76043986_MIt’s easy, with everything going on in a typical office, to move safety and risk management to the back burner. After all, your employees work in an office with computers, not on a construction site or manufacturing facility with dangerous machinery. Yet it’s important to know that most on-the-job-injuries happen in offices. Surprised? It’s true.

Wherever they happen, on-the-job injuries can be costly — to the employer and employee. That’s why preventing them should be a priority for even the smallest of companies. At Accurate Protection, we specialize in working with companies that don’t have the resources to employ a full-time risk manager. We consider ourselves to be outsourced risk managers for growth-oriented medium-sized companies.

We provide risk-reducing strategies, programs and comprehensive safety materials that can reduce your company’s chance for loss. Once you’re better at managing your company’s risks, we educate underwriters about your company and build positive carrier relationships on your behalf. By demonstrating your commitment to decrease risk and support safety, we can help your company realize lower long-term insurance premiums.

What are some of the ways employees injure themselves in the office environment? At the office, slips, trips and falls are the most common hazards. Look around for uneven surfaces, torn carpet or anything else that could cause someone to trip and fall. Clean up any spills immediately and address any surfaces that become slippery, especially during the winter months. You may want to consider having an ergonomics expert make sure your workstations are designed so that they meet basic rules for preventing repetitive injuries. Lifting heavy objects — the wrong way — can also result in injuries at the office, so it’s important to help employees understand how to lift safely.

If your employees drive for business, make sure you have a safe-driving policy and consider banning cellphone use by employees who drive on the job. If they work with potentially dangerous machinery and/or equipment, you’ll need an effective safety plan designed specifically to keep employees well-rested, trained and injury-free. Another important thing you can do? Create a culture of safety where employees know they can take breaks to stretch and rest their muscles and their eyes.

Lastly, during the global pandemic, it’s important to pay attention to new OSHA guidance regarding the spread of COVID-19. It’s only guidance, not law, but it’s important for employers to read, understand and implement. It’s part of creating a safe working environment for all employees.

Want to learn more? Visit our website: http://accurateprotection.com/. And give us a call at (404) 907-2121 x701 .

Young business man hands writing notesHow do you feel about remote work? Research shows that telecommuting has numerous benefits to employers (such as more productive and engaged workers) and employees (less time and cost involved in commuting and greater work-life balance). Yet Gallup research suggests that telecommuting yields the most benefits to employees and employers when workers do not spend 100 percent of their time at home. Does this surprise you?

Gallup studies show that employees often are more engaged when they spend at least some of the workweek working remotely and the other part working in a location with their coworkers. Any amount of time the employee spends at the office helps, even if it’s minimal. The optimal engagement boost, according to Gallup, occurs when employees spend between 60-80 percent of their workweek working off-site and 20-40 percent at the office. Something to keep in mind after the coronavirus outbreak ends.

Why is this the case? There are numerous factors that come into play. One important one is the out-of-sight-out-of-mind issue. Numerous studies show that telecommuting workers on average are as productive or even more productive than employees who work in the office and who have long commutes and greater distractions to deal with. But when an employee is in the same office as their manager, it’s easier for the manager to see and recognize achievements, according to Gallup. When the manager and employees are in different locations, there are fewer opportunities for this to occur. That can leave telecommuting workers feeling undervalued and less engaged. Managers need to make sure they are celebrating the successes of — and offering advancement opportunities to — both in-office workers and telecommuters.

Another reason why a 100 percent telecommuting plan is not always ideal is that fully remote workers do not get that opportunity to connect with their co-workers, which can lead to feelings of isolation. Human beings crave connection with others. Employees form bonds with other employees in office break rooms, lunchrooms and at the water cooler and coffee pot. Even small amounts of face time with co-workers and managers can help increase the odds that an employee’s telecommuting efforts are successful for everyone involved.

Manager working online while sitting in a warehouse officeYour small business is growing fast. Do you have a plan in place to manage the added risk that comes with more customers and more employees? There’s nothing quite like an on-the-job accident, a careless mistake or a legal claim to create hardship for even the most successful companies.

Here are some steps you can take to help keep your risks under control:

Get it in writing. Many small businesses operate without written contracts. But as you grow, informal agreements can lead to legal claims and lawsuits. Contracts that detail the type of work your company will provide to customers, the timeline the work should be completed and the fees that will be charged are crucial. Communicate regularly with clients and provide updates on important projects.

Make it easy for customers to reach you. Do you make it easy for customers to reach someone at your company when they are unhappy? The longer it takes to resolve a problem, the greater the likelihood a customer may resort to a legal claim. Immediately address any problems. It’s also always a good idea to document your interaction with customers.

