Effectively managing staff across multiple locations


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The
nature of work and workplaces changed dramatically over the past year with many
employees forced to work from home and capacity limits introduced in offices,
retail environments and manufacturing facilities.

For many small-business owners, managing a remote workforce and ensuring they remain safe, and work effectively, while comply with COVID-safe workplace guidelines continues to be a time-consuming and challenging exercise. Particularly when they have no in-house human resources teams and different locations are experiencing unique conditions and protocols.

To
address this businesses are increasingly turning to technology platforms and
pre-defined templates to effectively automate their employee check-in and daily
workload processes.

These
technology platforms use drag-and-drop workflow templates to contact employees about
which location they plan to work from the following day. Based on whether the employee’s
response was ‘home’, ‘office’ or other remote location, the platform will automatically
send contextually relevant follow-up information to the recipient. For example,
employees who respond ‘office’ may be reminded of social distancing
restrictions, the availability of hand sanitizer and face masks, as well as
on-site facilities that have been closed.

Businesses
can utilise workflows to set time limits for responses with employees who do
not respond within the required time frame automatically sent a tailored
follow-up message. Business owners will then be sent a notification so they can
follow-up those employees that didn’t respond, if necessary. Our research of
more than 120 million communications interactions shows that when recipients
are conditioned to anticipate interactive communications, they are also more
likely to consume the content and reply.

These
easy-to-build templates can be configured to capture and identify multiple
relevant responses, such as ‘wfh’, ‘city’ and ‘factory’. Messages and follow-up
content are entirely customisable and can be prepared in advance and easily
updated as required, enabling businesses to effectively inform employees of
changing conditions. For example, if new COVID-safe restrictions are

implemented at short notice, you may decide to send an additional message to
all employees that have elected to work from the office tomorrow that they are
now required to wear a face mask while inside the premises. Depending on the urgency,
you can select whether you want to trigger messages and follow-up responses automatically
or manually.

Technology platforms not only enable the automation of employee location processes, but also provide an auditable record of these interactions with staff. The workflow templates ensure send an email to the business owner or HR of recorded employee responses. In the event of an on-premises COVID-19 outbreak, businesses can easily and securely provide information of who was on-site on that day and time to health authorities. These multi- purpose communications platforms can also be used to effectively contact impacted staff of the outbreak across multiple delivery channels, such as text, email, WhatsApp and video, in real-time.

For
small businesses with lone workers in the field, the same platform can also be
utilised to conduct frequent staff safety checks throughout the day. The
platform can also be used for a range of other HR-related purposes, such as
shift availability, health declarations and wellness checks.

The good news for small businesses is that technology platforms, such as Whispir, easily integrate with your existing IT systems, including CRM, staff distribution lists and payroll, and are designed to be implemented and used without external IT expertise. So, you won’t have to invest in hiring an IT developer.

Your
staff are your most important asset so ensuring they feel comfortable returning
to the workplace is essential. By utilising communications technology
platforms, small businesses can easily engage with staff to ensure their
workplace complies with COVID-safe capacity limits. And get back to focusing on
running their business.

Ben
Erskine, Head of Content, communications workflow platform Whispir



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Five ways small businesses can incorporate remote working more effectively


While remote working isn’t anything new, COVID-19 has pushed this
concept to the forefront of many businesses. In fact, a Roy Morgan study
revealed that since the pandemic started, 32 per cent of working Australians
have been working from home. When we consider factors such as Government
announcements allowing restricted percentages of workers back to the office and
even global trends – such as the US, where 50 per cent of their workforce are
comprised of the gig economy –  remote
working is going to become a long-term necessity.

However, adjusting to not having a physical office has placed a lot of pressure on businesses. Included in this, is trying to understand how to manage employees and teams remotely.

Mastering remote working is about finding the right strategies.

Establish a structure and expectations

Lack of face-to-face supervision is one of the most common concerns
expressed by managers and employees. Managers have expressed concerns that
employees will not work as hard, while employees struggle with reduced
communication and access to managerial support.

