Mobile, Alabama - Born to Celebrate! Managing Remote Employees and More!
This week I began training to become a Visitor's Ambassador for Mobile, Alabama. The diverse crowd of participants gathered at the History Museum, early Tuesday morning. Allison Floyd, Marketing & Events Manager, lead us in a fun-filled day of exploring the city.
We heard from David Clark, CEO of Visit Mobile about the city's efforts to grow the convention business in The Port City. This was followed by a tour of the History Museum of Mobile. If you haven't visited this historic structure, you will be in for a pleasant surprise. It served as City Hall back in the 1850's when it was built.
Much of the museum artifacts reside in an addition to the original structure that houses 300 years of items from the area. Among these is a canoe that dates back 700 years! You'll discover why Mobile is nicknamed The City of Six Flags and so much more.
If you are pressed for time and want a quick tour of the city's history, visit the exhibit A History of Mobile in 22 Objects. Twenty-two unexpected and compelling objects weave together over 300 years of Mobile history, from the pre-Colonial era to the twenty-first century port. With contributions from Mobile’s leading historians, professors, and museum curators, you are sure to discover both new and familiar stories in this landmark exhibition. This exhibit will be open until the end of this year.
After a delightful lunch at the Mobile Convention Center, we heard from leaders in the hospitality industry. This was followed by a tour of historic sites in Mobile thanks to Gulf Coast Tours. Our trolley excursion was a 90-minute fully narrated jaunt through the downtown area of The Azalea City. Cost is only $20 per person, kids 12 and under are free!
Please note that the trolley tour is dog friendly! Oliver, a 15-year-old Scottish Terrier greets visitors on a regular basis! Tourists have the opportunity to explore Mobile from the comfort of an air conditioned transport. We visited downtown, historic neighborhoods and crossed the bay to the Battleship Parkway. As we were crossing the bay, our guide pointed out that the Tensaw River Basin is home to 50,000 alligators. I wondered who counted them! Whew!
I will be participating in this program for the next few months and will share as many insider tips as I can for your enjoyment. I definitely suggest a tour of the History Museum. Did you know that residents can visit for FREE every first Sunday of the month? Go out and explore The Gateway to the Gulf.
Insider tip: The official nicknames of Mobile are designated in green!
Free admission to The History Museum of Mobile on October 2nd
Friends and boss partners, Jim & Monica Wesson, have opened their second chiropractic location in our area. The Joint in Daphne is located 6850 Highway 90, Suite A-03, just behind Starbucks. They are offering great incentives to new patients and no appointment is needed! Go check it out!
"Real World" Business Strategy Note
A Quick Guide to Successfully Managing Remote Employees
This is an excerpt from Richard Lindsey's email dated 09/14/2022
If the pandemic taught us business owners anything, it’s that employees don’t always have to work in the office. Many operations leverage that concept these days, and it could be a great move to help your company grow.
But handling employees who work remotely requires you to think about a lot of new things, from how they’re going to talk to each other to how you’re going to handle a new and evolving tax situation.
Making a connection
Once upon a time, the phone was the only real method of quickly connecting other than in-person conversation. That reality is no more. By now, everybody has learned at least a little bit about the once sci-fi art of videoconferencing. Aside from glitchy internet moments or your cat getting into the frame, the concept has worked well for many companies over the past few years. When working with remote employees, videoconferencing is a must.
Zoom has become the new “Xerox,” a technology brand name so widely used that it’s evolved into a verb. It is a standard tool for videoconferencing, free to get, and easily hosts multi-user meetings on your laptop. There are similar tools, too, like GoToMeeting, Google Meet, and (for a fee) Join.me. Whichever platform you use, make video meetings as regular as you would in-person. Keep them brief and to the point – we all spend enough time looking at our screens these days – but don’t be afraid to throw in a joke or a trivia game to keep folks engaged. Useful topics can also include how to set up a home office, which is still a new skill for some workers.
Also, don’t forget those pesky time zones! It’s one thing to expect someone’s face to show up on your screen for a 10 a.m. meeting if they’re an hour ahead or behind you but quite another if they live on the opposite coast or overseas.
