Friday, March 24, 2017


2017 Citizen and Business of the Year Named

      Many members of the Irish Hills business community were honored at the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce’s 37th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on March 23 at Clark Lake Golf Course.

     Jackie Hubbard of Onsted was recognized as the Citizen of the Year for all she contributes to the Onsted and Irish Hills community.  Columbia Interiors was named 2017 Business of Year as they have been a community-minded anchor business in Brooklyn for 40 years. The Brooklyn Food Pantry was awards the Non-Profit Organization of the Year.  Stoney Green of RE/MAX Mid-Michigan received the Heart of the Community Award for being so charitable and for always being so ready to volunteer.  Hidden Lake Gardens received the Emerald Award—Gem of the Community for being one of the Irish Hills’ amazing hidden gems.

      There were a record number of Spruce Awards given out, eleven total.  Spruce Awards are given to chamber members who have shown  “substantial beatification or renovation” within the last year.  2017 Spruce Award recipients are: Borek Jennings Funeral Home, Brooklyn Sportsman’s Club, Grady’s Catering, Lake Columbia Property Owners Association, Napoleon Community Schools, Phillip Family Chiropractic, Rayba’s Tennis Retreat and Vellucci Vineyards, Salon Rushelle, Village of Onsted and Watkins Lake State Park.

      Many business anniversaries were recognized, from 5 years all the way up to 185 years.  There were special anniversaries that were honored: Brooklyn Lanes (50 years), Killarney Lutheran Campground (60 years), Irish Hills Dairy Bar, Judson Collins Center and Onsted Kiwanis Club (65 years), Walker Tavern Historic Site (95 years) and OSB Community Bank (110 years.  Senator Mike Shirkey presented the Village of Brooklyn with a Governors Tribute for their 185 anniversary.

      Todd Wanty, outgoing board president, presented Dave Turk of Walton Insurance Group with the President’s Award.  Cindy Hubbell gave her Executive Director’s Award to Cori Baumann of Cori B Photography.  The People Choice Award from the Taste of the Irish Hills event was presented to The Pointe Bar & Grill.

      Overall, standout business community members were honored for their efforts in strengthening  the business community and the quality of life in the Irish Hills through tourism, giving back, curb appeal, longevity and economic impact.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Lenawee County's 2016 tourism season up over previous years

