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Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk

May 9th, 2018 | Posted by ATS in Benefit Accruals | Careers | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk)

Despite numerous published reports (including ones from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) about the health hazards of sitting for long stretches at a time each day, in front of computer screens with without taking occasional breaks, the practice continues in organizations, small and large alike. If there are no changes to these behaviours, experts predict, healthcare costs will continue to rise.

In his article, for Smithsonianmag.com, titled ‘Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks’ Joseph Stromberg, offers some suggestions that, could help curb this issue, They include:

“Reduced Risk of Obesity
Levine’s research began as an investigation into an age-old health question: why some people gain weight and others don’t. He and colleagues recruited a group of office workers who engaged in little routine exercise, put them all on an identical diet that contained about 1000 more calories than they’d been consuming previously and forbid them from changing their exercise habits. But despite the standardized diet and exercise regimens, some participants gained weight, while others stayed slim.

Benefits Of Working At A Standing Desk

Lower Long-Term Mortality Risk
Because of the reduced chance of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, a number of studies have found strong correlations between the amount of time a person spends sitting and his or her chance of dying within a given period of time.A 2010 Australian study, for instance, found that for each extra hour participants spent sitting daily, their overall risk of dying during the study period (seven years) increased by 11 percent. A 2012 study found that if the average American reduced his or her sitting time to three hours per day, life expectancy would climb by two years.

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Scientific evidence that sitting is bad for the cardiovascular system goes all the way back to the 1950s, when British researchers compared rates of heart disease in London bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who stand) and found that the former group experienced far more heart attacks and other problems than the latter.

Since, scientists have found that adults who spend two more hours per day sitting have a 125 percent increased risk of health problems related to cardiovascular disease, including chest pain and heart attacks. Other work has found that men who spend more than five hours per day sitting outside of work and get limited exercise were at twice the risk of heart failure as those who exercise often and sit fewer than two hours daily outside of the office. Even when the researchers controlled for the amount of exercise, excessive sitters were still 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who were standing or moving”.

Bottom Line:
Too much sitting for long periods is bad for your health and can result in a variety of ailments. And if you happen to be in a job that requires a lot sitting through the day, it does not help. The good news- as attitudes shift, consumer demand emerges, companies will take heed. And for those companies who do not have standing desks, yet, hopefully, they will encourage employees to take more breaks and/or stand after 20 or 30 minutes of sitting. Change always moves slowly.

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Are Employees Happier After A Meal Or Rest Break?

April 20th, 2017 | Posted by ATS in Career | Employee Productivity | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Are Employees Happier After A Meal Or Rest Break?)

The easy answer to this question is a resounding yes!  Which company in their right mind would deny its employees a meal and break and expect them to be productive, let alone happy? If there are companies out there that exhibit this pattern of behaviour, they are likely in the minority however, sooner or later, they will be found out. Most smart business leaders know that corporate profits will not increase with a tired and unproductive workforce.

Below is a list of 5 good reasons why meal and rest breaks help employees. It can also be applied, to the do-gooder of an employee who refuses to take breaks and have to be nagged by their manager to do so.

This list of reasons to take a lunch break is from an article, published by Belle Beth Cooper, co-founder of Exist for the online magazine Fast Company. We have rearranged their order of appearance:

