Trying to change? start with who you are

It’s time to change. The world is moving at breakneck speed and we have to change, we have to pick up the pace, it’s no longer enough to be good, we have to be the best in our field, industry, and galaxy.  I hear a lot of that on

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the individual and organization level, and I see a lot of scurrying around trying to get that change we so desperately want and need.  After all when all that “change” is done we will all be better off right? Eh Maybe, Maybe not.

In my (slightly inexperienced) opinion, change doesn’t always work because we forget who we are.

It’s a smart person that understands who they are and what motivates them.  Let’s look at this on the individual level first.  How many of you have zealously signed up for the new gym, had a personal training session or taken a class and decided you were going to be THAT skinny and fit. Turns out it’s a lot of work huh? I’ve looked at the aerobics instructor and wanted to be that skinny.  Well that’s not going to happen to me for two reasons that are solely selfish on my part:

1. I do not want to spend that much time in the gym – getting to the gym three times a week and staying there longer then a 1/2 hour is rough. Spending more time than that ? Even tougher,  I’ve got way better things to do

2. I do not want to eat that healthy.  Becoming super fit and skinny means eating well all the time.  Love those McDonald’s French fries? Say good bye! Of course I want to eat healthy, but for some people (like myself) being that skinny would mean undertaking a draconian diet,  on top of that painful exercise regimen mentioned above…No thanks I’ll pass.

So did you notice the reasons I’m not going to become Aerobics instructor skinny are all related to me? I want to eat healthy but not all the time.  I want to work out as little as possible.  That’s all stuff that I willingly say “it’s not me, I have no interest in it.”

It’s the same thing we need to think about when we look at changing our organization.  Start by looking at your company and asking yourself these questions:

1. What is your business?

2. Who are your competitors?

3. Who works there?

4. What education and skill levels do employees have?

5. What is the most common job? (Accountant, truck driver, manager, etc;)

This is a short list but should be enough to get you thinking.  Once you understand your company (history, employees, competitive landscape), you need to gear your change efforts at something that will enhance your company.  Some of the most expensive attempts at changing company culture fall flat on their face because the decision makers forgot who their company really is.

If you run a waste management company, no one is going to get that excited about the new work from home policy because the bulk of your employees won’t be able to use that policy.  Instead, think of changes that will affect the majority of your employees in a positive way.  A few wins in this place builds credibility on your part and makes it easier to get the big dollar stuff implemented.

I know, I know, we all think that our company has to have the best work from home policy and that maybe we should start offering free food like Google or have a robot in satellite offices like Evernote, but ask yourself:

Does this help my largest group of employees?

Is this who my company is?

Don’t build a better place to work based off of where you want to work, build a better place to work by looking at your employees and what they need. Have the courage to say “great idea,  not my company.”

 

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Working from home? Know about these issues

Today I’m hosting a guest post from Leslie Krick, her  previous experience working in law has given her plenty of insight into many legal issues. Today she is discussing that favorite work life benefit known as telecommuting.  Enjoy! 

Legal Issues Facing Employees Who Work From Home

Telecommuting is an expanding sector of the global labor market, for obvious reasons. Hiring practices are far more agile, drawing talent from all over the world; employees save hours of drive-time and gallons of gas every day; and companies are able to maintain smaller, more affordable office space. While many businesses have adopted telecommuting with enthusiasm, the legal system has predictably lagged behind. Current legal protections for employees and employers are built around localized, brick-and-mortar places of employment, so questions of jurisdiction and liability are hazy at best when a company employs individuals across state lines (or even in other countries). Here are a few legal “black holes” that employees should be aware of as they work from home.

1. Disability and Unemployment Benefits

Disability and unemployment status become complicated across state lines. A New York court has already ruled that a former Reuters employee working from Florida was not entitled to New York unemployment benefits, even though her employer was located in New York. Questions about workers’ comp, and the responsibility employers carry to provide a safe work environment, makes many employers leery of allowing employees to telecommute. If you’re working from home in your bathrobe and bust your toe on one of your kid’s toys, it ought to be nobody’s business but yours—but the law isn’t clear on that yet, since you were technically “on the job”.

2. Tax Concerns

One of the stickiest issues of the online economy is taxation: when employers and employees do business entirely across jurisdictions, it is not clear who pays taxes or even to whom the tax is paid. Since I work in Louisiana for an employer in California, for example, my employer had to consult attorneys in Louisiana to determine which taxes were to be paid, and to whom. Any business that allows employees to telecommute should have an established, written policy laying out these liabilities—for the protection of both employer and employees.

3. Privacy

Before beginning a telecommuting arrangement, you need to know how your company feels about privacy. Your employer may require you to sign a waiver permitting them to inspect your computer files, monitor your computer usage during work hours, and inspect documents relating to your employment. (These definitions can be hazy, so just don’t do anything on the work computer that Mom wouldn’t be proud of). If they don’t draw up an agreement, you’ll be protected under the current legal interpretation of your right to privacy, which states that you’re entitled to privacy in any situation where you have a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. This means that your home workplace is private, but anything you do on a company computer or network (including telephone communications) can be monitored by the company.

4. Zoning

In some jurisdictions, working from home will qualify you as a “home business”, which may not be allowed in a residential area without a license or permit. These permits can be expensive and difficult to obtain, and it is your employer’s responsibility to determine whether they will purchase these permits or require you to purchase them.

Conclusion

Since the law doesn’t make any of these issues clear, most of it will have to be hammered out between you and your employer. If your employer allows telecommuting, they need to lay down a plan to comply with state and federal regulations (cleaning up your kids’ Lego set aside), as well as your responsibilities and rights as a telecommuting employee. If they fail to do this, both you and they may find yourselves in a difficult legal situation.

About The Author

Leslie Krick worked as a legal secretary at a personal injury law firm for many years before making the transition to a full-time mom and wife. Leslie loves nature and uses it as a source of inspiration for her writing. She divides her time between her family and her writing, which focuses mainly on her knowledge of law. Leslie is currently looking for freelance work, and can be contacted at LeslieEKrick@gmail.com