Friday, August 31, 2007
The Frederick Chamber of Commerce is hosting a breakfast and 7-7-7 seminar. Seven local business leaders will speak for seven minutes on seven different topics all of which fall under the theme, "Do the Right Thing." Speakers will address legal issues, employee benefits, and environmental friendly methods of doing business. Additionally, Laurie Holden, director of Frederick County Workforce Services will give a seven minute presentation entitled, "Alternatives to Commuting." The breakfast and seminar is open to the public but requires preregistration and costs $10 for breakfast.
To follow will be an expose of over fifty local businesses. The expo is a free and public networking event. For more information about this and other events, visit the Frederick Chamber of Commerce.
Monday, August 27, 2007
ABC's World News with Charles Gibson aired a story tonight featuring IBM's corporate flexibility policy as the workforce initiative of the future. Nearly 42% of IBM employees rarely enter a corporate office reducing IBM's real estate budget by $100 million dollars.
The ABC story and corresponding article explains the fairly obvious benefits of a remote workforce - reduced corporate costs, increased flexibility enjoyed by employees - in addition to a few methods to achieve flexibility - office space for "rent", virtual staff meetings. One major drawback to telework is also discussed. IBM combats feelings of isolation among employees and fosters sense of community among coworkers by scheduling periodic lunches at a common locale.
*Corporations can continue to focus efforts on connecting remote workers through establishing an online social forum or employee blog. These tools can also serve as a strong marketing tool for potential candidates to learn about the corporate values and culture.*
Friday, August 24, 2007
Site Makeover: Thanks to our good friend Alex at Whiterock Enterprises for the purchase of our new domain name, Flexibleworkforce.net (and .org and .us), I have been looking into ways to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the site. We are continuing to use the blogger platform and I will be adding more information about Flexible Workforce and cleaning up the sidebar. Thank you for all your recent comments and suggestions. Your ideas for improvement and development are always welcome.
Return to Work Gift Packs: Fifty gift packs are being assembled for distribution to local moms returning to work after a period of time at home with a new child. We are coordinating contributions from companies such as Glorious One Pot Meals and ListPlanIt.com among others. As this project continues through the fall, look for more information about our sponsors and profiles of some excellent local moms returning to work and managing their families with ease.
While these projects are keeping me very busy, I am continuing to research and prepare new articles for the blog. Look for upcoming articles about fathers returning to work after paternity leave and issues of faith at work as well as a review of Julie Lenzer Kirk's great book The ParentPreneur.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Flexible Workforce is committed to supporting mothers in their exploration of working motherhood. Return to Work Gift Packs are distributed to working mothers returning to the workplace after a period of time at home with a new child. Gift packs serve to uplift mom's mood, nurture the mother and child bond, and educate moms about resources and tools available.
Be a part of this effort to support new moms returning to work by contributing your business card, promotional material, coupons, or free samples highlighting products, resources, and services indispensable to working mothers. Past gift packs have included hotline and support group contact information, child care resources, coupons and calendars for mommy and me classes, nutritional bars and shakes, etc.
For more information about how to contribute to our Return to Work Gift Packs, please contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This is a full-time, telecommute only position.
View the full job description.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I am looking to improve the layout of the site as well as update my content focus to best meet your needs as job seekers, flexibly scheduled employees, family friendly companies, and most importantly, readers of this blog.
Please feel free to suggest any areas of improvement including:
- Content: Are the article topics specific enough? diverse enough? What future topics would you like to see addressed in blog posts?
- Posting frequency: Are you happy with the frequency of new posts? Would you like to see new posts more often?
- Website design: Do you like the current layout? Are articles and tools easily accessible? Are any features missing from the website design?
- Any other ideas or feedback to improve the Flexible Workforce blog site?
Please feel free to leave a comment below with your suggestions or send an email to email@example.com. While I can assure you that every comment and suggestion will be read and considered, I cannot promise to respond to every comment or implement every suggested change.