  1. Spend time in nature to refresh your attention span
    To come back refreshed after a lunch break, spend some time in nature. Studies have shown that a walk in a quiet park is sufficient to refresh our attention spans so we can return to work with renewed focus. (A walk down a city street, on the other hand, was found to require so much attention to complete that it didn’t let the brain relax fully.)
  1. Take a real break for greater concentration
    Of all the ways to use your lunch break to set yourself up for a great afternoon, the most important might be, well, actually taking a break. In many industries, lunch breaks are getting shorter and shorter, or even nonexistent. These days, only one in five office workers reports taking an actual lunch break away from their desk, according to a survey by workplace consulting group Right Management.Are Employees Happier After A Meal Or Rest Break?
  1. Move to a café after lunch for improved creativity
    There are a couple of reasons working from a café could be a good change for your afternoon work period. Firstly, the ambient sound of a café has been shown to be the most beneficial sound level for creativity. Moderate noise levels, unlike silence or a noisy environment, increase processing difficulty just enough to push us out of our comfort zones and into more creative thinking.
  1. Eat! (The right foods for better brain function)
    OK, this one might seem obvious. But even if you’re trying to lose weight or run errands on your lunch break, don’t skip on eating a midday meal, or at least a snack. Your nutrition–particularly your glucose intake–will decide your productivity for the rest of the day.Are Employees Happier After A Meal Or Rest Break?
  1. Work out–the afternoon is the best time for exercise
    Another thing determined by our body clocks is the best time to work out. You’ll want a late lunch break to fit this one in as well: physical performance is generally highest, and the risk of injury lowest, from 3-6 p.m. Plus, from 2-6 p.m., muscle strength is at its peak, and even your lungs perform better in the late afternoon than at midday.

Are Employees Happier After A Meal Or Rest Break?

As illustrated by the above mentioned reasons, the benefits of taking meal breaks are both healthy and productive. In fact, studies show that just getting away from the desk and hanging out with coworkers during your lunch break can boost your mood.

ATS Time and Attendance solutions are designed around the unique operational needs of different industries and are available in the cloud, hosted, or on premises. Customers can better manage complexity and focus on core growth activities.

To learn more call; 866.294.2467 or go to our website to download a demonstration of ATS TimeWork OnDemand.

Have you ever wonder why your sick coworker chose to come to work? This behaviour continues to confound experts who lament that employees would do well to stay away from work when they are sick. Most of us know when we are too sick to work, yet we push ourselves and end up working too much and, by doing so, we may in fact, be prolonging our recovery time. And, to top it off studies have shown that a lack of sleep can weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to colds.

The Data Shows Employees Go To Work Even When They Know They Are Sick

According to a recent survey by Monster, and highlighted in an article by Lily Martis,  a whopping 75% of employees chose to go to work despite being sick. The article reads in part; “In the survey, conducted globally, we found 20% of respondents said they always go to work when they’re ill, and 55% of respondents said they’d only take a sick day if their symptoms are severe. Just one-quarter of the respondents said they’d stay home and either work from home (10%) or take the day off (15%)”.

Most experts agree that if you work for an unreasonable boss or and have to go in to work, try to keep your distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands often, and cover coughs and sneezes with a sleeve or elbow. You can also cover with a tissue but be sure to throw it away immediately and then wash your hands. You can also suggest telecommuting to your manager, for a short period so your co workers are not subjected to your constant sneezing. And, if your manager is concerned about tracking your time while you are working from home, there are a few modern tools including; video conferencing and cloud computing time tracking methodologies. Emailing your manager every hour or so, with an update on projects you are working on, while telecommuting should put her mind at ease.

 

The Christmas Holiday season is here, which often means, your employees are fully engaged in preparing and maybe dreading for their family and other social events with friends. This is also the time of year when many companies take time to assess their sales figures of the past year and also prepare their budgets and financial goals for the New Year.

While employers expect their employees to be fully engaged at work, this can be difficult during the Holiday season since many are likely lost in the business of their lives outside of work, and will perhaps, lack proper motivation and energy to perform their best work. This is a natural and happens in many other organizations and thus, should not, however, be cause for alarm but rather seen as a way to keep your employees motivated.

3 Tips To Keep Your Employees Engaged During The Holiday Season

Here are 3 tips to help you keep your employees motivated during the holiday season:

Create a wow factor in the office– Bring some Holiday cheer to the office! Once a week during the holiday season, setup a table in the company’s cafeteria with free hot beverages and some light snacks. Everyone loves cookies and other holiday treats this time of the year. Hang up some garlands around the office and tune your radio/stereo system to a station that plays holiday music. In short, create a festive environment that your employees will look forward to each day.

