Office Management & HR
Learn more about the resources available for Office & HR.
The Department of Labor has provided the general criteria employers should use to determine whether an unpaid intern is an employee subject to the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
President Obama has thrown his support behind an amendment that would allow states to opt out in 2014 from the requirement that individuals and businesses purchase insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
'The Dressing-for-Work-at-Home Dilemma' gives tips on how best to increase productivity and comfort by properly dressing yourself for your home-based business, including what issues to consider for your particular circumstances.
'Zoning: Regulating Traffic' recaps one of the largest issues of concern for home offices--zoning restrictions on traffic--including commonsense ways to craft rules that protect the neighborhood and the businesses in it.
Correctly classifying your workers as independent contractors or employees is more important than ever now that the DOL, the Internal Revenue Service and several states are partnering to enforce compliance.
Smartphones offer a wonderful convenience, but carry the risks of ID theft, viruses, and malware.
Small business owners should carefully consider their business facility needs so that they can select the right site and location for their business.
Employers need to be aware of various state laws and penalties regarding employees' right to vote during working hours.
Small business owners have alternatives to traditional insurance. Choosing insurance policies with higher deductibles and reducing risk can also assist small business owners in meeting their protection needs in a more affordable fashion.
While you can't dictate the exact terms and circumstances of employee resignations, you can put procedures into place that make the process easier. For example, establishing an advance notice policy for quitting employees can give you time to hire a new employee before you're left short-staffed.
A case study analysis of leasing business equipment compared to purchasing the same equipment.
You have three alternatives available for acquiring the equipment to fill your business needs: buying or leasing the equipment or using personal assets you already own in your business. Using assets you already own can be a big money-saver.
Various payroll issues are involved when calculating employees' pay for vacation time-off.
Employers can use contracts to help avoid having independent contractors and temporary workers classified as employees.
Instituting an English-only policy in your workplace is advisable only if such a policy is clearly a business necessity.
When selling or soliciting in the workplace is minimal, it's typically a non-issue. However, if this activity is causing disruption or perhaps even intimidation or harassment, you may want to consider a no solicitation workplace policy.
Hopefully, you won't have to deal with a worker who is arrested and jailed. Employers who find themselves in this situation must balance the rights of the worker with the impact on the workplace and other employees.
Employees can do what they want on their own time regarding political activities, but your workplace policy should limit certain behaviors while on duty. A clear and fairly applied policy can help avoid not only the loss of productivity, but discrimination and harassment claims as well.
If the use of a vehicle is necessary in your business, the first step is obtaining one. You may be able to use a vehicle you already own or purchase or lease a vehicle specifically for business use.
Having adequate insurance coverage is crucial, but overdoing can cause serious economic harm to your business.
Setting up your equipment productively will enable you to work in an efficient and comfortable manner, do more in less time, and spend less money. In time, you will also have to make decisions regarding repairing or replacing broken or obsolete equipment. There are several factors which should be considered when making this decision, as well as different disposal methods if you decide to go that route.
You need to make the most of your purchasing dollars when you buy equipment for your business. Ways you can save money include buying used equipment and negotiating your purchase price and finance terms.
Leasing business equipment has different tax implications than purchasing the equipment. In addition, certain factors may lead the IRS to recharacterize your lease as a sale, which would impact your tax deductions.
Leasing equipment to meet your business needs is a viable alternative to purchasing equipment and sometimes the only recourse for a new business or those in a cash or credit crunch.
There are many factors every small business owner needs to consider when getting ready to make the decison whether to buy or rent a business facility.
If you're thinking of running a home business, you have a special set of issues to consider, along with all the usual issues that must be faced by anyone who is starting and running their own business.
Properly used, a computer can help you to become more organized, work more efficiently, and accomplish many tasks. You'll need a variety of information in order to accurately assess the technology requirements for your small business.
Communication and the right equipment to do it with is absolutely vital to the running of most every business. Today's communication services include phone systems (both landlines and wireless) and mail and package delivery.
Equipping your business encompasses first determining your equipment needs, then acquiring the items you need and finally, using that equipment productively.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the various methods available for disposing of buisness vehicles. Selling, trading, or scrapping or donating the vehicle are among the various methods you can consider when you are ready to get rid of a vehicle.
Dealing with problem employees requires that you choose a course of action as to whether you discipline the employee or coach the employee through constructive feedback. Depending on the severity of the problem, a combination of the two may be the most effective approach.
Depending on the type of employee problem you're dealing with and its severity, you may have to go beyond conducting a basic investigation and employ advanced investigation techniques. These advanced techniques, such as employee monitoring and polygraph tests, may be legally prohibited under certain circumstances.
