4 Ideas for Holiday Season at Work

With Thanksgiving Day behind us, we are well into Hanukkah and Christmas seasons and a stone’s throw from New Year’s Day. That is, if we can survive the temptations and stress all around us during this challenging time of year.

Somewhere among the office parties and gift exchanges, beyond the end of the year workload and gift list we still haven’t completed, there is a sense of joy — if we can only stand still long enough to sense it.

moose dollRather than stress out, we can choose to focus on ways to make the holidays around the office healthier and more peaceful.

Have that potluck party, but suggest low-calorie, low-sugar options like fruits and nuts, veggie sticks, festive salads and sugar-free gelatin desserts. With a little less soda and more sparkling water, everyone will still have fun “goofing off” for a long lunch hour and will be more inclined to get back to work after the last cheese cube and olive is gone.

If you have a gift exchange, insist that everyone spend very little and keep it light with fun gifts, gag gifts, or homemade gifts…any type of gift that prevents stress from it’s giving or receiving.

Help employees and coworkers manage their stress. Employees, help your co-workers. Avoid alcohol in the office, or drink in moderation if you choose, and encourage everyone to manage their tasks so that they don’t need to work overtime. Encourage exercise by organizing walking groups during lunch hour.

As the business winds down for the year, encourage everyone to acknowledge the extra efforts put forth. Business owners, managers, and every single worker can’t say “thank you” to someone too often, especially at this time of the year.

Straw Issue

The Cincinnati Business Courier recently released an article Newport Aquarium Enlists Businesses’ Help to Stamp Out Plastic Straws. The article explains why our own Newport Aquarium joined 22 other aquariums throughout the U.S. to reduce causes of plastic pollution and want businesses (and individuals) to help by cutting back on straw usage. According to get-green-now.com it takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose, and they can’t be recycled in most places.

turtle strawIf the numbers are right, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic. Interestingly, straws come in 11th on the list of plastic founds in dead sea animals and birds.

Straws won’t go away overnight, but we need to start somewhere to reduce straw trash in waterways. Request your drink without a straw and use reusable straws. For example, Amazon offers a pack of reusable straws made from stainless steel that comes with a special cleaning brush Click to view.

We can do our part so that the fish, turtles, and other sea life in our oceans and rivers will have a chance to life a long life, free to feed on grasses and other natural food sources so they can survive and thrive without the threat of consuming plastic.

More info

The River City News »
Cincinnati.com »
Newport Aquarium »

Top Senior Scams

There are three areas where older Americans are most susceptible to scams:

  1. The Internal Revenue Service
  2. Medicare
  3. Charitable Giving

1. The IRS

The IRS is huge, mysterious, intimidating and powerful—and all these things make IRS scams the #1 senior scam year after year.

Email Phishing

Like it’s name implies, these scam artists are “fishing” for information. A phishing scheme happens when a senior receives a phony email claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service announcing a tax refund is due to them. If a senior provides the bad guys with their personal and financial information, their identity is stolen and used to open bogus credit cards and other financial transactions in their name.

Know what to do if you believe you’ve fallen prey to an IRS phishing scheme as recommended by U.S. News.

2. Medicare

medicare cardEveryone on Medicare will receive new cards this spring. For protection, they will no longer have your Social Security number on the front of the card—it’s being replaced with a random number/letter sequence—in an attempt to reduce scams and fraud.

So what happened? Scammers posing as Medicare “agent” or health care providers started calling senior to tell them they needed to “purchase” a replacement card. Know that the new Medicare cards are free and being sent via postal mail to your address.

If you’ve received a phone call from a Medicare scammer, call 1-800-HHT-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

3. Charitable Giving

We are a generous country. Americans love to give and support the causes they love. Scammers know this, make charity scams #3 on the top 3 list. This scam is a phone call from someone asking for a donation, usually shortly after a natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, or fires. If the person says you must “wire the donation,” put it on a gift card, or load it on a cash reload card, it’s a scam.

If you received a solicitation after a disaster asking for money delivered by any of the above methods, hang up the phone, toss that postcard, delete the email, or shut the door…then report it to the FTC online.