How Make Your Commute More Pleasant

For many of us, commuting is the least favorite part of our workday. Studies have shown that our commutes are growing longer, clocking in at just over twenty-six minutes as of 2015. This is a lot of time to spend behind the wheel, and workers are increasingly thinking outside the box when contemplating the easiest way to get to work.

Give Yourself More Time

Experts agree: for all too many of us, the daily commute remains stressful. One source of stress is the hurry involved. The temptation to sleep later is not worth the stress involved when your trip is delayed by unforeseen accidents and traffic jams. There are many benefits to leaving early, including less traffic to navigate. You will also impress your boss when they see you come in early. You will also enjoy the relative peace and quiet of being first in the office.

Bike to Work

Bikes are an increasingly popular option for commuters. Eschewing the car saves money on gas and as well as upkeep and repairs. It can be a relaxing way to get to work as well. Instead of endangering your health—and heart—with the stress of driving, you can get to work and get exercise at the same time. However, be safe. You should follow safety guidelines before making it a regular part of your commute. Wear clothing that allows you to be seen by drivers. Be aware of drivers around you, especially those unaware that they are sharing the road. Finally, always wear a helmet—no exceptions!

Carpool

Many major cities have now designated special carpool lanes, making carpooling a desirable alternative to going it alone. These highway lanes are usually less crowded and free of fender benders. There are other advantages to carpooling. If you are not driving, you can read the paper or even catch some needed shuteye. Conversely, you can enjoy a conversation with your colleagues and arrive to work in a better mood. Carpooling is also an easy way to go green; fewer cars results in fewer emissions and cleaner air.

There is no need for a stressful commute. Consider these and other alternatives to the solo morning grind. Not only will you be more productive in the office, you will be happier overall. You may even add years to your life, so try some of these tips today!

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How You Can Help Your Employees Progress in Their Career

As a boss, you should mentor your employees so that they can climb their way up the ladder like you did. Besides just giving them general encouragement, you should show that you’re invested in their career track and that you believe in them. These tips will help you to guide your employees as they move through their careers.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Your employees can’t expect to grow if they’re forced into the same routine. Promotions and career opportunities come to people who take charge, but sometimes, they need these opportunities shown to them. You could offer more responsibilities to whoever chooses to claim them. Don’t try to force any particular employee into taking these responsibilities because you don’t want to be showing any obvious signs of favoritism. When it’s time to choose someone for a promotion, focus on those whose records show they’d be up to it.

Be a Mentor

Mentors don’t see their work as a mere means of making money. They also want to make others feel good and show them that they can become great. While you’re not in a classroom, you can still use mentoring skills. Opportunities like performance reviews can give you a chance to be a mentor. Employees should talk about career planning with their managers in order to help you get a sense of how you can assist them. No career plan is going to be perfected on the first or tenth try, but conversation and collaboration help to result in assurance that someone is following a good trajectory.

Provide Real Feedback

Some bosses have a difficult time giving criticism because they don’t want to come across as being hard on their employees. However, not providing feedback can mean you seem like you’re disinterested in your employees and their performance. You don’t want to be nit-picky or cruel, but you do want to give them continuous, honest feedback. This is even more true if you realize that an employee’s work performance has greatly suffered and you want to intervene. They might be struggling with something and feel like nobody cares. Show concern for them without making it all about the work. You want them to be at their best, not for your sake, but for their own.

You probably see yourself in your employees in at least some ways. You can remember being in their shoes and how much you appreciated having others to lead you in a way that showed they really cared about you. Try to be this person for your employees, and they’ll be able to point to you as a key part of their professional journey.

Here’s another article you might find helpful: The Importance of Creating a Safe Environment in the Workplace

3 Tricks to Use When You’ve Hit a Wall

There are times in life when you feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel. You’re running steadily and giving it all you’ve got, but you’re getting nowhere. It’s discouraging, but giving up is not an option. Instead, try these three tricks to break through that wall and grab success.

Break the Wall Into Smaller Problems

The metaphorical wall you’ve hit is probably a complication that seems too large to solve. Just like a real wall is a stack of smaller bricks, a large problem is a stack of smaller ones. Rather than bludgeoning your way through, try dismantling the wall brick by brick. Take a moment to answer some questions. What caused this problem? What happened afterward to make it grow? Tackling these smaller issues one by one is simpler and less exhausting. Stay focused. Before long, the whole wall will disappear from your path.

