Future Friday: A thought for the day

by Michael Haberman on March 16, 2018 · 0 comments

“The workplace has always been a fluid concept, from factories and workshops, to offices and coffee shops. This trend of a workplace being anything anywhere, according to the needs of the times, is set to continue – with the virtual office simply the next logical step.”

-Paul Clarke, Head of UK at unified communications provider, 3CX, quoted in Will the ‘future of work’ make employees more productive? by Kathryn Cave

Where is your organization headed?


Ways to Honor Star Employees on a Tight Budget

by Michael Haberman on March 15, 2018 · 0 comments

There are many ways to reward employees without spending a lot of money.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at Socialmonsters.org. 

Many businesses go through lean times, but that does not mean you have to put recognition on hold. Consider the following options for rewarding employees that are beneficial for your business, budget, and staff.

Work/Life Balance

If your business model supports it, offering a flexible work schedule can be a huge advantage for some employees. Announce the possibility of this reward in a quick survey of your staff to gauge interest in the program and request feedback for potential options. Some examples of a flexible schedule include four ten hour days, later or earlier shifts and working from home. If your employees show an interest in this benefit you can offer the option at little or no cost to your organization. Items for consideration include shift differential and home office setup and security.

Rewards like the new iPhone SE allow employees to do more while away from the office. This is substantially less expensive than setting up a second workspace for a work-from-home employee, but if the funds are available to allow work-from-home as an option, the iPhone SE could greatly compliment that model.

Social Recognition

Present rewards for great performance during quarterly all-associate or team meetings. Recognition is great, but it can have a larger impact and also serve as motivation for other employees when given publicly. Leave a candy gift with a play on words like Extra gum (Thanks for going the “Extra” mile), Lifesavers, and coffee drinks “Thanks “a latte” and the rewarded associate names listed on a sign of top ten performing employees. Post this in a meeting or break room space. Pinterest is a great resource to search for low-cost employee recognition ideas like these, but make sure you are aware of any allergies or diet restrictions beforehand or it could fall flat and even backfire if it highlights a lack of personal knowledge about the recipient.

Health and Wellness

Speak with local gyms and fitness studios to see if they will provide a discount or even a few free classes for employees. More companies are offering daycare at their facility, but this requires extra space and a willingness to cover the added insurance and other regulations required for this option. An economical alternative would be to work out a discount with an established daycare near your offices and promote the daycare provider in your facility.

Consider providing free healthy snacks like fruit, salad kits, and whole grain cereals or PowerBars in your break room to encourage healthy eating and remove the need to leave the office. Finally, have employees put lists together of their favorite healthy apps to download on their smartphones, and help them keep track of weight loss, quit smoking or start exercising. Reward associates by allowing them work time or covering one of the employee’s duties, so they can compile this list and then present their findings at your next meeting.

Many businesses go through lean times, but that does not mean you have to put recognition on hold. Consider options for rewarding employees that are beneficial for your business, budget, and staff.

These options reward good work by your staff, save your company money and increase business in your organization’s community, so everyone is rewarded.


Why it is important to your job to get enough sleep

by Michael Haberman on March 14, 2018 · 1 comment

Lack of sleep affects your work and your health

Lack of sleep affects your work and your health

As we just passed the weekend where daylight savings time came back I thought some facts about the importance of sleep on performance were in order. I have struggled the last couple of days, staying up later, mostly because my biological clock had not readjusted. I have written some similar posts in the past, see in particular Three Work Reasons to get a Good Night’s Sleep.


  • The average American adult, while spending 7.5 hours in bed only gets 6.1 hours of sleep. If you are anything like me, you toss and turn, you think about work or you get up and take the trip to the bathroom.
  • Lack of sleep causes performance problems.
    • Doctors with less than six hours of sleep between procedures produce twice the number of surgical complications.
    • Pilots nod off an average of 22 times in the last 30 minutes of a flight last four hours or more if they have not had a nap.
    • Medical interns working a 30-hour shift every third night make 36% more medical errors
  • Lack of sleep has a major effect on your health
    • Sleeping just 6 hours per night increases your risk of being overweight by 27%
    • Sleeping just 5 hours increases your risk of being overweight by a whopping 73%!
  • When you lack sleep you may as well have been drinking
    • Skipping 1.5 hours of sleep gives you a cognitive impairment equivalent to a blood-alcohol level of .05%.
    • Being awake 24 hours is the equivalent of a blood-alcohol level of .10%
    • Drowsy driving is responsible for 20% of vehicle crashes that result in a half million injuries and 8000 deaths.

These are some pretty sobering figures. Employees who work long hours, have to commute home, have to be involved with their families and then get in bed late are a hazard to others and a drain on your company productivity.

