Your “New” Most Valuable Employees!

What happens after you test positive for COVID-19, go through the illness and come out on the other side? Freedom! That’s what!

Like most viruses, once you have that virus your body builds up an immunity against it, and you are highly, like getting hit by lightening highly, unlikely to get the COVID again, no matter what you read on that red-state political site you read! Again, science.

This being the case, for the next 12-18 months, we are going to see some strange things happen socially and in our workplaces.

We are going to have employees who can come back to work in any situation and not have to worry about catching the virus, but can still pass it on to others if they aren’t still following sanitizing protocols. They can go to the movies, to the bar, out to eat, with almost no worry for themselves.

Maybe we’ll even give them a card they can show the police so these post-covids can gather together and without the worry of being arrested or disbanded. Or put make them wear a red letter on their clothes… We’ll watch them outside having fun as the rest of us who haven’t had the virus stay sheltered and isolated.

The reality is we would be naive to not understand the value of someone who has already had the virus and is now back to normal health-wise. We employees will be to do things right now, and guess what? You won’t be able to choose which employees you get in this capacity! It might be one of your best, or it might be one of the ones you wished you had fired.

These employees will be able to travel out to your clients. Go visit customers. Work on the shop floor next to each other and somewhat get their lives back to normal. Those who are pre-virus healthy will have to assist these folks from afar in the best way we can.

Think about the biggest dip-shit you have on staff right now. Now, imagine your biggest customer has this big project and they are telling you that you must have someone onsite come and meet with them, and don’t send anyone who can give us the COVID. Okay, great, we’ve got Marty who spends most days in the bathroom looking at Memes now being the face of the organization to our most valuable client.

Could happen. Is Marty ready? Are you ready? Do you even know which of your employees will be on this list? Are you tracking them and do you understand their importance?

Post-Covids will have their run of the world for a bit. They’ll be extremely valuable to every employer. While we might have high unemployment for a bit, can you imagine those forward-thinking companies who are out there hiring all the post-covids?

Who would have thought that a major skill in the modern workforce would be simply your ability to survive!?

My Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other Comms You Don’t Want to Read!

No one cares!

I had an HR peer send me a note this past week. They were a little frustrated with all the COVID communications that have been coming out from everyone. She was a bit snippy with me. The basis of her message was like, “Stop it! We get it! You’re doing something! We are all doing something! Do I really need to know what you’re doing!?!”

Here’s the list of places I need to know what you’re doing in regards to COVID:

  • Hospitals and other medical facilities I might have to use. Tell me what I should do in case of…
  • Grocery stores – when the F is the toilet paper going to be back in stock!?
  • My work – Do you want to come in, stay home, am I getting paid, etc. (I don’t care if you’re paying your employees, that’s up to you and your employees. OH! Wait! You’re doing the humblebrag thing…okay, good for you, you’re paying your employees currently and are constantly evaluating the situation…)
  • Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Xfinity, etc. – we’re still good right because I’ve got 500 channels on cable and nothing is ON!!!!!!!!
  • diet Mt. Dew factory – I’m ready when you need me, just pick up the bat phone and I’m there. Need to keep the lines running No. Matter. What.

Seriously, is it just me, or did every organization in the free world lose their minds when it comes to communications, PR, and marketing over the last seven days!?!

I can just imagine the comms war rooms as everyone nitpicked every single word that was going to be used in the most important communication that would ever be sent in history of mankind, around what you were doing to ensure your customers dry cleaning didn’t fall through the cracks and you didn’t kill your employees to ensure said customer had clean, crisp shirts while sitting at home watching Love is Blind during the apocalypse!

My lawn service sent out communication! Thanks, Jimmy for letting me know you won’t lick the kids and old people while continuing my lawn service during these trying times.

The best/worst of this is the marketing that is happening right now. I sent out a tweet condemning the HR Tech world for their crappy marketing during this time and hundreds of people liked it and three people (all of whom had crappy marketing go out) said I wasn’t being fair and if we have products that can help, we should be letting people know right now.