Set up policies. As a business owner, you’re responsible for setting the policies under which employees must do their jobs. Creating company policies, including those involving safety or human resources, isn’t fun. But without them, you could face greater liability when something goes wrong. In a number of growing companies, for example, employees are engaging in risky activities – such as texting while driving. If an employee who is texting is involved in an accident, it could be argued that the employer didn’t do enough – or anything at all – to prevent employees from driving dangerously. That’s why you should clearly state what is acceptable on-the-job behavior and what isn’t.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Sure, you want to make sure a competitor doesn’t get the big contract. But take extra care anytime you make promises you may not be able to keep. Make sure you think about all of the things that are out of your control or could go wrong before promising work will be completed in a particular way or on a specific date.

Make sure your business is properly insured. Some small companies skip important coverages, such as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, to save money. But some types of insurance are much too important to skip. For example, many businesses don’t carry enough liability coverage, leaving them vulnerable to costly lawsuits. Others don’t realize that their basic business policies don’t cover all types of adverse actions and situations.

The average insurance broker meets your basic needs when it comes to claims, plans and renewal negotiation. But what about new exposures like cyber-attacks and changes in legislation? At Accurate Protection, we understand the challenges and risks that today’s employers face, and we can help you make sure your business is protected. Give us a call to learn more about our innovative and comprehensive approach to risk management: (404) 907-2121 x701.

Serious middle aged executive manager explaining colleague online workFeedback is critically important in any organization because it helps employees at all levels identify areas in which they stand out and skills they need to develop. Yet providing face-to-face feedback remains one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. And that’s true whether you’re a CEO or a lower-level leader. Positive feedback is typically easy to provide, of course, but it’s the negative feedback that’s often so much more difficult to deliver effectively, especially in person. It’s simple: Many people have trouble delivering criticism. And there’s always the risk that the employee will respond unfavorably, creating conflict — something we as humans try to avoid. It’s no surprise, then, that surveys show that many business leaders feel uncomfortable providing feedback to their employees, either during scheduled review sessions or on a day-to-day basis. Consider data from Harris Poll:

  • 69% said that they’re often uncomfortable providing in-person feedback to employees
  • 37% said they have been reluctant to provide feedback if they thought the employee might respond unfavorably
  • 20% said they avoid sharing mistakes they have made, even if doing so could help illustrate an important lesson
  • 16% found it difficult to speak face-to-face to employees, preferring e-mail interactions instead

Does any of this sound like you? Let’s face it: Effective person-to-person feedback can be difficult and uncomfortable to deliver, but it is much more effective than delivering the same news electronically. You likely do a lot of your communicating with your employees via e-mail. And some amount of feedback via e-mail is OK. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re not providing feedback only via e-mail, or that you’re providing important feedback that way. It’s also vital to give face-to-face feedback regularly. Don’t wait for something to go wrong before you provide it. No employee should have to wait for their yearly or quarterly employment review to know where they stand. The key to effective feedback is constructive criticism, of course. That involves giving a thorough explanation of any issue with the employee’s performance, how it affects the company’s goals and how you’re going to help the employee improve. It’s vital to make sure your employee knows why the improvements you’re asking for are important. Once you’ve delivered the feedback, you’ll want to check in regularly and provide additional feedback on the employee’s progress. You’ll also want to acknowledge when the employee has rectified the problem or risen to the challenge. It’s important that employees know that they have responded fully to your feedback so they can have the satisfaction of knowing they have accomplished their goal. Some leaders fall into the loop of providing only negative feedback, positive feedback or infrequent feedback. Instead, provide regular feedback — positive and if needed, negative — and make sure each time you do you listen to your employees and give them a chance to talk to you and ask questions. In-person feedback, early and often, is the cornerstone of effective leadership.

33727867 - close up portrait of a young black woman looking at laptopThe statistics are startling: It’s estimated that two-thirds of all small businesses have no plan in place in the event of a major business disruption or disaster. And according to a report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster and another 25% fail within one year after one.

A preparedness and risk management plan can dramatically increase the likelihood a business will survive a major setback. Some risks are difficult or even impossible to plan for, of course. The global pandemic, for example, took much of the global business world by surprise — it’s one of those risks that few of us could have anticipated. But business owners can plan for so many other unpredictable events, such as major Internet or power outages, weather disasters, flooding, wildfires and other location or industry-specific threats.

Managing risk effectively is one of the greatest challenges for any business. We work directly with our clients, helping identify risks and providing support for a smart approach to reducing or eliminating exposure. Our detailed, multi-part education program, Work Smart, gives business owners the tools they need to implement their own risk mitigation programs. With more than 30 documented smart business practices in every area, Work Smart helps business leaders develop activities, policies and procedures that can reduce unnecessary business risks. We can also help your company develop a comprehensive insurance program to address exposures.

A quality preparedness plan includes details such as a list of alternative suppliers should something happen to your existing supplier or supplier base. Do you have alternative work sites so that you can keep operating if your building is flooded or destroyed by fire? Do you have a way to keep employees informed of a major business problem? Do you have a backup of all important files and documents stored off-site? Are you doing everything you can to reduce unnecessary risks?