Although hard numbers comparing this year to last year still are being tallied, people supported Lenawee County-area businesses and festivals in increasing numbers. That translates into a stronger economy and revenue stream.
This summer season — which ends this weekend — was one of the best economic times in recent memory, officials and business owners around the county have reported.
Although hard numbers comparing this year to last year still are being tallied, people supported Lenawee County-area businesses and festivals in increasing numbers. That translates into a stronger economy and revenue stream.
From the Faster Horses three-day country music festival at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn to the Rockin’ the Hills craft beer festival at Manitou Beach, people came to Lenawee County, or stayed local, in increasing numbers.
Tourism traffic also was up at Hayes State Park in northern Lenawee County, park manager Jim O’Brien said.
“We did exceptionally well this season,” he said. “We are up, revenue-wise, about 16 percent over last year, and attendance is up considerably as well.”
The economy, as well as favorable weather, O’Brien said, were contributing factors.
“The beach is a huge draw and one of our improvements is a partnership with the Irish Hills Dairy offering concessions there,” he said.
The use of rental boats and rafts also are up, O’Brien said, and the park’s two boat launches “are getting a great deal of usage.”
Economic officials weigh in
Justin Gifford, executive director of the Lenawee County Conference and Visitors Bureau in Adrian, said tourism interest in the area is rising, and three of the six main hotels in the area have reported occupancy increases this year.
“There is an increased interest from tourists and vendors for the larger events in the county,” Gifford said, with music, beer and wine and the arts becoming more popular categories.
“Faster Horses is continually growing, and the craft beer and wine scene has brought in a lot of outside interest,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens next year.”
One tourism idea the bureau is examining is bringing bus tours to Lenawee County.
“We’re currently working on tour bus interests here and working with two groups from Ohio to cater to the tour group market,” Gifford said. “We would like to see more tour groups here, something that would take two to three years to grow. We’re seeing lots of interest in our area from Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Minnesota, not just Ohio and Indiana.”
Although hard data on local economic numbers has not been available in the past, Gifford said he will examine tourism data with Michigan State University economic officials as part of a strategic plan to “allow us as the Lenawee County Conference and Visitors Bureau to provide statistics.”
At any given time during the day, Tecumseh Economic Development Director Paula Holtz said, her city’s sidewalks “see more shoppers than before.”
“With a new brew pub, an ice cream shop open in the evening, antiques and vintage stores,” Holtz said, “Tecumseh is truly becoming a destination town.”
Being part of the state’s “Pure Michigan” campaign is paying off, Holtz said.
“When we talk to people who come visit Tecumseh,” she said, “we’re finding many come from the downriver area and up for a day trip.”
With more downtown apartments becoming available, Holtz said, “it all ties together to make a better economy.”
Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce Director Cindy Hubbell said phone calls to her office asking about local things to do “have not slowed down all summer.”
“ ‘I’d like to come to the Irish Hills’ is the statement I hear most when people call,” Hubbell said. “They are looking for accommodations, places to eat, events, recommended day trips, shopping and lake recreation.”
She said the number of inquiries by out-of-town visitors has “more than doubled over last year.”
“Lots of families are looking for things to do, spending quality time,” she said.
Hudson City Manager Steve Hartsel said “multiple people” have been coming to the municipal office asking about coming to office asking about things to do in the area.
“We’ve never had that kind of foot traffic before,” he said. “Visitors are coming in, asking about our walking trails and places to shop.”
Business owners: Tourism, support up
Robin Sagenak, owner of Rob’s Rentals at Manitou Beach, said the 2016 season, “has been our busiest season yet.”
But things have changed. He said incoming tourists are no longer just from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, compared to when he opened his watercraft rental business five years ago.
“We’ve seen an influx of people coming to our area from New York, California, Florida,” he said, “and I see a lot of people making ties from when they grew up here — they’re grandparents bringing their grandchildren and younger families checking out the area.”
B.J. Andonian, owner of Jerry’s Pub and Restaurant along Wamplers Lake, said his business “had a great summer.”
“We are up about 10 percent over last year,” he said. “It’s been perfect summer weather.”
Menu changes, a “great staff” at the restaurant and “second-to-none” quality of life in the Irish Hills, Andonian said, have helped make his business a “destination spot.”
And customers sometimes talk more than just visiting the area.
“We’ve had a lot more people inquiring about houses for sale in the area,” Andonian said.
That’s where Darlene Heller, owner of Devils Lake View Living in the Manitou Beach village district, comes in. She said she estimates business at her shop has increased approximately 15 percent over last year.
She credits new events and the farmers market at the lake for creating a larger, happier economic picture there.
“The word has spread about the village and redevelopment of the community,” Heller said.
The summer also has been good for Susan Serafin, owner of Dip Stix and Stuff in Tecumseh. Some of that, she said, comes from a new partnership with Pentamere Winery.
“Even weekdays are better than they have been in the last couple years,” Serafin said, who opened her business in Tecumseh five years ago and joined forces with the winery two years ago.
“When people found out we have a gourmet food shop here, they liked the idea of pairing wine and foods together,” Serafin said. “They’re wanting items specifically for wine tasting.”
With gas prices moving downward, Serafin said, Tecumseh is becoming more and more of a destination town.
“Our majority of visiting customers are from Bowling Green and Toledo, Ohio; Monroe, Jackson and Detroit,” she said.


Friday, February 26, 2016

And the winner is....

36th Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner

Last Thursday was the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce’s 36th Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at Clark Lake Golf Course, sponsored by our Board of Directors.  That you to our contributors; Cori B Photography and Mid-Michigan DJ’s. Also, thanks to Clark Lake Golf Course for such a great meal, we heard nothing but good reviews. 

What a great night with an amazing group of people.  The whole evening was filled with laughter, hugs, tears of joy, applause and even standing ovations.  The people that lead our Irish Hills business community are “good people”.  That is stealing words from Senator Mike Shirkey’s closing words and our Citizen of the Year, Mark Berry.  You “Gotta Have Good People”, and we sure do.  The Irish Hills business community is made up of a group of people that truly care about each other and their community.  The Chamber of Commerce is an organization that not only promotes them and strengthens our business community, but is a place where they can network with each other; sharing ideas, support, and common goals.  The Awards Dinner was an evening about honoring those members who have stood out with their efforts to strengthen our business community and the quality of life in the Irish Hills, whether it is longevity, giving back, curb appeal or economic impact. 

