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As the COVID-19 pandemic creeps into spring, summer and likely the rest of this year, some employees are rescheduling, rethinking or outright canceling vacation plans. However, this does not mean you should not request the occasional personal time-off (PTO) from your HR, (even if it’s just one day) to indulge in self-care. We all deserve a little self-care after this past year of working from home, not being able to visit family and loved-ones and for many others, in-home schooling of our kids.

Here are excerpts from an article by Beatrice Bowers titled How to practise self-care during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. It’s okay to dial back on watching the news
    As important as keeping updated is, the news can be seriously overwhelming. The repetitive cycles of doom and gloom alerts across the world about the coronavirus can cause anxiety and disillusionment, so if you find yourself struggling to keep your mind centred, switching off once in a while has its benefits. Turn that phone off, give yourself a digital detox for an hour, or tune into something that has no relevance to reality for a bit.

2. Surround yourself with green
It’s never been better to nurture your green thumb. Working from home or being put on stay-home quarantine can get claustrophobic, and one does miss nature, even though it is right outside the door or window. Have tangible green within reach. Nurture it. Foster it. Find purpose in plants if that’s your thing. Having indoor plants is scientifically proven to be a mood booster, and we’re at a time where we are taking all we can get.

3. Find a hobby to centre yourself at home
Hobbies are important no matter the global climate, but distraction has now become imperative. Pick up a hobby that you can practise at home to alleviate stress or boredom — yoga, meditation, playing music, cooking, jigsaw puzzles, the list is endless. Make sure the hobby bears fruitful rewards, like a tangible end product you can feel satisfied with. This nurtures your happiness and wellbeing. No, binge-watching Netflix shows do not count.

Bottomline: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work and has made us adapt to new norms in our social lives.  This new reality poses a unique set of challenges for all of us and so, practicing self-care is essential when it comes to taking care of our emotional health and well-being.

To learn more about ATS go to our website to download a demo of ATSTimeWorkOnDemand. And, to reach an account executive by phone call, 866.294.2467.

About ATS
ATS offers a broad portfolio of time and attendance solutions that streamlines the collection, calculation, and reporting of employee hours for workforce management and eliminates the manual tasks of payroll preparation, increasing efficiency and reducing errors in corporate payroll departments.

Thousands of organizations across North, Central and South America and Europe- including more than half of the Fortune 500 – use ATS TimeWork OnDemand, Workforce Planning, Employee Scheduling HR and payroll solutions to manage their workforce.

In addition, ATS provides modular analytic solutions that includes; workforce planning, benefits management, employee self-service, business intelligence, human resources, payroll, and advanced analytics based on a robust cloud computing platform for information and data needs. It also offers design, rapid deployment, support services, software updates, and enhancements; and consulting and training services.

While governments are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19, working remotely, will be the new normal for tens of thousands of office workers across Canada, the US and around the world. In short, this means, many office-based employees are now predominantly, if not 100% will be working remotely for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will therefore, be up to the companies – and in particular, their HR departments – to ensure that employees feel supported through this unprecedented situation. And, while the transition of working remotely, might be easy for some (especially those who may have been working from home, pre-COVID-19) employees – for others, it can be particularly daunting.

Here are 5 steps, business leaders and their HR teams can use to ensure the effectiveness of their remote workforce:

1.Be open to flexible work policies: Employee value flexible work schedules. Some of them may have their children at home and are balancing helping their kids with online learning while also working. If employees have the flexibility to take a reasonable amount of time to look after their kids, when it’s convenient, could mean that your employees will be happier, less stressed and more productive.

Resist the urge to install keystroke tracking devices on the laptop of employees. This will only create mistrust and resentment from your workforce. Instead deploy a flexible online timesheet that employees can use to input their time and request time-off. And, if an employee is not able to start promptly at 9:00am, because of some unforeseen circumstances at home show some empathy. The manager and the employee, can perhaps arrange another day when the employee can make up the time.

2.Figure out the best way to boost productivity for employees: Sometimes daily calls and emails while good, might not always work. Change it up, by encouraging employees to look up some free online learning courses.  For example, LinkedIn, has a list of online courses designed to boost productivity while working from home.

3.Establish regular manager check-ins: The daily call-ins, could take the form of a series of one-on-one calls, or a team call to instill collaborative team effort. Make sure that the calls are regular and predictable, and that they are a forum in which employees know that they can consult with you, and that their concerns and questions will be heard.

4. Create Social Interaction Channels: As a species, we are social beings and enjoy fellow human interaction.  Managers, should therefore, structure ways, for employees to interact socially on a variety of topics. In other words, ‘water-cooler’ type of conversations. An example, might be to devote some time at the beginning of team calls to discuss non work-related items (e.g., ‘How was your weekend’? And, ‘are you watching any new shows on Netflix’?

5. Share wellness tips, offer encouragement and emotional support: Encourage employees to take their full lunch break and perhaps go outside for a walk. Some employees may not take a lunch break, fearful of what their manager might think.

In the wake of Covid-19, many employees have gone from working in an office to being 100% remote-and that, in and of itself, could raise employees’ anxieties and concerns. Managers should offer encouragement during one and one or team chats to employees. With remote workers not getting any face-to-face communication with their teams, mental health wellness becomes even more important.

COVID-19 is arguably one of the biggest changes, the modern world of work has had to navigate through so, this has been a challenge for many business leaders and their HR teams across the world.

