What’s Your Property Worth?

What’s Your Property Worth?
How do you establish this value for insurance purposes? Gut feelings aren’t the answer.

Following are three terms that are often used interchangeably – and incorrectly so. Understanding these different terms may help establish your property’s value and identify the insurance coverage that’s best for you.

  • Market value is the estimated dollar amount your property would sell for today, including the land it’s on. This value is affected by location, condition, and the commercial real estate market, and is the value used when selling a property.
  • Replacement cost is the dollar amount it would take to replace or repair your building with the same materials used currently; it includes the cost of hiring contractors, but not the value of the land. Typically, replacement cost is lower than market value.
  • Actual cash value is the cost to replace or repair your property, less depreciation. This will likely be the lowest value of the three.

Your insurance agent can help you determine the true value of your property.

The Changing Face of Biz Collaboration Solutions

Long ago, people went to a place called “work.” But then technology came along and changed the workplace forever. Individuals could work in different locations and communicate as if they were in the same room. What’s more, this technology saved money, streamlined service, and advanced communications. It was called desktop virtualization. Which, as Technopedia notes, “… provides a way for users to maintain their individual desktops on a single, central server … through a LAN, WAN or over the Internet.”

Then, according to a 2014 article in ZDNet, desktop visualization went cold, frozen out by mobile devices: “What appears to be happening instead is individuals have chosen a different approach. They’ve asked their companies to encapsulate workloads and offer them as IOS or Android apps or make those applications accessible through internal Web sites.”

A lot can happen in three years. Now products such as Slack and Yammer are providing popular business collaboration options via social networks. So it only makes sense for the social network phenomenon Facebook to provide its interpretation. And Facebook’s Workplace, says Jack Madden of brianmadden.com, just may be a “game changer.”

Why? Says Madden: “Everybody already knows how to use it. …” And, most important, “Workplace isn’t just for corporate employees in the office, rather it’s for all sorts of extended enterprise users, like field workers, contractors, technicians, and other employees that may not have a desktop or even a corporate email address.”

Will Workplace replace e-mail, messaging, and other collaboration options? Time will tell. But it’s a serious challenger. As Madden says, don’t discount it.

Are Bosses and Employees at Odds over Corporate Culture?
Office Gossips

Most business leaders believe they head organizations that value and encourage innovation, resourcefulness, initiative, and teamwork. However, their employees see it differently, believing that conformity, predictability, and deference to authority are traits that are rewarded.

Why the disconnect? Are senior execs that out of touch with their rank-and-file workers?

A recent study by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, of the corporate trainer VitalSmarts, found there is often a significant chasm between how managers and workers perceive their company’s culture.

Grenny and Maxfield’s survey of more than twelve hundred employees, managers, and executives revealed that employees tend to view their company culture far more negatively than do their bosses – the higher up in the organization, the more positive the view of the corporate culture.

Not surprisingly, this gap in perception has an impact on performance, execution, talent retention, and general morale. According to the VitalSmarts researchers, when employees have a negative view of their company’s culture, they are less likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to the organization. And that affects everything: When employees believed the culture promoted values such as predictability, “(t)hey were 26% less likely to rate their organization as successful at innovating and executing.”

The way to deal with company culture issues is with honest, open dialogue, Grenny and Maxfield advise. They urge leaders to adopt internal communication strategies and hold frank discussions about company culture. Among the tactics they recommend:

  • Clearly articulate the desired company culture and be open about the business case underpinning it.
  • Focus on vital behaviors that will make a measurable difference in performance.
  • Engage with employees at all levels and listen actively to their feedback.
  • Take action to address concerns and respond to issues quickly.

Technology Can Cut Workers Comp Claims
How much do you spend on workers compensation?

Between insurance premiums and claim payouts, this figure could be significant. But by improving safety measures in your business, you can significantly impact this cost.

To keep these expenditures down, many business owners are turning to technology.

Today’s tech often gets a bad rap (“Employees are on their smartphones instead of working.” “Robots are stealing jobs.”) But technology can also prove useful in making work environments safer and reducing costs. Following are a few tools that business owners can implement in their company operations to cut risk. The results should be lower insurance costs and safer employees.

Instant access – Upload manuals, instructions, and safety reports to your company website, and allow employees to access this information easily on tablets and phones while on the job. They can quickly reference the appropriate procedures for potentially dangerous situations. In case of an accident, they can easily and instantaneously complete required reporting.

Apps – Most employees now carry smartphones, and many apps are available to boost on-the-job safety. With the addition of a few apps, a smartphone can also be a flashlight, a level, or another tool. Does your business have a unique need? Work with an applications developer on the perfect app for your employees to make their jobs easier and safer.

Cameras and video – Surveillance cameras can help protect against break-ins and theft, but portable cameras and videos can do so much more. They can record safety walk-throughs for future reference and review, take pictures of hazards to report them, and photograph accident sites for accurate, instant reporting.

Drones – In addition to handheld or hard-hat-mounted devices, drones are great tools for photographing or recording a worksite for safety evaluation. Reviewing these images allows analysis of risk factors that could pose safety concerns or cause errors.

Personal sensors – Like boots, hard hats, safety harnesses, and vests, sensors can be used as personal safety equipment. These can let employees know if they have been standing too long or their heart rate is too high.

Site sensors – Sensors can be set up in at-risk areas of worksites to detect specific safety concerns: they can alert employees if they are in an area where it’s too hot to safely work, or alert them to potential hazards ahead that may cause slips or falls.

Self-driving vehicles – Unmanned trucks and cars are still a fairly new idea, but are quickly gaining acceptance. Construction crews in particular are interested in applying this new technology. Drivers of roadwork vehicles are often in danger of being struck by passing traffic. Removing drivers from these trucks would eliminate this safety hazard.

What technology could benefit your business? A quick review of your recent incidents may reveal where you need to beef up safety protocols. Once these at-risk areas are determined, consider what technology could improve employee safety in those situations. Spending a bit on technology could save you a bundle on your workers compensation claims.