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- Zenefits: 25% of Small Businesses Are Still Using Pen and Paper for Their Payroll
*This blog post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Zenefits. You can find the original here.
There is no more essential task for an employer than payroll. If you have people working for you, they’re going to expect a check at the end of the pay period. And if it doesn’t show, you probably won’t have employees for long.
Payroll can also be one of the most intimidating employer tasks. There are numerous regulations to be aware of, forms to file, and deductions to take. For example, will you deduct health insurance premiums, flex spending, or retirement contributions? How do you withhold taxes, Medicare, and social security? How many hours does an employee have to work before overtime kicks in? And what the heck is a FICA?
With all of these questions and the consequences that come from getting them wrong, it’s no surprise that so many small business owners find payroll to be daunting. But here’s what did surprise us: 25% of small businesses are still using pen and paper for their payroll records rather than investing in a reliable payroll software or accounting service.
Why? Let’s take a closer look at payroll accounting and manual record keeping.
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- Zenefits: How to Quiet Workplace Distractions and Increase Productivity
*This blog post is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for Zenefits. You can find the original here.
It seems that everywhere you look around the office, there is something to break your concentration. At work, there’s Slack, Jira, emails, and Confluence. Your friends and family text you all day. Your workflow is constantly interrupted by calls, push notifications, or conversations happening just outside your cubicle (or for those in open office floor plans– all around you). How are employees expected to get any uninterrupted work done with so many workplace distractions?
Let’s take a look at some of the distractions workers face today, and how to encourage employees and coworkers to decrease them. We’ll also discuss some ideas to help increase focus and boost productivity.
Common Workplace Distractions and How to Overcome Them
- Smartphones: It is nearly impossible to resist the siren call of that phone in your pocket. If you get a text, Facebook notification, or phone call, it almost feels painful not to check it. Then once you respond, that leads to a back and forth that could suck away a lot of time. To avoid temptation, try putting your phone on “do not disturb.” You could even–gasp!–turn it off while you’re at work.
- Emails: In many offices, employees have their email set up to notify them of each new message. When the notification pops up on your screen, you feel compelled to answer immediately. Try changing your settings so that push notifications are disabled. Then schedule a designated time of day to check your emails and respond to them.
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- Zenefits: Want to Improve Workplace Communication?
*This blog post is excerpted from an article I originally wrote for Zenefits. You can find the full article here.
When was the last time you opened your email inbox at work and found nothing but clear, useful messages? If you’re like most people, you probably can’t remember. Research shows that most people spend 13 hours of their workweek dealing with emails. But only 38% of the emails that end up in their inboxes are actually important and relevant to their jobs. This inefficient communication is a huge drain on productivity.
Other avenues for communication in the workplace share similar stories. You know all those long, mandatory meetings you’re forced to sit through? According to a 2015 survey, 46 percent of employees say they rarely leave the meeting knowing exactly what to do next. And a Gallup poll revealed that 74% of employees say they are missing out on important company news.
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- Crixeo: Why Do Institutions Cover up Child Abuse?
*This blog post is excerpted from an article that I originally wrote for Crixeo Magazine. You can find the full text here.
Witnesses Often Fail to Report Child Abuse. But Why? The Answer May Lie in Psychology
In January of 2018, Dr. Larry Nassar, disgraced team physician for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for decades of abuse of gymnasts under his care. Nassar assaulted 265 girls, the youngest of whom was only six years old at the time of the abuse.
People around the world reacted with horror when the investigations into Nassar’s crimes revealed that many adults knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Rather than helping the victims, these witnesses pressured them to stay silent, or tried to convince them that the abuse hadn’t happened.
Twenty-one years ago, at the age of 16, Larissa Boyce thought she was living her dream. She was a young gymnast training at MSU with one of her idols, gymnastics legend Kathie Klages. When Nassar assaulted Boyce during a medical exam, she went straight to Klages, who was the MSU head coach at the time.
“She was the person I looked up to. She was the person I thought had my back,” Boyce read from her victim impact statement during Nassar’s sentencing hearing. But instead of helping, Klages told Boyce she couldn’t imagine Nassar “doing anything questionable.” She told Boyce she had misunderstood a normal medical exam and advised her not to file a report.
Many other coaches and administrators at MSU and USA Gymnastics also received reports of Nassar’s abuse. Most either failed to report, or delayed their report by weeks.
- Grok Nation: I Put My Toddler on a Screen Detox
*This blog post is excerpted from an article I originally wrote for Grok Nation. You can find the full text here.
I gave my toddler my iPhone—and invented the “Screen Detox”
Read how I learned the hard way how to limit my son’s screen time.
