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Alicia East

Meet the team: Elizabeth Lewis

Meet the team: Elizabeth Lewis 2163 2727 Alicia East

Elizabeth Lewis is a client relationship manager. If you have a problem, she has a solution.

Before joining the team at PayReel, Elizabeth spent seven years working with a diverse set of clients and organizations at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. She has a natural passion for building relationships and spreading joy to those around her. This has become a cornerstone to her commitment to excellence in customer care.

A native of The Garden State, Elizabeth will grow things wherever she can find the space. She also loves animals, especially horses, and is looking forward to fishing in the mountains of Colorado.

Something else: Elizabeth thinks there’s nothing tastier than steaming hot fries dipped in a vanilla milkshake!

Give our client relationship team a call at 303-526-4900. Elizabeth or one of the other team members will help you find solutions for your worker classification or payroll challenges. Go ahead. Try us.


At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes video production, live events, media, and entertainment payroll easier, faster, and seamless

How to Maintain Company Culture with a Remote Workforce

How to Maintain Company Culture with a Remote Workforce 2281 1456 Alicia East

Pixar’s cereal bar is the stuff of legend. The famous first stop for anyone who tours the studio isn’t what the company culture is built on, but it is a noteworthy expression of a company culture that cultivates creative expression, communication, and a feeling of purpose among workers.

You don’t need a cereal bar, but that feeling? That’s worth emulating. After all, the experience your workers have working with and for your company affects not just their quality of lives but your business overall, too.

Don’t misunderstand: A positive company culture is more than ping pong in the break room, nap pods, or free bagels day. In fact, you don’t need a break room, or even a workplace at all, to have a company culture.

You already work hard to foster the culture within your physical space. Here’s how you can maintain that company culture with a remote workforce.

Integrate culture into interviews and on-boarding

One way to maintain and strengthen your company’s culture when working with a variable, contract, or remote workforce is to start from day one. Provide a culture orientation that introduces new team members to the culture. Whatever form the message takes it should do the following:

Explain what your culture is
Define your mission statement and core values
Give examples of the culture in action

Share this information with new team members as part of the on-boarding process. Make it available for all employees to reference. Train your hiring managers and staffing or crewing agency to make sure potential workers are a good fit for both the role and the culture. You could also create a peer mentoring program where teammates on-board each other and train new members on the brand.

By integrating your culture from the very first touchpoint, you can set it up for success — no matter how many miles separate teammates.

Foster communication

In co-located offices, important information often gets exchanged in break rooms, hallways, impromptu meetings, and at after-work drinks. With a remote team, you have to go out of your way to overcome the “watercooler gap.” Create digital opportunities for teammates to connect and collaborate.

Tools such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and online collaboration methods like Zoom, Slack, and Google Hangouts can help shrink the miles. Detailed meeting notes and recorded discussions can help make sure the right people are in the loop, even if they’re in different time zones.

Use tools that reflect and support your culture

Just like connections, the personality and culture of co-located offices develop through the interactions they’re home to. It evolves through the proverbial watercooler talks, whiteboard sessions, inside jokes, and shared experiences. Your remote team (or team of short-term contractors) can develop something similar through the tools you use every day.

As Nick Francis said, “A culture’s effectiveness revolves around how information flows.” That means you need to adopt tools and processes that will foster communication and that will also serve as an extension and vehicle of the culture.

Engage workers

Another way you can help maintain company culture across your remote workforce is by creating opportunities for social interaction and employee engagement. While a weekly happy hour wouldn’t be realistic, something like a virtual book club could be. Or if you’re aiming to build camaraderie or foster teamwork, you could host a monthly game night where workers team up for an online video game tournament.

It doesn’t have to be all fun and games. You could host monthly lunch-and-learns over Zoom or Google Hangouts, or you could create a Slack channel where workers can recognize and give each other kudos. You might also consider implementing weekly video updates where you share company-wide news, birthday announcements, or whatever’s culturally relevant to your organization. There are countless ways you can engage remote workers. Find what works for your team and make it a habit.

The bottom line

It’s worth investing your remote workforce’s culture. Companies with strong cultures tend to see higher rates of productivity, be more profitable, and retain top talent. Thankfully, you don’t need a headquarters to reap the benefits of positive company culture.