Oh, that’s why you are giving a 20% discount with the coupon code #CoughFreeWorkFromHome for your work-from-home job board! I get it, you have a business to run and you need to sell your product. The problem is, your buyer (HR and TA pros) are in the biggest firefight of their life right now and your sales pitch looks cold and heartless, and the timing sucks. Give them a week and then pimp away.

But, all that being said I thought it was vital I inform all of you about my Coronavirus (COVID-19) plan:

Dear Readers, 

As a shared service that this community relies on daily, ‘we’ here at the Tim Sackett Project are deeply committed to the health and wellness of our readers during this time. We plan to keep you updated on our ongoing efforts to ensure the well-being of this community. 

All of our blog posts are currently open, and we do not expect a lapse in service, unless Tim drinks too much while working from home and misses a deadline, in which, we will guarantee to re-run some crappy post of his from four years ago. 

We are closely monitoring updates from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Grammar Society of America, and local public health offices. If anything changes, we’ll immediately notify every single person in the world. 

What are ‘we’ doing:

– Increasing the frequency with which we clean our blog posts. Every time some reads a blog post, we quickly pull it down, scrub it clean of your dirty internet germs using a space-age disinfectant that is designed for internet use only. The normal reader should not see any difference in your reading experience. 

– All employees of the TSP are required to wear gloves while typing each blog post. 

– To ensure that ‘all’ of our employees of the TSP are fully taken care of during this challenging and trying time, we will be sending ‘all’ employees on a fully paid trip to the Cayman Islands upon clearance from the proper government agencies that it is once again safe to travel to the Cayman Islands. 

How to Keep Yourself Safe: 

– Wipe down and disinfect your keyboard before clicking on any TSP post or before reading said post. 

– Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol or wash your hands until they bleed with soap before entering any hot tubs to read the TSP. 

– Consider gloves and face masks as an extreme preventative measure as you actually aren’t coming into contact with anything, except ideas, when reading a blog post. 

‘We’ will continue to keep you updated with thrice-daily emails. If you have any questions please forward them to tim@timsackett.com email address because it’s the one I don’t monitor. 

Momma always said, “Stupid is as stupid does”

Do you think we, Americans, will be able to self-quarantine?

I don’t. Let me give you two examples of why not:

  1. It’s this past Saturday. We are getting ready to hunker down at Casa de Sackett. Part of our nesting process is to get some projects done which means a quick trip to the Container Store to get some materials. The Container Store is very close to the Cheesecake Factory. In my mind, “No one is going to be out, let’s just slip into the Cheesecake and get the last supper in before the big shut in!” We arrive at the Cheesecake Factory to find a 30-minute wait to get in. A giant gathering of people inside around the host stand all squished together. Breathing on each other and acting like none of us are really sick.
  2. Pictures have been circulating (like the one below) from this past week in Florida as Spring Breakers are just out doing Spring Break stuff, during a global pandemic. By the way, similar pictures were spreading about 3-4 weeks ago from Italy before they had to shut down the entire country and start making death bed decisions on who gets care and who dies.

There is a line in the musical Hamilton from the second Cabinet Rap Battle where Hamilton says to Jefferson:

“You must be out of your god damn mind!”

Most of us, right now, are out of our god damn minds. The fact is the vast majority of us, around 97% will survive the 19 without much issue at all. So, we think what the hell, extra Spring Break suckers! I’m outta school!

The reality that will soon hit home is when we are attending virtual funerals for our Mom’s and Dads, and Grandparents, and aunts and uncles, the little boy down the street who has asthma but I thought it was a great idea to bring him a stuffed turtle from Clearwater Beach and kill him.

For all those folks who think the flu is worse and we are just overblowing this entire thing, answer me this – if I gave you one hundred Skittles in your hand and said, no, they taste great, only three of them will kill you, would you eat any of them?

Apparently I would, because I thought going to Cheesecake Factory for one last meal was important enough to put myself and my family at risk, and I’m the average American right now…

But god damn are those sweet potato fries are amazing!

