Part of building a successful company is creating a peaceful, collaborative, and supportive work environment for your team. But no matter how great your work environment (or your team members), at some point, conflict in the workplace is inevitable.

You can’t avoid workplace conflict entirely. But it’s how you handle that conflict—both as a leader and as an organization—that matters. With the right conflict management strategies, you can leverage conflict as a springboard for positive change and an opportunity to better understand your employees. But without those strategies, workplace conflict can quickly get out of hand, creating a toxic work environment—and causing some of your top talent to walk out the door.

So how, exactly, do you deal with conflict in the workplace? What conflict management strategies can you use to not only work through the conflict, but inspire a deeper sense of understanding and empathy within your team? And how can you resolve conflict in a way that supports employee retention—and keeps top talent happy and committed to your organization?

Why conflict management matters

First things first—before we jump into effective conflict management, let’s quickly cover why managing workplace conflict is so important in the first place.

According to the 2008 report Workplace Conflict And How Businesses Can Harness It To Thrive from CPP Inc. (the publisher of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment), the average employee in the US spends 2.8 hours each week dealing with conflict, translating to a whopping $359 billion in paid hours at the time of the study—and today, that number is even higher.

Conflict can also cause other consequences for your business, including absenteeism (25 percent of employees surveyed in the CPP study reported that they stayed home from work in order to avoid conflict) and employee retention issues (18 percent of employees said they witnessed people leaving their organization as a result of workplace conflict, while another 16 percent said conflict led to colleagues being fired).

And even if conflict doesn’t keep your employees at home (or send them to another organization), it could keep them siloed from the rest of their team; 76 percent of employees have gone out of their way to avoid a colleague because of a disagreement at work.

Clearly, workplace conflict can have a seriously negative impact on your business. But the good news? All of these issues can be solved with the right conflict management strategy—and, in fact, those strategies can actually transform conflict within your organization into a growth opportunity that empowers your team members. 81 percent of employees said that they had seen workplace conflict lead to a positive outcome, like getting a better understanding of their coworkers or finding a more effective solution to a problem.

So, the question is, how can you manage workplace conflict in a way that empowers your team, inspires growth, and keeps top talent at your organization?

Employee Workplace

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Workplace conflict management strategies to resolve conflict and keep the peace at work

Whether you’re a business owner, C-level leadership, or work in human resource management, there are a few different strategies you can use to effectively manage conflict in the workplace, keep your team members happy, and support employee retention, including:

Start by hiring the right people

Effective conflict resolution starts long before the conflict actually happens. In fact, if you want your organization to embrace positive, healthy conflict resolution, it needs to start with the hiring process.

Who you hire will play a huge role in how conflict plays out in your organization. If you hire people who are empathetic, collaborative, and have good communication skills, when conflict inevitably arises, they’re already the kind of people who are likely to navigate conflict in a positive, constructive way. On the other hand, if you hire people with poor communication skills and a self-centered attitude, they’re more likely to be reactive when faced with conflict—and that reactivity can have a negative impact on the rest of your team.

If you want to build a company culture that embraces healthy conflict resolution, it all starts with who you hire. So, as you’re building your team, make sure you’re evaluating each potential team member for things like communication skills, listening skills, and their ability to see things from other people’s point of view—all essential characteristics for effectively resolving conflict.

Deal with things as they happen

As mentioned, some amount of conflict is inevitable in the workplace. But where things can really start to spiral out of control is when minor conflicts aren’t addressed—and all of a sudden, those minor conflicts snowball into major conflicts.

According to the CPP survey, 89 percent of employees have experienced a workplace conflict that escalated. Approximately one in three employees said that a recent workplace conflict took at least a few days to resolve—and 16 percent reported that they’re still dealing with a conflict that’s unresolved, lasted longer than expected, and/or is increasing in intensity.

That’s why it’s so important to manage conflict as it happens. The longer you wait to address conflict—whether that’s between employees or between employees and leadership—the more likely it is that the conflict will escalate, become a much bigger deal, and potentially cause an employee to leave.

So, how do you deal with conflict in real-time? Pay attention. While you can’t monitor every employee around the clock to catch any potential squabbles, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on across your organization—and when you hear about or notice any conflict, big or small, address the problem immediately and work with the people involved to come to a resolution.

Addressing conflict as it happens is good—but addressing underlying conditions that could lead to conflict in the future is even better (54% of employees surveyed believe managers could handle disputes better by addressing underlying tensions before conflict erupts). Again, observe your team and keep an eye out for any issues that could lead to conflict down the road. For example, do you have a more introverted team member who is working on a project with an employee known for being outspoken and hot-headed? If so, you might want to schedule time throughout the day for each person to work independently so your quieter employee doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Or does your current office layout make it hard for your team to contain their phone conversations? Set up a quiet area where people can go to work if the phone chatter is too distracting.

The point is, a lot of workplace conflict can be avoided with a little foresight—and if it can’t, it can at least be addressed in a timely manner before it escalates into something larger and more problematic.

Empower your team with employee conflict resolution training

Effective workplace conflict resolution is a team effort. But if you want your team to be more effective at resolving conflict (which will, in turn, make your entire organization more effective), you need to show them how to be more effective.

But the truth is, not many companies are empowering their team to be more effective at navigating and resolving conflict; according to the CPP survey, only 57 percent of employees surveyed received training on how to manage workplace conflict.

Investing in conflict resolution training for your team is a win-win situation. It empowers your team with the tools and skills they need to better work through issues with their colleagues, helps them to look at conflict as a growth opportunity (instead of a problem), and makes for an overall more respectful and collaborative company culture—which can help you retain top talent.

Research the different training options available, see which is the best fit for your team, and then make a plan to roll out the training to your entire organization. The more you empower your team with conflict resolution tools and strategies, the better they’ll be able to manage conflict—and the less likely it will be that conflict leads to serious issues (like absenteeism or employee departures).