Learn how partnering with PayReel to manage your contingent workforce can free up your resources to focus on strengthening your culture and bottom line.


At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes video production, live events, media, and entertainment payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

When a payroll company steals—and what you can do to protect yourself

When a payroll company steals—and what you can do to protect yourself 5472 3648 Alicia East

Here we are again: Fraud. Lives disrupted. An FBI investigation.

This time, a New York State-based payroll company is accused of diverting $35 million from employee accounts. As the details come together, it’s worth asking how you can protect yourself.

Why might a business trust a payroll company in the first place?

Trusting a company to handle huge chunks of change (along with your reputation) ain’t no small thing. So why would employers process payroll through a third party?

While paying people may seem like a simple task, it can actually be very complicated, time-consuming, and laden with risk. In many cases, employers hand off payroll to third-party companies to avoid having to navigate the minefield of laws governing taxes, family leave, and other regulations that come with running a business and paying employees. Outsourcing payroll is a way for companies to mitigate risks and offload a time-consuming, labor-intensive task to a company that specializes in that area. It’s like having a whole HR team without having to hire an internal HR team.

How could $35 million just disappear?

When businesses outsource payroll, they send a sum to cover all expenses (including payroll and taxes) to the payroll company who then distributes the paychecks.

A simple typo could lead to an employee receiving extra pay. In that case, a payroll company has the authority to retroactively cancel the check or even withdraw the overage from the account directly. It seems in this case, the company not only withdrew funds specified for legitimate paychecks, but went even further by withdrawing higher amounts than the original paychecks. The result: $35 million in missing funds.

If the investigation confirms the surface facts of this case, this is one egregious scandal. The offending company has since shuttered its doors and scrubbed social media accounts, leaving individuals scrambling for answers and companies figuring out how to pay their employees.

That. Sucks. So how do I find a reputable company?

Good question. Employers trust payroll companies to manage huge sums of money and, as this case shows, problems can have cascading effects. If the money doesn’t make it into an employee’s account or shows up late, said employee may face overdraft/late fees. From there, the frustration and time to fix the problems only build. What’s worse: even if they’ve hired a payroll company, employers can still be held responsible for payroll issues. So yeah, you could say it’s pretty important to get it right. It’s worth doing your due diligence to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate company.

Here are some factors to consider:

Longevity: A company that’s been around for 30 years without scandal is a good sign. Chances are they’re not running a long game of doing the hard work to build a solid reputation and systems that work just to defraud people later.

Security measures: Payroll companies have HUGE amounts of personally identifiable information (PII) running through their systems on a daily basis. With that level of info, they must have rock solid security measures in place. Make sure your company:

  • Encrypts everything at multiple levels
  • Treats all sensitive information as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and in accordance with HIPAA recommendations
  • Doesn’t allow any sensitive data to go offshore
  • Has regular third-party security checks and an annual penetration test
  • Has a redundancy system that backs up and saves data if something goes wrong

Insurance/guarantees: Even once you’ve done the work of ensuring the above, you still want to find out exactly who is on the hook if a mistake does happen. If a payroll company doesn’t submit payroll taxes on time, for example, the company could be held responsible. You need some assurance that if the payroll company messes something up, it will also clean it up.

Ask questions: Corrupt behaviors tend to start with warning signs. If you think something may be awry, start asking questions or hire someone to look into it.

Bottom line

Most of this kind of fraud, while incredibly frustrating and costly, is highly preventable. As usual, the best approach for protecting yourself is preventing problems in the first place. Any cost or perceived hassle of doing your research and hiring a reputable company (👋 ) in the first place pales in comparison to the potential cost of lax research.


About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes video production, live events, media, and entertainment payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

Mythbusters: Two truths and two lies about worker classification

Mythbusters: Two truths and two lies about worker classification 2766 2766 Alicia East

Laws around worker classification are getting extra attention right now. Some people are even expressing concern that proposed changes threaten free press. We thought it was high time to address some of the myths that get businesses in trouble. Read to the end for the super good news!

Worker classification myth #1:

After a certain amount of time working for you, an independent contractor must be reclassified as an employee.

