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Formerly the Newton-Needham Chamber

Forget Casual Fridays, here's what employees really want

Looking for ways to attract and retain your workers?
Casual Fridays? Not so much.
A company-wide vaccine mandate? Turns out, that's quite popular.
Contrary to fears that vax mandates might lead to mass resignations, 78% of respondents in a new BBJ/Seven Letter poll say they would prefer to work at a company the requires vaccines.
Of those, 65% said a vaccine mandate would make them feel “much more safe” at work.
Nearly half said they’d be “much less likely” to collaborate in person if they knew that person wasn’t vaccinated.
And poll respondents were two-and-a-half times more likely to want their company to have a vaccine mandate than Casual Fridays.
And speaking of finding employees
Our thanks to Harvard Business School Professor Joe Fuller for a really thoughtful and insightful presentation yesterday on his Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent study.
If you're an employer searching for workers (and that's just about every employer) I urge you to watch the video.
What you need to know about Biden's new vax-or-test rules
That BBJ poll arrived on the same day the Biden administration's long-awaited vax-or-test rules for large businesses were released.
Here’s what you need to know:

  • Businesses with 100 or more employees must require COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all on-site workers by Jan. 4.
  • Remote workers are exempt.
  • Starting Dec. 5, all unvaccinated employees must wear masks in the workplace.
  • Workers who opt for testing instead of a mandate can be asked to cover the cost of testing or masks (unless required by collective bargaining or state or local laws).
  • The deadline for health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to get fully vaccinated is delayed to Jan. 4. There is no testing option for health care workers. 
  • Employers that don’t comply with the rule can be fined starting at $13,653 for a single violation up to $136,532 for "willful violations."
  • Legal challenges are expected although the Biden administration believes it is on strong legal ground, according to the Hill.
Need more?  
Baker not worried about testing kit supply
Ninety-two percent of Massachusetts adults have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine so, really, the new federal rules shouldn't be hard for most Bay State employers to adopt.
And Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday that he’s not worried about there being enough "cheap and accurate rapid tests” to support any increase testing demand.
“They’re everywhere in Europe and they cost a buck,” Baker said yesterday.  “I'm looking forward to having a much bigger collection of choices and options for people associated with those test kits shortly.”
Another sign the employers are already on board
Biden’s new rules are rolling out just as number of high-paying job postings requiring vaccines doubled from September to October, according to The Ladders Vaccines in the Workplace Report.
Small business contest from Workbar
Workbar just announced its first ever Small Business Grant contest.
Inspired by the resilience of small businesses -- and in an effort to support the hardest-hit members of our business community -- they’ll be awarding one local minority-owned company $5K plus a free yearlong coworking membership at Workbar.
I'm honored to have been asked to be one of the judges and am looking forward to hearing your story. Deadline Dec. 3.

Post election fallout in Newton
divisive Newton election season is over. But the fallout has just started.
New hard feelings have emerged over an anonymous 11th hour negative campaign consisting of emails and flyers that sought to portray Ward 3 City Council candidate Jim Cote as a Trump Republican. (Cote is a former Republican. I distinctly recall him being a Marco Rubio supporter in the 2016 election but he had a Joe Kennedy sign on his lawn during the last U.S. Senate primary.)
Anyway, a video camera caught what appears to be City Councilor Emily Norton (a supporter of Cote’s opponent) delivering those flyers in the dark to Ward 3 homes.
That’s led to allegations of dirty tricks and perhaps campaign finance violations, since the flyers don’t disclose who paid for them, as required by law.
Norton has yet to comment. But her husband didn’t deny it was her when NBC10 knocked on their door. Village 14 has an excellent summary here.
Sources say the incident has been referred to the Middlesex DA, who in turn referred it to the Attorney General and Secretary of State.
What, if anything, happens next is just speculation.
But here's what I do know: Newton already had a divided City Council that had begun emulating Congress' worst behavior. This incident drives a deeper wedge of distrust in our council at a time when we face real challenges and opportunities to move our community forward.

Needham’s still a two-governor town
In other election news, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy appears to have been re-elected in a nail biter election Tuesday.
That means we still have two U.S. governors who are members of the Needham High Class of 1975.
The other, of course, is Charlie Baker, who has yet to announce if he will seek a third term next year.
Murphy’s a Democrat. Baker’s a Republican. But they’re both Rockets, which is all that matters here.

Finally, we end the week with some really good news
On Monday we announced that serial entrepreneur and inventor Dr. Robert Langer will be the featured speaker at our chamber’s Nov. 17 virtual Annual Business Breakfast.
We also announced that all registration fees will benefit the chamber’s “Nourishing” program. That's the initiative we launched last winter (with help from Sen. Cindy Creem) that helps keep our local restaurants in business and feeds families facing food insecurity.
And that’s when our friends at Tripadvisor stepped up big.
They’ve just donated $20,000 to extend this program!
"Supporting individuals and families who need it most in our hometown headquarters of Needham, including those who are experiencing food insecurity, is the duty of every corporate citizen in our area,” said Tali Golan, Tripadvisor’s Director of Social Impact.
“It is our privilege to partner with the Charlies River Chamber to purchase meals prepared by the very same local restaurants who have faced incredible challenges during this pandemic, and who continue to serve our employees in the area.”
If your company is able to follow Tripadvisor’s lead (any amount helps) so we can purchase and deliver more local restaurant meals this winter in Newton, Needham, Wellesley and Watertown, please email or call me 617-244-1688.
Of course you'll also be helping when you register to attend our big event on Nov. 17. 

That’s today’s need to knows unless you need to know where you can adopt a 
pig that has overcome its mental health problems.
Enjoy your weekend and an extra hour of sleep.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
Charles River Regional Chamber

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