See? We’re all Fucked! Keep safe out there my friends, and for the love of Saint Pete stay away from people! And stop buying all of the toilet paper!

Google Leading the Way on #COVID19 Gig Worker Response! #Coronavirus

Google has more contractors (gig workers) than actual full-time employees. Did you know this? I didn’t. Google employs roughly 120,000 contractors and has about 100,000 regular full-time employees. Welcome to 2020!

Here’s what most people don’t understand about the contracting world (it just happens to be my world at HRUTech.com!)

  • Most contractors (gig workers) want to make as much money as possible, as such, most will choose to take the highest dollar offer in lieu of medical insurance and paid time off (PTO). Some states require a certain amount of PTO.
  • Running a contract staffing firm, our contractors are our product. If our ‘product’ doesn’t work, we have zero revenue. So, it’s not like we can just have contractors stay home for 14 days and pay them their full-time wage. It’s simple economics, zero revenue in means no money to pay out, plus most large enterprise clients, like Google, are usually out 30-90 days in paying their contract staff invoices.
  • Of course, every contract and temp staffing firm wants to do what’s best. They also want to stay in business.

Google understands this simple dynamic and they stepped up big time this week in making this announcement:

“As we’re in a transition period in the U.S.—and to cover any gaps elsewhere in the world—Google is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all our temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined,” the post read.

Google relies on approximately 120,000 temps and contractors on top of its 100,000 full-time employees, and not all of them have paid sick leave currently. Google’s post seemed to indicate that the fund would cover expenses for those not already able to take sick leave under current employment arrangements.”

That message right there is coming from a huge place of understanding from Google! We rely incredibly on this pool of talent, our contractors, and we have to find a way to make sure that the suppliers of this talent are taken care of so they can take care of their employees.

Uber and Lyft also came out this week and told drivers that tested positive for COVID-19 they would also pay them their average week’s wage to stay home and not drive. Another giant cost for these companies, but when you rely on gig workers as your business model, you better find ways to take help these folks out when a crisis hits.

Most organizations don’t consider “Total Employment” when a crisis happens. They circle the wagons around their own FTEs and not much else. I’ve spoken to multiple giant enterprise HR leaders this past week and this concept wasn’t even a blip on their radar! They could care less about their contractors and their partners for talent when it comes to COVID-19.

This is ultimately a much bigger problem for these organizations. I preach constantly to organizational TA and HR leaders they should be owning all talent in their barn. Total employment (FTEs, Contractors, Temps, Consultants, etc.). This is who really gets your work done, and if you don’t have awareness of all aspects, you are truly missing the boat.

What do you think? Do you feel your organization should be paying attention to contract and temporary workers during this public health crisis?

4 Great Things About Your 401K Taking a Dump!

The stock market is in the crapper and everyone’s 401K took a hit that will take years to recover, so how can any of this be great!?!

Oh, just give me a minute to explain…

Yeah, it sucks! I mean panic in the streets sucks, I just lost my retirement condo in Boca sucks! I’m trying to make light of a bad financial situation. Oh wait, I kind of am.

The reality is we all put ourselves in this situation. We gambled. We put our money into mutual funds and 401Ks and other investment vehicles and we loved watching them gain money for the last ten years! Since the great recession, the S&P 500 has tripled! If you got in early, you’ve seen your entire retirement increase substantially from where it was.

Good news, bad news. It sucks we are all taking this hit, but we’ve had a great ride up! Plus, it will ride up again, for those who have a few years. For those who don’t, I’m very sorry, truly. It’s a great lesson for us all that as we get close to retirement, get the vast majority of your money out of the market and into much more conservative investments.

So, what about this nightmare do I think is great?

1. GenX lives! It’s too late for the Baby Boomers, they’re out. The Millennials thought they were on the cusp of taking over, well sorry, kids, Daddy isn’t leaving just yet! Thanks to the market fall, Gen X is here to stay for another decade and the Millennials looking to take over as leaders are just going to have to sit back and relax.