I expect improvements to the website to be completed by the end of September. Look for improvements to begin soon and always feel free to contact me with comments and suggestions.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Women in the corporate world everywhere face longer workdays often with no sign of reprieve from what is considered traditional work hours. If your work hours seem to be increasing at the cost of your family and personal time, consider shortening your workday. Rationalize the change in schedule by applying Pareto's 80/20 principal. The premise of Tim Ferris's recent best seller, The 4-Hour Work Week, Pareto's principal posits that 80% of results come from just 20% of efforts. Applying the 80/20 principal to your workday means that you complete 80% of your to do list in 20% of your traditional day. The other 80% of your day is virtually unproductive, lost to email programs, chatty coworkers, and the internet for example.
To make your workday highly productive in fewer hours learn to work smarter:
- Make an effort to keep phone calls short and on topic
- Do not check personal email while at work
- Check work email only at designated times of the day
- Use folders to organize incoming emails
- Saving reading and researching for times you know you will not be interrupted
- Be selective about what files and papers you keep avoiding unnecessary clutter
- Store all incoming mail and email in either an Action or Reference file
- Buy in bulk supplies that you use often
- Combine similar tasks
- Focus your efforts on tasks that utilize your strong points. Delegate tasks that rely on your weaknesses.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
A few years ago, the Huntress Group of London conducted a survey of employees regarding their summer plans and workplace productivity revealing some interesting statistics:
- 58% of employees planned to take time away from the office for a summer vacation
- 68% of employees admitted to daydreaming about plans for summer travel while at work
- 60% reported they would leave the office for a lunch break outside during the summer months
- 63% reported they would leave the office earlier than normal in order to spend more time outside
- 24% of employees felt that their productivity levels actually dropped during these sunny summer months
In fact, many corporations do allow employees to take advantage of summer scheduling. Many accepted plans involve a condensed work week allowing employees to leave early on Fridays or take every other Friday off entirely. Ideally, employees with extra time to enjoy the summer weather will be more motivated to work while in the office boosting productivity in fewer or simply nontraditional hours. If your employer does not allow a flexible summer schedule be sure to get outside during lunch time or for a short walk in the afternoon.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Developers describe the vision behind urban villages and why they are not working, yet. Three master planned communities in the Seattle area with theoretically self-sufficient economics are examples of communities where residents were intended to be able to work and live without the hassle of a commute.
Congress finding value in unpaid leave plans
The democratic-led congress explores legislation extending FMLA benefits ensuring leave to families of injured soldiers, new parents, and caregivers of sick family members.
Workforce housing key to healthier economy
With the high cost of housing, moving or commuting for a job can be impossible. Broward county, Fl businesses explore employee housing as a key to recruitment, retention, and growth. Could this be a successful workforce trend?
Growing sectors: Where the boom will be for Frederick County's jobs
Discussion about the state of jobs in Frederick County led to an analysis of six industries that face the challenge of a shrinking workforce and inexperienced job candidates.
Work and humor do mix
Does your boss have a good sense of humor? Does your employer value humor in the workplace? A survey by temporary staffing agency, Robert Half International claims that humor has a place in the workplace.
Friday, August 10, 2007
- Provide a room for employees to temporarily escape their office, a place to meditate, play ping pong, or take a nap
- Offer a regular prize drawing for those who refer new employees to the company for prizes such as trips, concert tickets, etc.
- Take new hires out with existing employees after their interview for a chance to get to know their coworkers and experience the company culture
- Training exercises through puzzles, quizzes, and games
- A Wall of Fame to showcase individual successes, especially in the customer service realm
- Take home gourmet dinners for employees and their families
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
- 73% of flex employees reported a willingness to stay with their current employer.
- 39% of flex employees reported high levels of loyalty and extra drive to help their employer succeed.
- 33% of managers reported increased productivity from their employees due to flexible work arrangements.