We can help you determine the greatest risks to your enterprises and help you find the most cost-effective ways to mitigate those threats. We don’t sell insurance, we get your business the accurate protection it needs. Give us a call: (404) 907-2121 x701.

107207904_MLong days and irregular work schedules have become increasingly common in today’s business world. And during the global pandemic, many essential workers — from health care employees to grocery workers — have seen disruptions in both how and when they work, leaving even less time to sleep and recharge.

Fatigue can lead to real risks on the job. Even a small disruption in sleep patterns can pose a threat. Research shows that sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of a workplace accident by as much as 70 percent. The consequences of being exhausted at work are on par with that of alcohol consumption, resulting in impaired judgment, difficulty concentrating, slower reaction times and poor performance at best. At worst, fatigue can lead to serious injury or fatality. Here are some recommendations from the CDC to help employers prevent worker fatigue from causing a devastating accident:

Learn to spot the signs of fatigue. There are often clear signs of fatigue, such as yawning, difficulty keeping eyes open and inability to concentrate. It’s up to managers to monitor for signs or effects of fatigue on the job.

Create a culture of safety. Make sure your company has clear coordination and communication between management and workers. Does your company have a fatigue risk management or mitigation plan? Such a living document outlines the use of tools, systems, policies and procedures to help identify and reduce fatigue levels to the greatest extent possible. In general, it will empower safety managers to assess the level of danger related to worker fatigue and act accordingly to prevent accidents. Part of creating an effective fatigue risk management plan is making sure that employees are not punished for reporting when they, or their coworkers, are too tired to work safely.

Prudent scheduling practices also can help to limit the number of accidents on the job. For example, the number of hours of each shift, the frequency and length of breaks, the time of day of the shift, the frequency of shift rotations and even the number of hours off between shifts can help or hinder occupational safety.

Managing risk effectively is one of the greatest challenges for any business. We work directly with our clients, helping identify risks and providing support for a smart approach to reducing or eliminating exposure. Our detailed, multi-part education program, Work Smart, gives business owners the tools they need to implement their own risk mitigation programs. With more than 30 documented smart business practices in every area, Work Smart helps business leaders develop activities, policies and procedures that can reduce unnecessary business risks. We can also help your company develop a comprehensive insurance program to address exposures. Visit our website to learn more: http://accurateprotection.com/.

Business team meeting present. Photo professional investor workiDo you like to make New Year’s resolutions? Studies show that most Americans make an average of three to five goals each January. The problem: Most resolutions are cast aside by the end of February.

What would happen if you picked just one resolution — one important business goal — and stuck to it for an entire year? A goal that’s challenging and, if you work hard, attainable? Research shows that instead of coming up with multiple goals for 2021, pledging to make one significant change is more likely to result in success. And make it specific. Instead of a New Year’s resolution to “attend more networking events,” quantify the number of networking events you’ll attend each month and what you plan to accomplish at each. Instead of “growing your business,” quantify how much you plan to grow your sales or profits.

One time-tested method for setting effective goals is called the SMART principle. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Using the SMART approach, quality goals can be created by asking yourself these five questions:

  • Is your goal specific enough? You’ll be more motivated to work hard to attain a goal if you spell out exactly what should be accomplished. Instead of a vague goal of increasing traffic to your company’s website, for example, you would want to set a specific goal in terms of unique visitors or page views.
  • Is your goal measurable? Make sure you can monitor your progress and ultimately measure whether you have accomplished what you set out to.
  • Is your goal achievable? You don’t want to create goals that are too easy to reach but you don’t want to set yourself up for failure, either.
  • Is your goal relevant? If you accomplish your goal, will it further your personal and/or business objections or mission?
  • Does your goal have a timeline? Having a deadline can be motivating and give you an exact date in the future to work toward. Otherwise, you might not feel the urgency to put in the required effort.

Research also shows that sharing your resolution with others can make a big difference. Let others know about your goal early in the year.

93009307_MDo your employees like to work from home? Do you? New Gallup data shows that nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers who have been performing their jobs remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak would like to continue to do so at least part of the week when the global pandemic is over.

But working at home has its challenges. One of the biggest, for example, is the distractions. Family, pets, a messy house … they all can take your attention away from what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are six ways to have a great day of work from home:

1. Ditch the PJs! While sleepwear might be more comfortable, getting yourself ready for the day will help you feel professional and accountable. Making your bed, having a nutritious breakfast and wearing at least business casual attire all can help you get into the frame of mind for a great day of work.

2. Schedule your time. It’s so easy to get caught up in your daily life tasks that work can get pushed aside. Schedule your time so that you can fit in housework and family time but get your work done, too. Set boundaries and stick to them.

