Do You Need a Talented Temp On-Site or a Virtual Assistant?

Please review the following questions to determine if my services would help you in achieving your business and project goals, and meeting or beating your client deadlines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Are you finding yourself staying late to complete projects? Eating ‘fast food’ at your desk, and working weekends?
  • Do you keep a ‘to do’ list that just keeps growing, because you find you have to add to it daily?
  • Is your website or blog consistently ‘up-to-date’ with accurate and ‘on brand’ data?
  • Are you actively engaged with all your social networking accounts; attracting your contacts with daily posts, comments, and news or important announcements?
  • Do you have ‘assigned staff’ on hand to take care of all of your social media marketing and networking needs?
  • Could you benefit from having an extra set of eyes, and pair of hands to help you get back on top of things?
  • Are your current staffing levels sufficient to help you with all that you have to do?
  • Do you have proactive and skilled support staff available to you, willing and able to help you?
  • Are you working with complex documents that need advanced formatting edits before client delivery, but don’t quite have the skills required, or know the fastest way to go about it?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed with your day-to-day tasks – not enough hours in the day?
  • Do you have a professional and reliable contact to call upon when you need a little extra help on your projects?
  • Do you have a tight staffing budget that does not support hiring a Temp through Personnel Agencies, due to the associated high fees?
  • Are you, or is your firm interested in ‘cost-effective’ administrative assistance, with no employee benefit costs attached?

If you answered YES to ANY of the questions above, you would most definitely benefit from having the services of A Talented Temp at your disposal.

If you would like to explore areas that I can clearly help you with, please contact me directly via phone or email, and feel free to connect with me through your preferred social networking service as well.

Thank You!

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CANADA: Fed Government Shows Pliability: Flexible Work Arrangements (‘FWA’) on Table (Part 2 of 2)

As promised, here is the balance of my article on FWAs for your information and feedback.

I sincerely hope you will take a few moments out of your busy schedule to take part and share your thoughts in the online survey or via other methods as outlined below by June 30, 2016.

Assuming the right to request an FWA is created, the federal government also wants to discuss how to promote employees’ exercise of the right, and monitor employers’ responses to such requests, including penalizing non-compliant employers. Some proposed ideas include:

  • awards for good workplace practices;
  • an anonymous complaints process;
  • employer self-audits;
  • third-party complaint procedure, such as a ombudsperson;
  • joint employer-employee committees for alternative dispute resolution; and
  • monetary penalties and/or public disclosure of information of non-compliant employers, or for employer retaliation against the exercise of such right.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS?

Accommodating an employee’s request for an FWA will likely result in employers having to adapt or change their workplace structure and/or practices. Doing so may also impose additional costs on the employer, such as having to provide the necessary technology and cloud storage capacity for employees working remotely or hiring replacement staff or paying overtime staff to cover employees who are working part-time or taking leaves. In addition, if an appeal or complaints process is imposed with these amendments, the lack of jurisprudence on this issue is also a cause for concern.

Please Note: With these federal changes in the works, amendments to provincial and territorial labour and employment legislation may also be on the horizon.

PLEASE LEND YOUR VOICE TO THIS IMPORTANT DISCUSSION

The federal government has published a paper with a series of questions to generate discussion on the issue of the right to request FWAs.

WE HAVE UNTIL JUNE 30, 2016, TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ONLINE SURVEY, EMAIL, TELEPHONE, TWITTER VIA #FLEXIBLEWORK, OR BY MAIL.

1 fed govt flex workhttps://www.liberal.ca/files/2015/10/New-plan-for-a-strong-middle-class.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, McMillan LLP

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CANADA: Fed Government Shows Pliability: Flexible Work Arrangements (‘FWA’) on Table (Part 1 of 2)

Flexible Work Infographic

As we all know, flexible work is and has been a trending topic worldwide for some time. As a matter of fact, France recently introduced new legislation that gives employees the right to disconnect from business emails after work hours.

Last year, the city of Gothenburg in Sweden announced a trial switch to a 6-hour work day for its public services institutions, such as retirement homes and hospitals.

