
  • Develop flexible policies to allow workers to telework (if feasible) and create other leave policies to allow workers to stay home to care for sick family members or care for children if schools close.
  • Provide workers with up-to-date information on influenza risk factors, protective behaviors, and instruction on proper behaviors (for example, cough etiquette; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; and hand hygiene). See www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/business.
  • Provide resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectants and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.
  • Promote a culture of health in the workplace, encouraging employees to access available health benefits & flu shots.

Other resources may be found at www.flu.gov, as well as a letter to small businesses from Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security

Jill Critchfield is a professional Human Resources Consultant.  Through her business, Pacific HR, she has provided HR services to over 150 small and mid-sized businesses in Portland, Oregon since 1999.

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