In the latest Weekly Wright Report:
- Installing a Pool? Be Careful Before You Dive In – read now
- Your Loneliest Employees Are Working From Home – read now
Installing a Pool? Be Careful Before You Dive In
Many property owners imagine owning a backyard in-ground pool with a nice deck and pool house. Before you move forward with fulfilling your dream of owning a pool, you should be aware of some of the legal requirements and limitations. This article is focused on property owners in Baltimore County; however, each jurisdiction has its own requirements for private swimming pools.
The first question to ask is where can the pool be located on the property. Baltimore County Zoning Regulations (B.C.Z.R.) restrict the location of the pool to the rear yard where it may only occupy up to 40% of the rear yard. If your property is on a corner lot, the pool must be located only in the back third of the lot furthest removed from the street. It can then only occupy up to 50% of such third. Baltimore County treats a swimming pool as an accessory structure that contributes to the comfort of the occupants of the primary structure, the residence.
Second, are there any other County Regulations affecting the installation of a new swimming pool? The Baltimore County Code requires what they call an “adequate enclosure” surrounding either the entire property or the pool area in order to make the pool inaccessible to small children. The minimum pool depth triggering the enclosure is two feet and the enclosure itself (typically a fence) may not be less than 4 feet above the ground. Self-latching gates with a minimum height of 4 feet must also be installed. The County allows enclosures other than a fence such as a natural barrier, hedge or some other protective device only if approved by the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections.
Third, besides the actual pool construction, do I need anything else? In addition to the Zoning and Code Regulations described above, a homeowner will have to obtain various permits from the County prior to and during the construction before the pool may be open for enjoyment. These permits include, but are not necessarily limited to, fencing, plumbing, electrical, and building (for pools larger than 250 square feet). If you intend to have your pool heated with natural gas or propane, additional inspections and permits will be necessary. A reputable pool company should handle the obtaining of all necessary permits for you. Once completed, the only thing left is for you and your family to enjoy the pool.
Your Loneliest Employees Are Working From Home
While workplace technology and social media have provided companies more ways than ever to communicate both internally and externally, they have also contributed to employee loneliness and isolation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics, Americans today spend only 39 minutes a day in face-to-face conversations but watch close to 3 hours of TV and videos. Younger generations are lonelier than older generations, probably because they grew up looking at screens compared to another’s eyes when communicating. It also comes as no surprise that lonely employees tend to be less productive.
Today, over one-third of employees work remotely at least some of the time and of those employees, two-thirds are disengaged, even when they are physically at the workplace. Consequently, workplace relationships and commitment to the company are weaker. So, while it’s a perk to have the freedom and flexibility, it comes with a cost of isolation.
So how to combat workplace loneliness?
Consider balancing remote work with in-person interactions at the office. Create opportunities for human connections. Build loyalty and connections with high impact/low cost social events. Ensure leaders are getting to know each worker on a personal level. One-on-one lunch meetings or interactive company events go far to boost morale, create loyalty and foster connections. Always ensure all workers are recognized as team members, and their personal needs are supported.
*This article was adapted from HR Magazine’s article All the Lonely People: Why face-to-face time is more important than FaceTime (November/December 2018) following an interview with author Dan Schawbel, author of Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation (DaCapo Long Life, 2018).
Want more? Visit the Weekly Wright Report page to browse past issues.