Mediate the conflict

No matter how effective your team is in resolving conflict, there are going to be instances when leadership or HR needs to step in and act as a mediator—and when you’re faced with that situation, it’s important that you mediate in a way that resolves the conflict for everyone involved.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when mediating a conflict between team members:

  • Hear all sides of the story. Everyone deserves an opportunity to be heard—so when you’re meditating a conflict between team members, make sure everyone has the opportunity to share their side of the story.
  • Encourage employees’ to see the other’s point of view. It’s much easier to resolve a conflict when you can see the conflict from the other person’s perspective. If you can, encourage your employees to empathize and try to see the conflict from the other person’s point of view.
  • Redirect personal attacks. Personal attacks are never constructive. If you notice an employee personally attacking another team member’s character, redirect the conversation back to the problem—and away from the person involved with the problem.
  • Define where the problem came from—and how to resolve it in the future. The goal of workplace conflict resolution is (obviously) to resolve the conflict. But it’s also to prevent the same conflict from popping up in the future. Work with your employees to figure out the root cause of the issue and how you can work together to prevent a similar conflict from happening in the future.
  • Ask how you can support them. Conflict is hard for a lot of people—and dealing with workplace conflict can make your employees feel stressed and overwhelmed. Make sure to let your team know you’re there to support them in resolving the conflict—and then ask them what they need in order to feel supported.

Be the example

Employees look to leadership for cues on how to act in the workplace—and that includes how to resolve conflict.

As a leader, it’s your job to model how you want your team to navigate workplace conflict resolution—so make sure when you’re faced with conflict, you’re being the example and resolving that conflict in a way that you’d want your employees to replicate.

Keep the peace at work—and keep your employees in the process

Fostering effective conflict resolution is a must for keeping the peace at work—and keeping the peace at work is a must for keeping top talent at your organization. And now that you know exactly how to deal with employee turnover by handling conflict, you have the tools you need to create peace and harmony within your team—and improve employee retention in the process.

This article by Deanna deBara was originally published at

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay


Want to grow your construction business? There’s an app for that. Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to update blueprints, create and sign contracts, and care for your construction workers from your smartphone. To help take your company to the next level, check out these top construction apps.  ‍

Whether you’re building your business from the ground up or fine-tuning your workflow, one thing’s for sure: You’re just a few taps and swipes away from making your mark in the construction industry.

SmartBid Construction Bidding Software

Ready to build your company’s portfolio and work on some impressive projects? Well, a lot needs to happen before your team steps foot on a construction site. As one of the top bidding apps for general contractors, SmartBid helps streamline the entire preconstruction process. This app offers a secure platform to track your bid status with subcontractors and other companies. Not only does SmartBid help you get the job, but it also keeps your project organized from the very start.

COnstruction Business Software

Download SmartBid on the App Store and Google Play.


As the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day—and neither was your latest construction project. PlanGrid uses Autodesk BIM (or building information modeling) to monitor your project as it changes. From punch lists, to blueprints, to progress photos,  this app is designed to keep your team in sync throughout the entire construction process.

Plangrid Construction Project

Download PlanGrid on the App Store and Google Play.


There’s more to running a successful construction company than updating floor plans and calculating roof pitches; it’s important to track and compensate your employees for the time they spend working. Fortunately, Hourly is here to help make time tracking and administering payroll easy. The app uses GPS and geofencing to ensure your employees are at the correct construction site—and only lets them clock in once they’ve arrived. Keep your contractors on schedule by creating custom rules such as enforcing an eight-hour workday, granting a 30-minute lunch break, and setting a mandatory start time. Have a few team members who are burning the midnight oil? Hourly will automatically calculate overtime pay based on your company’s local labor laws, and add it to your employees’ timesheets.

Construction Time Tracking

Download Hourly on the App Store and Google Play.


From driving to the job site each day to schlepping around construction materials, general contractors are always on the go. Since they’re often on the road, construction businesses wind up spending a lot of money on gas. That’s exactly why every contracting company should download GasBuddy. This platform uses a smartphone’s location services to find the closest and most affordable gas station. According to the app, GasBuddy can help you save up to 25 cents per gallon.

Gas Tracking App

Download GasBuddy on the App Store and Google Play.

DEWALT Mobile Pro 

How many slate shingles do you need to build a gable and valley roof? Or how many studs for a 3,200 square-foot home? That’s where DEWALT Mobile Pro comes in. The tool company has created a construction calculator to determine the materials your general contractors will need for their next project. Simply enter your dimensions and DEWALT Mobile Pro will do the math for you.

DeWalt Construction Calculator

Download DEWALT Mobile Pro on the App Store and Google Play.


With so little time and so many construction projects, the very last thing you need to do is to spend a superfluous amount of time sifting through old paperwork. If you want to be as efficient as possible, download GoCanvas. Instead of turning your filing cabinet upside down, GoCanvas will let you store, organize, and share important data and documents from its mobile app.


Download GoCanvas on the App Store and Google Play.


Consider Procore your one-stop construction management app. From sharing accurate BIM data with your team, to receiving real-time productivity updates, to staying in the loop about potential safety hazards, Procore empowers project managers to stay connected with their mobile devices. You can also use this app to keep tabs on RFIs, inspections, daily reports, and more. Unlike many construction apps, which require an Internet connection, Procore lets construction managers access and save their work in offline mode. In other words, this app is a great match for managers who either travel often or work on a job site with a poor signal.


Download Procore on the App Store and Google Play. 


Red Cross First Aid

Accidents are bound to happen, regardless of your construction team’s skillset. Unfortunately, falls and fatalities are more common in smaller businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of the deaths that occur on construction sites are from companies with ten or fewer employees. While downloading Red Cross’ First Aid app won’t guarantee your project will be accident-proof, it will help construction professionals know what to do if an emergency strikes.

Red Cross First Aid

Download Red Cross First Aid on the App Store and Google Play. 


