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Employee Matters Bulletin
How To Save An Emergency Fund Before You're Laid Off
Being laid off from a job is emotionally challenging, but it can also cause financial stress. An emergency fund gives you peace of mind. Here are some suggestions that help you save an emergency fund before you’re laid off.
Decide how Much to Save
Ideally, you want to save enough money to cover up to nine months of living expenses. While that amount may seem extravagant, remember that your emergency fund can reduce future reliance on credit cards and financial stress.
Open a Designated Account
Designate a separate account for your emergency fund. Then commit to not accessing the money in this account until before you need it.
Save as little as 10 percent from each paycheck. That money will accumulate over time, and you won’t miss it.
Schedule Automatic Withdrawals
When you schedule automatic withdrawals from your checking account to your emergency fund account, you can watch your balance grow. You can also change the automatic withdrawal amount as needed.
Understand your Employee Benefits
Review your employee benefits to determine what coverage you’ll have during your layoff and what you’ll need to purchase. For instance, your employer may keep you on the company health insurance plan if the layoff is temporary. Otherwise, you'll need to purchase COBRA or private insurance.
Determine your Baseline Budget
Before you start saving an emergency fund, create a budget. List all your monthly expenditures, including mortgage or rent, debt repayments, food, and utilities. Then calculate the amount of your unemployment insurance benefits. You now know the monthly surplus or deficit you’ll face.
Reduce your spending as much as possible to increase your savings. You can negotiate debt, ask utility companies for a loyalty discount, reduce restaurant meals, and drop unused subscriptions.
Sell Unwanted Items
Take time to walk through your home and identify items you can sell for cash. Post pictures and a description of those items on eBay, Craigslist and online yard sale sites.
Save Unexpected Money
When you receive a bonus, a holiday cash gift or a tax refund, deposit that money into your emergency fund. This unexpected money can become an investment in your future.
Get a Part-Time Job
Use free evenings and weekends to work a part-time job. Deposit this paycheck into your emergency fund.
Line up Credit
As a last resort, review your credit options. You may be able to obtain a home equity line of credit or a low-interest credit card before your layoff. If possible, avoid cashing out your 401(k) or other retirement account since this action can include hefty fees and penalties.
An emergency fund improves your financial security and peace of mind during a layoff. Start saving now to protect yourself in the future.
Why And How To Reduce Stress In Your Workplace
affects more than nine in 10 employees, reports the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). And when your employees or co-workers experience stress, they may contribute to accidents, cause injuries or underperform, which increases your company's liability and risk. You have adequate liability insurance for your business, but take these steps to reduce stress in the workplace as you protect your valuable employees and your business.
Recognize the Signs of Workplace Stress
Look for these potential physical, psychological, emotional, and behavioral signs of stress.
Aches, pains and tension.
High blood pressure.
Inability to concentrate.
Depression and/or anxiety.
Sensitivity to criticism.
Lack of motivation.
Decreased interest in pleasurable or relaxing activities.
Increased reliance on alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, or drugs.
Poor time management.
Aggressive or anger outbursts.
Identify the Main Causes of Stress in your Company
To address stress properly in your workplace, first identify the sources of stress your employees experience, such as:
Too much or not enough responsibility.
Lack of training.
Unsafe working conditions.
Relationship strains among co-workers.
Solve Workplace Stress
To address stressors in your workplace, take these steps.
Create an Open-Door Company Culture
Encourage staff members to talk about their concerns, including factors that contribute to stress.
Re-Evaluate Duties and Responsibilities
Ensure each staff member has the right training and the right position that maximizes his or her talents, skills, interests, and education.
Hire a Professional Stress Consultant
Role-playing, talking and performing hands-on stress therapy exercises can improve stress management among employees.
Schedule Massages, Reflexology and Aromatherapy Sessions
Give your staff opportunities to unwind in a private office or spa setting.
Make time to have fun and build relationships as a team. To promote play, provide card games in the break room, play with bubbles, coloring books and clay during brainstorming sessions, and plan spontaneous basketball tournaments or outdoor hikes.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Educate your employees on the benefits of good nutrition, hydration, exercise, and self-care. Remind them that to use their health insurance to prioritize their well-being, too.
Celebrate Stress Awareness Day
On November 7, take time to focus on stress reduction. This year’s Stress Awareness Day theme is “Does Hi-Tech Cause Hi-Stress,” so consider logging off your devices and offering a company-wide team building day that reduces stress.