Don’t be a scrooge- This is a time to embody compassion. Be cognizant that your employees will understandably be stressed during the holiday season and, for various reasons. To that end, make your employees schedules a bit friendlier, by offering flextime or and giving them an opportunity to work from home for a couple of days during the week. You will be viewed a wonderful boss and your company will reap the benefits of a happier workforce place and productive employees.

 Highlight your company’s year-end results and New Years goals- Did your company meet or exceed its financial goals of the past twelve months? If so, share the news with the employees whether your met those goals or not. Do not use this time to point out under-performers at your company. If you have an underachieving sales person, have a private conversation with them. You should however, focus on what the company’s goals were for the past year and where you fell short if, in fact, you did. Conversely share the good news if you beat expectations and discuss the targets for the New Year.

Bottom-line- This holiday, aim to create an atmosphere of acceptance, camaraderie and unity, and you can bet your employees will feel more motivated to complete their work. Remember, your employees are your greatest asset and no company can be viable without a happy and productive workforce.

 

Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If We All Had Great Bosses?

November 28th, 2016 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Employee Scheduling | Employee Self Service - (Comments Off on Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If We All Had Great Bosses?)

Since the world is not perfect and that includes human beings, it is highly unlikely we are all going to have great bosses. After all, bosses human and like us, have their own share of flaws. There is no denying there are some individuals who serve, in a role as a boss and are horrible at it. The flip side to that are bosses, who are compassionate, take care of their employees and can be a dream to work with.

Wouldn’t It Be Wonderful If We All Had Great Bosses?

In a recent blog post titled ‘5 Traits Employees Want In a Boss’ and based on a study by the Dale Carnegie Training  Business News Daily Senior Writer Chad Brooks lays out five qualities that employees look for in a boss:

  1. “Encourages improvement: Nearly 80 percent of the employees surveyed said inspiring leaders encourage and help employees improve.
  2. Gives praise and appreciation: Nearly three-quarters of the workers surveyed said great bosses praise and express appreciation for employees’ work.
  3. Recognizes improvement: More than 70 percent of employees said one of the most important traits of a boss is acknowledging when workers’ performance has improved.
  4. Acknowledges own shortfalls before criticizing: The study found that 68 percent of employees are motivated by bosses who, rather than criticizing others, recognize their own shortcomings.
  5. Allow employees to save face: 60 percent of workers said they appreciate a boss who gives them a chance to make up for their errors, instead of embarrassing employees when they have made mistakes.”

We all know that not every boss posses these five qualities. Sometimes, we might find a boss with some or more of these qualities either in our first job or several jobs later in life. But for many people, having a great boss is the exception, and not the rule.

To learn about ATS product offerings including our time and attendance solutions, go to our website.

Are Gym Memberships And Other Perks Good Recruiting Tools, To Attract And Retain Talent?

August 9th, 2016 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Employee Self Service | Leave Management | Time and Attendance Blog, Workforce Management Software - (Comments Off on Are Gym Memberships And Other Perks Good Recruiting Tools, To Attract And Retain Talent?)

The recruitment practices of 20 years ago, no longer work and many of today’s companies are acutely aware of this and, as a result, offer rewards programs to recruit and retain talent. And, let’s face it, how many people are actually going to turn down; playing pool once a week, a one year yoga or gym membership or having lunch once or twice a week, all paid for by their employer?

Are Gym Memberships And Other Perks Good Recruiting Tools, To Attract And Retain Talent?

A recent article titled ‘The 44 Healthiest Companies to Work for in America’ by Abigale Thorpe for Greatist, describes in detail, some of the perks that several companies offer their employees. In no particular order, here is a list of 5 companies from the article:

Honest Tea
In addition to sipping delicious tea, all 40 employees are invited to stock up their pantries and fridges with quarterly Whole Foods gift certificates. Weekly organic fresh fruit delivery makes reaching for an apple or banana a natural habit. While you’re munching, take in one of the wellness seminars, ranging in topics from stress management to sleep habits. Boot camp is offered two times per week in-office after work, and a flexible schedule and commitment to company-wide volunteer days keeps employees feeling uplifted.