Thanks to DroneDeploy, your project team can get a lay of the land before arriving at the construction site. Compatible with both iPhones and Androids, this app uses drones to survey a job site on your behalf. Once the drone collects and interprets the data, the app sends over real-time drone maps and 3D models. Since launching in 2013, DroneDeploy has served 5,000 companies nationwide and surveyed 100 million acres of land. Not only can DroneDeploy save time and money, but it can also help you streamline your construction project.


Download DroneDeploy on the App Store and Google Play.

Forms by LegalShield 

Want to add a new client to your growing roster? It’s important to agree on all the fine print before you step foot on the job site. That’s where Forms by LegalShield—formerly Shake—comes in. Once you and your client have set the terms for the project, simply enter a few basic facts into one of the app’s legal templates. From there, Forms by LegalShield will whip up a contract (complete with legal jargon, of course) for both parties to sign. While the app does offer legal counsel for an additional fee, you can skip the trip to a fancy law office and make a deal from your iPad.

Forms by LegalShield

Download Forms by LegalShield on the App Store and Google Play. 

This article by Kelsey Mulvey was originally published at


At first glance, tracking employee time seems pretty straightforward. Your employees simply denote the hours they were at work on a timesheet, or punch a time clock and turn their time cards in at the end of the week or month. What could go wrong? ‍

As it turns out, a lot. The ability to accurately track employee hours is one of the most important tasks a business undertakes. Timesheets and time cards provide invaluable data to your business regarding how efficiently you use employee time, your labor costs, and areas for productivity improvement. ‍

For big and small businesses alike, finding ways to make your time tracking both easier for employees and managers is essential to improving margins, accurately bidding projects, and ultimately running a more successful company.

Time tracking trouble? 

Employers have long relied on manual timecards to track employee work hours. Employees either clock in and clock out or they’re responsible for recording and reporting how many hours they worked and when. The manual aspect makes the process vulnerable to errors, miscalculations, and estimates. ‍

In one 2018 survey, 44% of business owners reported that they regularly struggle with timesheet errors. An astounding 92% of the respondents reported that the errors were typically caused by the user. The biggest problem? Employees forgetting to record their time. That was followed by employees recording their time incorrectly or to the wrong job. ‍

Fortunately, you can implement the following time tracking best practices to simplify your timekeeping and improve the accuracy of your labor costs.

Educate employees about time tracking 

Make sure that your employees understand the importance of time tracking, as well as how your time tracking systems work and what’s expected of them. With each new employee, walk them through your time tracking tool, as well as the guidelines for how to track time. For instance, let employees know if they need to check-in to a mobile app daily (versus entering data later).‍

Provide them with information about how long their breaks should be, what type of personal business is permitted on the job, and how they can correct entries if they made an error. Educating your employees will not only reduce errors and misinformation but can also prevent employee time theft.

Automate your system 

The next step to better employee time tracking is to get rid of manual timesheets and clocking in with paper time cards. Automating your record keeping provides a host of benefits, from making it easier for employees to document their work time to streamlining the record-keeping for your HR or office administrators. It also provides for 100% accurate timesheets, eliminating the need for time clock rounding.

People platforms like Hourly offer time tracking apps that allow employees to easily document when they’ve begun working. You can automate breaks and lunches so that they’re always included in the report and even set rules so help ensure the employees work the time they’re required—and not more or less.

Make time tracking easy for your managers

Time tracking poses a problem for some employees, but it can also be the least favorite part of a manager or supervisor’s job. Managers routinely have to collect all employee timecards or reports, check them for accuracy regarding billable time worked, overtime, and correct any errors. What seems like a simple task can take up hours each month or week, especially if managers have to keep track of employee time because employees aren’t good about reporting their work hours.‍

Time tracking software solutions like Hourly not only simplify time tracking for employees, but they reduce the workload for managers as well. Your managers will be able to automate their reporting, quickly find missing information and headquarter all the employees’ time data in one place.

Time Tracking Management

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Avoid these 3 time tracking mistakes

It’s easy to keep doing things the same way. But when it comes to time tracking, finding small improvements and avoiding common pitfalls adds up to real savings. Sidestep these time tracking mistakes and you’ll add efficiency to your timekeeping system and improve the quality of your labor cost data.

Not collecting enough detail about employee work hours

There’s a fine line between trying to keep timecards simple and oversimplifying your data in a way that’s detrimental. For instance, employees should clock in at the beginning of each shift and clock out at the end, of course. But that’s just the basics. ‍

Tracking breaks, lunches and regular work hours are required by federal law. Properly tracking over time is also essential. That not only ensures that employees get overtime pay but also allows your organization to better manage its resources and reduce overtime spending. You can even track hours to specific projects, job sites, and more. ‍

Time tracking tools such as Hourly allow you to document a higher level of detail about your employee work hours. Then you can generate practical data you can use to make smarter decisions about your labor.

Not leveraging time tracking software features

You don’t have to be a tech wizard to benefit from time tracking solutions like Hourly. The platform provides multiple, easy-to-use features that enable your company to run more efficiently, and frankly, get more from your timecard reports. For example, with Hourly, you can: ‍

  • Know who’s working in real-time. Log in to the app and see who is on the job—and whether anyone is missing.
  • Have employees clock in by location. With this feature, your employees can only clock in once they’re at the right worksite.
  • Geofence jobs. The software can send you an alert if employees are not where they’re supposed to be during the workday.
  • Set alerts for important issues. Hourly can send alerts if your employees head into overtime or switch work locations.

Not combining payroll, worker’s comp and time tracking solutions 

All of these things are deeply related. By incorporating them into one solution you can reduce the time you spend, and improve your compliance with labor laws as well as documentation in all three areas. Hourly is the only small business solution that incorporates payroll, worker’s compensation and time tracking into one application.

‍You can simplify your paydays, running payroll for employees, contractors and freelancers with the click of a button. Integrating workers comp ensures that you and your employees are covered in case of an accident and ensures that your vital employee information is all in place. Add in time tracking and you’ve streamlined a significant component of your HR function.

Time to clock out? 