According to a 2015 survey of 8000 employers and employees from small and medium-sized business, public sector organizations, and multinational companies in 10 countries, the results were significant and positive:

  • 75% of the organizations surveyed now have flexible work policies, allowing employees to vary their hours, and work from home; and
  • 83% out of those organizations have witnessed an increase in productivity; and
  • 61% report a boost in profits; and
  • 58% say their company profile has been positively affected.

In Canada, the federal government pledged1 to amend the Canada Labour Code to allow federally regulated workers to formally request flexible work arrangements (FWAs) from their employers.

To that end, Employment and Social Development Canada has recently commenced a public consultation to explore how to implement the right to requesting FWAs. Please click on the red link above to learn more, and join in.

WHAT IS AN FWA?

The federal government defines FWAs as “alternative arrangements to the traditional working week” and can take on many forms, including both temporary and permanent.

A FWA may allow an employee to alter (a) his or her work schedule, (b) the number of hours worked, (c) the location where work is performed, (d) when he or she takes vacation, or (e) to take leaves to meet family or other personal obligations.

WHAT IS THE PROPOSED RIGHT TO REQUEST AN FWA?

The proposed right to request an FWA would be a statutory right that entitles an employee to formally request an FWA from his or her employer. When the employee submits a formal request, the employer would be required to consider and make a decision about the request within a set time frame.

Should the employer deny the request, it must give reasons for the denial. The right would likely include protections for employees against dismissal or other forms of employer retaliation for exercising this right.

WHAT WILL THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION CONSIDER?

To help craft this legislation, Canada is looking to examples set by Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the U.K., and certain areas of the U.S., to get an idea of what mechanisms were required in order for the regime to work.

For example, in the U.K., an employee’s right to request is contingent upon a minimum of 6-months employment with the firm, and the employer must respond to the request within 90 days, versus Australia, which requires a response in just 21 days.

In New Zealand, each employee was initially limited to a maximum 1 request per calendar year, however, this has since changed to an unlimited number since 2015.

Other aspects of the statutory regime to consider include:

  • what sort of information should the employee provide in the request;
  • on what grounds may an employer decline a request;
  • should an employee have a right to appeal or complain if she or he thinks the employer unreasonably denied a request; and
  • how should an employee be compensated, or what penalties should be imposed on the employer if the complaint is well-founded.

Part 2 of 2 to follow shortly

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq, McMillan LLP

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Using Effective Time Management Strategies – Section II

how-to-time-management

The Bad news is…time flies, but, the Good news is…YOU are the PILOT (Michael Altshuler)

If there are too many cooks in the kitchen, it is likely that mistakes, confusion, and irritation will ensue, which in itself is counter-productive for all concerned, and defeats the purpose of the exercise altogether.

I find it is best to work alone when under pressure to meet client deadlines, and offer rough drafts of the document until the project is complete, and has reached the ‘final draft’ stage for the group and project leader’ review.

With that said, following are a few important technical tips to keep in mind:

  1. Make a ‘backup’ copy of the document as soon as you are given control of it – ideally, save on your ‘hard drive’ or a CD, not on the Network;
  2. Be sure to have your ‘Auto Recover’ settings at 3 or 5-minute intervals – this way you know your system is backing up your work should you hit a snag with a graphic or other data – a max of 5 minutes should be your normal setting for all your work;
  3. Use your ‘*Versioning’ tool (Version History in 2010) if you know there will be ‘multiple’ versions made of the document due to cut and pastes by your professional team leaders;
  4. Do NOT generate your Table of Contents until the end – highly likely to be changed; wording of headings, also because of heading relocations, and other data edits;
  5. Do NOT insert your headers or footers until the end (this includes page numbering) – these too are likely to change by your team, and it will save you time in the long run – particularly for individual ‘section footers’;
  6. Leave out the Graphics to import until the final approval of the ‘main’ document body – provide the graphics and excel charts to your team in a separate file for their review and approval;
  7. If your team is out of the office, be sure to use a DRAFT watermark (or insert a footer) on the document you send them ‘via Email’ to avoid any confusion;
  8. ‘Import’ your Excel charts vs. creating them directly in Word – Word gets confused easily and can mess up if working with a long or complicated document – I also suggest ‘linking’ so they are synced and your edits are automatically updated in Word. Make sure you have auto-updating for links turned on;
  9. If your document is very long and obviously complicated, do NOT use your function keys of Ctrl S to save – use the file/save command instead;
  10. For quick and easy access to Rush jobs, use your ‘Document location’ toolbar, or save your documents in a folder you have created on your desktop;
  11. Please ‘generate your Table of Contents electronically’ – NOT manually! Believe it or not, some people still create manual TOC’s which are a nightmare to work with for other staff members working on the document if you are away;
  12. If you have not worked with a document of this complexity before, save it as a Template to refer to – be selective with this, and only do so if the document is very complex – this will save you a significant amount of time in the future.