Take a Step Back

Furiously throwing yourself at the problem isn’t going to work. You might as well throw yourself at a literal, physical wall. In the end, you’ll only wind up bruised and drowsy. That is the last thing you want to be. Honestly, being drowsy is as bad as being drunk. You can’t focus. Your response time is lowered. Not only is being drowsy as bad as being drunk, but it also comes with a whole other host of problems that really won’t help you. Your mind and body need rest. Without it, your health, both mental and physical, can tank. Stepping back can help you to avoid burning out.

Stay Motivated

Perhaps the most difficult part of breaking through a wall is staying motivated. It’s demoralizing to feel like no matter how hard you try, it isn’t good enough. It’s isolating to think no one sees or understands your struggle. But, you’re not alone. That there’s a need for this article is proof of that. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Take a break to clear your mind and tackle your struggles with renewed strength. Don’t admit defeat. Failure is frightening, but when you run from the chance of failure, you also run from the chance of success. Staying motivated is the only way to conquer that wall.

So, take a breath, gather your strength and tear that wall down. Just keep these three tips in mind going forward. It won’t happen overnight, and that only makes the victory sweeter.

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How Young Workers Can Handle Crazy Healthcare Costs

It’s no secret that healthcare costs in this country are rising at an exponential rate. For young people who are just entering the workforce, these costs can be a significant burden to take on so early in their lives. Here are three ways that young workers can get a handle on their healthcare costs and ease this financial burden.

The HSA Strategy

If your employer offers it, a Health Savings Account is one way to save for anticipated health expenses while also reducing your taxable income. These plans are designed for employees enrolled in high-deductible health insurance plans. By setting aside a portion of your pre-tax or tax-deductible income, you will help ensure that you have the necessary money to pay for your healthcare needs while also enjoying a significant tax advantage. Long-term care costs associated with major injuries can be astronomically high, and an HSA can help you bear the impact.

Stay in Network

One of the best ways that you can save money on your healthcare costs is to choose providers who are in your insurance network. This will afford you a reduced rate on what your costs are out of pocket. You will spend more money on your medical care if you seek treatment outside of your network. Your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with a list of professionals inside your network and then you can choose one of those options. If your doctor refers you to a specialist, you need to take special care to ensure that this provider is within the network.

Choose a High Deductible Plan

A high-deductible plan will save you loads of money on your monthly premium costs. While you run the risk of facing costs down the road, a high-deductible plan makes sense for young people without preexisting health conditions. This type of plan is also good for those without children. Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive care is now free, making this an especially prudent choice if you do not have major health issues. If you only notch a few visits to the doctor each year, a high-deductible plan can make good financial sense for young workers.

Navigating the complex world of health insurance is frustrating. It’s easy to just choose the easiest and cheapest option. However, it is vital that you make informed decisions. Choose providers that will save you money and that will give you the best care possible. Doing so will benefit both your health and your wallet.

Red Flags to Look Out for When Reviewing Job Applications

They say good people are hard to find, and if you speak with any business leader, they might tell you the same. To find the right employee for the job, you might need to interview ten or more people. This is because the vetting process of an applicant often reveals issues that may cause problems in the future. The following list includes red flags to look out for when reviewing job applications.

Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Mistakes

When it comes to business, image is everything. When customers read their invoices, contracts, and anything else that is written down, bad grammar can really damage your overall image. According to Recruiter, if you instantly begin to see grammar issues such as punctuation mistakes, spelling, and an overall messy text within their application, it should be seen as a red flag. Bad grammar is a demonstration of laziness and lacking an eye for detail. Especially with available options online and within word document programs that provide spelling and grammar check functions.

Criminal Record

According to KLG Law, during the application process, you have the right to run a criminal background check on a potential employee, which allows you to understand their history and if they’ve been convicted of a crime. Although not all criminal records are going to pose a danger to your business, they can if they pertain to the position being offered. For example, if you’re looking for an accountant or inventory manager, someone with a record of fraud or property theft might not be the best candidate for the job.

Leveraging Current Employer

If you notice that their application is being mailed or submitted via their current employer’s address, that can be a cause for concern. This move means that they are using company time to job search and even leveraging their current position to obtain a position within your company. The reality is that if they are taking advantage of their current employer, they will have no problem taking advantage of you when the time comes to move on.

Choosing the right person for the job isn’t always the easiest thing to figure out. Time and effort are needed to really pinpoint which person will be right for your company. However, by following these tips listed above as well as utilizing your own common sense, your hiring process will be completed that much faster and easier.

For more tips on hiring the best employees for your company, read on here!

The Importance of Creating a Safe Environment in the Workplace

You might think that you’re providing your employees with everything they could hope for as a manager, such as comfortable working conditions, good pay, and benefits. But if you’re overlooking safety, you’re sending a dangerous message to your employees. You could be running a warehouse or a law firm and safety would still be vital either way. These are some reasons why workplace safety is so important.

