Rub It In
Looking for an affordable perk that both your employees and your company bank account will appreciate? Try on-site massage. It can reduce stress, help manage work-related pain from carpal tunnel syndrome or neck cramps, and even enhance productivity.
A growing number of big corporations, small businesses and even government agencies have found massage to be a low-cost investment that produces big returns. The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami in Florida has documented the positive effects of massage therapy with research that indicates a basic 15-minute chair massage, provided twice weekly, results in decreased stress and increased productivity.
Clients remain fully dressed and sit in a specially designed chair while the massage therapist works on their neck, back and shoulders, explains Marilyn Kier, a nationally certified massage therapist and owner of Wellness at Work in Wheeling, Illinois. Though pricing varies, the average hourly rate for workplace massage is $60, and Kier says she averages three employees per hour. Companies handle the fees differently: Some pay the entire fee, others split the cost with employees, and others provide the space and opportunity but ask employees to pay the full amount.
Workers work better when they can see the big picture.
If you make an item that's used as a component in another product, showing workers the final product and explaining the total production process can increase productivity and quality, and even improve morale. Bill Dubay, 48, is the president and COO of Brunswick Technologies Inc. in Brunswick, Maine, a company that produces engineered reinforcement fabrics that are used in a variety of products, including boats, skis, snowboards and automotive parts. He has found that letting each of his employees see--and if possible, use--the final product gives them an appreciation for the need to meet customer specifications that might not otherwise make sense or seem necessary. It may seem like an obvious step to take, but in many businesses, workers never see the fruits of their labor.
One good way to put your employees in touch with the final product is to send them to your customers' plants. Dubay says customers will be happy to take the time to explain how your product fits into their processes. If a site visit isn't practical, demonstrate their product either with pictures or the actual item. Either way, the goal is to create an understanding among employees about how your product is used, what each customer needs and why.
Do You Copy?
Before you head for the bank with your checks, head for the copier.
Collecting on past-due accounts can be a nightmare, but you can increase your chances of getting what's owed you if you photocopy checks before you deposit them, says Ron Z. Opher, a collection attorney in Philadelphia.
"Many accounts that end up in collection have some past payment history," Opher says. "If we have the bank name and account information, we can dramatically increase recovery [once a judgement has been issued]."
Do you need to copy every check you receive? No, says Opher, just do it often enough to maintain current information on each customer. "At the outset, you don't know who will pay or who won't in the long run, so it's always a good idea to record the bank information at first payment, then review it upon subsequent payments for any changes."
Ron Z. Opher, (800) RON-4-LAW,http://www.ron4law.com
Wellness at Work, (847) 520-7643, fax: (847) 808-9729