Improving your employee time tracking doesn’t take much—and it’s well worth the effort. Explore how a people platform like Hourly can make time tracking easier for your employees, while also providing your company with increased efficiency, time savings and more.

This article by Kelly Kearsley was originally published at

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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The novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19, and that was first detected in China, has now been detected in 60+ locations internationally, including in the United States. In response, some Americans are cancelling and/or limiting both domestic travel and travel to outbreak hotspots (including Italy, China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong) and preparing for what might happen if the virus becomes widespread.

For freelancers and small businesses, especially those in the events industry, this may mean an uptick in rescheduled/cancelled events and/or a decline in business due to community-based interventions and general fear, uncertainty and doubt among many people.

While it’s natural to feel nervous about what’s to come, there are steps you can take today to minimize the potential impact coronavirus (and actually any type of health emergency or natural disaster) has on your business. Think of this as a business continuity plan for small business to strengthen your business during times of uncertainty.

A business continuity plan for small business:

How to prepare your business for coronavirus

  1. Get and stay informed
  2. Revisit your cancellation and rescheduling policies
  3. Add three clauses into your contract templates: Force Majeure Clause, Safe Working Environment Clause, and Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause
  4. Create a strategy to battle cancellations
  5. Proactively manage your client relationships
  6. Issue a message to inquiries/clients
  7. Know how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects
  8. Plan for backup help
  9. Get video meeting software
  10. Understand your financial position
  11. Identify new revenue streams
  12. Pivot your business strategy
  13. Create a playbook
  14. Identify ways to supplement income
  15. Tap into city resources
  16. Start saving now
  17. Take care of yourself, your family and your team
  18. Lean on community

Meeting  about coronavirus

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Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do right now

1. Get and stay informed

Stay up to date with official news sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). By staying informed, you can better prepare for what’s coming and gain a sense of control (even if just a little) over the rapidly evolving situation. And being equipped with the facts will help you educate (and calm) any nervous inquiries and clients.

2. Revisit your cancellation and rescheduling policies

Wondering how to legally protect your business from unforeseen circumstances like the coronavirus? We went straight to an expert to find out and consulted attorney Paige Griffith of The Legal Paige

“First and foremost, a service provider’s cancellation and rescheduling policies should still be laid out very clearly with deadlines,” says Paige. “Industry standard is generally 30 days prior to the event/session/wedding date for your clients to be able to cancel or reschedule and only forfeit the retainer, but not incur any remaining fees. However, ‘Force Majeure Events’ are different. Thus, if you or your clients want to excuse performance to an unforeseeable, unavoidable, or impossible event, that’s where a Force Majeure Clause would kick in to protect you.”

Paige recommends people include a Force Majeure clause that clearly explains your business’s policies for excusing performance related to such events and, specifically, include “epidemics and pandemics” as qualified Force Majeure Events (see #3 for more details). Paige notes, “Oftentimes Force Majeure clauses are more basic and include occurrences such as ‘acts of God, natural disasters, government orders or laws, or strikes.’ It’s better to list out all qualified Force Majeure events and include the language ‘including, but not limited to’ to expand the types of Force Majeure events under your contract.”

Essentially, a cancellation and rescheduling clause is in place for any other reason that your client may cancel or reschedule. But Force Majeure Events are not part of that and have a different procedure in place for cancellations and rescheduling situations. The non-refundable retainer still applies under both clauses so long as you expressly delineate that policy under your contract, but Force Majeure provides additional protection because it requires you to excuse performance under the contract until the Force Majeure Event is resolved.

Also important to note is that we are NOT in Force Majeure land right now.

Paige explains, “Right now, coronavirus is likely not going to be interpreted as a qualified ‘Force Majeure Event’ under most contracts. There has been no official national government order regarding the outbreak. Thus, if a client wants to cancel or reschedule your services and cries ‘Force Majeure!’ and wants a full refund, it won’t hold up. Hysteria or fear of traveling does not qualify as Force Majeure. A Force Majeure Event quite literally has to make the performance by a party impossible and right now you can still travel, get on a plane, and be in person-to-person contact. Thus, we are still in the land of general cancellation and rescheduling situations, so your policies expressed in your contract apply as well as your non-refundable retainer.”

Want to learn more about protection clauses that you should have in your contract to protect yourself from unforeseen events? This checklist from The Legal Paige will tell you what clauses are needed and describes what they mean to you and your business. Get Checklist >

3. Add three clauses into your contract templates

As part of a business continuity plan for small business, Paige recommends modifying or adding three big clauses into your existing contract templates: (1) Force Majeure Clause, (2) Safe Working Environment Clause, and (3) Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause.

Wondering what all that means? Let’s break down each one below:

A Force Majeure clause (1) specifies the events which enable either party to declare a force majeure/act of God event, (2) how a party should notify its counterparty about the occurrence, and (3) the consequences after a force majeure event has occurred (see #4 for ideas on consequences you could consider). A force majeure clause should apply to each party to the agreement.

“Most often I see contracts missing parts 2 and 3 in their force majeure clause,” says Paige. “People should be sure to spell out that ‘epidemics and pandemics’ are included as qualified Force Majeure Events, and indicate the number of days following the Force Majeure Event that the other party may terminate and the remedies allowed. Also, as it stands [at the date of publication March 9, 2020], the COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences are no longer fully unpredictable and may therefore not qualify as a ‘Force Majeure Event’ in contracts that are entered into right now. Be sure to have other clauses in place such as Safe Working Environment Clause and Failure of Company to Perform Services Clause to protect yourself in case the Force Majeure Clause is not applicable.”

Need a Force Majeure clause for your contracts? Just copy and paste the Force Majeure clause language below into your own existing contract templates.