We started the evening off by accepting Mitchell Ramsey of Irish Hills Realty, Jan Witte of Jan’s Dance Connection, Brad Denning of Village Barber Shop and Annette Dupuie of Sacred Touch Massage Therapy to a 3 year term on the Board of Directors. Board President, Todd Wanty presented his President’s Award to Michelle Reed of Walton Reed Wealth Management Partners.  The Ambassador Award, presented by chairperson Morgan Graves of Brooklyn Eye Center went to Darlene Heller of Devils Lake View Living.  Quite a few anniversary awards were handed out, with some of the highest honors going to Brooklyn Party Shop—50 years, Walton Insurance Group—65 years, Brooklyn Products Int’l--65 years, The Beach Bar—70 years, Morris W. Smith Insurance Agency—70 years, Clarklake Yacht Club—85 years, Brooklyn American Legion Post #315—95 years and The Exponent—135 years. 

Spruce Awards were given to TED Ranch Campground, Columbia Township, Boot Jack Tavern, Walker Tavern Historic Site, Columbia School District, Rob’s Rental, Harold’s Place and Village of Brooklyn DPW.  Our Emerald Award—Gem of the Community was presented to Manitou Beach Village.  The Heart of the Community Award was presented to Misty Bliven, owner of Patrone’s Day Spa & Salon.  Business of the Year for 2016 is Irish Hills Collision and the 2016 Citizens of the Year are Mark & Cheryl Berry of Mid-America Machining. 

One of my favorite quotes of the evening was from Jeff Updike of Irish Hills Collision, “You just simply work hard every day, and you all know what I mean.  It is truly an honor to be recognized for it.”

Please remember how important it is to support our local businesses, as they are who help make our community what it is today, supporting and strengthening the Irish Hills we have all come to love.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Here is an Article (that I took from someone else's blog) about joining the chamber of commerce.  I copied and pasted it into my blog because I thought it was so wonderful... ENJOY!

Should I Join The Chamber Of Commerce

When I first started my business I was very skeptical about joining the local Chamber of Commerce. I was reading all the blog posts about how “traditional” marketing is dying and everything was moving to the mobile space. I was very skeptical about the return on value for joining the Chamber of Commerce, but they have been around since 1768, so I decided to give it a shot.
Since joining, I have received more than my yearly membership price in value. The funny part is that the Chamber of Commerce is not directly associated with any revenue, but I have met the right people to succeed and grow my business.

What Is The Chamber Of Commerce

If you are new to running a business, you might have no idea what the Chamber of Commerce is. So let’s make sure we are all on the same page.
The concept of the Chamber of Commerce is simple. It is a place where local business gets together and help each other grow, network, and get advice. All the Chamber members have a similar goal, to grow their business.
There is typically a Chamber of Commerce in all cities and states. For example. I live in Phoenix, AZ and there is a Greater Phoenix Chamber, a Southwest Valley Chamber, Glendale Chamber, Tempe Chamber, and so on. Odds are there is a Chamber in your neighborhood and the great part is you can join more than one.
But what are the actual benefits of joining a Chamber of Commerce? Good questions, let’s explore that in more detail.

5 Benefits Of Joining The Chamber of Commerce

Since joining my local Chamber of Commerce, I have found 5 main benefits to my business.

High Quality Link – A Boost To SEO?

I live and breathe digital marketing. I can not get enough of it. Link building is still part of search engine optimization, even though it is starting to become less relevant.
Every Chamber of Commerce has a highly visible directory that drives web traffic. By joining the Chamber of Commerce, you are able to be part of the directory and get a high-quality link from a great source to your website.
The small Chamber of Commerce I belong to drives nearly 500k web hits per month. This is a highly visited site full of relevant content to my business (things Google likes). In my opinion, this link is worth the price of admission.
The Chamber of Commerce can give your website a quick boost in rankings. To drive even more traffic, see if you can be a guest blogger for the Chamber and link back to your site on even more relevant keywords.


Networking is not for everyone. I will admit that even to this day, I hate networking events. I make myself get out there and meet people because it is vital to my business.
I believe that the networking events through the Chamber of Commerce are a great way to source new customers.
The great part of the Chamber of Commerce is that everyone has the same goal, to make connections. I will warn you about being the guy with the half unbuttoned shirt passing out 500 business cards every event, I call him the card flipper.
Your goal must be to build relationships with people, not burn through an order from VistaPrint every meeting. Nobody really likes that guy, do things the right way, get to know people. People want to do business with people.

