Workplace Safety: Online and Physical

Managing safety in the workplace — both in the office as well as online — is becoming a more complicated task by the day. Whether the concern is about hackers coming for your intellectual property, or process ownership during building maintenance, the security of your people is nothing to take for granted. Here are five things any company leader can do to make a greater effort in the name of safety.

Make Sure Everybody Understands What’Be Prepared’ Means

The impression that the world is unsafe and violent has only been amplified by popular media. We have, regrettably, let ourselves fall victim to a false narrative where our collective security is concerned. Nevertheless: it’s clear that when unfortunate events do occur in the world, they can happen just about anyplace.

What does “being prepared” look like for your workplace?If you ask different employees, will they tell you different things? Does everybody have a planned way out of the building or off your campus? It might sound too theoretical to justify spending time on it, but your company should have detailed contingency plans already drawn up for a variety of possible events — be it natural, as in extreme weather events, or something regrettably more man-made.

Perform Intermittent Online Security Audits

Since we’re talking about online and offline security, let’s talk about how business leaders can know, one way or another, whether their employees are practicing good security “hygiene” at work. There are two things you should be doing:

  1. Consider having an outside security company perform penetration testing for your company’s networks. They should be able to help you find any weak points that would-be criminals could exploit purposefully, or undisciplined employees could trigger accidentally.
  2. And when it comes to employees, have your IT team or that same third-party consultant perform or schedule fake phishing attempts for all of your company email addresses. Done correctly, the email will look like a plea for personal information, a reply, or for the user to click a link. Knowing how, and whether, your employees are interacting with emails like these, even fake ones,will tell you something about how at-risk your organization is.

Take Another Look at Your Building and the State of Its Maintenance

With the exception of companies that get started in attics,basements, and garages, most business visionaries take great pride in their immediate surroundings, including their business locations, their employees’accommodations and any environment in which a customer or client might find themselves.

We’re talking about two different things here. The first is curb appeal and “atmosphere.” Your workplace should present itself as a harmonious, well-considered space with tasteful and comfortable furnishings.Someplace employees can feel at home, in other words — since we know (workplaces with objectively pleasing aesthetics) tend to encourage creative free-thought,lower levels of aggression and heightened productivity overall.

But the second part of taking stock of your location and its amenities is a little more serious. It concerns the environment within your building, including its temperature during highs and lows and the quality of air your people are breathing all day. The phrase might sound alarmist, but”Sick Building Syndrome” is very real — and it generally results from poor air circulation in an environment already compromised by end-of-life HVAC systems, dirty duct work and noxious chemicals in furniture and building materials.

Implement BYOD Policies Responsibly

In another return to online safety, so-called “BYOD culture” is worth a look at as another potential threat vector in the well-being of your company and its employees. If the work you perform is conducive to it, you’ve likely already implemented, or plan to explore, BYOD policies. The benefits to company morale and productivity can be significant.When employees can do their work on familiar platforms and using hardware they’re comfortable with, it makes sense that they’d get more done.

The thing is, even if your workflows aren’t necessarily conducive to BYOD culture, your employees and guests might be bringing in smartwatches and other devices that aren’t as obvious. You might even have deployed these and other IoT devices yourself, as part of an internal wellness program. This itself can be a great influence on your organization’s collective health, and consequently your safety and productivity.

You’ve likely heard something about the several recent high-profile data breaches, including several, like Wanna Cry and Petya, which preyed specifically on unsecured and unsiloed IoT devices. Objects like these can be a boon in the workplace for many reasons, but the least you can do,safety-wise, is create a separate internal network for any connected devices you can’t vouch for 100 percent, including for employee BYOD programs as well as guests to your campus who might just want to use some free Wi-Fi.

Know Who’s Accountable and Have a Reporting Process in Place

This final point is a reminder about accountability in the workplace. We’re not talking about pointing fingers — we’re talking about”process ownership” and the idea that anything significant that requires doing deserves a specific appointed person to oversee it. If you do business in a climate where employee or customer safety depends on contacting snow removal companies quickly, you need a chain of command to get this and any other mission-critical safety or productivity concerns taken care of.