2. Retirement is Boring! I know you wanted to retire. It seems so great sitting around Florida watching your friends get older, sicker, and eventually die. Look, you get one run around this rock, why just stop, let’s keep this thing going! There isn’t one part of me that is looking forward to retirement. What am I going to do, sit home and watch crappy CBS cop shows? Nope, apparently, I’ll be getting a second job to help pay for the food bill with all my Gen Z kids at home that can’t find jobs.

3. Being Poor is a Great Diet Plan. Do you know no one has ever written a diet book about not having money and how it reduces your caloric intake? It seems like someone would have ‘scientifically’ picked up on that. Ugh, I lost most of my retirement in the stock market, now I have to stop going out for the nice 3,000 calorie dinners at the Applebee’s! America is way fat! LIKE WAAAAYYY FAT! We all need a diet. To feel a bit hungry again. We’ll all be tougher for it!

4. I’m buying great companies at a super discount! I’m a conservative gambler. I only like winning! Do you know how you win? Buy great, profitable companies, at 50% off and double your money in a shorter period of time! Now is not the time to be gun shy. This will be one of the top 2 or 3 buying opportunities in the history of the market!

I know, there is a portion of folks who will read this and think, “Tim’s an asshole!” How can he say this!?! He has no empathy! (Editor’s Note: Tim is an asshole.)

We all choose to react to tragedy in different ways. This sucks. This sucks for me and my family. This sucks for my business. This sucks for you. We can all agree on that. I also need to move on. To move forward. We did that after the great recession and we were stronger for it. We’ll do that again.

Also, Gen X Lives!

Should We Pay Sick Employees Who Have #COVID-19 #Coronavirus?

Yes. Would be the easy answer. The popular answer.

Let me share a little story and then we can really answer this question.

Local hotel in your city down by the local convention center. A national chain, but locally owned and operated. The husband and wife both work full time at this hotel. Every conference for the foreseeable future has been canceled at the local convention center. They went from almost full every week to under 25% full. One of their 150 employees just came down with COVID and now many others will as well. This employee wants to be paid for all 14 days, minimally, they have to be out of work.

Because of the 75% loss of business, the owners are seriously going to have to cut expenses to even stay open and escape bankruptcy. They care deeply for their staff. They consider their staff, family. Many have been with them for over twenty years. These are proud people.

United Airlines is going to have its business crushed as well. Turns out, people don’t want to fly on virus chambers during deadly outbreaks. Plus business travel is being curtailed at almost every organization. A big giant publicly-traded company that probably made billions last year in profit, when times were flying high and the economy was awesome. They could also have an employee come down with COVID-19.

Do you think both employers should pay sick leave for as many employees who need it, for as long as you need it? Just the local hotel? Just United Airlines?

Why?

Business Insider ran an article about how “brilliant” Trader Joe’s is for coming out and saying they’ll pay their employees to stay home until the virus symptoms are gone, flu, COVID, etc. It seems like the ‘right’ thing to do. You have sick employees and you want to protect them and your customers, and your brand, so pay them to stay home.

It’s an easy decision when you make 76% margin on 6 oz. of Organic Wasabi SeaFoam for $12.99. It seems ‘right’ (Editor’s Note: Tim has no idea if Trader Joe’s sells Organic Seafoam or their margins). Rich people buy overpriced, and quite tasty, products, great business model, well run, we’ve got the money, it’s the ‘right’ thing to do.

It’s not the “right” or “brilliant” thing to do for everyone. One organization decides to make that same decision and the entire company goes under. Or they can’t ever recover to the level they did and now they’re being sold to private equity who’s going to chop them up and sell the pieces. Brilliant business decisions are brilliant in very specific ways.

We all have stakeholders that these decisions will impact. Employees. Customers. Shareholders (F! The Shareholders, Tim!). Etc.