Your business relies on healthy employees who show up ready and able to work all day. This month and all year, take steps to reduce workplace stress and your liability as you protect your employees and company.
Tips To Feel Less Fatigued At Work On World Sleep Day
World Sleep Day on March 15, 2019, raises awareness for the prevention of sleep-related problems. It’s an important day because your sleep habits can affect your health, well-being, and work performance and safety. Use these tips to feel less fatigued on the job.
Choose a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet can energize you during the day. Prepare small meals and snacks filled with whole grains, green vegetables, protein, and fruit, and try not to overeat. Reduce your sugar intake also to prevent energy crashes.
As for drinks, stay hydrated with water since it increases alertness and your body’s functions. Limit caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, and go light on alcohol since it can interfere with quality sleep.
A little exercise throughout the day can revive your body, alertness and mind. Opt for a short walk during your breaks, stretch between phone calls or do jumping jacks to boost your heart rate, energy and mood.
The act of standing up as you work can revive your energy and focus. Select a standing desk or choose projects that require you to stand up and walk away from your desk at least once every hour.
Monitor Light Exposure
Light regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, which is your wake and sleep cycles. Remind your body and brain that it’s daytime when you choose a window seat or a walk outdoors during the day. At least an hour before bed, turn off all screens since their blue light hinders the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and a good night’s sleep.
Certain smells can wake you up. Sniff coffee beans, peppermint, rosemary, or eucalyptus herbs or essential oils.
A simple breathing exercise can energize and relax you. First, take a slow, deep breath and count to four. Then slowly exhale while counting to six. Repeat this exercise four times whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Turn on Quiet Music
Engage numerous parts of your brain with music. Turn the volume down to prompt your brain to work harder and improve your alertness.
Chew Ice or Water
Stimulate blood flow to your brain and your facial muscles when you chew. Choose a piece of ice, gum, or crunchy fruits or veggies as you stay awake.
Negative thoughts about projects or deadlines create stress that reduces your energy. Tackle projects as soon as possible to improve your positivity and alertness.
Staying awake at work is possible with these tips. Also, you can use your employer-sponsored health insurance benefits to discuss specific sleep-related concerns with your healthcare provider and discover how to reduce fatigue at work during World Sleep day and every day.
Tips to Combat Email Phishing Attacks
As many as one in five office workers fall prey to phishing incidents, but 14 percent of office workers don’t recognize phishing attacks. Learn more about phishing and how to combat attacks on your personal or company email.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam that cybercriminals use to gain access to sensitive information. It often occurs via email. The cybercriminal will send you an email that looks official but actually includes spyware, malware or other malicious software. When you open the link or download the file from the email, the criminals can access confidential information like bank account information, your social security number and other data. In many cases, you never know that your information has been compromised.
How to Recognize a Phishing Email
Phishing emails are designed to look authoritative so that you will open them and give the cybercriminal access to your computer. While these emails often look like they’re from a real company, you can usually recognize them via five signs.
Before opening any email, look at the sender’s address. It may look similar to the official company’s address but could be slightly off. For example, it may use dot-net instead of dot-com or include a small spelling error like micrsoft or mircosoft.
Cybercriminals do a great job of imitating the graphics of popular companies. However, the logo, colors or design may be slightly off in a small way.
Spelling and Grammar Errors
Most companies and organizations employ a team of copywriters who write professional content that’s typically error-free. Emails with spelling or grammar errors, are possibly phishing schemes.
Email links are a cybercriminal’s primary phishing tool. You can hover your mouse over any links and verify that it matches the address of the email’s sender, a sign that the link is safe.
Cybercriminals use threats and fear to manipulate consumers. They may say that you will lose money, face criminal charges or suffer another devastating consequence if you don’t open the email. In most cases, these threats are meant to incite fear and get you to comply with their complicit wishes.
Steps That Protect Your Email
You can't prevent cybercriminals from targeting you. However, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Install spam filters and virus scans.
Learn to recognize phishing emails.
Only open email links from verified and trusted sources.
Delete any emails that look suspicious.
Train coworkers and associates to recognize phishing threats.
Purchase cyber insurance that protects you if you are a victim of phishing.
You can’t stop cybercriminals from targeting your email, but you can use these tips to protect yourself and your data.
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