Providing a structure – or plan – helps to resolve some of these issues.
It is also particularly important for younger generations who may lack
initiative or the ability to self-manage. This structure could start with daily
check-ins with employees; a one-on-one call is one of the most successful ways
of doing this. Or, planning out daily or weekly tasks, which is especially
helpful to employees who require a more “hands on” approach.

Consider communication needs 

Communication styles vary amongst employees. Coupled with this, is the
challenge of getting information. A lot of employees find that the time and effort
needed to get information from co-workers, or even answers to questions is much
more laborious than being in the office. Which is why equipping employees with
different methods is key for accommodating styles and mitigating risks around
efficiencies.

Adopt different communication methods

Since COVID-19, the use of video calls/conferencing has risen. Video
calls are great – as they enable face-to-face conversations and a way to have
collaborative discussions. They can also reduce any sense of isolation from
employees. However, use should be balanced as studies have shown that video
call “features” – absence of visual cues, screen fatigue, and technology
mishaps – require the brain to work harder. To mitigate: emails remain a
standard approach, while Instant Messenger Platforms offer a good way to ask
quick questions, or for any matters that are urgent.

Provide opportunities for social interaction

While research indicates that younger generations are struggling the
most with feelings of loneliness and isolation, no employee is immune. When we
consider the difference in personality types – especially those who perform at
their best while around others – this transition proves even more of a
challenge.

One way to mitigate this, is to find ways for employees to interact
socially. Having team meetings to talk about non-work topics or setting up
remote “offsites” that are fun and engaging, are a couple of simple ways to
remove barriers.

Offer encouragement and emotional support

The transition from office to working from home takes time and isn’t
always easy. It is important for managers to acknowledge stress, anxieties, and
concerns of their employees and provide emotional support. Where possible,
businesses should be investing in mental health, diversity and inclusion
initiatives or connecting with relevant support networks to ensure employees
are supported. 

Remote working becomes more efficient when expectations are set for the way things are done. Having a clear structure, and strategies in place, will help ensure teams are supported, and continue to perform.

Jacqueline Cripps, Management Consultant and CEO, JCL



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Hungary parliament passes law effectively banning same-sex couples from adopting children



Hungary’s parliament, where the ruling nationalist Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has a two-thirds majority, passed a law on Tuesday that excludes same-sex couples from adopting children.

The legislation, proposed by Orban’s government, says only married couples can adopt children and single people can only adopt with special permission from the family affairs minister. Hungary does not allow gay marriage.

Parliament also amended the constitution, with a dozen new rules including a new definition for family as the union of a father who is a man and a mother who is a woman, redefining the clause to exclude alternative family types.

Although there are exceptions when single people or family members can adopt children, “the main rule is that only married couples can adopt a child, that is, a man and a woman who are married,” Justice Minister Judit Varga wrote in the law.

Adoption by gay and lesbian couples had been possible until now if one partner applied as a single person.





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The IRS effectively canceled the tax break that made PPP loans so valuable


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A time bomb is ticking in the Paycheck Protection Program loans that have kept millions of small businesses operating through the pandemic. It’s set to go off early next year unless Congress defuses it soon.

More than 500 national, regional, and state trade associations recently signed a letter pleading with congressional leaders to act. They asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and others to bring a “spirit of urgency and cooperation before the end of this session to prevent an avoidable catastrophe for millions of small businesses.”

Here’s the problem: More than 5 million small businesses received PPP loans, and many of their owners might not know about the nasty surprise that may await them when they do their 2020 taxes.

The main terms of the PPP loans have been widely known since Congress enacted the program as part of the CARES Act in March. Small businesses could borrow money through the Small Business Administration, and the amounts they spent on payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities—all or most of the loan, in many cases—would be forgiven.