Naps help

I am a big believer in the value of naps. I have written about naps here and here. It is a well-documented fact that naps increase productivity and alertness. Here are some additional facts about naps:

  • A 20-minute nap taken 8 hours after you awake will boost your stamina more than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning
  • That 20-minute nap is more effective than 200 mg of caffeine
  • A nap three times a week lowers the chance of a heart-related death by 37%

Those are some pretty compelling numbers in favor of naps.

Try to do what you can to get readjusted. I for one decided to take the first Monday after daylight savings time return. It helped a lot.


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How much do you really trust the government?

by Michael Haberman on March 13, 2018 · 0 comments

Are you willing to abide by this new program?

The US Department of Labor is trying to become a much friendlier agency when dealing with employers, really they are. They have reinstituted opinion letters, where employers can reach out to the USDOL and get information about a situation, that handled incorrectly could result in a lawsuit. These opinion letters can then act as guidance for other employers to help them avoid making similar mistakes. Additionally, Secretary Acosta has announced a program called PAID that will allow employers to voluntarily report unintentional wage and hour violations. By doing so voluntarily, the employer, while having to pay the back wages, will avoid penalties, assessments and lawyer fees. Sounds like a winning program doesn’t it? Or does it? That may depend on how much you trust the government.

Trust? Now and in the future.

Attorneys David Baron and Michael DeLarco, of Hogan Lovells, raise questions about the use of this program that all employers should consider before entering into PAID. The acronym stands for Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID).

The PAID program provides a framework for proactive resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the FLSA. The program’s primary objectives are to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed—faster.

The incentive for the employer to engage in this is:

This program enables employers to expeditiously resolve inadvertent minimum wage and overtime violations without litigation. Additionally, although WHD will require payment of all back wages due, WHD will not require additional payment of liquidated damages or civil monetary penalties when employers choose to participate in the program and proactively work with WHD to fix and resolve the compensation practices at issue.


However, according to Baron and DeLarco, the following considerations should be made by employers:

  1. First, what effect, if any, will an employer’s participation in PAID have on potential claims under applicable state and local law, even if a settlement is reached?
  2. Second, will employees apprised of potential violations by WHD be inclined to accept a settlement agreement that does not include liquidated damages or interest?
  3. Third, is there anything preventing such employees from using the information gleaned from a self-reporting employer to file a lawsuit?
  4. Fourth, will the information and data employers provide to the WHD be discoverable and deemed an admission in future lawsuits, especially by employees who choose not to participate?
  5. Finally, it is not clear whether and to what extent WHD will examine a self-reporting employer’s records for violations in addition to what is self-reported, and whether employers should open themselves up to that scrutiny.

Both them say that the consideration of these questions may have a “chilling” effect on employers using this program. For employees, would the bigger question be whether they want their back pay quickly, or do they want to roll the dice and take a chance of getting more money as a result of a lawsuit, just much, much later? Employers may have to assess that likelihood before proceeding. That may change my initial question from how much do you trust the government to how much do you trust your employees?


Can you get by toxic office politics?

by Michael Haberman March 12, 2018

Tweet I was sitting around the having a conversation with friends the other day about workplaces and the “office politics” that often soured people’s view of the workplace. I found that it is not only businesses that have this problem. One of my friends, an ex-pastor, said that the church he was associated with was […]

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Future Friday: Habits of a Futurist

by Michael Haberman March 9, 2018

Tweet Yesterday I wrote about the work habits of a genius. Today I want to expose you to the work habits of a futurist. Why you ask? I want you to think like a futurist, at least to be aware of things that will have an impact on you, your job, and your company. The […]

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Lessons from the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

by Michael Haberman March 8, 2018

Tweet Fair warning. This post has nothing to do with HR. It is all about personal improvement. I  just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography, Leonardo Da Vinci. This is a well-written book about a fascinating man. I knew he was a master and was considered a genius both in his time and especially in the […]

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Three HR Lessons on a Wednesday morning

by Michael Haberman March 7, 2018

Tweet When you write five times a week like I do, you become grateful that other write great material that I can point out to you. Today is one of those days where I want to make you aware of some informative and thought=provoking lessons. First up is Todd Lebowitz who warns us that even […]

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The Issue of Sexual Orientation has been settled, or has it?

by Michael Haberman March 6, 2018

Tweet In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, there is no expressed protection for sexual orientation. However, during the Obama administration, the EEOC ruled that sexual orientation is protected under sexual discrimination provisions of Title VII. When the country switched over to the Trump administration, the Department of Justice said that sexual orientation is […]

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The Company Car: To Offer or Not to Offer? That is the Question

by Michael Haberman March 5, 2018

Tweet Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at SocialMonsters.org At any forward-thinking company, management will seemingly attempt to provide employees with as many perks as possible, including the offering of a company car or vehicle fleet. While this perk will no doubt be popular amongst employees and may make good financial and […]

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