- Cisco's telework program netted a $195 million increase in productivity. Deloitte estimates they have saved $41.5 million in turnover costs since offering flexible scheduling benefits.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
You have secured your ideal schedule at work maximizing the amount of time you have available to spend at home with your children. However, you still need reliable child care for those hours spent at work. Unfortunately, flexible schedules can reek havoc on daycare arrangements which often require regular hours and full-time costs, regardless of mom and dad's schedule. Consider the following daycare options with regards to your own flexible schedule:
- Babysitters, Relatives, and Friends: enlisting the periodic services of a local teenager or someone you know can buy you a few extra quiet work hours at a relatively low cost. Such babysitters are paid hourly and can be hired to work a few hours here and there to extend your work day.
- Nanny or Au Pair: usually a young adult with or without a college degree, a nanny or au pair is generally hired to work full-time hours but can provide the flexibility of watching your kids in your own home. As full-time employees, some nannies may require you to also provide benefits including housing in a live-in arrangement.
- Child Care Cooperative: coops involve a group of parents who swap childcare responsibilities. Often involving a network of several families, coops will provide several options for care at varying times. The only cost is an exchange of equal childcare hours at another time.
- Family Child Care: in home care provided by a licensed provider can offer flexibility to working parents who work longer hours as in the case of a compressed work week. Since family child care providers work from their own home, a provider can watch your child as one of her own brood without interference into everyday activities.
- Child Care Centers: some centers offer part-time rates but usually require regular hours. For example, your child can attend a child care center for preschool only, but the daily class times are rigid, for example 3 hours each morning.
- After School Programs or Summer Camps: activities and camps can keep children occupied for a short few hours, again with a rigid schedule, providing extra hours to get work done.
To search local child care options visit the Maryland Committee for Children. For a nationwide search of childcare providers visit SitterCity (Don't forget Fido. SitterCity also has pet sitter resources).
Monday, August 6, 2007
Imagine this: You are working at home for the day when your boss calls at 11:00 to see if you will be able to finish a presentation before close of business today. The presentation will take only 2 hours to complete, so you agree and write the task in your work planner. At 12:30, your husband calls to remind you to pick up the children at daycare at 3:00. You set a reminder on your personal calendar. At 2:00, a quick check of your to do list reveals the presentation still to be completed. At 2:45 you get an automated reminder to pick up your children. The presentation is still incomplete and your home office is about to become a playroom.
To avoid conflicts like the one described above, consider keeping one all inclusive calendar. Write work events in one color and personal events in another. That way, when you work a flexible or changing schedule and juggle childcare or other personal responsibilities, one quick check of your calendar will let you know exactly what your schedule will permit.
Go Mom Inc. sells planners that help busy Moms keep track of their own work and personal obligations as well as the activities and important information for multiple children.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Barley and Hops Restaurant and Microbrewery
5473 Urbana Pike
The Coffee Table
2401 Whittier DR, Unit A
2198 Old Farm Road
1015 West Patrick Street
5220 Westview Drive
Loco Jonny's Coffee
177 Thomas Johnson Dr
5600 Urbana Pike
1700 Kingfisher Dr
If you know of other free wi-fi spots in Frederick, leave a comment below. Enjoy this free resource.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
It is recommended by doctors that infants be breastfed shortly following birth and then exclusively for at least 6 months. Breastfed babies are healthier in infancy and throughout the rest of their lives with lower instances of allergies and obesity. For those women who choose to breastfeed exclusively, infants nurse every 2-3 hours for the first year of their life. So where does that leave working mothers?
In the past, we have discussed workplace lactation programs as a key ingredient to a working mother's success in continuing to breastfeed her infant once returning to work. A lactation program can be as simple as a place to express breast milk and acceptance by management of regular breaks. A mother working 8 hours a day, needs approximately three 15 minute breaks throughout the workday to express milk. Corporations can go further and provide working mothers with access to lactation consultants and subsidies for purchase of a hospital grade breast pump.
According to Medela, the benefits of a corporate lactation program to an employer include a 27% decrease in maternal days off to deal with infant or maternal illness. The benefits to mothers and her children include a myriad of health and psychological benefits. The maternal/child bond is enhanced. Breastfeeding mothers heal quicker from childbirth, are less likely to suffer postpartum depression. And the list goes on.
Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week by exploring the availability of corporate lactation programs at your company. Or let us know what experiences you have had as a breastfeeding, working mother.
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