ALOHA
You might feel like you’re on vacation while taking full advantage of weekly yoga and meditation classes in the ALOHA office. The kitchen is always fully stocked with organic snacks, ALOHA’s healthy products are available to all 47 employees, and lunch is catered every Friday.

Pro Althe Inc.
Unlimited flex PTO, an on-site gym with a full-time personal trainer, access to yoga classes, and grocery store tours with a registered dietician are just a few of the perks this company’s 50 employees find on the job. Free laundry services, haircuts, massages, and cab and Uber rides are others—provided to make each employee’s home away from home as stress-free as possible. And when it comes to stress, you’d be hard-pressed to find it at the office, which has racquetball and basketball courts, a swimming pool, a bar and lounge, a game room, and a coffee shop.

inVentiv Health Public Relations Group
This PR company knows how to keep its 251 employees satisfied, with free daily lunch, chair massages, and yoga classes. And don’t forget the company-wide Thanksgiving potluck that reminds you coworkers are family too. Unlimited personal and sick days and three weeks paid vacation to start provide the downtime you need to keep living life, and the company’s VitaminC3 health program offers nutritional assistance, like cooking classes as well as physical fitness activities at the office, to keep you active between screen-staring stints.

Google
Google’s got you covered—and we’re not just referring to answering your every query. It provides on-site physicians and nurses for its 57,148 employees, as well as free legal advice and discounted legal services. In addition to a gourmet cafeteria, physical fitness programs, and on-site gyms, the company supplies a free shuttle service to employees in the Bay Area, and offers new parents paid time off and extra spending money to celebrate their little one. Headed out on vacay? No worries, Google provides travel insurance and emergency assistance (even for personal trips). Employees can also donate vacation days to coworkers who may need the extra days to take care of family emergencies.

Are Gym Memberships And Other Perks Good Recruiting Tools, To Attract And Retain Talent?

These perks, by these above mentioned companies gives the impression that you are in some sunny destination at all inclusive resort, and so, who would not jump at an opportunity work for a company that offered such great perks? One thing is certain, recruiting and retaining today’s employee, requires more than just a pay cheque, employee incentives are a good way to attract and retain talent.

And in conclusion, the old attitude that an employee is lucky to have a job and should not expect anything else, won’t sit well with the next generation of workers (millennials) who are going to replace many of today’s baby boomers.

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Don’t Think A Healthy Compensation Will Retain Good Talent? Think Again

June 23rd, 2016 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Benefit Accruals | Employee Scheduling | Overtime | TimeWork - (Comments Off on Don’t Think A Healthy Compensation Will Retain Good Talent? Think Again)

It has been said that the financial crisis of 2008 has been used, by some companies to keep wages low. Some of have compared the 2008 financial crisis to the depression of the 1930s as being the same or worse. And, while the economy has somewhat gotten better, many workers are still fighting to get a decent wage. The companies who consistently choose to pay employees low wages are, for the most part, out of touch with reality and, the protests in the streets over the years, is an indication of how strongly many of these low-wage earners feel.

The issue of stagnant pay increase is also an issue for middle managers and an article by Christie Hunter Arscott for Harvard Business Review says as much. The title of the article “Why So Many Thirtysomething Women Are Leaving Your Company” focuses on the reasons why men and women alike leave a company. And, when you sift through the reasons, it pretty much boils down to regardless of the title we hold and whether it’s a man or a woman, everybody wants to be paid a decent wage, one that he/she is able to survive on.

Here are 3 tips from Christie Hunter Arscott article that companies can use to assess the wage structure as it pertains to its employees:

“Ask, don’t assume: Women in their thirties should play an integral role in developing talent retention strategies. Instead of talking about them, talk with them. Want to know why women are leaving your organization? Don’t assume. Ask them and then develop data-driven strategies based on these findings.

Address challenges beyond family and flexibility: While options for flexibility and work-life balance are important, the bottom line is that motherhood is not the primary reason why talented women are leaving organizations.

Propose women’s strategies as broader talent strategies: Gender appears to have little impact on an individual’s reasons for leaving an organization. This is good news for organizational leaders. There is less of a need to segment and complicate talent strategies by gender. Instead, there is the opportunity to create broad impact through strategies that address the desires of both mid-career women and men.”

