employee management paradigm

Welcome to Wearables, the New "Employee Management" Paradigm

Wearable technology are worn devices that collect information about the user wearing them. Most commonly, it is used for health and/or fitness purposes. Think heart rate monitors, but bigger: wearables can track hours of sleep, calories, recognize faces, and be created to follow any kind of user activity. It’s a pretty useful tool to monitor—and companies are adapting the technology for high-powered, employee management.   

Take the example of Keller Williams Realty, Inc., a real estate conglomerate. Executive leadership decided to give Fitbits (a health tracker) to over 240 corporate employees. The company wanted to motivate their workers to uphold a healthy lifestyle. The Fitbits showed the amount of steps taken, amongst other indicators, to award their most active employees. Keller Williams incorporated wearables in their corporate wellness program, believing it to engage employees in a meaningful way. They viewed the Fitbits as buttressing their associates’ professional productivity. Gary Keller, the company co-founder and Chairman, states “Technology gives our associates the power to set goals, accurately monitor their progress, and then meet and surpass those goals”. 

Wearables may be certainly promoting employee happiness and health.

But is this kind of employee management actually a ticking security time-bomb?

Think of the late Google Glass or Snapchat’s basically-defunct Spectacles. The latter glasses’ video filmed a 115-degree field, close to how the human eye surveys its surroundings. An employee with a wearable could be innocently broadcasting the team foosball tournament, but unknowingly tape security badges or confidential files. Despite training employees in information safety, wearables present a new means of extracting sensitive data. A company could forbid employees filming within their corporate quarters to limit data abuse. Though, it might be possible for hackers to access employee information and data, leaving the company at a potential liability.

What should a company do? Incorporate the technology and risk exposure? Or ban the tech and face becoming an aging, corporate dinosaur?

Here are a few points to think over:

1. What specifically are we looking to optimize or become more productive?
It’s important to discern where the wearable will actually be incorporated. Thereafter, one can begin measuring it’s short and long term impact.

2. What security risks do we face? How can we limit them?
Using anything new involves a set amount of risk. Weigh the risk with the potential gain. Work with internal or third-party professionals to mitigate the security and risk involved.

3. How to effectively communicate the wearable’s goals to employees.
Part of holistic employee management involves laying out the “why” of a new initiative. Explain to employees why wearables are being utilized. Address any concerns, questions, and welcome suggestions.

Wearables will fundamentally shift how business gets done. Optimizing how to manage employees is one of the biggest opportunities.

You want to optimize your employee management?

At absence.io, we’re preparing companies to take off. With us, teams focus on the next big shift instead of trying to sort out papers in planning employee absences. Our promise: we deliver time dedicated to growth.

Talk about high-powered employee management. 


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slow tech kills your company

Slow Tech Kills Your Company (and Any Hope of Employee Satisfaction)

Employers spend thousands on employee salaries yet fail to invest in equipment that puts employee hours to productive use.

It’s the equivalent of buying a yacht and leaving it suspended inches above the ocean.

Have you experienced some part of the company tech not working properly? Perhaps the Wordpress site was unavailable to log into, or a file couldn’t be opened, or the printer was jammed. Tech stalls at work can range from 30 minutes to a whole work day. Needless to say, slow tech kills productivity—and any motivation to be efficient.

Even technology that is technically working in complete order may need improvement. For example, it’s not uncommon for employees to work remotely. Companies often possess a remote desktop that connects to an offsite server, allowing them to work from wherever they choose. Though working, this technology may take a long time to load. A study by Sharp Business, the average employee in the UK wastes 40 minutes a day due to tech delay. Another study revealed that 62 percent of workers procrastinate making a decision or completing tasks because the technology they use is not easily accessible. Makes sense. After all, who wants to add more stress at work? Um, no one.

Employee productivity suffers from old hardware or much-needed software upgrades. In a twist of irony, one could argue the premise of tech is its usefulness in increasing speed and efficiency. It brought about the incredible productivity surge in the late 1990s. Yet, since companies refuse to prioritize tech upgrades, performance suffers.

This is not exactly the Yellow Brick Road to employee satisfaction.

It’s evident: slow technology leads to employee frustration. Corporates have invested billions of dollars into systems that remain inefficient and that employees outright loathe. Most enterprise software is dated and creates dangerous silos within a company. It’s no wonder employees advocate for easier means of communication and task management.

