Employers are fighting harder, and offering more perks, to land
the best employees. Do you give workers the flexibility they're
You've probably read about the changes in business and
virtual workplace. With many industries facing labor shortages,
employers have gotten creative with perks and benefits. Ping pong
tables, yoga classes, fancy snacks and smoothies in the breakroom
– all of that is great, but what's the one thing they
care about most? Aside from traditional benefits, such as
healthcare, they are looking for flexibility. They want to know
they won't always be tethered to a desk at an office, and that
they can complete their work remotely, at least part of the time.
Work/life balance has become more of a priority for the next
generation of workers, and flexibility is essential to that
Some employers bristle at the idea of giving their employees
unfettered control of their own work schedules. What if things
don't get done? Will they be taking naps all day and ignoring
their work? How will we communicate? Bosses worry that there will
be a lack of accountability and a fragmented, scattered workforce
instead of the cohesive team they have built at the office. The
fact is that businesses all over the world are moving to a
telecommuting model and have seen great success. Here are some of
the myths that keep employers from embracing this flexibility:
Distractions and lack of productivity Let's
be honest, the office isn't always a serene place with only the
hum of productivity to be heard. Your office is filled with people,
and people can be distracting. Ideally, you have a cohesive team
with workers who get along well. While that's great for
engagement, it also means there will be social chatter,
political discussions, and photos of someone's puppy or new
home. Even work-related collaboration can be disruptive for others
trying to focus on their own projects. While it's true that
children or piles of laundry could be distractions at home, your
employees will have to be disciplined in either setting.
Communication and project management The answer
to a lot of these concerns is technology. Several platforms exist
for project management, which allow users to assign tasks, track
time spent, add notes and upload documents, and collaborate with
each other throughout the entire process. With conference calling,
video chat, and even texting, employees are reachable without being
Cost of home office setup Overhead from keeping
an office space operating is usually greater than the one-time
expense of investing in a desk, computer, phone, and other
essentials. Compare this with the ongoing cost of rent or mortgage,
utilities, janitorial fees, snacks or other things you provide at
the office, and a host of other expenses. Your employees will save
money on gas or other transportation costs, and their commute time
will be eliminated.
Ultimately, you will have to weigh the costs and benefits of
employee flexibility. Maybe you'll decide to experiment with it
part-time, or you'll go full-time but continue to have
in-person weekly meetings. Keep in mind that if you resist this
trend, you may get passed over by the top talent in your
As OSHA's enforcement relating to employee cell phone use gains more notoriety, it can be expected that it will have a significant collateral impact on law enforcement at all levels to address this hazard.
Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers in California: be aware and prepare for new laws increasing minimum wages and mandating overtime pay for agricultural employees; expanding the California Fair Pay Act to race and ethnicity and to address prior salary consideration; imposing new restrictions on background checks and gig economy workers; and more. Small employers will be relieved the Governor vetoed expanded unpaid parental leave, but it will likely return in future sessions.
Just when employers were becoming more comfortable with the complex and lengthy Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification that was issued in 2013, the federal government has decided to turn up the heat.
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