Force majeure clause:

No party shall be liable or responsible to the other party, nor be deemed to have defaulted under or breached this Agreement, for any failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term of this Agreement (except for any obligations to make payments to the other party hereunder), when and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from acts beyond the impacted party’s (“Impacted Party”) control, including, but not limited to, the following force majeure events (“Force Majeure Events”): (a) acts of God; (b) a natural disaster (fires, explosions, earthquakes, hurricane, flooding, storms, explosions, infestations), epidemic, or pandemic; (c) war, invasion, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), terrorist threats or acts, riot or other civil unrest; (d) government order or law; (e) actions, embargoes or blockades in effect on or after the date of this Agreement; (f) action by any governmental authority; (g) national or regional emergency; (h) strikes, labor stoppages or slowdowns or other industrial disturbances; and (i) shortage of adequate power or transportation facilities. The Impacted Party shall give Notice within [number] days of the Force Majeure Event to the other party, stating the period of time the occurrence is expected to continue. The Impacted Party shall use diligent efforts to end the failure or delay and ensure the effects of such Force Majeure Event are minimized. The Impacted Party shall resume the performance of its obligations as soon as reasonably practicable after the removal of the cause. In the event that the Impacted Party’s failure or delay remains uncured for a period of [number] days following Notice given by it, the other party may thereafter terminate this Agreement upon Notice.

Disclaimer: This force majeure clause template is provided for your convenience to help protect your business and minimize the impact from coronavirus and other types of health emergencies and natural disasters as part of a business continuity plan for small business. We consulted with attorney Paige Griffith, J.D., of The Legal Paige, who wrote the Force Majeure clause. While a professional was consulted, this is not provided as a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions about this template or your finished contract as it relates to your specific business, please contact a licensed attorney.

A Safe Working Environment clause tells your clients that your company maintains a safe work environment at all times and complies with all health and safety laws, directives and rules and regulations. Thus, you can reserve the right to discontinue service in the event some unsafe conditions arose such as areas affected by communicable diseases.

A Failure of Company to Perform Services clause ensures that your clients understand the procedure should you not be able to perform your services. “It’s important under this clause to allow your clients to agree to the substitution of another professional and not require such substitution,” Paige says. “And, in the event they do not allow you to substitute or you cannot find a substitute, you will issue a refund or credit based on the percentage of the services you’ve rendered thus far.”

4. Create a strategy to battle cancellations 

If you’re worried about cancellations, the best strategy is to be prepared and proactive.

Be prepared by thinking through “the consequences after a force majeure event has occurred.” Let’s say a client wants to cancel within 30 days of the event (even if your cancellation policy states they need to provide at least 30 days) due to an unforeseen event. What does that mean for you and your business?

As a best practice, we recommend doing everything in your power to work with your client to reschedule for a time when everyone is confident about moving forward and healthy enough to do so. If a mutually agreed upon date cannot be reached, your client will be able to cancel and forfeit only the retainer, but not incur any remaining fees under the Agreement. (See step #7 for how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects.)

In addition to identifying what you’ll do in the face of an unforeseen event, be sure to proactively communicate with inquiries and clients. This can help set their minds at ease, reducing your cancellation/chargeback risk. (See #5 for more details.)

5. Proactively manage your client relationships

Strong relationships are everything in the face of uncertainty, especially with setting expectations and avoiding cancellations. Now is the time to foster and lean on your client relationships as part of your business continuity plan for small business. “Over communication in these situations is also helpful so if a client is feeling unsure, they can lean on the professional to help lead in making decisions,” says Reina Pomeroy of Reina + Co.

If you’ve been doing a good job of relating to your clients and building that trust, it should be easier to reach an ideal outcome for both you and your client if the event can’t take place. Hopefully that outcome is in the form of rescheduling the event and is reached before you ever get to a conversation about chargebacks or cancellations.

Nichole Beiner of Nichole Gabrielle adds, “Being flexible with rescheduling or being creative about how to interact may be appreciated, especially by clients with compromised immune systems or who care for those with compromised immune systems or elderly people.”

So reach out to your booked clients to schedule a check-in and have a conversation. Get a feel for if they have any concerns or are thinking about cancelling (especially if you deliver your services in-person or work in the events industry).

If your clients were thinking about cancelling, getting a call from you to reassure them, might be just what they need to keep their event on the books.

For example, you could say:

Hey XX,

I hope planning your [insert event name here] has been going smoothly! I wanted to check in and see how you were doing in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak updates. As of right now, the U.S. is in a place of relatively low risk. However, I know how stressful [event name] planning can be, and this certainly doesn’t help!

I wanted to let you know that as of right now our area has had little to no impact from the coronavirus and because of this I have every intention of fulfilling my role at your [event name]. Of course, if anything should change with my plans, you will be the first to know.

If you have any intention of changing or altering the date of your [event name] please let me know as soon as possible so we can work on rescheduling to a date that works for everyone. If you do plan to change the [event name] date, please refer back to our contract for the proper steps.



If your clients weren’t thinking about cancelling at all, tread lightly. You don’t want to give them a reason to worry, but use this as an opportunity to let them know you’re on top of the situation; considering the health and safety of all your clients; and what you’re doing to ensure that.

For example, you could say:

Hello XX,

I hope your [event name] planning has been going smoothly! I wanted to check in and see how you were doing in light of the recent coronavirus outbreak updates. As of right now, the U.S. is in a place of relatively low risk. However, I know how stressful [event name] planning can be, and this certainly doesn’t help!

I wanted to let you know that as of right now our area has had little to no impact from the coronavirus and because of this I have every intention of fulfilling my role at your [event name]. Of course, if anything should change with my plans, you will be the first to know.



If they inquire about cancelling, be ready with your responses (see step #4).

6. Issue a message to inquiries/clients

Similar to step #5, this step focuses on proactive communication but is a bit more passive, and is designed to reach your broader audience, not just booked clients. Set your audience’s minds at ease and let them know that you’re prepared to handle whatever comes your way. Acknowledge the coronavirus and that it’s something your business is aware of and thinking about.

You can create a video message that you put up on your website, on social media or in an email. You can create a blog post. Or you can create an FAQ page for your website.

Wondering what to say? Here’s a swipe copy example:

Hey everyone!