Make Business Partnerships

The reason you do not want to be the card flipper is that you are looking to build relationships. Got it! One of the best things that I have found from networking is building business partnerships and sharing leads.
For example, we do marketing training and marketing plans for clients. I have met a web developer, promotional vendor (think pens, business cards, tee shirts, etc), my CPA, and even my commercial real estate agents.
Did they become paying clients? No, they got advice for free. However, they send me leads all the time and vice versa.
We created a lead group and we try to promote each other whenever possible. It has turned into a great partnership and I think of them as extensions of my company. A great benefit to have.

Part Of Your Holistic Marketing Plan

I believe in order to be successful in marketing you must develop a holistic marketing plan. It is the only way to truly be successful. Combine the best of traditional marketing with the new inbound marketing approaches.
Through the networking events (traditional) I have been able to create an automated marketing (inbound) message that closes about 5% of participants to training clients. They see the way that I do my marketing and want a piece of it for their company.
Your holistic marketing plan is important to grow your business. The Chamber of Commerce gives you tons of opportunity to create a well-oiled holistic marketing plan.

Advertise With An Engaged Audience

Have you ever bought an email list to get zero coupon redemptions? I thought so.
Your Chamber of Commerce will give you the opportunity to use their email list or magazine/newsletter to advertise your business. Normally this is going to be cheaper and produce better results.
Because you are sending promotions to “members”, you are not going to get bad email addresses, incorrect names, or bad segmentation. These are people looking for the communications from the Chamber already and many times very engaged.
I had one client, an auto repair facility, that did mailers to his direct zip code with a free oil change. He received 2 redemptions. It cost him more for the mailer than to give away the oil changes.
He did the same mailer with the Chamber of Commerce and received 50 new customers. The mailer cost him half the amount and produced much better results.
Remember the goal of the Chamber of Commerce is to help and most Chamber members want to help other members. So they will respond to your ads.     

Bonus: Get To Know Your Community

Do you live in a community that has monthly movies in the park or sports leagues on the weekend? You don’t know? Well, let the Chamber of Commerce help.
I have talked to many people at the Chamber of Commerce that are citizens, not businesses. Just like your local church, it is a great way to get to know the people in your community and get involved.
This might not directly benefit your business, but it could make your community more bearable to live in. Who knows, you might even make a friend.

How To Get The Most From Your Chamber of Commerce Membership

How To Get The Most From Your Chamber of Commerce Membership
The Chamber of Commerce is great for your business and great to help you get involved. It is a great way to meet other like-minded business owners. So you are ready to make the investment and get going.
I believe there are 3 things that you should start to do once you join the Chamber of Commerce.


You are only going to get what you put into the Chamber. Just because you pay your dues does not mean the phone is going to magically start ringing. You have to get involved in order to meet new people.
Go to the networking events, attend the yearly awards dinner, and volunteer for the events that the Chamber is holding.
The more you participate the higher the chances are that you will meet someone that needs your products or services.

Make Strategic Partnerships

This is the single most beneficial thing you can do. Find the people that you can share leads with and learn from.
Owning a marketing company, so the very first person I looked for was a CPA. A CPA is going to have a long list of clients and many of them are going to be other businesses. So this is a person that I wanted to find and get to know because their clients might need my services.
Now you can not make this all about you. It takes two to tango. So make sure to send leads or help your partner’s business in whatever way you can.
Partnerships will help you business grow, there is no doubt about it.

Use The Resources Available

When I first joined the Chamber of Commerce, I spoke to a wise old man that grew his financial services business through the Chamber of Commerce. One thing that he told me stuck out. “Use the resources available to you.”
As his business started to grow and he was looking for a new employee, he decided it was a better idea to invite candidates to the Chamber of Commerce versus his home office, for obvious reasons. He was able to use the conference room of the Chamber of Commerce to conduct interviews and use the receptionist as his own.
This wise old man used the resources in order to grow his business in a way that is not so obvious to everyone.
There are tons of resources that the Chamber of Commerce provides, make sure to use them in a way that benefits you and your company.

Final Thoughts…

The Chamber of Commerce is a great way to complete your holistic marketing plan. It is also a great way to grow your business. So if you are on the fence about the Chamber of Commerce, check it out. Normally the membership fee is rather cheap. If you participate you will be able to watch your business grow and meet some really interesting people along the way.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Get ready for Rockin’ the Hills
Craft beer festival set for Aug. 1

Hundreds of beers from 32 craft breweries will be featured at the inaugural Rockin’ the Hills Craft Beer Festival hosted by the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce on Aug.  1.

