Monthly Archives: December 2015

Politics in the Office… Do You Run The Other Way?

Turn on the radio or the television, or scan your social media pages on your smart phone and politics stare you in the face. The United States of America is gearing up for elections in 2016, and politics is all the buzz. But the politics I’m addressing here have nothing to do with political parties. I’m talking about the politics found in your work environment.

Does the phrase “politics in the office” create a bad taste in your mouth? There’s no need to make excuses, become frustrated or feel bad vibes according to Karen Dillon, author of the Harvard Business Review Guide to Office Politics. office-politics

In this recent article featured in ebixhealth’s November Synergy newsletter, Dillon offers five tips to help every employee learn how to engage in constructive office politics. Turn the negative in to a positive as a way to get things done. If you commit to being a positive team member and perform well, you will grow in your career and become more fulfilled at work.


My take away from reading these tips is #Kindness rules!

Take Your Team from Surviving to THRIVING!

Is your office thriving? Do you want to be THE workplace that attracts top talent? Does your office need CPR to get out of the rut you’ve been in for the past eight years? Do you want to keep the morning “I’m sick and can’t make it in” calls at bay?

What you need to do is offer attractive benefits, benefits that set you apart from your competitors. Give your employees the gift of health, and show them you care. Looking to 2016, what are you doing to support the health and wellbeing of your employees? This is an area that many people need help with, as they seek answers to some tough questions.


Deep down, everyone wants and needs a health support system in place to be successful. We all know that illness, low morale and low energy are givens when we’re not active, and these carry over to the office, making for a not so thriving team. Healthier employees are less likely to call in sick or use vacation time due to illness. 

Helping your employees maintain their well being is key to creating a thriving workplace. We are all familiar with the standard health and dental benefits offered, but why stop there. Here are some ideas to foster employee well being that go beyond the usual benefits:

  • Buy employees bikes. Depending on the location, it could be a cool beach cruiser or rad mountain bike. The addition of your company logo on the hydration device is a plus!
  • Offer a gift card to a running store so employees who would like to join a walking program or running group can purchase proper-fitting shoes.
  • FitBit and other similar devices are popular to keep people moving. Have a monthly office competition and reward the employee who takes the most steps.
  • Offer and support healthy eating.
  • Once a month bring in a healthy catered lunch.
  • Keep an assortment of healthy snacks in the break room—a basket of fruit, nuts, veggies and a water filter system.
  • Offer to buy each employee a book of his or her choice. Feed their desire and help them pursue new interests.

Be the workplace that supports workplace health, the odds are you will have your employees at work every day. Go the extra mile both literally and figuratively, and take your team from simply surviving to THRIVING!

Your Employee Resigned – Now What?

We’ve heard this story before: Amy has been with the same dental office for 9 years. She is trustworthy, punctual, reliable, gets along with team members and the patients look forward to seeing her. Some of them even bring her gifts on her birthday. Last Friday, Amy gave her employer two weeks notice. And the employer’s reaction? PANIC! But here’s the thing: Panic is NOT an option. As an employer, change is inevitable. It’s how you react to it that makes or breaks you.

How would you embrace this change? It’s critical you have processes in place to manage your employees. These processes give you guidelines and structure, helping you to keep your finger on the pulse of your practice. As much as you try to prevent being side-blinded by an employee leaving, we all know life happens and people move on. Every business owner will tell you the most difficult part of running a business is dealing with employees. If you have systems in place, your job handling situations as they arise will be easier and more manageable. By having systems in place, office policy and procedures manual, you demonstrate to your employees they are of value and you care about them. Everyone knows what is expected and what to expect.

Same situation as above, but now with a plan: Susan just gave you two weeks notice. you shake her hand and wish her the best. Don’t grovel and beg her to stay while throwing money at her feet and promising her all she asks for, which may include leaving at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays when all your other employees stay until 5 p.m. (true story). All employees should be treated the same. If you allow special treatment for one, you will have trouble on your hands. You may as well swap your lab coat for a referee shirt and hang a whistle around your neck! If an employee has gone so far as to actually give written notice, accept it and move on. It has been my experience through the years that when employees are essentially talked into staying after giving notice, there is a shift in the dynamic of the working relationship between employer and co-workers. Susan may change her mind and stay but she’ll eventually leave within a year. There are many tasks to tend to when an employee leaves.

Here are five steps to get you started:

1. Accepting the notice given. Making a new hire. Think it through. Don’t give in to panic and take a knee-jerk approach. Keep emotion out of it. You’ll be better off and make more informed decisions when you take some time to breathe before executing your next steps.

2. Look at the position vacancy. Do you need to rehire immediately? This is the perfect time to take a look at the job description, make any changes, determine who should fill it and when. What’s important here is making the right decision, not a fast one.

3. Eliminate rumors. Let the person leaving be able to make the announcement to co-workers.

4. Exit interview. This is the gift. It’s where you will learn more about your business and yourself. Meet with employee, ask questions and listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. It is at this final meeting where you will review compensation owed to employee and collect all office property in his or her possession.

5. Schedule a team meeting to communicate the new plan to everyone. It’s important to let the team know the next steps you are taking. When a team member departs, the ones left behind wonder. They have fear of taking on addition work or fear of who the next new hire will be. It’s up to you to give them time to ask questions. Give them the time and attention to calm their fears and gain their trust in your next steps. Doing this will make for a smooth transition with cooperation from everyone moving forward.

How to Move Forward With Carpal Tunnel

Last month, we talked about Olivia, who suffered for a long time from carpal tunnel. While it caused her intense pain, that wasn’t the worst of it. It also derailed her life plans and forced her to change course. The struggle to deal with her diagnosis was both physical and mental, as she battled for a while over reporting her work injury to HR. Olivia felt embarrassed and thought her clinic would be upset with her. After struggling internally for a while, Olivia decided to file a claim and received workman’s compensation.

A lot of carpal tunnel cases go unreported, as dental workers struggle over going to HR just as Olivia did. But it shouldn’t have to be that way.

carpal-tunnelOlivia worked with a workman’s compensation lawyer before making her final decision. This person was knowledgeable with the diagnosis and agreed she should report it. According to, carpal tunnel is recognized as a legitimate on-the-job injury. “Workers affected by carpal tunnel syndrome have a right to make a workers’ compensation claim,” writes retired judge Anthony Calisi. Calisi went on to write  about how carpal tunnel can creep up on workers. “Unlike many on-the-job injuries that are quickly apparent, carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive injury and can take months, even years, before any symptoms appear,” he writes. “If you experience symptoms and want to seek medical care, you must notify your employer as soon as possible after the onset of your symptoms.” 

In his article, Claisi goes on to spell out exactly what will happen when someone files a workman’s comp claim, which includes a series of doctors visits and evaluations and options of how to best treat the ailment.

It’s important to remember that each state has its own workman’s comp laws requiring employers to provide their workers with insurance coverage.

“Not all employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance,” Calisi writes in an article on workman’s comp. “Depending on the state, some smaller companies with a limited number of employees are exempt from having to provide coverage. Other employers may be exempt from state requirements because they have enough assets to provide intra-company insurance with benefits equal to, or better than those provided under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. These companies are referred to as self-certified.”

Click here to view a list of state-by-state workman’s comp laws.

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel, make sure you know your rights and your state’s workman’s comp laws. Get all the information you can before moving forward. And remember, you have a right to make a workman’s comp claim.