Normally when a loan is forgiven, it becomes taxable income in the eyes of the IRS. But in this case, the CARES Act specifies that it isn’t. Small businesses that used the money as it was meant to be used were getting a tax-free lifeline—a crucial provision that hugely enhanced the loans’ attractiveness.

You can’t blame most business owners for missing the nasty surprise when it arrived later, in May, on page six of IRS Notice 2020-32. It states that if PPP loan forgiveness is not taxable, then the employee pay, rent, etc., that small businesses paid so the loans would be forgiven—expenses that would be significant tax deductions in a normal year—would not be deductible. The IRS effectively canceled the tax break that made PPP loans so valuable to small businesses.

But wait, it gets worse. What if a business’s loan hasn’t been forgiven? Then surely those expenses are deductible as usual, right? Well, not necessarily. The IRS ruled in November that if a PPP borrower “reasonably expects to receive forgiveness,” then the borrower “may not deduct those expenses” in the year they were paid.

None of this appears to be what Congress intended when it hurriedly passed the CARES Act. But without a fix, “millions of small businesses…will face a surprising, and, in many cases, insurmountable tax bill next year,” the trade associations say.

Help may be on the way in the $908 billion bipartisan stimulus proposal gaining traction in Washington, but it’s impossible to be sure. The negotiators have released only a vague outline of the proposal, mentioning “deductibility” in connection with PPP. In any case, it’s all subject to change in the inevitable horse-trading going on behind the scenes.

Beside the sledgehammer threat of the PPP tax issue, several other emergency programs for small businesses are scheduled to expire at year-end unless Congress extends them. For many small-business owners, it’s still uncertain just how bad 2020 will be.

More must-read finance coverage from Fortune:

  • Why the power to change the female-founder double standard rests with VCs
  • Wall Street culture clash: When Coinbase met Cantor Fitzgerald
  • How the Slack/Salesforce deal stacks up to history’s other Big Tech acquisitions
  • Robinhood’s next adventure: Stealing market share from the rich
  • Denied unemployment benefits? Here are your options



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All Blacks effectively win Tri-Nations as 38-0 win over Argentina gives them huge lead over Wallabies and Pumas



The All Blacks have effectively won the Tri-Nations rugby, with their 38-0 win over Argentina putting them five competition points ahead of the Pumas and the Wallabies.

The only game left is next week’s clash between Australia and Argentina and with four points awarded for a win, a bonus-point victory would not be enough for either side.

Even if one of them matched the All Blacks on two wins and 11 competition points the tiebreaker would come down to point differential, where New Zealand holds a 92-point lead over Argentina and a 100-point lead over the Wallabies.

So, unless some records are smashed in next Saturday’s clash at Parramatta Stadium, the All Blacks have won the Tri-Nations trophy.

And they secured the silverware in emphatic fashion, running in five tries against Argentina to nab the bonus point in Newcastle.

It was revenge for the All Blacks, who were shocked by Pumas in their match two weeks ago.

More to come.

Team stats

Player Stats

Chalkboard



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Six Exercises that Effectively Target Abdominal Muscles


Sorry guys, but crunches and sit-ups will never give you rock-solid abs on their own.

Research has found that many of these popular movements that are supposed to get you a chiseled mid-section in no time don’t actually produce any significant results and place a lot of strain on other parts of the body such as the neck, spine and lower back.

Instead, you should first try harder to eat right and reduce your body fat by burning more calories than you consume (belly fat does a wonderful job at covering them up, remember?).

Some seasoned bodybuilders would even go as far as to say that abs are made in the kitchen and not in the gym. Next, you have to engage in a diverse workout routine that targets each of the upper and lower abdominal muscles and works them from every possible angle.

There is more to the abdominal area than the six-pack – this muscle group includes many interconnected muscles that run up the back and stretch down to the butt, and all of them should get a piece of the action if you want to get the kind of ripped stomach you see on magazine covers.

Forget about crunches and try this program of six exercises that effectively target abdominal muscles and promote greater fat loss and a better muscle building response than any of the traditional ab exercises.