To learn more about ATS you can register for one of our bi-monthly webinars. To download a demo of our work from home time and attendance application, go to our website. And, to reach us by phone call; 866.294.2467.

You might also like:

Some Tips On How To Avoid Going Bonkers While Working From Home

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Time And Attendance HR App To Manage Your Remote Workforce

The argument about whether cloud-based solutions will stand the test of time is slowly diminishing in some circles. If you are a subscriber to; Facebook, Google, and NetFlix you are part of the many millions who are using a cloud-based solution on a daily basis.

A recent study by Gartner for worldwide use of the Internet of Things (IOT) states, in part; “The Internet of Things (IoT), which excludes PCs, tablets and smartphones, will grow to 26 billion units installed in 2020 representing an almost 30-fold increase from 0.9 billion in 2009, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services, in 2020. It will result in $1.9 trillion in global economic value-add through sales into diverse end markets. 

The Internet of Things is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.”

If your company is still embracing old aged technology to extrapolate attendance data, chances are, you could be left behind. Cloud-based time and attendance is here to stay.

The study further Gartner contends; “Emerging areas will witness rapid growth of connected things. This will lead to improved safety, security and loss prevention in the insurance industry. IoT will also facilitate new business models, such as usage-based insurance calculated based on real-time driving data. The banking and securities industry will continue to innovate around mobile and micropayment technology using convenient point-of-sale (POS) terminals and will invest in improved physical security systems. IoT will also support a large range of health and fitness devices and services, combined with medical advances, leading to significant benefit to the healthcare sector. Emerging connected sensor technology will lead to value creation in utilities, transportation and agriculture. Most industries will also benefit from the generic technologies, in that their facilities will operate more efficiently through the use of smart building technology.”

To learn more about the Internet of Things (IoT) and ATS Attendance On-Demand Time and Attendance go to our website to arrange a personalized demo.

The Internet Of Everything Cloud

Can You Imagine A Job That Offered Unlimited Vacation Days?

September 30th, 2014 | Posted by Apex Time Solutions in Absence Management | Benefit Accruals | Leave Management | Payroll - (Comments Off on Can You Imagine A Job That Offered Unlimited Vacation Days?)

When word got out that Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group had decided to grant unlimited vacation time to some of his employees, the blogosphere went nuts. In fact, many questioned Mr. Branson’s logic and perhaps sanity. Running a multi billion dollar corporation is no small feat and it is safe to say, Mr. Branson, probably applied some sober thought to this decision before embarking on it.

His reason behind this decision can be found on his website. We extrapolated some excerpts from his website, which provides a deeper understanding as to how he arrived as such a decision. “Flexible working has revolutionized how, where and when we all do our jobs. So, if working nine to five no longer applies, then why should strict annual leave (vacation) policies? 

In the past few years, Netflix has become the runaway market leader in the streaming video sector. One clue as to how they intend to remain there this time comes from a very well-advised and downright courageous initiative they adopted that rewrote the book – or to be more precise, threw it away – on something very near and dear to the hearts of most workers around the world: their annual vacation day entitlement.

I first learned of what Netflix was up to when my daughter Holly read a Daily Telegraph article and immediately forwarded the piece to me with a clearly excited email saying, ‘Dad, check this out. It’s something I have been talking about for a while and I believe it would be a very Virgin thing to do to not track people’s holidays.’ She then went on to say, ‘I have a friend whose company has done the same thing and they’ve apparently experienced a marked upward spike in everything – morale, creativity and productivity have all gone through the roof.’ Needless to say I was instantly intrigued and wanted to learn more.”

While it is not possible for many companies to provide unlimited vacation time to their employees there are numerous companies that employ flexible vacation practices. As the saying goes, a well rested employee is a productive employee.

 Can You Imagine A Job That Offered Unlimited Vacation Days?


Rupert Murdoch’s bid for Time Warner sent shockwaves throughout the media business landscape. This bit of news dominated the airwaves and online forums, this past week and while there have been a lot of chatter, permeated with questions its clear one of the reasons has to do with the shifting landscape of how consumers watch their favorite shows. TV has been the dominate force for many years with weekly series, when all of a sudden, it appears that the tide is turning in favor of on-demand shows.

In the last several years, On-Demand Internet streaming companies like Netflix, HBO and Hulu have had cable TV companies screaming in frustration at the success of popular shows like; Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Weeds and countless others that are being watched online by the very customers that were loyal to watching weekly TV series. Why bother waiting for next week when you can watch three episodes in one night? Many analysts and industry executives are predicting, Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox conglomerate will not give up in its pursuit of Time Warner for a host of profitable reasons among others.

Cloud-Based Time and Attendance

The world of time and attendance has gone through a similar transformation. Many of today’s companies are now choosing to utilize cloud-based time tracking over an on-premises solution. And with ATS TimeWork On-Demand software scalability, faster ROI and quick implementation, its no wonder many companies are embracing the many advantages that cloud computing affords.

ATS TimeWork On-Demand provides the next generation workforce management solution that includes, large screen display time clocks, an easy-to-use software interface, with HR capabilities, business intelligence and host of other features that will make your spreadsheets and the 23 year and antiquated punch clocks obsolete.

To see a live demonstration of ATS time and attendance, go to our website or you can join the conversation on our business group through LinkedIn, Twitter or Google Plus.

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