Don’t Think A Healthy Compensation Will Retain Good Talent? Think Again

In conclusion, choosing to pay employees at the bottom-end of the scale will only lead to them leaving your company. And because the job market is tight, it’s very likely that the vacation position can be fill very quickly. However, sooner or later, companies who are known to have a high turnover rate, because of excessively low pay, will be avoided, even by those who are desperate for work. The good news is that the companies who pay their employees the poverty wages are in the minority-so, there is hope.

 

The market-place has all kinds of tools and incentives to help companies boost employee engagement. The effects of the 2008 recession have resulted in stagnant growth for some industries and have left many employees fearing that they could lose their jobs for any number of reasons. This fear is well placed because high unemployment has been a constant for the last 5 years.

Happy Employees Boost The Bottom Line

Managing today’s workforce is very different, especially when it comes to millennials many of whom will probably not respond to the “my way or the highway” management style. In fairness, this does not apply to all companies. In fact, the percentage of companies who has this antiquated management style is very rare at best. Senior executives have their own set of challenges which includes increasing shareholder value and satisfying the needs of their customers. The employees however, are at the heart of achieving shareholder value and customer satisfaction so, it stands to reason, that most of today’s companies are trying to find creative ways to retain their talent. After all, this just makes good business sense.

 

This article “10 Ways to Increase Profit & Productivity by Making Employees Happy” is a good guide for companies who for ideas on how to increase engagement within their organizations.

 

 

When Gap bucked the trend and said it would raise the minimum wage of its employees, it made headline news and brought out those that in favour of it those that are not. Those who prefer that minimum wages remain at record lows, cite it will kill jobs, wherein employers will see profits erode and will in turn outsource those jobs to third world countries. Proponents of wage hikes scoff at the idea and state that a large percentage of the economy is driven by consumer spending and not the stock market. In other words, increase the wage of the employees and they in turn, will spend. In short order, when employees with discretionary income spend the economy spikes, which in turn creates jobs in the very communities where they spend.

It’s important to note that wage hikes in and of itself is not sufficient to tether employees to their jobs. In addition to a wage/salary that’s commensurate to the employees’ work, the environment in which employees perform their task is just as important. So what makes for happy employees? For some companies this is a no brainer, while for others it is herculean task.

Karsten Strauss of Forbes.com sought the advice of Leonard J. Glick, Professor of management and organizational development at Boston’s Northeastern University, and penned an article with the following tips: “7 Ways To Keep Your Employees Happy (And Working Really Hard)” Here are 3 out of the 7:

Money Matters (But Not As Much As You Think)
Compensation packages are a big deal when employees are hired, but once a deal has been struck the source of motivation tends to shift. “The motivation comes from the things I’ve been talking about—the challenge of the work, the purpose of the work, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to contribute,” Glick explained. When it comes to finding a salary that will allow your employees to feel they’re being paid fairly, don’t bend over backwards to lowball them. If you do, they will eventually find out and not be happy. “If the salary were open, is it defensible?”

Keep Your Team Informed
Business leaders have a clearer perspective on the bigger picture than their employees do. It pays to tell those under you what’s going on. “Things that managers take for common knowledge about how things are going or what challenges are down the road or what new products are coming… they often don’t take the time to share that with their employees,” Glick said. Spreading the intel lets everyone in on the lay of theland and at the same time strengthens the feeling among workers that they are an important part of the organization.

Your Employees Are Adults—Treat Them Like It
In any business there is going to be bad news. Whether it’s to do with the company as a whole or an individual within the organization, employees need to be dealt with in a straightforward and respectable manner. “They can handle it, usually,” said Glick. If you choose to keep your people in the dark about trying times or issues, the fallout could be a serious pain in the neck. “The rumors are typically worse than reality. In the absence of knowledge people make things up.”

You can read the article in its entirety on forbes.com Maybe, your company meets or exceeds all of the advice being dispensed in this article. If so, you are on the right track.

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