With the COVID-19 pandemic now in its third year, companies and organizations continue working to adjust their normal routines and processes to maintain business continuity and growth.
To help employees stay productive and forward-looking in the midst of continued uncertainty, companies and organizations can consider helping their managers to be more attentive and responsive to employees’ workplace-related stress points.
To this end, here are some practical ideas managers can consider to help their employees fuel their performance and productivity:
Remain flexible: Managers (and C-level teams) likely continue to hear a range of views from their employees about their comfort level in returning to the workplace. On this front, managers can lead the dialogue with their teams and develop a new organization plan to suit this new era. This may also serve to boost your recruitment and retention strategies.
Put openness into practice: Managers should be open and honest as possible in communications with employees. Share what’s happening with the company and be overly responsive to employee questions and comments. These communications can help build trust and morale while helping allay employee anxiety and concerns.
Consider wellness programs: For smaller companies and organizations, there are a number of cost-effective wellness program activities to consider for your teams, such as linking up with a local health care provider or public health-related non-profit organization to present to your employees on ways to build healthy lifestyles. Plus, check to see if your health care insurance carrier offers free health risk assessments for employees.
Utilize Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): EAPs can help employees who may need mental health, grief or trauma counseling. The long-term effects of everyone dealing with the pandemic mandate an increase in the availability of programs and support in workplaces to address mental health.
Focus on load balancing: Managers should keep a closer eye on their employees’ workloads and adjust accordingly to balance out the work better. Plus, consider ways, longer term, to provide opportunities for employee advancement or growth.
Ultimately, company and organization leadership can help their teams get through today’s crises by enabling managers to engage and support employees to boost their overall well-being and productivity.
impactAction: If you’d like to learn more about organizational development and employee performance, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 443-741-3900.
Upcoming Minimum Wage Increases for MD, Gov Contractors
Reminder: the Maryland state minimum wage increased (on January 1) to $12.50 per hour for employers with 15 or more employees and to $12.20 per hour for employers with 14 or fewer employees.
Looking ahead into this year, Montgomery County’s (MD) minimum wage increases (on July 1, 2022) to $15 per hour for employers with 51+ employees; $14.50 per hour for employers with 11-50 employees; and $14 per hour for employers with 10 or fewer employees. Read more here.
On a related note, the minimum wage for work with covered federal contracts increased to $15 per hour beginning this past January 30.
US Economy: Job “Quits” Rate Breaks All-Time Record
While the current US unemployment rate (3.9%) is at a near record low level, it’s the national “quits” rate that’s making all the news.
The quits rate, which is the number of people who voluntarily leave their jobs each month as a percent of total employment, reached a record high of 3% (4.5 million) from last November (most recent data), according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economists use the “quits” rate as a key barometer of overall US economic health since it tracks workers able to leave their employers to take advantage of new job openings or opportunities. Learn more.
Five Steps to Handle Short-Handed Teams for Business Continuity
With the overall economy on a steady rebound, many companies and organizations are seeing robust upticks of business while simultaneously experiencing short-handed staffing.
To deal with this dynamic, here are a few ideas to help employees reduce workplace stress or burnout in the midst of working to bring on more employees to help:
Remove non-essential work duties: For the positions that seem most stretched, make a list of tasks that could be put on hold (or perhaps reassigned). Thus, hold off on non-essential tasks until business slows down or you’ve increased headcount.
Consider flexible scheduling: If employees need to work longer hours on some days during the week, consider allowing them to work fewer hours on other days of the week.
Budget for overtime: Employees may need to work extra hours to keep up with the current demands of their job, so allow them to work overtime if possible. If offering overtime is doable, be sure to inform employees of that ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.
Identify ways to automate: Consider whether any of your employees’ manual and time-consuming tasks could be eliminated or simplified with the use of new or different technologies, such as online project management or enterprise content management platforms.
Increase safety protocols: Enhance your workplace’s safety protocols to reduce the risk of COVID-related employee absences due to illness or exposure. Tactics include improving ventilation, encouraging or requiring vaccination, requiring employees to wear masks and allowing employees to work remotely when possible.
impactAction: If you’d like to learn more about dealing with staffing and recruitment challenges, contact us at email@example.com or call 443-741-3900.
OSHA Form 300A Must Be Posted Beginning Feb. 1
Employers must post OSHA Log 300A – a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2021 – in their workplaces between February 1 and April 30, 2022.
This form (300A) is required for all organizations that employed 11+ people in 2021 (unless they qualify as part of an exempt low-risk industry).
In addition, employers with 250+ employees (or that have 20–249 employees and are in certain high-risk industries) must submit their Form 300A data to OSHA by March 2. Employers must use OSHA’s online Injury Tracking Application (ITA). Read more.
impactAction: If you need assistance complying with this OSHA regulation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 443-741-3900.
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