You can do them in straight sets, resting 30 seconds between sets, or in a circuit with no rest between exercises.

Ready to build a washboard mid-section? Make your abs scream with the routine below!

1. Flutter kicks

Lie on your back with the head and back relaxing on the ground, arms extended by your sides.

Tighten your abs and hold the legs straight out and lifted about six inches above the ground. Start the movement by lifting the left leg higher than the right leg, then lower it as you lift the right leg higher.

This should be done quickly, in a scissor-like motion.

You can also tuck your hands underneath the glutes for a better control of the movement. One kick with each leg constitutes one rep. Perform 5 sets of 15 reps.

2. Straight leg raises

Leg-Raises

Lie on your back with the head and back relaxing on the ground and the legs extended.

Keeping the knees straight and close together, slowly lift your legs straight up towards the ceiling until they are about perpendicular to the floor, if possible.

Hold the position for a few moments, keeping the lower abs contracted. Slowly return to the starting position.

3. Side raises

side-plank

Lie on the side with a straight body and have your body weight distributed on your forearm.

The feet should be on top of each other. Lift your hips up off of the floor, powering the movement with your forearm, so that your whole body forms a straight line, with the head and neck aligned with the rest of the body.

Hold the position for a few moments, then slowly lower your hips back down to the floor. Perform 5 sets of 15 reps.

4. Oblique crunches

oblique-crunches

Lie on your right side with the legs on top of each other, bent at the knees. Place the left hand behind your head. Start by moving your left elbow up and crunch as high as you can.

Hold the position for a few moments, focusing on the contraction in the obliques. Slowly return to the starting position and do a few more repetitions on the left side, then switch and repeat on the right side.

Perform 5 sets of 30 reps (15 reps on each side).

5. Alternating elbow-to-knee

elbow-to-knee

Lie on your back and cross your arms across your chest so that the right hand rests on the left shoulder and the left hand rests on the right shoulder.

Crunch up and bring the right elbow towards the left knee, then drop back to the floor. Then alternate to the other side and bring the left elbow towards the right knee.

Perform 5 sets of 30 reps (15 reps on each side).

6. Reverse hip crunch thrusts

hip-thrust

Lie on your back with your head and neck resting on the floor, bent knees and flat feet. Your arms should be by your sides.

Keeping a tight core, slowly roll your legs up towards your ears, bringing the hips up towards you. Hold the position for a few moments, then slowly lower the legs back to the floor.

Perform 5 sets of 15 reps.

These exercises are simple yet very powerful and the high number of sets is guaranteed to get your mid-section burning.

So if you want to rock some impressive abs this summer, start sweating right now!





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Effectively Market Your Product or Service With These 11 Digital Copywriting Courses


How to sell more online.


2 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.


There are literally billions of potential customers for your business on the Internet. But connecting with as many of them as possible is exceedingly difficult. There’s a lot of competition from other businesses, which is why it’s so crucial to write compelling copy. Whether you’re sending emails, social ads, newsletters, or anything else, great copy can help turn potential customers into buyers. In The 2020 Complete Digital Copywriting Master Class Bundle, you’ll learn how to do just that.

This 11-course bundle will teach you how to effectively scale your brand through engaging, sellable content. The bundle is led by veteran copywriter Alan Sharpe and digital product creator Danny Liu. Sharpe has 30 years of copywriting experience and has helped thousands of copywriters on four continents master the craft of copywriting. Liu is an Agile Release Manager and a CSPO/CSM and Digital Product Creator with 15 years of experience in technology infrastructure engineering design.

Between the two of them, they’ll show you how to use one of today’s top web hosting platforms, WordPress, and how to reach new audiences with your content. Not only that, but Sharpe will break down copywriting into a few vital steps.

You’ll learn how to ask seven important questions every time you write, how to craft awesome headlines and openers, and how to persuade audiences. Whether you’re writing sales pitches to businesses, product pages, landing pages, or anything else, Sharpe will show you what you need to do to get as many conversions as possible.