3. Create a work space. Even if you work from the kitchen table, set it up in such a way that will help you be efficient and feel like you can get the job done. Keep what you need to work close by. Then you won’t have to go searching all over the house, possibly getting distracted.

4. Resist the temptation to multitask. While it is tempting to work with the TV on, it won’t help you get your work done. Try to reduce distractions that will slow your progress and work in intervals of time that can help you to truly focus. As human beings, we are not designed to effectively multitask, even though most of us try. Studies show that you’ll get more done — and do a much better job — if you’re focusing on one task at a time.

5. Get help with the kids. Many of us have been watching our children AND working during the pandemic. That’s tough to do. Watching children, especially babies and toddlers, can make it extremely difficult to give your work the focus and attention it deserves. Even teen-agers can be distracting! If it’s not possible to get some help with child care, try getting up earlier than they do or, if you have a baby or toddler, carving out some time to focus during nap time.

6. Take advantage of your free time. One of the best things about working at home is having more time for things other than work. Without a commute and other activities involved in going to an office, you should have more time to get other things done. Make sure at least some of that time is spent doing things you enjoy.

47840981_MWe all know we should be using strong passwords. But studies show that many of us are still using passwords like ’123456.’ That was the most-used password nationwide last year, followed by ‘password,’ ’123456789,’ ’12345678′ and ’12345′. Rounding out the top 10: ’111111,’ ’1234567,’ sunshine,’ ‘qwerty,’ and ‘iloveyou’. Chances are, even if your password skills are much better than average, they could still use some improvement. That’s why we wanted to share with you four simple steps to a stronger password.

Use phrases instead of single words. Long passwords that have a minimum of 12-14 characters, with uppercase and lowercase letters, are strong passwords. Consider using a phrase. The more obscure, the better! You do not have to use spaces. Just type all of the words into one, long password.

Add in some several special characters. Adding numbers and symbols throughout your password in place of letters, in between words or at the beginning or end, adds an effective layer of added security. For example, the strong password version of “TheQuickBrownFoxJumpsOvertheLazyDog’ could be Th3Qu1ckBr0wnF0xJump$0verTh3LazyD0g. Use a not-so-obvious phrase, though, that you’ve made up yourself. Do not include your own name or birthday or information relating to you or any of your family members.

Use a different password for every online account. Using the same password for more than one account leaves you vulnerable to hackers who can gain access to all of your accounts if they guess the one. You should have a different and strong password for each of your online accounts.

Use a password manager and two-factor authorization. Now that you have several different quality passwords, it is time to remember them! A password manager is a secure system that stores complex passwords for you through a two-factor authentication system. Two-factor authorization requires you to provide a second form of identification, such as a multi-digit code texted to a smartphone, to log into an online account. It’s a highly secure way to protect your private information. So, instead of remembering dozens of passwords, you just need to remember one.

Speaking of two-factor authorization, using it can dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim of cyber crime. Use it with as many online accounts as you can. It may take a few extra minutes to log in, but it makes your online accounts much more secure.

At Accurate Protection, we understand the challenges today’s employers face, and we know you’re taking on more than ever before. See how we can help you protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build by visiting our website: http://accurateprotection.com/

Portrait of a business woman with an afro behind sticky notes in bright glass officeThink companies that have primarily office workers don’t have to worry much about workplace safety, on-the-job injuries or risk management? Think again! Accidents and incidents happen in all kinds of U.S. companies — not just at construction sites or in manufacturing facilities.

Nationwide, 3.7 million workers are injured each year. Injuries can hurt and even cripple a growing company. That’s why safety training and risk management is vital. Any business — regardless of size or industry, needs to have a plan in place designed to protect the health and welfare of their employees and to reduce operational risk. That’s where we can help.

At Accurate Protection, we work directly with our clients, helping them to identify a wide variety of risks, including the potential for work-related injuries, and helping them to take a smart approach to reducing or eliminating exposure. Each company faces a variety of different kinds of risks and has some that are unique to their business and industry.

Our detailed, multi-part education program, Work Smart, gives business owners the information they need to start developing their own quality risk mitigation programs and better manage their workers compensation program and costs. Filled with nearly three dozen documented smart business practices in every area, from hiring to pre-incident planning, Work Smart helps business leaders develop activities, policies and procedures that can reduce unnecessary business risks.

We’ll help your business identify its unique risks, develop risk mitigation strategies, address exposures through the right insurance coverages and monitor plans/strategies on an ongoing basis. We’ll also help your business make adjustments to your plans/strategies as needed. At Accurate Protection, we’re here to help your company operate more effectively and efficiently. Our company doesn’t sell insurance; we get your company the accurate protection it deserves. Learn more about us on our website: http://accurateprotection.com/. Or give us a call: (404) 907-2121 x701.