Cue absence.io.

absence.io delivers the future of work, today. Sharp Business cited that 42 percent of employees would actually feel more motivated if they possessed fully-capable technology. We help both employees and managers schedule and track team absences. Forget suffering through clunky software. Our interface is intuitive and simple. Instead of employees ignoring it, our absence management program invites employees to confidently participate.

Can we say, “Anchors away”?

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gdpr data protection

Running Your Business Under the New EU Data Privacy Laws: Pick Compliant Partners

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents the European Union throwing its weight around on the international stage: it’s transforming the world’s privacy laws. The new rules guides how foreign governments and companies collect, store, and utilize the data from EU citizens. What power does a coalition of 28 countries possess to stand up to foreign giants like China, the US, Google, or Amazon? The EU has over 500 million citizens. The EU bloc boasts citizens that are eager to buy quality goods and services. Ignoring the commercial powerhouse of the EU is hardly an option for companies. Under the new privacy laws, if any company fails to meet the new regulations, they face an eye-popping fine of €20 million or 4 percent of its global revenue.
Cue the perspiration. 

The EU is serious about its position on data privacy.
As are we, at Absence.io.

Even before the GDPR, we kept our customer’s information private, not selling it to third-parties. 

With the GDPR, we are able to offer even a more high-calibre data protection service. The new laws supports our guiding principle: our customers are in control of their data. Customers have the choice to pull their information from Absence.io at any time. We aim to deliver a service of excellence; even if a customer wishes to send their data to a competitor, Absence.io will, without hesitation, fulfill that request.

We’re here to serve, to support you in running your business smarter.

We hold our partners to the same standard. Information technology providers, like hosting centers, are only entrusted with the absence.io customer data that they need to perform their tasks. As Absence.io is an EU company and we are their customers, they are also held under the same EU rules and regulations. This gives our customers “legal peace of mind”. 

The European Union sets a new global standard on giving control back to consumers.

Here at Absence.io, we keep user information private and data privately managed. In other words, we’re committed to maintaining our standards of excellence, no matter what law is passed.

Easily manage team absences whilst keeping confidential employee information secure with absence.io.

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smart sick day management

Why a Healthy Company Demands Smart Sick Day Management

Depending on where you do business, the law may or may not require employee leave. Vacation time and sick leave are usually what is referred to by “employee leave”. It’s not uncommon for employers to lump vacation time and sick leave into the number of absences allowed by company rules. However, the companies that create an effective sick day management policy reap major rewards.

Here’s why leave management means a healthy company:

1. Supercharge employee productivity

When a person is sick, they’re clearly not on top of their game to make optimal decisions. A study conducted by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that when employees went to work sick, they were significantly less productive. This phenomenon is often called “presenteeism”—and it’s costing companies. The American Productivity Audit found that health-related issues cost companies $160 billion per year; when employees were on the clock and sick, companies lost money. A clear sick leave plan allows employees to bounce back with full focus.

One immense side effect of instating a sick leave policy: decrease in presenteeism.

2. Recruit and retain top talent

Possessing a sound sick leave program for employees is one of the most understated tools in a company’s arsenal. “Happiness” may sound like a fuzzy goal word when it comes to employee retention. However it is the key in recruiting and retaining top talent. Potential hires and employees highly value and defer to the employers that possess stream-lined leave policy. In short, people talk. When they do, it’s wise to have good news to spread. Companies that do have paid leave programs enjoy lower employee turnover rates—more exceptional news to share!

3. Optimize work flow

Taking a page from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when employees have their basic needs met, they feel secure and supported. Research reveals giving workers autonomy is the biggest driver in increasing employee satisfaction. According to a Gallup poll, only 30 percent of American works feel actively engaged in work. Disengaged employees are more likely to leave prematurely, take more sick days, and not invest productive hours to the job. Autonomy is bolstered by feeling secure in a position, i.e. workers don’t worry what happens if they become ill. They are able to self-actualize in their roles. This gives them the confidence in contributing ideas and increasing work productivity. Having a sick day management program in place sets the stage for happier (and healthier) employees to deliver.

Setting up a program can become quickly complicated, especially when working with static time sheets. That’s why we built absence.io. With us, facilitating employee sick leave is easy. Managers and employees possess their own tailored leave settings, allowing requests and leave plans to be made, easily tracked, and documented.