And that’s not all, either. When something unexpected happens, whether it’s an accident, damage to company property or infrastructure, bad-faith bookkeeping, or workplace harassment of some kind, your employees deserve some kind of accommodating, anonymizing reporting process for elevating their concerns to their managers or impartial third parties. They shouldn’t be left guessing who to talk to, or what to do if they’ve just been through something upsetting.

You’re going to find that your employees are only too happy to help you keep your company and its work areas safe and sound. But they need to know what’s expected of them and they need to know they have your ear when they have concerns of their own. As usual, it’s about communication.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

Taking Action When You Experience Injury or Illness in the Workplace

Generally speaking, the majority of us will head to work in the morning, complete the tasks expected of us, then return home at the end of each working day right as rain. However, there are occasional unfortunate situations where someone will head to their workplace and experience some sort of injury or develop some sort of illness as a direct result of their employer’s negligence or malpractice. It’s extremely important that you know what to do if you find yourself in this situation!

Seek Medical Help

The first step that you should take is to seek medical help. If you experience any sort of injury or any symptoms of illness, a medical professional will be able to identify and diagnose the problem and ensure that you are provided with the correct form of treatment. This will help to set you on the path to recovery as quickly as possible.

Seek Legal Help

Once you’re on the road to recovery, you may want to consider seeking legal help. Not only is experiencing injury or illness due to work a particularly unpleasant experience physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it can affect your finances too. After all, you’ll have to front medical bills and may lose earnings if you have to take time off work in order to recover. You don’t deserve to slip into debt as a result of this! The infographic below should show you how to find the best personal injury attorney to claim this money back.


Infographic Design By how to find the best personal injury attorney

5 ways to combat skilled labor shortage

Let’s face it, today, more than ever, every business owner struggles with the issue of skilled labor shortage sooner or later. There are just not enough people interested or qualified enough for certain jobs, and that can take a real toll on any business. When you’re missing skilled labor, you’refacing a decrease in productivity and quality. Soon, that can have disastrous consequences for your firm. That’s why it’s important to address this issue on time, and ensure your business prospers. Thankfully, there are a few ways to do this that won’t backfire and are guaranteed to work.

1. Educate students

Pairing up with universities or schools is a great way of investing in your future. The interest for your firm should be developed early, meaning you should inform those who are still in school. This way, they’ll keep your firm in mind as soon as they finish school and are likely to apply for a job. You’ll have to worry less about not having enough staff because you’ve made sure the future experts know to look for you.

Many schools are looking for firms to partner up with, so as to ensure their students have a bright future. That’s your chance to reach out to one and devise a program which benefits you both. By doing so, you’ll also be seen as a company which cares about its community and the people in it, which is a very appealing trait to potential employees. Show that you are there for your community, and it will help you in your time of need.

2. Only keep the tasks you absolutely need

The process of creating a certain product or delivering a certain service is a delicate one. It’s a coherent system with many steps, all ensuring you’ve got a quality service or product as the end result. When you’re missing skilled workers though, you need to cut the process short a little.

Make a priority list and only do the steps that are absolutely necessary. Everything that’s done just for appearances should be left out. This way, you’ll be saving time, and more importantly, the energy of the workers you do have. It’ll promote efficiency and productivity. What’s more, it’s a great way of still providing good services until you get the extra help you need.

3. Put your employees first

Even though you are suffering from a skilled labor shortage and your employees have to work double to make up for that, remember that they’re people too. That means you shouldn’t overwork them and expect them to be able to cover all the positions. After all, you wouldn’t need more workers if your employees could do it all.

Instead of trying to make them pick up the slack and just filling slots, make sure they know you appreciate their efforts. If you’re not kind to them and don’t pay attention to their needs and well-being, it can lead to more people quitting and then you’ll be in an even bigger mess.Showing your workforce you appreciate them even in these troublesome times will help them stay motivated and pull-through. Together, you’ll be able to face this problem head on and come up with the best solution.

4. Opt for foreign workers

Importing your workforce can also be one of the options. Sometimes there just aren’t enough skilled workers in your country. In fact, more and more first world countries are choosing this option as a way to combat the shortage, Australia being one of them. Though, you need to be careful, because immigration laws are complex and often difficult to understand.

