Riskiest Workplace Activities During COVID-19
Wearing a mask, social distancing and frequently washing your hands are some of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition, avoiding certain high-risk workplace activities can help protect your health and safety. However, it’s not always feasible to avoid essential workplace activities—many of which carry a risk for spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19. INSPRO | Nov 2020
Workers During COVID-19: Lessons from a Disaster Trauma Lens
Gertie Quitangon, MD | October 18, 2020 | Psychiatric Times

We have learned that in order to provide much-needed social support during difficult times, organizations should prepare to take certain steps.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) blindsided the world. It exposed gaps in public health emergency planning at every level, including in the strategic planning to support mental health and wellness. 
Even if COVID-19 is a Party Pooper, Employers Find Ways to Celebrate
By Dana Wilkie | October 29, 2020 | SHRM
Because holding a workplace holiday party doesn't seem practical during a pandemic, managers are finding other ways to help their workers celebrate this year—including virtual gift exchanges, cooking classes and wine tastings.

"I would argue that it's never been more important to celebrate our accomplishments after what we've endured this year." 
How to Support Employees After the Election
Katie Navarra | November 3, 2020 | SHRM
Employees are dreading going to work on Nov. 4. In a survey by Reflective of 1,000 U.S. employees—conducted earlier this year—54 percent of participants said that if their candidate loses this election, it will impact their performance at work. Another 29 percent felt that office politics would make it difficult to go to work the day after the election. Tensions in the workplace have risen since then. READ MORE
Proposed Changes to the H-1B Program and
Prevailing Wage Determinations
By Immigration Group | November 18, 2020
Iowa Employment Conference 2020 Sponsor Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

The past four years have presented unparalleled challenges and changes to U.S. immigration.
Although the immigration statute – the Immigration and Nationality Act – and the implementing regulations have remained largely unchanged, immigration adjudications have been in a near constant state of flux, and we have seen an unprecedented number of new restrictions, seemingly on a weekly basis. READ MORE
9 Creative Meeting Ideas for Remote Teams

Lisa Tener | Nov 19, 2020 | HR Daily Advisor

Remote meetings were a brilliant solution to social distancing. Meet virtually, stay connected, run things by each other—it worked. And then suddenly, it didn’t work so well.

Apology rejected: Why it’s time for HR to stop saying I’m sorry
Human resources professionals need to stop apologizing if we ever want to drive progress.

By: Ben Brooks | November 11, 2020 |

“I’m sorry…”
The words would come out so quickly, so automatically that I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it. It just became routine in my way of communicating—particularly over email—that I’d never even been aware of it, nor explored what was driving me to say it. It simply leaped onto the screen from the dancing fingers on my keyboard—or out of my mouth—so effortlessly that I genuinely believed what I was saying.
During COVID, holiday gift-giving can be HR’s ‘time to shine’

Remote workers could use a reminder of their employers’ appreciation this holiday season.

By: Carol Patton | November 5, 2020 |

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will force many employers to abandon their traditional holiday parties this year, prompting some HR leaders to shift their attention to employee gifts. What types of gifts can better connect remote workers to each other and the organization while helping to build the company’s brand?
Remote Work, Masks, Mitigation, and Limits:
Employer COVID-19 Obligations 
Michele L. Warnock Brott | November 17, 2020
Iowa Employment Conference 2020 Sponsor Davis Brown Law

Responding to record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 patients and reports that Iowa’s healthcare system is in a dire position, the Governor instituted public health measures on November 16, 2020, via proclamation.
Iowa businesses and employers are directed to take appropriate precautions to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in the following ways: READ MORE
Employers Exploring What Changes a Biden Administration Will Bring

By: Tammy Binford | Nov 9, 2020 | HR Daily Advisor

Now that the presidential race has been called for Joe Biden, employers are studying the impact a new administration will have on policies affecting the workplace. The COVID-19 response, the economy, health care, a change in direction at federal agencies—those issues and so much more are on employers’ radar.
IRS announces 401(k), FSA contribution limits for 2021

Employee contribution limits will remain unchanged next year.

By: Kathryn Mayer | November 3, 2020 |

The IRS isn’t increasing employee contribution limits for 401(k)s or flexible spending accounts for 2021, the agency said last week.
Limits will remain the same with employees being able to defer up to $19,500 into a 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans at work.
4 ways to help employees work smarter, not harder
Alyssa Place | November 19, 2020 | Employee Benefits News

With the holiday season fast approaching and workplace burnout on the rise, getting employees to stay productive and focused on work is a huge challenge for managers this year.
“Everything is happening in our homes — employees are monitoring their children, doing their day jobs and taking care of the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping,” says Carson Tate, founder of Working Simply, a workplace productivity consulting firm.
How managers can boost productivity by learning to delegate

By Phil Alves | November 11, 2020 | Employee Benefits News

Leaders, by their very nature, like to be in control. That’s much of the reason why they became creators, founders, and managers in the first place. But as businesses grow, leaders inevitably need to let go of a growing list of responsibilities and let their teams keep the company machine well-oiled. For many, however, that’s much easier said than done.
How to address workplace toxicity in a virtual setting
By Evelina Nedlund | Employee Benefits News | October 29, 2020
During COVID-19, workplace harassment has moved from the physical office into the virtual world, leaving employees vulnerable to uninvited and unwanted attacks on Zoom and Slack.
Pre-pandemic SHRM research found that 1 in 4 American workers dread going to work during. A toxic work environment not only impacts employee well-being, but a company’s bottom line: U.S. companies lost $223 billion over a five-period due to culture-caused turnover, according to SHRM estimates.
Resources for Job Creators What employment topic do you have questions about?