Become an effective digital copywriter and make more sales online. Right now, The 2020 Complete Digital Copywriting Master Class Bundle is on sale for just $38.99.



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A Robust Health System Responding Effectively to COVID-19 Pandemic under the strong leadership of President – WHO


WHO determines that Sri Lanka’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been swift, decisive, and coordinated using a whole-of-society approach under the strong leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with technical guidance from the Health Ministry and the World Health Organization, a monthly selection of case studies released by the WHO says.

The report which was released on September 9 said Sri Lanka has ‘a Robust Health System Responding Effectively to COVID-19 Pandemic.’ It also said that the Health Ministry has received strong political support from the President of Sri Lanka since the emergence of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.

The case studies titled ‘COVID-19: WHO’s Action in Countries | August 2020’ featured of the status of several countries including Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, and Russia.

The report noted, “Sri Lanka has successfully controlled the COVID-19 epidemic in the country through its past investments to build a robust and resilient health system. On January 27, the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Sri Lanka following which the President immediately took the lead of the national COVID-19 response. Using WHO guidelines as a reference, the Health Ministry developed the Sri Lanka Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19.”

The report mentioned that adherence to public health and social measures was tested in the recently concluded general election, by saying, “The election was successfully conducted island-wide without any amplifying event. It is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest success stories and illustrates just how far the country has come in controlling this deadly virus.”

The reported added, “The government is also committed to continuing its efforts in finding, isolating, testing and treating cases as well as tracing and putting contacts in quarantine. It is important to put critical attention in protecting the gains in this area and continue to explore opportunities to further strengthen its future preparedness to deal with future epidemics and public health emergencies such as natural disasters, dengue, and other emerging threats.”

This report which started developing from April 2020, on Country strategies and support towards controlling COVID 19, further described on Sri Lanka status, “With the strong political leadership, committed and capacitated health workers, empowered communities and coordinated support of development partners, the country can withstand and better prepared for future health emergencies.”

– Asian Tribune –

A Robust Health System Responding Effectively to COVID-19 Pandemic under the strong leadership of President - WHO

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Victoria ‘effectively’ under stage four restrictions


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a stern message to young Australians about following the new COVID-19 restrictions.

In a long Facebook post, Mr Andrews urged young Victorians to “do the right thing” and respect the rules that are in place.

“I promise this isn’t a lecture, or a lesson – and I’m not trying to blame you for anything either,” he wrote on Saturday night.

“I’m not your dad, I’m not your boss, and I’m not your teacher.

“But I’ve got a message I want to share with young Victorians.”

The premier said it was likely young residents know someone who is’t following the rules and warned they could be put in a position where they have to choose between going out and staying home.

“You’ll be asked to come over, to hang out, just a few drinks – nothing big. Nothing risky,” he wrote.

“You might consider it too – I don’t blame anyone for wanting to be with friends right now.

“You might even find a way to rationalise it: It’s a small gathering, you won’t get caught, your mates don’t have the virus.

“The entire pandemic might feel like miles away from you, and your community, and your friends, and your life.”

Picture: Sarah Matray/NCA NewsWire

But Mr Andrews urged residents not to “ignore” the facts of the pandemic.

” 61 people have lost their lives. 3,995 are sick. 42 are in an ICU bed tonight, their families wondering if they’ll make it to tomorrow,” he wrote.

“Two children are in hospital. Eight people under the age of thirty – young Victorians just like you – with no idea how long they might be there, or just how bad it might get.”

Mr Andrews said the Victorians battling the virus are real people and said if people continue to ignore the rules more people would get sick.

“I know it’s hard, I know it’s frustrating, and I know you’re over this – believe me, I am too,” the premier said.

“But if you’re sitting there right now, deciding if you take that risk or not.

Know that if we allow this virus to spread – if people ignore the rules, or pretend this isn’t happening: Restrictions will get tighter, case numbers will grow larger, and more lives will be lost.”





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