Whether you have a formal or informal complaint process in place or just handle complaints on a case-by-case basis, be sure you understand how to deal with employee complaints effectively.
Disciplining workers is rarely pleasant but sooner or later, it is a reality for just about every employer. Whether you're dealing with minor work rule infractions to the most severe of offenses or somewhere in-between, having a discipline program in place can help make the process less painful and avoid possible legal complications.
Whether you've determined that your business has an employee morale issue or you want to up your employees' motivation, there are several excellent ways to increase morale and motivation without incurring high costs.
It's safe to say that the higher employee morale is, the better it is for your business. A workplace with high morale has employees who feel that they are treated fairly and valued and appreciated. Asking your employees for their input or doing a written survey is a good way to find out whether the morale in your workplace needs to be improved.
High employee turnover can have a severe impact on your business, both financially and emotionally. If you suspect that turnover is an issue for your business, you should take steps to recognize possible causes of turnover, measure your turnover rate, determine turnover costs, and then address your turnover problems.
Motivating workers is one of the biggest challenges employers face. Poor morale negatively affects your business's productivity so it's important to first assess the morale in your workplace, and if necessary, take steps to improve it.
An employee handbook compiling your work workplace rules is a great way to communicate work policies to employees, However, it's extremely important to follow certain guidelines when creating a handbook in order to avoid inadvertently creating an employment contract.
Communicating work rules so that employees understand what is expected of them is crucial. There are advantages and disadvantages to communicating work policies orally or putting them in writing.
Instituting the proper workplace security measures and planning for disasters coupled with the right insurance coverage, are vital components in minimizing the risks to your business.
A whole host of problems can arise when employees use business equipment for personal purposes. Loss of productivity and the misuse of business resources can be curtailed with workplace policies that address the personal usage of business equipment.
How to determine whether it's time to dispose of a business vehicle, and the key decisions that you should make if you think that the time has come to get rid of a vehicle.
Firing an employee is rarely pleasant. However, a properly conducted termination meeting which preserves the employee's dignity can help defuse even the tensest of situations. There are several steps you can take to fulfill your legal obligations to terminated employees and avoid escalating any hostilities over the firing.
Whether your reasons for firing an employee are based on work performance, due to an economic layoff, or for another reason, following the proper termination procedures goes a long way in avoiding legal issues. Avoid firing someone on the spot, and use severance and release agreements to limit your liability.
To protect your business you must accurately assess the risks you face and choose insurance accordingly. To protect against losses that may occur to your business, insurance policies are available that cover equipment, real property and buildings, inventories, and other business assets. If you run your business out of your home, don't assume that your homeowner's policy covers your business property or any liabilities you incur in the course of running your business.
If your employees use business vehicles, or perhaps your personal vehicles while they are working for you, you must understand your liability for having employees use your vehicles and do what you can to reduce it.
'At-Will Employment -- Part 2' reports on the typical employment relationship and how to avoid wrongful discharge claims in state and federal court.
'Understanding and Remedying Employee Turnover' reports on the various reasons for employee turnover, as well as ways to address the problem and its costs.
Insurance is an issue every business owner needs to consider. Insurance is especially important to the small business owner because of the often close relationship between business and personal assets.
When you are ready to start looking for a specific facility to rent or buy, it's a two-step process of conducting the search and deciding which facility is best.
Choosing a location for your business involves various proximity issues related to customers, suppliers, employees, parking and nearby businesses and competitors. The character of the community and environmental issues may also have an impact on your business facility choice.
There are a variety of reasons why it may be no longer desirable or feasible to run your business from your home.
Federal, state and local governments impose rules and restrictions on running a business out of your home.
The majority of small businesses probably don't need a policy addressing employees' access to and dissemination of confidential information or trade secrets. Whether you need a confidentiality policy will depend upon what type of information you feel you need to protect. For some businesses, noncompete agreements may be necessary to prohibit employees from working in a related business in your area for a certain length of time.
If you are concerned that another job might interfere with an employee's work for your business or if you want to prohibit employees from working for competitors, you may want to protect your business with a moonlighting policy.
Generally, an employee's off-duty conduct is off-limits as far as employers are concerned. Exceptions do exist if there is some relationship between the off-duty conduct and your business and if misconduct outside of the workplace poses a risk for your business.
The authority to set dress codes belongs to you. However, employers need to be especially careful that dress code requirements do not run afoul of anti-discrimination laws.
Employers should know how to detect theft by an employee and how to properly handle suspicions. Depending on the particular situation and workplace, an employee anti-theft policy may be advisable.
Gambling in the workplace can interfere with employee productivity, and a policy setting limits on gambling activities may be warranted.
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