vacation

Check Out Time

Another update from the Jungle…

unnamed-230Bettysue loves the holiday season but this year she’s frustrated. Her children are grown and have other plans so they won’t be coming home. Her husband just says, “sure, honey, whatever” when she asks his opinion. Her husband has long-since concluded that the secret to their marriage is to keep his mouth shut, stock up on suitable beverages, and hide in his man-cave until after the Super Bowl game.

So Bettysue spends her working hours plotting how best to spread holiday cheer. This year, she decided that her workplace should have a multicultural party. She’s not deterred by the fact that the workforce has little religious or cultural diversity.

Her boss, Deena, has long-since concluded that letting Bettysue decorate the office is the most profitable use of Bettysue’s time since she clearly doesn’t have her mind on work. A couple of years ago, Deena insisted that Bettysue ought to actually do her job despite the seasonal slush. The results were so awful that Deena had to meet with her mental health counselor every day in the following January. Deena now sees the holiday excesses as a cost of doing business.

unnamed-227Bettysue’s coworkers have enthusiastically joined in because decorating beats working any day of the week. Now miniature menorahs, fake Yule logs, and a plastic Christmas tree create a fire hazard in the elevator lobby. A Kwanzaa fruit broom serves as a seasonal centerpiece in the middle of the conference room table.

Multicolored tinsel adorns every doorway and most cubicle entrances. A sprig of mistletoe was tacked over the breakroom door until Arlene, the HR director, yanked it down, muttering about sexual harassment.

unnamed-233However, most of Bettysue’s time at work is devoted to buying things online. Her Amazon Prime deliveries now exceed regular business deliveries to her employer. FedEx, UPS, and the post office have offered to set up a mini hub at the building to handle the volume of deliveries.

What should the company do next year?

  1. They could have a daily party since none of their employees are working anyway.
  2. They could shut down for two weeks in late December since no one is working.
  3. They could pay a bonus to volunteers who agree to provide minimal customer service while the office shuts down during the seasonal distractions.

Many non-retail companies either shut down at the end of December for two weeks or allow most employees to use vacation/PTO during that time. Employers believe this policy improves morale and productivity in the first quarter of the next year.

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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The Morning After

Another update from the Jungle….

George rolls over and groans. It’s the morning after July 4th and he needs to go to work. George would love to call in sick, but he’s used all his accrued PTO.  As he shakily goes through his morning routine, he reflects on the long weekend that was.

George used his last PTO hours to take off Monday, knowing that he planned to have a good time over the weekend with his buddies. His memories of Friday night are fuzzy, involving a sports bar, overpriced drinks, and a contortionist from a circus or a zoo or something.  On Saturday his wife dragged him to a picnic with their church group. After gobbling down a couple of hot dogs and a bowl of potato salad, he joined his buddies for another evening of overpriced drinks.

Sunday he recuperated, sort of, staying in bed most of the day.  His wife was unhappy because he hadn’t managed to do any of the chores that he said he would. She walked around the house humming Highway 101’s hit “Whiskey, If You Were a Woman”.   George may be hung over, but he’s not stupid. It’s almost a relief to go to work today.

George staggers out the door and slides into his car. He makes it to the office safely, parks the car, and gathers his dignity for the stroll into the building. His co-workers smile at him and surreptitiously start a betting pool to guess when he’ll collapse face down on his cubicle’s desk.

Sally, his manager, notices his shaky hands clutching a mug of coffee in a death grip and frowns. She’s been worried for a long time about George.  He’s a likeable guy, hardworking and knowledgeable when he’s sober, but it’s obvious that he has a problem. Sally consults Connie, the HR manager, and they decide to call George in for a meeting.

What should they say to George?

  1. They could berate him for showing up too hung over to do his job and threaten to fire him.
  2. They could sanctimoniously point out the obvious, that he’s an alcoholic, and needs to change if he wants to keep his job.
  3. They could show concern by offering to help him get into a treatment plan to deal with his alcoholism before it costs him his job.

Holidays can be difficult for employees with addictions. Employers can help their employees, and the company’s bottom line, by offering an employee assistance program (EAP) and having an HR policy that encourages treatment first as an alternative to disciplinary proceedings.

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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You Can’t Wear That!

Another update from the Jungle….

Bob enjoyed his vacation so much that he hated to come back to work.  Today he showed up still dressed for the beach.  Cindy, the HR manager, was aghast and choked on a mouthful of coffee when she caught a glimpse of Bob passing in the hallway.

Bob is the star salesman for the company and an all-around good guy. He’s an extrovert who tells good jokes. He has a way of talking to people that makes each individual feel valued. But he’s also a bit of a rebel and he’ll stretch the rules because he knows he’s privileged due to his sales ability. Cindy likes Bob and she usually cuts him some slack when he bends the rules.

Now she’s having heart palpitations, not in a good way, because she just saw Bob walking down the hall looking like an episode of Magnum, PI.  He’s wearing a very loud Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, and very short shorts.

Cindy spent two years convincing the socially conservative company president that relaxing the dress code during the summer months would be good for morale. The president only recently accepted the notion that women’s work attire can include pants suits or slacks, a concept most companies adopted in the 1970’s. To convince him to loosen the rules, she had to create detailed lists of clothing that is appropriate as business casual.

Cindy suspects the president will have an apoplectic fit if he sees Bob’s current wardrobe choice. Cindy drops her coffee mug and chases Bob down the hall to invite him into her office for a quiet chat.

What are Cindy’s options?

  1. She can ask Bob where he bought his clothes so that she can upgrade her husband’s wardrobe for their August vacation.
  2. She can send Bob home with instructions to change his clothes. Of course, there is no guarantee Bob will follow her instructions or return later today.
  3. She can review the business casual definition with Bob and ask why he is not complying with it. She can always hope that he has an acceptable excuse for ignoring the rules.

At this time of year, many companies struggle with the definition of “business casual”.   Striking the balance between comfort and professionalism will vary by company but should reflect the company’s image or brand.

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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Join the HR Compliance Jungle today. Click here!

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