Month: March 2020

Commuting to the Kitchen  

I’ve worked from a home office for years and enjoyed it.  The business overhead is low and the commute is fantastic. I can be in the office within a minute. 

Of course, the quick commute has its perils. My commute takes me through the kitchen and I love to cook.  It’s too easy to avoid work projects that may take hours to complete in order to begin working on a recipe that will take hours to complete. 

But working from home feels different at the moment.  The internet is slowing to a crawl as more people work from home or binge watch TV while they can still afford subscription fees.  The panic buying at the grocery store feels like a disaster movie.  Buy toilet paper before the shark shows up and the avalanche crashes down the mountain!

If you’re new to telecommuting, take a little break with your favorite beverage to consider a few survival tips.

  1. Do the work that pays the bills first.  That means practicing self-discipline by setting regular work hours.  If you don’t, you’ll be up at 2 am feverishly working on that big project before the boss figures out that you’ve spent the week sprawled on the couch drinking beer and eating nachos while binge watching movies.    
  2. Pretend there’s a timed lock, like on a bank’s vault, on the fridge and the pantry.  Let’s be honest. Self-discipline only works for so long and the kitchen is right there and it’s full of good stuff.  The weighty truth about the freedom of working remotely is that it may take weeks to shed the results of commuting through the kitchen.
  3. Don’t despair parents. The government will eventually take pity on you and reopen the schools.  Show your gratitude with a gift for the little darling’s teacher. 
  4. Turn off the news. Credible news sources are giving us fact-based reports about the coronavirus, but the news biz is a for-profit industry. Even credible news sources engage in sensationalist headlines, like barkers at a circus side show, to attract an audience.  Or to put it another way, too much news will have you reaching for an extra helping of mashed potatoes or another six-pack.   
  5. Telecommuters are darned lucky to have jobs that can be done from home.  Many low wage jobs from hospitality to nursing homes to gas stations and grocery stores can’t be done remotely.  These workers are facing either no income or a higher risk of infection for themselves and their families.

If your company is struggling with all the changes required by our rather scary new world, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you adapt your HR policies for telecommuting workers and continuing work during a disaster. We will be a resource for your staff as the policies are implemented.

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The Sky Is Falling!

Carla dreads going to work these days because her co-workers have gone crazy.  She hears the shark music as she nears the office door.   Everyone is in a tizzy about the coronavirus or the stock market meltdown or both.

Last week, Reba breathlessly announced that everyone was doomed because the coronavirus had invaded America.  Rick claimed the coronavirus is a myth made up by shadowy deep state operators aiming to replace the government with a socialist system that will outlaw fantasy football. Everyone ignored Rick because it’s common knowledge he often forgets to take his meds.    

Last Thursday Reba and Caroline went to lunch and disappeared for half a day.   They triumphantly returned at quitting time to gloat about fighting off other shoppers to nab the last ten packages of toilet paper on the store shelf.  On Friday, Teresa bragged of snagging ten pounds of dried beans and five gallons of milk at the grocery store on the way home the night before.  Teresa’s lactose intolerant and she sheepishly admitted that her husband profanely refuses to drink a gallon a day to avoid spoilage.

A new week has brought fresh hysteria. This morning Reba dashed through the office announcing that Rick had the coronavirus.  Co-workers shrieked and ran away as Rick approached making him wonder if he had forgotten to use deodorant that morning.  Caroline ran into Scott’s office sobbing and demanding to go home because she didn’t want to die. 

That’s when Scott blew a gasket. Scott’s the owner of the company.  He’s been so busy running the company he wasn’t paying attention to what was going on outside his office door.  Scott privately believes he spends too much of his managerial time wondering what the heck is going on. 

He yelled at Caroline to stop being a baby. Then he demanded to know what the heck had happened. The answer left him apoplectic.  It turns out that Rick was eating his usual donuts for breakfast when some of the powdered sugar blew up his nose.  Reba heard him sneezing and coughing and leaped to the conclusion that he had shown up sick with covid-19.

What options are available to Scott to deal with this crisis?

  1. He can brain Reba for starting unfounded rumors that caused a panic.
  2. He can tell everyone to get back to work because if the company shuts down, so do their paychecks.
  3. He can distribute the CDC’s guidelines for reducing the risk of infection.

Covid-19 is a serious public health threat, but hysteria is the enemy of common sense.  Companies can reduce hysteria by providing credible information on safety guidelines and adding flexibility to their paid leave policies for employees who need time away from the office. Company leaders can set an example by remaining calm.    

If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.

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