New IRS Per Diem Rates Announced
If you have traveling employees and cut checks for their expenses, be sure to read up on the new allowances that are in effect October 1, 2017, through September 30, 2018 (FY2018). For the most part, the numbers held steady, including meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) allowances at $63 within the Continental U.S. and $68 outside. The largest change was the shift of some cities identified as high-cost localities. For example, Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Oregon; and Fort Meyers, Fla., were added to the list while Los Angeles and Vero Beach, Fla., were removed. You can read a digestible version here (goo.gl/49gtQP) or visit the official website at gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates. But you already have that bookmarked, right?
Confusing Corporate Travel Programs Are Par for the Course
If you work with many different corporations, then you already know that travel management parameters vary widely. The good news: You’re not crazy. According to a new study from the London School of Economics, very few companies have a harmonious travel and entertainment program because different departments are often at odds defending the cost of travel: CEOs want growth, CIOs want efficiency, and CFOs want reduced costs. It’s enough to make any CTM’s head spin. As a result, the disorganization could be costing the company money. When it comes to best practices, there’s still a clear focus on rightsizing spend to achieve business results, but companies are looking at more sophisticated ways to achieve it. This is where you can help balance and align the competing needs by including ways to improve traveler satisfaction, identify areas of potential fraud or waste, and streamline with the friendliest and most comprehensive software available at your disposal. Come prepared and dazzle your CTM by making suggestions to tighten up the inefficiencies. All CTMs will ask for lower overall costs, but this is one area where you can outshine your price-cutting competitors. You can read the study here: goo.gl/rogA1d.
Your Office Serial Killer
Yep, as you probably guessed, your desk chair is slowly murdering you while it supports your body for hours and hours in front of your computer and phone. It’s been connected to the obvious detriments like obesity and heart disease, but also to depression and sub-optimal brain function (goo.gl/JLktS7). And you gym rats aren’t immune: A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that regular exercisers can’t out-exercise long periods of sitting. The remedy is easy, however: frequent breaks that include bursts of activity every half hour or so. Get up, walk around, and get the blood pumping throughout your body again. Your back will thank you. And don’t forget about your chauffeurs, who often are stuck behind the wheel for long phases. Encourage them to take breaks whenever possible to stretch, move around, and shake off bad health.
And for all you stand-up desk converts, we have some bad news: Another study in the Journal of American Epidemiology found that using this type of desk doesn’t necessarily counteract your hours of sitting. Additionally, reverting to the opposite extreme of standing all day has also been found to have a negative effect on your heart and vascular system, not to mention your joints (goo.gl/bCZE3A). Oh, come on! We hear you. The perfect, happy medium seems to be frequent breaks that include motion followed by moderate sitting no more than 30 minutes at a time. While there’s a 100-percent chance of eventual mortality, there’s no reason you have to hasten it. [CD1017]