* Versioning: If you save a document that used versioning in the Microsoft Office Word 97-2003 file format, and then open it in Office Word 2007, you will lose access to the versions.

Please also note: If you open a document in Office Word 2007 and save it in either Word 97-2003 or Office Word 2007 file formats, you will permanently lose all versions.

If you do run into problems with versioning, you can save versions of a document as multiple files by using the Version Extraction Tool, please visit the Microsoft TechNet Web site to learn more.

Make sure your professional teams use ‘track changes’ and if a complication arises, use your ‘document compare function’ (called compare documents in 2010) to track the changes that were made yourself.

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Using Effective Time Management Strategies – Section I

TO DO BOOK

Provided below, are a few simple suggestions that I have used to save valuable time and certain frustration when working under pressure to meet simultaneous project deadlines:

‘TO DO Lists’ – On the Road to Effective Time Management

  1. Write these lists out versus tracking them electronically because the risks are higher for being sidetracked when multitasking under pressure. Writing your lists will also trigger your memory;
  2. Prepare your lists throughout your work day, and revise/prioritize before leaving work; you will then be well prepared for the morning;
  3. Perform the item you least like to do first to get it out of the way, such as photocopying or high-volume faxing, each of which can be time-consuming as a result of paper jams, long queues for the machines, etc.;
  4. If you know there is a project on the go that could be arriving on your desk shortly, try to determine when you will receive it, and request the draft be sent to you piecemeal, so you can add your magic touch to each section (ensure consistency);
  5. It is wise to carry a notebook with you so you can follow-up on any spontaneous requests that will undoubtedly be made of you when moving throughout the office;
  6. Making your notes daily will allow for consistent follow-up and focus, and aid in ensuring things continue to run smoothly; and lastly
  7. Carrying your notebook with you is a helpful resource if you run into a colleague that has a query, and you want to track your last communication notes, and/or requests.

Notes:

You could use the fax to photocopy and vice versa, and/or have your IT team set up your system to send and receive faxes directly.

If you are able to define the expected arrival time for an incoming project, be sure to give Production and/or Graphics a heads-up to get your job in their queue to avoid delays and missing your client deadlines.

The following tips, some learned the hard way, may seem obvious and logical to you at first glance. However, I can assure you that they are often overlooked when working with long and/or difficult documents; resulting in wasted time, and a good deal of frustration.

Ignoring these tips can be costly as your documents can quickly become a nightmare to deal with!

This is particularly the case when working on two or more ‘rush’ projects simultaneously.

Unfortunately, when working with long or complicated documents; such as those with several section breaks, different layout/page orientations, embedded pics, excel charts, alternate headers and footers etc., MS Word becomes confused, and typically ends up labelling your document ‘corrupt’; which is a challenge to work with, or try to recreate.

While working collaboratively in programs such as Google Docs, MS OneNote or SharePoint certainly has its benefits, and give the impression of being ideal options for encouraging genuine group effort, they also create confusion, because these systems basically work akin to turning on ‘track changes’ or ‘versioning’ in Word.

As you know, working in long and/or complex documents, track changes can be quite intimidating and messy to work with. I am sure you would agree that simply selecting ‘accept all changes’ is not a wise option for obvious reasons, including the fact that your project leader’s review and approval for each change must come first.

 

Please continue reading here: Using Effective Time Management Strategies – Section II

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