The reality is my grandmother and her pension might be one of the shareholders who are super concerned about being able to retire. Joe Plumber might have is retirement in his 401K that has a concern about these decisions. These decisions aren’t linear.

It’s easy to say pay all sick employees for as long as they need. Any moron can say that’s a “brilliant” business decision because it’s always going to be a popular business decision. The brilliant business decision, and maybe the most difficult one a leader will ever have to make, might be to not pay sick employees for their entire time they need to be off.

Each organization is going to have to make these decisions for all involved. It’s multi-dimensional and it’s complex. Before judging someone as being brilliant and an idiot, you would first have to understand each individual situation.

All that being said, we need to find ways to help our employees and their families out during times of crisis. That’s what the best organizations do. It’s not always just more money, more time off, it can be a thousand different things. The key is to have the conversations and be out in front with communications early, so employees aren’t having the additional stress of not knowing.

3 Immediate #Coronavirus Rules for Every Workplace!

I’m not an alarmist, but this Coronavirus thing is getting serious!

While this isn’t a big deal in the U.S. I respect the fact that the CDC and WHO are telling us all we need to get prepared. That Covid-19 is going to have an impact on our daily lives. In HR, we tend to be the ones who are responsible for the preparation of stuff like this in our organizations.

So, what should you be doing at your company to ensure your employees are safe and you stay Covid-19 free!?! (Editor’s Note: Tim is not a doctor or a medical professional, his advice might actually kill you. Continue reading at your own risk.) 

#1 – The Fist Bump! 

The what, what!?! Shaking hands in the U.S. is still a thing. You know I like hugging, but holy crap, a really good hug could kill a person nowadays! That being said, I’ll still be hugging, even if it kills me. I’ll die happy. There’s actually research, from the American Journal of Infection Control, showing that a better greeting to limit virus exposure is a Fist Bump! By the way, a wet handshake or sloppy cheek kiss is definitely going to give you the virus!

That’s right, just a quick fist bump if you must have physical contact with the person you are coming into contact with. Also, stop wearing the masks, there are also studies that have shown those don’t actually work at all and you just creep everyone out!

#2 – If you are sick, don’t be a hero! 

Cue Enrique Iglesias Hero song…Tim whispering “Let me be your hero…” Was there anyone sexier when that song came out and he’s in that stocking cap!? And that accent! Stop it. I’m straight and I’m fairly sure I thew my boxers on stage.

Look if you’re sick, DO NOT come to work. But my boss thinks I’m faking!?! Look, if your boss thinks that, you’ve probably given them a reason and you should be worried. Still don’t come to work and kill our entire company, you moron!

#3 – Cancel your travel to the hot zones! 

No, that’s not the Cayman Islands! Yes, it’s quite temperate there, but we’re talking about traveling to places where they have known outbreaks. Next week isn’t the time to “get back into” China! “Hey Billy, buy a ticket! We’re heading to Wuhan!” Traveling on an airplane is one step away from patient-zero on your best days. I’m fairly certain I’ve had patient-zero sitting behind on three flights already this year!

If you do have to fly to the non-hot zone, be smart. Dudes! Yes, I’m talking specifically to you. I see you in the airport bathrooms taking a leak and then walking out without washing your hands! That is beyond gross! It could kill you! Two words – Antibacterial Gel! Use it. Wear it. Gargle with it! (Editor’s note: Do not gargle antibacterial gel, Tim is an idiot!). 

I’m going on record right now that this entire Covid-19 thing got started by dumb dudes who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom.

So, what have we learned today?

– Fisting good.

– Enrique sexy.

– Dudes are gross.

Stay safe out there my friends and get prepared! This is not a warning! 

 

The Top 5 Gifts to Get that Special Someone at the Office for Valentine’s Day!

Let’s get creepy today!

Remember back when you were in elementary school and your mom or dad would take you to the store and you would pick out your box of Valentine’s to give out at school? You had to make one of those little ‘mailboxes’ out of shoebox so everyone in your class could drop off one, and then you would go home after school and analyze each one like the Zapruder film!