You can be sure the most informed immigration lawyer in Sydney will testify to that. That’s why it’s always advisable to talk to one before you decide to take any actual steps in bringing foreign people into the country. Every informed decision is a good decision.

5. Up your marketing strategy to a new level

Sometimes the problem with short staff is that people don’t even know you’re hiring, or what your firm is about. This is a question of a poor marketing strategy, but luckily, it can be easily solved. In this age of technology, you should make your company present on social media.

That way you’ll be up to date and will be able to connect with potential employees more easily. People will also know more about your company and are likely to be interested in working there. Even though it seems that social media is just for fun, it can actually be quite useful for things like this, too. In fact, there are a lot of professional social networks you can check out.

Conclusion

As you can see, not having enough skilled workforce doesn’t have to take a toll on your business. The important thing is to stay determined and motivated, and soon, your business will flourish. Hiring those who are good at their job promotes positive energy all around and, in turn, makes for very productive and confident workers. Never settle for less than your company deserves, so always hire the best of the best.

Daniel Brown is a law graduate and a passionate blogger from Sydney. His areas of interest are alternative dispute resolution and its applicability in different fields of law, IP law and resolution of disputes arising from intellectual property infringement and commerce law

Why health incentives are a work perk you shouldn’t overlook

When it comes to considering a new job, most people think first of benefits such as salary or paid time off. They’ll use those as the only measurement when considering whether to take what’s offered, or whether they should push harder when they bargain.

But here’s the thing: There are other tangibles that make just as much of an impact on your daily life as do salary and vacation or sick time. For example, what about not ever needing that sick time because your employer has helped you do whatever it takes to be as healthy as possible? Have you ever considered the idea of negotiating health benefits in order to achieve that end?

If you haven’t, you should. Health incentives—whatever you have and whatever you can negotiate—can help you not only feel better but reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Here’s what to consider as you review them.

 

3 Reasons Your Company Will Need Legal Assistance

Whether you’re just starting out in the business world or you’ve been running a successful company for a while; there is never a bad time to converse with an expert legal team and make sure you have them waiting in the wings. All entrepreneurs will need specialist legal assistance at some point during their careers. It is sensible to make all the arrangements ahead of time, so you don’t face any delays when it comes to getting the help you require in emergencies. If the lawyers already know the ins and outs of your operation; they will swing into action much faster than they otherwise would have done.

Patent and trademark disputes

It is vital that all entrepreneurs apply for suitable legal cover if they plan to launch a new brand and bring original product designs to the market. If you don’t have trademarks in place for your terms and patents for your concepts; there is a chance another company with more cash could come along and blow you out of the marketplace and cost you a fortune. With that in mind, even with the right protections in place; you could still face issues, and that is why you need a lawyer. If you discover another business infringes on your patents; you’ll want to put an end to that straight away.

Employee dismissal claims

If you employ other workers; there will come a time when you have a dispute with them that you cannot resolve. Perhaps the person was late for work over and over again, and so you decided to fire them. Like it or not, employees have rights, and you can’t always take away their source of income on a whim. So, that person might end up dragging your business through the courts in the hope of reinstating their position or making a compensation claim. If you do not have legal assistance; your operation will stagnate because you will have to take your eyes off the ball.

Road traffic accidents

As a business owner, you never know when you will get a call from a semi truck accident lawyer or someone else in that industry letting you know they plan to make a claim against your firm. You become especially vulnerable to issues like that if your company makes deliveries to customers. If you have drivers on the road all day long, it is only a matter of time before one of them makes a mistake and ends up causing a smash. Without the right legal representatives in your corner, there is a chance you will end up getting a raw deal in the courtroom.

Now you know why it’s so critical to find the right legal specialists to assist your company; it is time to search online, ask associates for recommendations, and sort the wheat from the chaff. Look for law firms that specialize in the business world, and try to select a firm that has lots of other clients in similar positions to you. If you do that; you shouldn’t have too many problems when it comes to making sure you don’t get ripped off in the courtroom.