I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something important. By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of the coronavirus and its impact worldwide. While at the very least this is distressing, I wanted to assure you that my business and I are prepared. I’m staying updated on the latest information, acting responsibly by avoiding travel to outbreak hotspots, meeting clients/vendors/employees online instead of in person if someone isn’t feeling well, and swapping hugs for a friendly wave. Additionally, I’m making sure that all of my clients know what to expect from me as per contract.

If you are a fellow business owner who would like a resource of best practices *click here/swipe up/link in bio* to read @honeybook’s latest blog post: How to Prepare Your Business For Coronavirus – 18 Steps.

If you are a client and have any concerns about your event and any details pertaining to cancellation and rescheduling practices, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or refer to our contract.


7. Know how to enforce retainer payments for cancelled events/projects

Again, the first (and best) line of defense to keep your retainer payments (and avoid cancellations altogether) is to proactively manage your client relationships, maintain open communication and try to reach a solution that works for the both of you before the topic of cancelling comes up.

But if cancellations do happen, here’s what you should know to keep/receive your retainer payments.

“This really depends on the situation,” Paige says. “But, in most cases so long as the language in your fee section states ‘non-refundable retainer’ you should be able to keep the retainer. If you used the wording ‘deposit’ instead of retainer, under some states it is required to give back deposits if services have not been rendered. Thus, if you have the word ‘deposit,’ it’s likely best to refund the amount. Also, remember that at the end of the day, it’s your livelihood and business on the line if you have a really sticky client who wants their money back and is ready to pursue legal action if you don’t give it back. It’s way easier, more efficient, and more cost effective to give a refund under these circumstances than to go to court and battle whether the retainer/deposit is refundable.”

If you’re worried about retainer chargebacks (a chargeback happens when a client asks their credit card to reverse the money transfer from their account), remember that if a chargeback does happen through HoneyBook, HoneyBook works side-by-side with you to resolve the dispute. Unlike other platforms (like PayPal, for instance), HoneyBook will not automatically refund your client.

Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do in the next few days/weeks 

8. Plan for backup help 

If you don’t already have one as part of your business continuity plan for small business, create a backup plan in the event that you get sick and are unable to perform your job. Identify and lock in a few people whom you can trust to step in for you if needed. (Need help finding someone? Try reaching out to someone in your community or a fellow creative at your local TuesdaysTogether. See #18 for more detail.) Make sure to add this into your contracts, as you want your clients to be aware of this possibility. And see step #3 for more details about what to include in that clause.

9. Get video meeting software

With the possibility of people increasing the amount of time they spend at home (known as social distancing), you may want to move more of your in-person meetings to video meetings. Make sure your phone and computer equipment are set up to work for video. In terms of video meeting software, FaceTime is a popular option for iPhone users, but if you need to show your screen, you can also consider Zoom or Google Hangouts. According to The Verge, Google said “that it would be rolling out free access to ‘advanced’ features for Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally through July 1st. That means organizations can host meetings with up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a single domain, and record and save meetings to Google Drive.”

10. Understand your financial position

An important part of business preparedness in the face of coronavirus and creating a business continuity plan for small business is knowing the ins and outs of your finances. This will help you to understand how much business you can afford to lose each month and start making plans if needed. Answer the following questions to start getting a better picture of your finances.

  • What is your projected monthly revenue each month over the next 3-6 months?
  • What are your monthly costs (business and living expenses) each month over the next 3-6 months?
  • How many projects/events/clients do you need at a minimum each month over the next 3-6 months to maintain a positive cash flow?
  • Are any projects/events/clients at risk of getting cancelled or postponed within the next 3-6 months? (If so, see what you can do in steps #4–5.)
  • If your projected cash flow is in the negative over the next 3-6 months, see what you can do in steps #11–12.

11. Identify new revenue streams

While you may be a ways away from needing to implement the next two steps, they’re still worth thinking about now to help increase your preparedness. With that in mind, start thinking about other ways you could bring in revenue if business slowed way down or if cancellations went way up.

Here are a couple ideas:

  1. Check HoneyBook Opportunities. Other creatives post opportunities of all kinds, and you can post if you have one as well. Searching by your zip code makes it easy.
  2. Get a side gig on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.
  3. Tap into your network and see if anyone needs extra help. Since many events are likely to get rescheduled, take advantage of the shuffle and make yourself available for these dates.
  4. Turn your existing service into a digital or remote offering.

12. Pivot your business strategy

Again, it might not make sense to start pivoting at this very moment, but making plans to do this now can be very helpful if this may be needed in the future. If your business is internationally based, perhaps consider focusing on local markets. Or if your business is focused on servicing large events, consider niching down. Some HoneyBook members have started focusing on more intimate-sized events that are less prone to being impacted by travel restrictions. Another idea is to introduce lightweight services that are easy for you to implement, and that requires less planning ahead, like one-off coaching sessions.

Don’t forget to think through the impact on your brand and what would need to be updated, including messaging and imagery on your website and social channels.

Business continuity plan for small business: Things you can do as a general best practice

13. Create a playbook

Documenting your entire process in a playbook will make it easy to hand a project/event off to someone who needs to step in and take over for you in the event that you get sick. Think through every little step and include it! Imagine that you won’t be there to answer questions and that everything they need to know would be included in your documentation. (Need some help? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Boosting Work Efficiency Through Business Systems and Automation.)

The cool thing about managing your business in HoneyBook is that all your client and project information is kept in one place, which makes it easy to hand over projects. Other team members (or an external person added to your project if you don’t have team members and need to add a back-up contact) can jump in and quickly get up to speed. They can see the communication history between you and your client and access all files to see all relevant information. (Team members can see private notes from all client meetings; external people added to your project can see all files and client communications, just not private notes you’ve taken.)

“Take a deep breath and don’t panic if you don’t have any of these best business practices in place,” says Diana Fang from The Finer Points. “If someone cancels, this would be a good time to use that extra time to beef up your own internal systems (especially for points #10-15).”