Keep Everything Up to Code

Not being up to code can make your business both hard to manage and also extremely dangerous. You could be 80 or 30 percent up to code and either would be unacceptable. Things that need to be up to code include the structure of your building as well as your electrical wiring. In order to avoid electrical problems, it’s important to make sure the proper wire color codes are in place. Call in a building inspector to check for any issues and focus on remedying any problems that come up. What might look like a fairly minor issue could actually spiral into a major issue if you don’t address it in a timely manner.

Have an Open Door Policy

As much as you might try to catch every issue with safety, some things are going to need to be pointed to you. That’s why you should create an open-door policy so employees can confidently bring up concerns. If you or an employee is busy, have them send an email that specifies what the problem is in a succinct manner. Be sure to thank them and respond with what exactly you’ll do to resolve the issue. It must always be a priority to keep your employees safe and listening to their testimonials regarding workplace conditions.

Saves Money

Money shouldn’t be the only reason for seeing why safety is important, but if you want to keep your finances in good order, you should make sure you stay safe. After all, accidents could mean a decrease in productivity which can lead to a loss in profits. When you follow safety procedures, you can keep your costs in check. This doesn’t mean you should be deliberately cheap, as that can lead to cutting corners that cause more safety hazards. But to keep yourself solvent, you should be drawing attention to safety.

Safety might not cross your mind until an accident happens. By offering a safe environment for your employees, you can help them to avoid worries about such matters. They should also know that safety is as much up to them as it is to you.

Check out our other business-related content here!

How to Give Your Employees the Benefits They Deserve Without Breaking the Bank

Great benefits are part of the reason employees often choose to stay with a company. But, as a business owner, you know that financing top-of-the-line benefits can be a challenge. Here’s how to provide employees with excellent benefits without making your company go bankrupt.

Shop Around

It’s no secret that employee health costs either stay steady or increase each year. With the wealth of options available, it’s a wise choice to take your time to shop around. Don’t just choose one of the first employee-benefits offerings you see. Healthcare benefits are by nature very complex, so taking your time to read the fine print and compare options could save you significant money down the line. Of course, if you run a large company, contracting directly with health providers has the potential to save on costs.

Embrace Cost-Saving Services

Many employee health-benefits packages involve using cost-saving services that provide less expensive forms of healthcare. According to Carenet Health, Healthcare services like nurse advice lines help lower healthcare costs by reducing ER visits. These options are known as telehealth services, and they include things like virtual physician consults, mental and behavioral health services and help with managing chronic conditions. Managing chronic conditions is a major cost-saving benefit—by incentivizing good health and proactively working toward better health outcomes, you reduce the risk of an employee needing an ER visit or a sudden major surgery. When you multiply these benefits over your total number of employees, it’s easy to see that the savings can add up. Plus, your employees are likely to be pleased that your company is taking an active interest in their mental and physical health.

Join a PEO

If you choose to partner with a professional employer organization (PEO), your employees will have improved benefit offerings at a lower cost to you. The PEO solution works especially well for small- or mid-sized businesses. This strategy makes your employees part of a large employee group, which then translates to better benefits savings for you. In conclusion, while it may take some time to figure out how you want to navigate offering employee benefits, it is almost always time well spent. Many available options, like telehealth services, do more than just save you money—they offer busy employees more convenient access to health services.

Take your time, fully investigate the options, and choose a benefits program you can be proud to provide.

Here is another article that you might enjoy: How Your Company Can Focus on Employee Wellness

 

How Your Company Can Focus on Employee Wellness

There was a time when employees could go home at the end of the day and be done with their job until the following morning. However, the employees of today are much more connected than those of past generations. To avoid stress and burnout, it’s critical that employees get the chance to protect their health while they’re at the office.

Create an Employee Wellness Program

One of the big challenges to employee wellness is that bad choices are easy. Candy bars store well, and they’re packaged to be sold as single items. Drive-thru breakfasts are seldom the healthiest option. To create a successful employee wellness program, your task may be as simple as making healthy choices easier. If it’s your job to bring in donuts for a Saturday rush, change things up by reducing the donut count and adding fruit or whole grain bagels to the mix. Contact local gyms and see if you can get a group rate for your employees, and then offer this as a benefit.

