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PRODUCTIVITY

Increase your efficiency with these workday PC tips

By Ron Slyker Due to the limited number of hours in a workday, it is critical to maximize your time. If you’re having trouble getting work done due to distracting websites, disorganized files, or cluttered inboxes, use these methods to improve your time management and stay productive at work. Keep an eye on productivity levels. Begin by keeping note of the amount of work you accomplish on an ordinary day. There are numerous useful applications for this. For instance, Google Chrome includes a feature called RescueTime that logs your most frequently visited websites and the amount of time you spend away from your computer. This program will offer you with a productivity score and a complete account of your workday. If you realize that you are squandering a significant chunk of your… . . . read more

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

What about guns in cars in the parking lot?

By Lynne Curry Question: Our office takes threats of violence seriously. We prohibit any act or threat of violence by or against any client, staffer, supplier, or visitor. Our policy applies to all employees, whether on or off company property. We specifically state that we prohibit any use or possession, whether legal or illegal, of weapons on company property or while on business for our practice. In our rural practice some of our employees use their personal vehicles for office business. We pay them $200 a month to compensate them. Can we enforce the no firearms policy for their vehicle while travelling for our office? Answer: According to Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “Your company can enforce a no firearms policy while your employees are on company time. Because your… . . . read more

WELLNESS

Worker well-being a priority for US employers, but program usage falters

Over the last year, workers around the world have been struggling with mental health issues—particularly burnout and isolation. As employers prepare for a post-COVID-19 world, a more holistic view of worker well-being is key to helping employees at all levels manage stress and remain engaged. A new report from The Conference Board, Holistic Well-Being @Work, examines what organizations are doing to implement more comprehensive well-being initiatives and offers recommendations for building healthier, resilient work environments. As the report details, while organizations recognize the importance of a holistic well-being strategy, many struggle to build a fully integrated approach, with low program participation and limited resources cited as the top barriers to success. Featured in the report are results from two surveys, including one of more than 200 practitioners responsible for their organizations’… . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Listening as if you mean it: an important managerial skill

By Lynne Curry It’s easy to give an excuse for not listening. You don’t have time; the speaker rambles or bores you. You already know what you’re about to hear. It’s harder to admit you’re a poor listener—isn’t listening something we do all the time? No. The opposite proves true. Most of us find it hard to listen to someone who has something to say we don’t want to hear. We instinctively interrupt, tune out, or wait until the speaker finishes and then say what we wanted to say in the first place. The result—we miss hearing information we later wish we’d heard; we fall easily into “yes…but” arguments in which neither you nor the other person comes to terms with each other’s viewpoint. We sacrifice opportunities to draw out… . . . read more

RECRUITING

Entry-level law firm recruiting survives pandemic interruptions, but key indicators fall

While the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the course of the 2020 law firm recruiting season, law firms, law schools, and law students have persevered, achieving a competitive summer 2021 recruiting season in winter 2021 instead of summer/fall 2020. The findings are part of NALP’s Perspectives on 2020-21 Law Student Recruiting report. Because of the changes in timing of OCI for the 2020-21 recruiting cycle due to the pandemic, NALP’s typical fall recruiting surveys were split into two collection timeframes, and the 2020-21 Perspectives report includes analysis from data collected in the fall 2020 Survey of Legal Employers on Summer Outcomes and First-Year Associate Plans and two spring 2021 Surveys of Law Schools and Legal Employers on 2020-21 Recruiting. “Amidst the pandemic interruptions and uncertainties there was an overall net decline… . . . read more

Employment Law Update

Making faces doesn’t count as retaliation

By Mike O’Brien Not every negative consequence amounts to retaliation In asserting a claim for retaliation, an employee must prove he or she suffered a “materially adverse action.” But that probably doesn’t include someone “making faces” at you. In Fisher v. Bilfinger Industrial Services Inc., the employee alleged that his supervisor retaliated against him by (among other things) “making faces at him.” The First Circuit Court wasn’t impressed. The court noted that “adverse employment actions” are things like “discharges, demotions, refusals to hire, refusals to promote, and reprimands.” “Making Faces,” on the other hand, amounts to “a frivolous claim that does not implicate Title VII.” In the litigation world, we call this a “bench slap.” You can read the full decision here. More limits on non-competes . . . eventually On July… . . . read more

MANAGING STAFF

Amid higher productivity, 43% of US workers question need to return to workplace

Are you having trouble convincing your staff to return to the office? So are many employers. More and more offices plan to reopen their doors in the coming months, but will their workers show up? Amid higher productivity, 43 percent question the wisdom of returning to the workplace at all. The new survey by The Conference Board reveals a notable shift in employees’ greatest return-to-work concerns. Once dominant fears of contracting COVID-19 or exposing family members to it now lag behind anxieties about returning at all, dropping by nearly half in the last nine months. Moreover, a clear divide among workers emerged, with lower-level employees, women, and millennials questioning the need to return to the office at higher rates than their counterparts, despite expressing more concern about mental health.  … . . . read more

YOUR CAREER

Potential for disaster when you serve on a volunteer board

By Lynne Curry Sometimes you take on work for which you aren’t paid—because it matters, or because you’ve been talked into it. Perhaps you serve on the board of a non-profit legal aid corporation, offering your experience and knowledge as a law office manager. Possibly you run for your condo association’s board of directors because you want some control over the condominium unit in which you live. Despite the zero pay, you occasionally face situations that require hard work and take every ounce of skill you possess. Recently, I helped a community health clinic 11-person board of directors when they found themselves petitioned by angry former employees and upset community members. They hadn’t expected the depth of allegations against the clinic or its top two leaders, nor to find their… . . . read more

HIRING

An employee cyberstalks potential hires, looking for dirt

By Lynne Curry  According to rumor, one of my co-workers conducts unauthorized criminal background investigations on prospective employees without their knowledge or permission. This cyber-snoop doesn’t work in human resources but collects information and passes it along to the hiring managers. She’s also been known to interrogate employees after they’re hired about information she’s learned. We’ve also been told that, despite being married, this employee masquerades as a single woman on dating sites and essentially cyberstalks her targets. My co-workers and I don’t know what to do about this employee, as our members of our senior leadership team have indicated they support this woman one hundred percent. What can those of us who find this repugnant do about it? Answer:  According to employment and labor attorney Paul Wilcox, “It’s not surprising… . . . read more

The pandemic changed employees: Can managers adapt?

By Lynne Curry “The employees who return to the office after a year of remote work aren’t the employees their bosses remember” says a June 12 Wall Street Journal article.1 Remote work changed how employees want to work. Employees that tasted independence don’t want to give it up. Employees who felt betrayed lost trust in employers. What do managers and employers need to understand? Shift from managing to coaching: Even pre-pandemic, most employees preferred managers who outlined “here’s where we’re going and why” and set clear expectations and goals to those who micro-managed. “After a year of working in solitude,” notes the WSJ article, employees “expect more control over how, when and where their work gets done and to have greater autonomy relative to their managers and organizations.”1 This challenges… . . . read more


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