Did Amber make me her ‘special’ Valentine or did she use a generic message card on me!?! Why did Jill put a ‘heart’ on top of her “i” to me? Why did Billy give me the card with kittens? Oh, the humanity of trying to figure out who loved you through the meaning of store-bought valentine cards!

Talk about stress! I’m not sure a kid goes through something more stressful than getting down to those last two or three cards and having to decide which crappy card you have left to give to the school bully so you don’t get beat up!

Thankfully, we are now all adults! Now we just have some weird or creepy person at work who believes they are in love with us and also believing that Valentine’s Day is the day they should profess this love! I’m going to make it easy for you, weird, creepy peeps! I’ve been there. I’ve been in love and struggled for the right gift! No worries, I got your back:

1. Their favorite work-appropriate drink. That special someone likes Starbucks double-shot, low-fat caramel mocha whatever, get them one! If you don’t know their drink order, you aren’t even trying to be a proper crush! This says, hey, I like you, but I’m not a completely insane stalker. Drop it off and be casual, and just say, “I got you your drink, wanted you to have a good start to your valentine’s day”, then walk away, don’t make it awkward!

2. Something sweet. Candy, cookie, cupcake. It’s traditional. It’s thoughtful. It doesn’t have to be consumed immediately. You can drop it off when they are at their work station or when they aren’t with a little note. Don’t be weird and make some creepy note (“I got you something sweet because I bet you taste sweet!” Vomit!)

3. Flowers from Anonymous. If you really want to win the day. Send that special someone flowers, but make it anonymous, and keep it anonymous! The great thing about the anonymous flowers is that person will talk about it all day, if not longer. The downfall is they might assume they came from the person they are really attracted to and that person might not be you! This doesn’t work if you’re already “kind of talking” to this person.

4. Jewelry! Kidding, don’t ever give jewelry to a co-worker that you are not romantically involved with! This is super creepy! Plus, it’s poor taste to do that level of gift at work. Only give jewelry to that special someone when you’re alone. Those idiots who propose to their special someone in a public place should be shot.

5. An invitation. You don’t know until you know…The reality is we all want to be wanted, but they might not want you, or they might. An email that says, Happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to take you out for a drink or dinner or a coffee. Let me know. Big risk, big payoff or big rejection. But, it allows the person in their own space to make a decision. If you don’t push the issue, you can survive this in the workplace. Pro tip: if you get rejected on this attempt, never do it again with this person and never mention it, ever, to anyone. Lock it away! The most creepy people in the world will turn this into a public thing at the office. Don’t do that!

So, you’ve got your one-week warning! Next Friday is Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day on a Friday is like the holy grail of Valentine’s Day. Crazy stuff happens because you have the weekend to fall in love or recover from your heartbreak! Are you ready!?!

Why Do You Go To Work So Early?

Cooper: You know Dad you don’t have to go to work so early.

Me: Yes I do, someone has to pay the bills, put food on the table, keep the lights on.

Cooper: Yeah, I guess you’re right.

Me: (internal voice) – he’s probably right.

This was a conversation my youngest son and I had a few years ago. We are both early risers, so he and I have spent many mornings up before the rest of the family.

I like getting to the office early for a couple of reasons. It’s usually quiet, not a lot of distractions, so you can get a lot done, and, personally, I just perform better in the morning. I’m more productive early.

The reality is there are a few that I work with that are like that, but I find a bigger majority is probably not as early risers as I might be if given the choice. Therein lies the real issue, “given the choice”. If you were given the choice to start work at let’s say 7 am or so, or start work at 9 am or so, which do you choose?

I’ve always thought it was silly that high schools start classes, for teens, at 7 – 7:30 am. Teens have growing bodies and developing brains, why not let them sleep in and start school at 9:30 am or so? It truly makes zero sense, if we are actually trying to what’s best for children….but I digress…

What about the modern workplace? What time should work start?