Host a Company Health Fair

Bring in guests who excel at marketing health products. These could include dietary supplements, massage sessions, or time with personal trainers. This should be a small investment for your organization. In fact, you should only need to provide the space and a bit of time off. There are a number of free vendors that you can contact to host a health fair at your company. In addition to letting vendors market their products, you could contact a local non-profit health organization such as the YMCA or a church-based hospital to come in and offer blood pressure screenings and BMI checks. Make sure to provide this as paid time to your employees to encourage attendance.

Encourage Disconnection

It’s true that you need your employees to be working when they’re at the office. However, if you have employees who never seem to stop working, you have a potential problem on your hands. High stress levels can lead to a series of health risks that could actually shorten the lives of your personnel. If you work seven days a week and your employees know it, stop. Make sure that you take mental health days and broadcast that information.

Time is the most precious resource we will ever have. You have to make sure to use your time in a way that’s exemplary to your employees. Encourage your employees to use the vacations they’ve accrued to relax and recharge, and try to turn highly stressful work schedules into times of camaraderie and connection with coworkers.

Why People Don’t Get the Jobs They Interview For

When it comes to looking for a job, the interview process is probably the most stressful part of it all. Sometimes you may show up to an interview only to see that several people are also waiting to interview for that same position. And then, once you start the interview process, you are bombarded with questions as you try to look confident regardless of the pressure. The worst part is going through all of that, only to find out that you did not get the job. Well, here are some reasons why you may not get a callback and tips on how to change that.

Not Preparing for the Interview

Not being prepared has got to be the number one reason for not getting the job once you interview. If employers cannot count on you to be prepared for your interview, how can they trust that you will do your job properly if hired? According to Big Interview, preparing for an interview is extremely important. The qualities that you exhibit during your interview let the interviewer get an idea of what your work ethic may be like if hired.

Red Flags

According to Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm, lost employment or exclusion from job opportunities are major consequences of a criminal conviction. Unfortunately, some companies will not overlook certain instances in your past, and therefore will not hire you based on that information. Huge gaps in your employment history or not enough work experience can also be a turn off for potential employers. That is because the more you do something, the better you will be at it which is why experience can often win over qualifications.

Not Fitting With the Culture

No matter how qualified you may be or how much work experience you have, if you don’t look the part, then potential employers may pass you by. Looking the part doesn’t end with just throwing on a suit and tie, you must able to fit into the company’s brand and culture. If you are going to interview for a skateboarding brand, you don’t come dressed in a two-piece suit. According to RICS, this is where researching the organization and its culture is so important. During your interview, potential employers need to be able to envision you as a part of the team rather than an odd-man-out.

If you want to wow potential employers during an interview, make sure that you do a self-check from head to toe. If you smoke cigarettes, do not smoke prior to interviewing because you don’t want to reek of smoke. Make sure your breath smells nice, your clothing is pressed and you are thoroughly prepared and you should do fine.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Hire Better Employees

3 Kinds of Asset Protection Almost No One Has on Hand

Early in your career or as you get your business rolling, you may have a lot of value but be very short on cash. You may also be struggling under a heavy load of debt while you build your business. If something catastrophic happens, there are vehicles you can put in place to protect yourself and your loved ones against disaster.

Term Life Insurance

If you’re young and have a family or a spouse, it’s a very good idea to invest in term insurance. This insurance is playing the odds. If you die young, it will pay out quite a bit of money to those you leave behind. As you age, the benefits get smaller. Best of all, this type of insurance is much less expensive than whole life, so you can afford a large policy to cover your family while your kids are small. As your earnings increase, and you live longer, the payout decreases.

Living Trust

A will is not enough. Even if you have everything specifically stated in your will, your loved ones will probably need to go through probate. Instead, consider putting your assets into a living trust. In the event of your death, your belongings go into the trust to be dispersed to the beneficiaries in the order you determine them. First, they may go to your spouse and then to your children directly or through an executor. As your loved ones put their emotional lives back together, they won’t have to wait on the courts to plan their personal finances. Start your living trust early. Living trusts are key to estate planning and should be considered before retirement.

Disability Insurance

If you’re a small business owner or the only person in your household bringing in an income, then access to short- and long-term disability insurance payouts is critical. This insurance basically replaces at least a percentage of your income while you’re laid up. For small business owners, sole proprietors and artisans, both types of disability insurance are critically important. Whether you need to go through physical therapy after an accident or are facing involved medical treatment, this coverage can protect your family and may even help keep your business going while you mend.

Whatever you choose to do regarding how you protect your loved ones, both early in your career and at the end of your life, each of the methods listed above can limit your risk of leaving your family in the lurch. A living trust means an easy transfer after you’re gone while good insurance protection can protect your family from financial devastation.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Keep Top Employees in Your Company