For those times when you don’t need a thousand words to replace a picture, instant messaging is a quick way to chat and share docs with one employee or a whole group. Well-known messaging tools are Slack and Microsoft Teams, though there are many others.
The same but different
A virtual staff begins just like an in-person one does. You must attract workers, and that starts with a job description.
A job description for a virtual position has to be a lot clearer upfront about many details that might never even appear in the description for a non-virtual position. If you expect people to be ready to meet at 9 a.m. or if you expect them to come into the office periodically, make that clear first thing.
Remote recruiting also brings your online presence under scrutiny. Make sure your company website and social media profiles are what you want to attract talent. It wouldn’t hurt to add positive info about your staff and work environment.
While we’re on the subject, know that remote work options remain a strong draw for candidates and a solid retention tool for your staff. If you’ve become one of the growing number of business owners who are sold on this way of operating, make sure staffers know that – they might not be sure, otherwise.
Remote employees dividing their time between more than one state can complicate unemployment and taxes.
Unemployment is the simpler of the two: Your company pays state unemployment tax to only one state, and that’s where the employee will collect the benefits. Generally, determining which state to pay includes assessing whether the work is done all in one state, where the base of operations is, and the location where your worker gets supervision. If none of those apply, the unemployment state is the residence state of the employee.
The state income tax situation for employees is much more complicated right now.
A recent survey showed that three out of four states believe that just a few employees working in a state is enough to justify hitting them with income tax. Especially thorny are the states with “convenience of employer” rules. Right now, that’s Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey have similar rules. We definitely don’t know what’s convenient about it for employees or employers. The rule basically means employees living in a state different from you (the employer) may have to pay income taxes in both states. A lot of companies are shying away from hiring in those states.
Until this gets sorted out, a rule of thumb is that to be a resident of a state, you have to spend at least 183 days of the year there.
Don’t be discouraged, though. Remote workers can be a great asset to your company as long as you dot your i’s along the way.
Truly, even with all that is involved in taking on remote employees, making space for that in your company opens a lot of doors to gaining the right kind of workers on your team. A little (maybe more) effort now means great opportunity looking ahead.
Lindsey & Waldo
In the Kitchen: Shrimp Tempura Sushi featuring Gulf Shrimp!
Do you love sushi like I love sushi? After years of eating it, I decided to try to make it at home. My hubby has never been a fan and upon further investigation I realized he thought all sushi had to be raw. I suggested we spend a Sunday afternoon making it ourselves so that he would know what he was eating.
These Shrimp Tempura rolls were a huge success and so yummy. The picture is my leftovers packaged up for Monday's lunch.
There are some tips that are important. Use real Japanese rice. I ordered some from Amazon and it is perfect! Click here. Also, you will need some Nori (Seaweed sheets) so click here to see what I used. I bought fresh gulf shrimp from Mr. Cecil's Shrimp by the Pound in West Mobile.
I found a Sushi Making kit online and ordered it. It has everything you need as a beginner to make wonderful rolls. The key was watching a couple of YouTube videos on how to make sushi before I attempted my first couple of rolls. This was such a fun experience in the kitchen! If you have ever thought about making sushi then just "go for it". I've picked up some smoked salmon and plan to make those this weekend!
From the Book Corner!
Did you ever imagine that you would enjoy living next to one of your favorite authors? I have to say that residing near Jen Sincero would be a dream come true. Her wit and no nonsense approach to this game called life is extraordinary. If you are looking for a series to motivate you, this is it!
Hello to fall!
I was in my backyard today and came across these beauties. Spider Lillies were one of my mom's favorites. Whenever they bloom, I can feel her presence. It is like she is saying "hello" to me and letting me know that she is still close by.
I hope that you are enjoying these cooler evening temperatures. It is the perfect time for dinner parties with friends, high school football games and day trips to neighboring cities.
Go out and enjoy your community this week! We will be visiting local attractions and posting on our social media page and here about what we discover!
Have a wonderful week! ~ Charlsie