I think for the most part, in environments that can manage this, we should allow workers the flexibility to start when they feel they’ll be most productive. If you’re an early riser, great, get in here and kill it. If you like to stay up late watching Netflix and roll out of bed at 9 am, awesome, get in here and do your thing.

It seems easy enough! So, why doesn’t this happen as much as it should?

The early risers don’t think the late risers really put in the hours they should. I come in at 7 am and I leave at 5 pm, I put in 9 hours. You come in at 9 am and you leave at 6 pm, you only put in 8 hours. It’s not fair! Honestly, this is really the main argument and why so many organizations still force employees to arrive at basically the same time!

It’s back to good old fashion clock watching!

The reality is, in a modern workplace, we should care less about hours and more about what actually gets done. If it takes you nine hours to get done what it takes me seven hours to get done, that’s a ‘you’ problem, not a ‘me’ problem. To make this happen, though, we have to have great measures of performance and hold people accountable to those measures.

Ugh, that’s difficult, let’s just stick to making everyone work the same amount of hours at the same time, that’s so much easier…

 

A 30-Minute Commute is All Most People Are Willing to Take!

We all kind of know this fact. Once you get more than 30 minutes away from your job, no matter how you actually come into work, it starts to feel like a chore. You begin to hate the commute. Doesn’t matter if you drive, take a train, walk, etc. 30 minutes, one-way, is our max!

It’s called Marchetti’s Constant: 

Marchetti’s constant is the average time spent by a person for commuting each day, which is approximately one hour. It is named after Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, though Marchetti himself attributed the “one hour” finding to transportation analyst and engineer Yacov Zahavi.[1] Marchetti posits that although forms of urban planning and transport may change, and although some live in villages and others in cities, people gradually adjust their lives to their conditions (including the location of their homes relative to their workplace) such that the average travel time stays approximately constant.

I can’t tell you how many times, as a Recruiter, I was talked into believing this wasn’t true by a candidate that then screwed me by ghosting on an interview after driving to the location and seeing it was too long, declining an offer late, started the job but then quickly left because the commute was too long, or we had to over-compensate to make up for the time the person spent on the commute.

Probably one out of one hundred people can actually take a longer commute and live with it. 99% of people will eventually crack if the commute is over thirty minutes. So, what does this mean for us trying to attract talent to our organizations? There are certain locations in the U.S. that are much easier to have a thirty-minute commute than others:

On average, large metro areas with the shortage commute time:

  1. Grand Rapids, MI
  2. Rochester, NY
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Oklahoma City, OK
  5. Salt Lake City, UT
  6. Kansas City, MO
  7. Milwaukee, WI
  8. Louisville, KY
  9. Hartford, CT
  10. Memphis, TN

All of these metro areas have the majority of their citizens with a commute time under 30 minutes.

Who have the worst commute times? Think about the largest metro areas, even when you take into account their transit options: New York, San Francisco, D.C., Philly, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, etc.

So, it’s thirty minutes one-way or one hour per day, or five hours per week that the average person is willing to commute. I wonder if this plays itself out when you begin to factor in work from home options?

Let’s say you ask someone to commute one hour each way, two hours per day, but you let them work from home two days per week. Total commute time is still more at six hours per week, but would that make a difference enough to retrain and attract more talent to your organization? I have a feeling it would. It’s worth a test for those who have longer commutes at your work location.

Also, I have seen this done by any company, but I would love to see turnover data by commute time! I have seen data on hourly worker turnover and it’s amazing to see the differences by miles from a worksite in a radiant pattern. Every mile you get farther from the work site, the turnover increases exponentially until you get to about five miles where it skyrockets. So, we know if you hire hourly, low-skilled workers, your best bet for retention is less than five miles from your location (this also is about a 15-minute commute – car, public, walking, bike, etc.).

So often we want to focus on the stuff we control, versus stuff the candidate or employee can control, but we think it’s ‘their’ decision. The problem is, we allow people to make bad decisions and don’t think it will affect us, but it does in high turnover. All things being equal, or close to equal with candidates, take the one with the shorter total commute!