You may have questions about your role as an employer. This site provides answers to common questions about workers and business.

DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.

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OSHA Provides Insight Into COVID-19 Enforcement Priorities
Paul Jacobson | NOVEMBER 17, 2020 | OSHA

Despite widespread commentary regarding the lack of COVID-specific regulatory rules in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continues to cite employers for a wide variety of health and safety violations arising from COVID-related investigations. READ MORE
Speaker RFP's Are Due November 30th!
Sponsorships Are Being Accepted NOW!

Will 2021 bring back in-person conferences?

Whether in-person or live virtual, Iowa Employment Conference has you covered!

With day to day uncertainties, you can count on our team to provide the quality expert training you’ve come to expect, ANY way it is presented. 

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving During the Pandemic
Michael Sullivan | NOVEMBER 12, 2020 |
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re like me, you may be wondering how on earth you’re going to celebrate this year. I’ve been hosting a friendsgiving for over 15 years—a tradition that started in college with a guest list consisting of any friends who didn’t happen to go home for the big day. However, this year many traditions will be put on hold. Many people will be spending the holiday away from family and friends due to COVID-19–related travel restrictions or safety concerns. 
Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings | Nov. 2020
Enjoy Thanksgiving activities and take steps to protect yourself from getting or spreading COVID-19. 
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Preparing your kids for the holidays during COVID-19
 by Ellen Greenlaw | Health and Parenting | Nov 2020 | Boston Children’s Hospital

Even though this holiday season may be different, you can still find ways to connect with loved ones. Like most things this year, the holiday season will be marked by the coronavirus pandemic. For you and your family, it may feel like one more disappointment at the end of a long, challenging year. So, how do you talk with your kids about the upcoming holidays? And what can you do to celebrate, even if it’s not in the ways you’re used to?
(Help Us Stop Hunger)
is a collaborative effort among Iowa deer hunters, Iowa’s food banks, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Through this program, we accomplish two goals:
  • Provide high-quality protein to Iowans struggling with hunger
  • Help manage Iowa’s deer population
Last hunting season, hunters donated more than 3,000 deer, providing more than 600,000 meals for our neighbors in need! When a participating hunter wants to make a donation, he or she takes a legally harvested deer to a participating meat locker, where the deer is dressed and converted into ground venison. Two-pound tubes of frozen ground venison are distributed through Iowa food banks to food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency food providers.
By pooling our resources together, we leverage in scale and have been able to help the following organizations:
As we continue to grow our network, we will continue to serve as leaders in change by working with local non-profits and offering a hand. We hope you will support us in our efforts.
Thanksgiving for Two: 15 Small Holiday Bites with BIG Flavor
You can still have all the foods and flavors of a
traditional Thanksgiving feast.
by LAUREN HASLETT | NOV 2, 2020 |
Many people may find it difficult to focus on the good when we see so much bad going on around the world lately. Personally, it has been a tough year. We’ve experienced family loss and the news that my brother-in-law, Jerry, has brain cancer. On top of Jerry’s fight with cancer, we found out he tested positive for COVID. Unfortunately, within the last week, my husband and I also tested positive. Fortunately, our symptoms are mild and for the most part we are feeling ok. We are very thankful for that!
For many of us, Thanksgiving is the time of year we look forward to spending with loved ones and eating until we are miserably full. For the past 26 Thanksgiving mornings, it’s been a tradition for me and my dad to deliver food to the elderly; however, this year the program has been cancelled due to COVID. Leaves me wondering who will be able to feed them now?

As a family, we have decided the safest thing to do is cancel this year’s Thanksgiving celebration at my parents' home. We may not be able to “see” each other, but we are still going to cook for one another. I will cook my specialty corn bread corn casserole and cheesy potatoes (see recipes above) and the rest of my family will cook their “assigned” dishes. Before dinner, we will all deliver our dishes to each other and then enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving meal at our own homes. We are SO blessed that my parents, along with my sisters and their families, live within 5 miles of each other! :) We are grateful this year to have my husband’s parents and brother-in-law near, so we can also deliver a home-cooked meal to them. Following dinner, we will hop on a Zoom call, like many other families will, and spend time together visiting at a safe distance.
The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us. I currently serve on the Polk City Foundation as President and through the foundation and local school, a single parent of three kids was referred to me. It was apparent that this family needed some assistance. Not knowing how exactly we could help, I reached out to my parents for ideas. Without hesitation, my parents offered financial assistance. It is moments like these that I have to take a step back and remind myself how incredibly blessed we are to have running water, heat, an abundance of food, a safe home, friends, co-workers, a loving family and kind, selfless parents that molded me into the person I am today.

However you decide to spend this Thanksgiving, please take a moment to really focus on the good in YOUR life and the good you can do for others.
Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy Thanksgiving season!