I homeschool three “big” kids with two dogs and a toddler at home, so I’m one busy mama. The dogs are easy. Just a pat on the head and a trip to the back yard and they’re good for hours. But my 3-year-old son, Gianni–let’s just say he doesn’t like being on the sidelines.
I’d never been a mom who allowed much screen time. Gianni’s older siblings got to watch one movie a week at his age. But with my fourth kid, that rule was difficult to enforce.
Just like any addiction, Gianni’s iPhone habit started with a small fix. The big kids and I were sitting at the table working on math. My plan was to set up the older two girls with their school work, answer a few questions, then sit down with my first grade son to walk him through his problems.
But Gianni didn’t get that this situation called for quiet. (What toddler does, right?)
He asked me for milk. He spilled the milk. I went to clean it up.
My daughter asked me a question. I shouted something about numerators and denominators into the dining room as I mopped the kitchen floor.
Gianni wanted more milk. I poured it for him. His big brother asked what was taking me so long.
I went back to the dining room. Gianni followed me.
You get the idea. It was never ending.
- Crixeo: A Brief History of the Circumcision Debate
*This blog post is an excerpt of an article I wrote for Crixeo.
On his eighth day of life, a newborn Jewish boy is taken to his family’s synagogue. His mother hands him to the kvatters, who place him in the Chair of Elijah for his bris. So begins the Jewish ritual of circumcision, which tradition says seals Abraham’s covenant with God as described in Genesis 17.
A Muslim family teaches their sons that the Prophet Muhammad was born without a foreskin. To emulate the prophet, Muslim boys are circumcised, usually in a hospital, sometime before the age of 12.
People of many cultures and religions, including Jews, Muslims, ancient Egyptians and tribal people around the world, have practiced male circumcision for centuries. No one knows for sure exactly when it started, but some historians say it may have begun as a puberty rite among Australian aboriginal tribes in 10,000 BC. Later, tribes in Northern East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula would adopt the practice.
Circumcision has fallen in and out of favor throughout history, but the story of its introduction to nonreligious, Western populations is interesting. Outside of Jewish and Muslim communities, it was uncommon to routinely circumcise boys until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when doctors began promoting it as a way to prevent masturbation and some diseases.
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- Missing Children’s Awareness Day
*I am a freelance writer and often publish pieces in magazines, newspapers, and other publications. This post is excerpted from an article I wrote for Crixeo Magazine.
Almost exactly four years ago, on a sunny June day in a beautiful Atlantic beach town, I thought my life was ending. My son, Raymond, who was just a few weeks from his third birthday, disappeared on a crowded boardwalk. We’d just gotten off the Jolly Trolley at the boardwalk — Raymond, his two older sisters, my husband and I.
For less than a minute, my husband and I took our eyes off the kids while we discussed where we wanted to eat dinner. Less than a minute. How many times have you taken your eyes off your child in a public place for a few seconds? You dig through your purse at the grocery store. You text your spouse. You crane your neck, searching for the other mom you were supposed to meet for lunch.
In those few seconds, I lost my son.
Now, I want to tell you at this point that this story has a happy ending. After the five longest minutes of my life, I found him.
- Today’s Parent: Are Academic Demands and Over-scheduling Stressing Kids Out?
*This post is excerpted from an article I wrote for todaysparent.com.
From standardized tests and heavy homework loads to after-school sports and tutors, elementary-aged children are taking on more responsibilities than ever before. Despite the popular notion that kids today are coddled, many experts believe they are actually under more stress than previous generations.
Nicole Roder is a freelance writer and mother of four. She writes about kids, family, and health for a number of magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets. Contact Nicole to inquire about freelance writing or editing services.
- Crixeo: Should Science Edit out Genetic Disorders?
*This post is excerpted from an article that I wrote for Crixeo.
Scientists have successfully modified the DNA of a human embryo to erase a genetic and lethal heart condition. The experiment, published August 2 in the journal Nature, used a tool known as CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, and was the first to successfully “correct” a gene mutation in human embryos. Reactions to this news range from excitement to horror. Soon we could have the technology to help parents who carry genes for genetic disorders to conceive children free of those traits. But should we?
- Today’s Parent: Can Contact Sports Like Hockey Really Cause Brain Disease in Kids?
*This post is excerpted from an article I wrote for Today’s Parent.
Ask a mom what she thinks about her kid playing contact sports like hockey or football and you’re likely to see some worry on her face, because of the risk of concussion.
Perhaps you’ve read the recent media reports of scientific studies linking contact sports to a brain disease called CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy. One such study published in January 2018 in the journal Brain found evidence of CTE in the brains of deceased athletes. Some media reports say that these results are evidence that repeated hits to the head can cause CTE, even in players who have never suffered a concussion.