14. Identify ways to supplement income

It’s always good to know how you can supplement your income if you truly need to. Research the different options available for small business loans (this is a great resource), as well as a withdrawal from your 401K if you have one. But because of the hefty fees associated with an early withdrawal, this should be saved as a last resort.

15. Tap into city resources

Some cities are offering financial aid to specifically help small businesses during this trying time. For example, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said “the city will offer no-interest loans to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that could show a 25 percent reduction in sales since the coronavirus outbreak and grants of up to $6,000 for businesses with fewer than five employees.” Check with your city’s Small Business Administration office for more details.

16. Start saving now

Having an emergency fund to tide you over for 3-6 months is important for a solid business continuity plan for small business. If you don’t have one, start today. Take a look at your financial position from step #10. How much do you need to maintain a positive cash flow each month? Use that as a starting point to set your monthly savings goal.

Once you’ve set a goal, identify ways to save. Perhaps you allocate a percentage of each paycheck to set aside. Or maybe you aim to save $X amount each month by avoiding indulgent expenses (like that new camera or dinners out) for the time being.

17. Take care of yourself, your family and your team

Follow best practices issued by the CDC/WHO to stay healthy and minimize the spread of the virus, including:

  1. Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  2. Coughing/sneezing into a flexed elbow
  3. Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands
  4. Staying home if you feel unwell
  5. Encouraging team members and vendors to stay home if sick
  6. Social distancing (swap a handshake for a friendly wave!)

18. Lean on community 

In a world where toilet-paper runs are a thing and entire towns are getting locked down, don’t forget you’re not alone. The HoneyBook and Rising Tide community are here to help (even if just to lend a commiserating ear about why there’s no hand sanitizer available anywhere). Here are a few ways to get the most out of the community:

  1. Join your local TuesdaysTogether. We have chapters around the globe. Connect with other creatives online through your local TuesdaysTogether Facebook and Instagram groups. Building relationships with those in your area can help if you find you need to cancel on a client and need to refer someone you trust (or vice versa). Please note: Some in-person meetings may be postponed out of caution for the health and safety of our members as the coronavirus progresses. Check in with your city to find out details.
  2. Check in on one another. Identify a handful of people to follow up with as the situation unfolds. Knowing how coronavirus is impacting others, and knowing people are also checking in with you, can help you feel less isolated.
  3. Share your wisdom with the community. Don’t feel like you have to go through this alone; we’re all in this together. Tag @honeybook and/or @risingtidesociety to share your tips and tools for how to best prepare and maintain not only your business but your day-to-day client interactions.

Disclaimer: The advice featured in this post was sourced from our community members for sharing of general information and knowledge. For specific legal, tax, mental health, and professional advice, please consult an authorized professional.

This article was originally published at

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

Remote Management

By Lucasz WedelIntroduction: Every now and then I am sharing my thoughts on the management, growth of the company or just a clear description of the role that I held in the past. In this one, I am addressing a problem that I believe is currently slowly getting more and more visible.

The problems I am answering are the questions I received during some discussions about how to manage a remote team.

How to manage remote teams?

I was working remotely for a few years – both as a developer as well as a manager. What I noticed is that a small change in your management style can boost the productivity of remote teams, drastically.


I – a person that can introduce change in a company – want to make sure that I have the best team working on my products, no matter the location.

In short, you want to introduce a remote work option.


Hiring a remote worker is the “simpler” part. Making sure that they are motivated, feels part of the team AND are doing all they can is something entirely different.

Let us simplify the previously stated problem into something we can focus on.

Problem 1.

I do not want these remote workers to be mercenaries – I want them to be part of the team.

The majority of meetings are just time-wasters, saying that – let us focus on the part that is in the minority.

1. The team must feel part of the company – in my previous companies we did this with a bi-weekly/monthly catch-up. At this meeting, we are discussing the ongoing activities, goals, and plans we want to fulfill. We are sharing information that is limited only to the company so that we are showing our trust.

2. Project meetings – kick off, grooming, standups, retrospectives, demos – the team works as one and have the defined meeting. The team is working as a single organism, and with every iteration, it is getting better and closer.

3. 1on1s – a manager that oversights the team is crucial. They must have an excellent connection to the team, be the one they are approaching when there is an issue or problem.

There must also be a workaround – an escalation path that is known to everyone in the team. An unofficial mediator role – line manager, senior person or just a better communicator – should be approaching the team to chat with them and feel if some changes are needed.

4. Company events – seeing the whole company at a party is something worth practicing. Having a good laugh or just catching up and drinking a few beers creates stronger bonds and simplify the communication within the team.

5. Offtopic channel – where people can be sharing videos of cats or chat about a movie/game they recently finished. Something that allows them to blow off the steam and allow the brain to rest for a few minutes.

A remote management team is a self-healing organism, hence the 1on1 – where the single team member can show his opinion – and project meeting – where the team as a whole is providing feedback. A good manager based on these two inputs is capable of not only making sure the team feels part of the organization, but also motivate them and provide them with a place to grow.

Problem 2 & 3.

I do not know how to manage them, how can I know if they are working all the time they said they do?

How can I know if they are not working for my competitors?

You can’t, entirely.

The tracking software on the team devices shows a lack of trust.

VPNs are standard across multiple industries, but they are not allowing you full visibility.

What you have is a manager that sees how the team is working and people that are motivating themselves. Daily updates are providing the team with information, about who is working on what and how work is progressing. If there is an issue, delay or someone is just not doing what they should – the team knows, and the management team must act.

The manager is not the only input for information – demos, ticketing system, code repository, knowledge bases they are adding their parts are the places where you see the changes they are introducing and based on that you can make your opinion.

Remote Management

Image Credits

Problem 4.

How can I find a person that can work remotely?

Finding people that know how to work remotely is a hard one. Let me simplify this for this article’s sake.

Fast introduction to the terminology and context I am using.