 This event features top craft beers and local bands, all inside Devils Lake Watersports Storage Facility, 290 Devils Lake Highway, Manitou Beach Village at Devils Lake. 

“We are very excited to showcase some of the best Michigan beers,” said event chairperson Bill Fetters, owner of Woodstock Wine & Cheese. “We have been particular about which breweries are part of our festival, so we can bring uniqueness and quality to our festival goers.”

Tickets are $25 and include 10 tasting tokens. Tickets can be purchased at the following locations:

·         Brooklyn Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce, 124 S. Main Street, Brooklyn
·         Woodstock Wine and Cheese, 6409 US-223, Addison, Michigan
·         Yoder’s, 11700 M-50, Brooklyn, Michigan

A list of featured breweries is available on the Rockin’ the Hills Facebook page. 

 There will be plenty of beer to taste, along with a few wines and ciders. 

“We are looking forward to holding this inaugural event at Devils Lake to showcase all of the development going on there,” said Cindy Hubbell, Executive Director of the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce. “It is a perfect spot, an indoor facility in case it rains, with a view of the lake and shops to visit while enjoying the festival.”

Event sponsors include Lenawee County Conference and Visitors Bureau, Mid-America Machining, Docks Unlimited, Irish Hills Collision and Another Design Company. 

Visit for more information and event schedule, or follow the Rockin’ the Hills Facebook page or Twitter @RockintheHillsMI for updates.

Contact Information:
Cindy Hubbell, Executive Director
Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce 517-592-8907

Bill Fetters, Event Chairperson
Woodstock Wine & Cheese, President 517-547-7522

Friday, June 19, 2015

2nd Annual
Irish Hills Lake & Home Tour


Lake Living at its Best

The Brooklyn-Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce is bringing back for a second year the Irish Hills Lake & Home Tour presented by Michigan Community Credit Union. This event takes place Saturday and Sunday July 11 & 12, 2015. Saturday is from 10 to 7 pm and Sunday is from 10 to 3 pm.

This tour is on 4 popular Irish Hills lakes; Lake Columbia, Devils Lake, Clark Lake, and Wampler's Lake. Each lake is being sponsored by our area real estate offices and marinas, with access points having food, vendors and more as you board one of the pontoons to tour the lake.

Lake Columbia is sponsored by ERA Reardon Realty and Boater’s Choice with the access point being Bedford Dr. Park. Devils Lake is sponsored by RE/MAX Irish Hills and Devil’s Lake Water Sports and Rob’s Rentals with everyone loading the pontoons at Devil’s Lake Yacht Club. Clark Lake is sponsored by RE/MAX Mid-Michigan/Brooklyn and Eagle Point Marina with The Pointe Bar & Grill being the access dock. Wampler’s Lake is sponsored by The Brokerage House, Irish Hills Realty and US 223 Inland Marine with access to the pontoons being at Jerry’s Pub & Restaurant.

So if you have always wanted to view the homes on these beautiful Irish Hills lakes from the lakes themselves or just learn more about the lakes, join us July 11 &12. Wrist-bands are available online at for only $10 or the day of the event at each lake for $15. Each participant will receive a program lake book and souvenir bag. Wristbands are also available by calling 517-592-8907 or from the participating realtors.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Benefits of Flextime

Here's a great article about Flextime vs. Hourly work options.  Flextime works for us here in our office, especially for us working mothers and busy chamber executives!


The Benefits of Flextime

Dr. David G. Javitch      

With our personal lives busier than ever, offering flexible work options to your employees could be the best way to keep the good ones around.

Five days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 48 to 50 weeks per year: That had been the typical work schedule for a good portion of Americans for many decades. But by the 1990's, employees were finding that the traditional workweek was sub-optimal. But why?

Though still very dedicated to their jobs, a certain percentage of the workforce was trying to adapt to the combined needs of a demanding professional life and a busy personal life. They were feeling off kilter and unbalanced. They required a more novel approach to the workweek and found it necessary to request a special, more flexible work schedule.

Their reasons for wanting this "flextime" were many and varied. In some cases, the quality of both their work performance and their home life was decreasing. Parents of young children needed time to drop those kids off at school or day care. Employees with elderly parents needed time to assist with their parents' daily care or even drop them off at elder care facilities. And at the end of the day, pick-up obligations for both kids and parents again ate into the traditional nine to five workday.

And there are reasons that go beyond the traditional family care issues. For instance, some employees need time off to attend or teach classes; other workers have a second job. Many need to adjust their schedules to avoid serious, predictable and time-consuming traffic jams. And for others, working a nontraditional part-time schedule is a lifestyle choice.