6 Ways To Create A Safer Workplace

No matter the shape or size of your business, it’s crucial that workplace safety is always one of your top priorities. Every year, more and more employees are being injured at work, due to nothing more than negligence from their employer. If you want to keep your team safe and save yourself time, money, and stress, then you need to work towards creating a much safer working environment. Here are six things you can do to create a safer workplace.

  1. Only Hire The Best

When you start to take on employees, it’s vital that you only hire the best, even if it means paying out a bit extra in salaries and benefits. Competent and hardworking members of staff are much more likely to pay attention to and follow the rules, especially those regarding risks and safety. This should result in many fewer on-the-job accidents and a safer workplace overall.

  1. Do Plenty Of Research

To understand what a safe workplace entails, you need to do some research and find out what health and safety rules may apply to your workplace and state. You should also educate yourself about personal injury cases from the best. With this information, you’ll know the sorts of hazards to look out for, which will be helpful when it comes to conducting risk assessments.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Telling your staff how to stay safe is a necessary first step, but, unless you provide them with the proper tools and resources they need, you can’t expect them to take these precautions. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you provide safety training, as well as safety equipment, like helmets, goggles, and steel toes boots. You should also ensure that these are easily accessible.

  1. Stay Clean And Tidy

Whether you operate out of an office, a warehouse, or a building site, a messy workspace can quickly lead to accidents and injuries. Because of this, you need to ensure that your workplace remains relatively clean and tidy at all times. Encourage your employees to keep their individual workspaces tidy and hire a regular office cleaner to help keep everything else in order.

  1. Watch What You’re Rewarding

It’s important that you show your employees you care and that you’re grateful for the work they do. This is why many business owners have benefit and reward schemes in place. That being said, you shouldn’t reward work, if a team member has compromised their safety to get it done. Instead, you should make a point of rewarding staff who ensure they follow your safety rules too.

  1. Plan Regular Safety Meetings

You might be in charge of your business, but it’s impossible to know everything that goes on in it. Because of this, you should make sure that you listen to safety feedback and advice from your employees. With this feedback, you should schedule regular safety meetings, to review and address any reported concerns. You should also ensure you conduct regular risk assessments.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep your team safe, so follow the tips above and do what you can to create a safer workplace.

Health Hazards Around Your New Office

When you’re just starting out in business, there’s a good chance you hired out the building you worked in, you put up with a lot from the landlord, and you saved as much of your profits as you could to make sure you could afford an expansion sooner rather than later. And now that time has come! But you’ll want to make sure your new office has everything you need to work with, and that you’re not missing out on a few safety checks in all the excitement. So here’s a small checklist of what could be hazardous to you in your new area.

Make sure you can focus on your meeting, and not every employee who’s been taken off sick in the past week!

If the Office is a Recent Development

If you’re moving into a building that’s been constructed within the last year or so, and you know what the site used to be before it was turned into a more productive commercial space, make sure the place you’re now working in isn’t affected by anything that could be living in the soil. You can always have the surroundings of your new office building checked.

Maybe it was an old quarry that had been defunct for years, or maybe no plants have successfully grown; anything that could be a warning sign is something you can have checked out. And there’s always some contaminated soil disposal companies out there to remove this unique kind of hazard to make life safer for everyone. You’re meant to be working to make life better for you, not coming into contact with something potentially life threatening!

Is There a Wet Floor Sign Out?

It’s so crucial that wet floors be signposted, but so often this can get waylaid because of the hustle and bustle of the office. But all in all, if you don’t mark that a floor has recently been cleaned to someone who’s just going about their day walking down a corridor, and then they slip and fall, you can have a compensation claim on your hands.

And as a small business, that’s definitely not something you want to handle! You need to build reputation among the business circle, and if your employees aren’t raving about you because of your neglect as a boss, you’re going to be at a serious disadvantage. So make sure you’ve got plenty of signs for the cleaners to stick out!

Have You Got the Right Lighting?

If there’s a dark storage room in the back of the office, you could very easily cause a bunch of boxes to topple down on your head when you’re rummaging through it. Similarly, if the lighting over the desk area isn’t right, you could have all kinds of vision problems on your hands, and a huge loss in productivity! Hand out some desk lamps if you need to, just make sure everyone can always see.

There’s a lot of hazards in the workplace, but most of them are preventable.