Prepare a sick day policy and keep your company in top form.

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helloween pranks at work

Tis' the Season to Be Scary: Office-Safe Halloween Pranks

Tis’ the season! Office Halloween pranks are about to hit—if you’ve got that kind of work environment. (No reason to lose your day job over a prank). If you’re lucky enough to work in a place that doesn’t mind a zombie hand in the fridge, then you may be brainstorming what this year’s prank could be. Fun jokes can be a great way to boost team morale, contribute to a fun work environment, and add a little zest to the 9-5.

If you’re unsure of whether your workplace is a place that can appreciate a tasteful, practical joke, simply ask your manager. Don’t take a co-worker’s word for it. If there’s any issue, you’ll receive the blame—not a well-meaning colleague. Better to ask permission than ask forgiveness in this case.

Here are a few suggestions to keep your office mates on their toes come Halloween time.

office Halloween pranks

1.(Printed) head in a jar

Instead of a creepy prosthetic hand in the fridge, mix it up with some spooky familiarity. A few weeks before your chosen day, ask a few coworkers for their photo. Ask them to close their eyes and scrunch up their face or make a funny face. Be sure to come up with a good excuse why you need their photos. Then, print out the photos on photo paper. On the morning of, grab a few glass jars and stick the photo paper with faces on the back of the jar. Fill with water. Add a few drops of food coloring. Stick in fridge. When you coworkers open the fridge, they’ll see some familiar faces.

head in a jar

2. Dress up veggies as candy

Veggies can also do a costume change for Halloween. Everyone loves candy—and will be eager to indulge in some treats. A great way to prank coworkers is to convince them is that they’re indulging their sweet tooth, but actually serve up a healthy bite. Grab a few yellow onions. Douse them in caramel. Stick the familiar popsicle stick. Voila! A phony candy apple! They’ll be second guessing all treats after a bite.

dress up veggies as candy

3. Classic spider

Who doesn’t love a good scary spider? Okay, fair. No one really likes spiders. But Halloween brings out the spiders, including at the workplace. Grab a realistic, plastic spider. Tie tooth floss to the body of the spider. When your coworker is typing away at their desk, pull the floss so it runs across their knuckles or brush along their hand. Some classics never die.

classic spider

4. Hold-A-Hand candy bowl

This one requires a bit more set up, but can be a pretty great prank. Take three slabs of plywood that are a bit taller than you when you’re sitting down. You’re building a wannabe side table that will be placed against the wall—with you hiding in the box-like table. Create a hole on the slap that will sit atop of you. Find a plastic bowl that will fit the slab hole,  wide enough to fit your hand in, but not wide enough that candy will fall through. You’ll need a partner-in-crime. Ask them to push the “side table” to the side and position the bowl over the slab hole and fill the bait bowl with candy. Be sure to create a poster above that exclaims “Happy Halloween! Free treats!” When eager candy-eaters reach for a piece, grab their hand with a fierce yell. Could be a pretty good time.

hold-a-hand candy bowl

5. Googly eyes

This is an easy prank to implement. Less of a practical joke, but more of a fun way to add some humor to your team. Head to your local craft store and purchase loads of googly eyes. If you want more variety in size or color, Amazon has a wide selection. You can print out photos of your coworkers or photos of funny or spooky animals or celebrities—can be anything—and simply glue googly eyes! That’s it! Go for unexpected spaces, like back of bathroom doors or wall baseboards.

googly eyes

6. Clowns, clowns, clowns

Like spiders, most people don’t feel exactly comfortable around clowns. The storyline of It didn’t help either. What makes the general populace uncomfortable means a boon for you in pranks. Print out creepy clowns (try to keep it tame given it’s the workplace) and place them in strange places, like ceilings, windows, or behind computer monitors.

mummify the office

7. Mummify the office

Mummification is easy as buying toilet paper. Given its your prank, be sure to purchase your own toilet paper—don’t want to look irresponsible bumming prank supplies from your employer. What to do with the toilet paper? Imagine that everything is a mummy—coworker chairs, desks, filling cabinets, and the office couch. What really takes this joke to the next level: wrapping everything with toilet paper, from telephones to conference desks to the vending machine. You may want to ask a few colleagues to join in on the prank.

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