  • A person with at least one (1) year of experience, not able to be a single developer on the project.
  • A person that requires support and mentoring by Senior/Architect developer.
  • A person that is dependant on seniors/architects to organize training and growth for him/her.
  • A person that requires a maximum introduction period when joining a company – average three (3) months.


  • A person with more than three (3) years of experience, capable of handling a project alone – but with some oversight from the Senior/Architect
  • A person that is eager to participate in training and wants to grow technically.
  • A person that requires an introduction period when joining a company – average a month.


  • A person with more than four (4) years of experience in at least three (3) companies, capable of handling a project alone – without oversight
  • A person that organizes the training and growth within the company for himself/herself.
  • A person that requires minimal to none introduction period when joining the company to be able to handle the technical aspects of the problems.

For remote work do not hire Juniors.

I know few that can perform as well as a remote worker. However, the majority of them do not know how to behave, how to work without face to face support.

For remote hire Regulars that had experience with remote working before.

For remote hire Seniors.

For the introduction period invite them to the offices that you have, let them see the company and feel the atmosphere. They should learn:

  • Who is the person that I should speak if they want to discuss business/technical/hr?
  • Where can I find any information about business/technical/hr?
  • What is the architecture that we have?
  • Who is on my team and how we communicate?
  • What tools are we using daily?

Problem 5.

How should I share the knowledge and decisions?

I left the hard part for the end.

I had this problem with every company I worked for. You see, people from single office tend to share their ideas while having a coffee, a smoke, or solving some issue that was raised by the support. Documenting their decision is hard – as the fix usually takes just a few minutes to implement.

The problem starts later – a remote part of the team is not aware of the changes. They do not know the reasoning behind the decision, when it happened and what is the impact on their work.

The parallel problem tends to be the architectural vision that is not being shared and communicated. Due to similar communication paths as in the previous description, the remote team is not aware of the common goal that the company is chasing.

So what is the solution?

Think remote first, document, document, document.

A rule I am trying to enforce every time I can – no ticket, no work (I am a big JIRA fanboy). Tickets with details are always a good solution for figuring out why a change happened.

Sharing the company vision is equally essential, but this, unfortunately, is not doable with the tickets. Vision sharing requires diagrams, presentations and a discussion with all involved teams. You can not cut corners in matters like that. A vision must be understood and chased by the whole company.


I mentioned a bi-weekly or monthly meeting while discussing problem nr. 1. I believe that this management meeting is the primary source of information for the entire company.

  • A person decided to quit – one of the topics.
  • Someone is joining – one of the topics.
  • We are trying the remote work approach – one of the topics.
  • We released a new product – one of the topics.
  • You should see now where I am going with this.


The most crucial part of it is always to thrive to be better.

This article by Lukasz Wedel was originally published on LinkedIn

From the Author:

Lukasz Wedel is Program Manager at Cisco

In this article, I am focusing on the management of remote teams. I am listing issues I have seen in multiple companies, as well as on some tricks I am using to make sure that the team and company are working together towards a common goal. #startups, #corporations, #it, #management, #projectmanagement, #remote #remotemanagement

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

People often mistake leadership and management as the same thing but in essence, they are very different. The main difference between the two is that leaders have people that follow them, while managers have people who simply work for them. Particularly in small businesses, for a small business owner to be successful they need to be both a strong leader and manager to get their team on board with working towards their vision of success. Leadership is about getting people to comprehend and believe in the vision you set for the company and to work with you on achieving your goals, while management is more about administering and making sure the day-to-day activities are happening as they should.

Leadership and management must go hand in hand. They are not the same thing, but they are necessarily linked and complementary to one another. Any effort to separate the two within an organisation is likely to cause more problems than it solves. For any company to be successful, it needs management that can plan, organise and coordinate its staff, while also inspiring and motivating them to perform to the best of their ability.


Leaders have a tendency to praise success and drive people, whereas managers work to find faults. They paint a picture of what they see as possible for the company and work to inspire and engage their people in turning that vision into reality. Rather than seeing individuals as just a particular set of skills, they think beyond what they do and activate them to be part of something much bigger. They’re well aware of how high-functioning teams can accomplish a lot more when working together than individuals working autonomously are ever able to achieve.

For both sides to understand what they have to do, and to achieve excellence in doing it, they need to comprehend the essence of the difference between them. This is a matter of definition – understanding how the roles are different and how they might overlap. Managers, on the other hand, will focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals by controlling situations to reach or exceed their objectives.



Managers Give Directions Leaders ask questions
Managers have subordinates Leaders have followers
Managers use an authoritarian style Leaders have a motivational style
Managers tell what to do Leaders show what to do
Managers have good ideas Leaders implement good ideas
Managers react to change Leaders create change
Managers try to be heroes Leaders make heroes of everyone around them
Managers exercise power over people Leaders develop power with people
Business Leadership

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You must think of one without the other to truly see the differences that exist between them. Management without leadership controls resources to maintain.

There are many different types of leadership and management styles where different situations, groups, or cultures, may require the use of different styles in order to set a direction or ensure that it is followed.

One way to decipher which of the two you may be is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.

John Kotter, Professor of Leadership at Harvard University fears that too often, employers use the terms synonymously. If an organisation is run effectively, leadership and management will exist in tandem.

Mentoring and formal training can help employees utilise and use their leadership skills. According to research by the Chartered Management Institute, 90% of members who have completed a management and leadership qualification found the experience improved their performance at work. There was also a “ripple effect”, with 81% of those surveyed passing on their knowledge to colleagues.

Celebrating individual leaders can also cause some to forget that it is never just one person running the show.

Not everyone who is in charge of a team is both a leader and a manager, in order to have a successful organisation, there needs to be a mixture of both.

Many people are both, having managed people but realised that you cannot buy people to follow you down a difficult path, and so act as leaders too. The challenge lies in making sure you are both leading your team as well as managing your day to day operation. Those who are able to do both, will create a competitive advantage.

Mindset can also have a powerful effect on the success of a leader, Understanding Emotional Contagion can be a tool to success.

This article was originally published on

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

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