But as an employer, why would you consider offering flextime? After all, it's "different," and if you run a very traditional sort of business or operate out of habit, to see employees arriving and leaving at various times during the day can be upsetting. It can also be problematic to coordinate people, tasks and productivity when your employees aren't at work at the same time. So why should employers consider creating flexible schedules?

The main reason is to retain key, dedicated employees whose personal needs conflict with traditional work hours. If you can offer flex time, you'll gain increased productivity and worker satisfaction, along with decreased absenteeism and turnover--all great money-savers for your company!
Flextime helps create a happier, more satisfying workplace, too. Because employees are often so glad that their employers are willing to allow for a work-life time adjustment, they tend to work harder and in a more dedicated fashion to hold on to their now-perfect schedule and re-balance their lives.

Flextime Options
So just what kind of options are there to the traditional workday? Perhaps one of the oldest plans is job sharing. In this case, two workers usually each work half time, comprising one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee. For this type of plan, tasks, roles and responsibilities need to be closely coordinated to ensure optimal productivity.

A second plan allows for employees to work different hours, which usually involves them coming in to work either earlier or later than most of their counterparts. For instance, instead of working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., flextime employees might work 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Another option allows employees to alternate between a four-day week and then a five-day week, thus permitting a traditional two-day weekend followed by an extended three-day weekend. Or, if your business allows it, employees can work ten days straight (including weekends) and then enjoy four consecutive days off. Or they can work four, ten-hour days every week and then have three consecutive days off. The possibilities here are only limited by what works for your business.

In companies with peak periods, such as accounting firms or tourist businesses, employees can work many more than forty hours each week during the busy season(s), and then enjoy shorter weeks in the less-busy season(s). Closely related to this seasonal plan is "comp time" which refers to employees working more hours than usual each week but not being paid overtime for this overage. Instead, employees can leave early some days or take a day off to balance out their hours.

In many companies, some employees' job responsibilities are primarily project oriented--as soon as one job's completed, the employee can simply go on to the next task. With this type of job, an option here is for the employee to be paid on a project basis by deciding how long the task should take and what the remuneration will be for that responsibility. And the employee can take time off between projects if they finish sooner than planned. In this instance, the employee functions much like an external consultant who's hired on a project basis.

Telecommuting is a plan that incorporates characteristics from several other flextime ideas. With PDAs, computers, the internet and cell phones, employees no longer have to be "under the same roof" to accomplish their jobs. Employees can work at home all or part time and in the office part time. This plan allows employees to mix the quiet or comfort of home with the dynamics at the office. This is especially helpful if their work environment is small, crowded or noisy, and they need quiet time to get the job done.

Success Tips
If you're at all worried that your employees might take advantage of your good nature and goof off when they should be working, these tips will help ensure maximum output:

1. Your goals for any employee working flextime need to be clear. The goals must be both specific and action-oriented so they can be measured at the end of the work period. And both of you need to agree on the actual scope of work. And it's critical, especially when it comes to telecommuting, that the mode of transmitting the end result be unambiguous. For example, do you want work details or the end product to be communicated by phone, internet or in person? Are rough drafts and a phone call sufficient or do you need a polished report?

2. An employee's exact role in the company needs to be clearly defined. Each person--manager and employee--must know the expectations and responsibilities of self and others. Each person must also know exactly who does what and with whom and who is responsible to whom. This is especially true when you have employees working outside the office and communicating only via phone or e-mail. When role clarity isn't ensured, confusion, blame, dissension, antagonism and a lack of productivity often result.

3. You must determine the frequency and mode of communication you require before your employees begin working their flextime schedules. Employers vary on the amount of control and contact they want or demand from their employees. Some bosses want a written summary of a week's efforts first thing Monday morning; others are satisfied with a phone call. Still others believe that a face-to-face meeting is essential. Figure out what you need to feel comfortable with the work your employees are doing and set some guidelines.

4. Establish some regular working hours for your telecommuting employees. It seems the less often an employee is present in the office, the more that people need to get in touch with that person. The telecommuter needs to outline a usual time that he or she will be available by phone or e-mail and also set a regular time for coming in to the office. Many employers with flextime employees have discovered the concept of "core hours." This is the time all employees must be physically present at the business location for a set amount of time on a specific day. Knowing, for example, that all employees will be available for a meeting every Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. can go a long way to decreasing the anxiety of flextime.