It’s true that rules can be complicated and vary from state to state. Still, this perception overly complicates the issue. We think this myth likely comes from one-time best practices wrongly interpreted as hard and fast rules. Wherever the myth comes from, we’ve seen clients build all sorts of policies to get around the supposed law. We’ve seen them hire workers for six months, drop them for a period of time, and then rehire them, for example. Some companies even refuse to rehire independent contractors after working with them for a certain amount of time because they’re afraid they’ll have to provide all of the benefits associated with hiring an employee. Not only are these policies time consuming, they can hurt businesses that rely on trustworthy freelancers.

There is a fine line between an employee and an independent contractor and laws surrounding worker classification are confusing. Still, we’ve seen companies get unnecessarily complicated—going to great lengths to comply with nonexistent rules. We think it’s time for everyone to bust the myth and bust free from self-imposed restrictions.

Here’s the liberating truth: If you find a good contractor and want to use them over and over, you can. There are rules, which vary by location, but there are also legal ways to keep your best people working for you.

Worker classification myth #2: I don’t need to waste my brain space on this

Maybe this one persists not because of misinformation but simply because we want to believe it. Sort of like the 5-second rule? Both are bogus, btw.

When laws change frequently, big money is on the line, and rules are complicated/vary from state to state, it’s tempting to ignore the issue until it shows up on your doorstep dressed in red with a pitchfork and horns. So.much.braining.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but even if you’re not in California, this thing affects you. That’s not only because other states, including New York and Michigan, are thinking about making changes too, but also because every state has its own rules. These rules can affect everything from the price you pay on a ride-sharing app to where and how you get your haircut.

The consequences for businesses who don’t comply can be damaging to your reputation and pocketbook (fines, fees, and lawsuits, oh my!).

The truth that can save your brain (along with your wallet and your reputation):

No matter where you are, you cannot afford to ignore worker classification rules, but here’s another happy truth: If you don’t want to/can’t get into the nitty gritty details yourself, you can rely on a qualified partner (👋) to do it for you. Reach out to our team of experts on all things freelance. Get away from the burden of onboarding, payrolling and classifying your workers and focus on what you love.

Live from the Shark Tank: Principles to do business by

Live from the Shark Tank: Principles to do business by 4675 3016 Alicia East

Shark Tank is legendary for the sharks’ personalities, the on-air humbling of would-be entrepreneurs just a little too big for their britches, and of course the on-air deals that make millions for all involved. The best pitches, like this one, identify the problem and solution in just a few sentences, but the pitch alone isn’t everything. The pitchers who are most effective—whether making a deal on set or building a business when they leave it—demonstrate the following principles.

Five principles from the Shark Tank

Story sells

Despite identifying a myriad of issues with the product, Barbara Corcoran invested in a line of swimsuits, not because the business was perfect, but because one of the entrepreneurial hopefuls told a compelling story. The story wasn’t about the swimsuits or about business at all—it was all about love and persistence. It demonstrated some of the qualities that make a good businessperson. Watching it all play out, it seems clear story was the kicker in striking the deal. Being able to communicate your business quickly and effectively is a plus, whether you’re on the proverbial elevator or in a room full of potential investors, but in many cases, the real product is you and your story.

Poise under pressure pays dividends

Watch how this one goes down. Entrepreneur Jeremy Brandt quickly gets four nos for his “Hire Santa” business. Had this elf buckled under pressure when all but Mr. Wonderful declined, he wouldn’t have been in position to negotiate and get the deal he wanted…and with a shark who had already bowed out. Barbara Corcoran—Brandt’s first pick—said she didn’t feel there was room for an investor in his business. Still, after Brandt confidently negotiated with Mr. Wonderful and Daymond John, she swooped in at the end and offered him the deal he really wanted. He was clearly prepared to negotiate and his poise paid off.

No doesn’t mean never

Check out the story of Doorbot/Ring. Every shark passed on investing in the product. These are the pros. There’s never an easier time to give up than when the so-called experts decline involvement. And yet the Doorbot became Ring and went on to become a booming product in the booming business of home security. A no doesn’t always mean it’s over. To bring in another example, JK Rowling got “loads of rejections” before finally landing her Harry Potter franchise with Bloomsbury. Persistence pays off. A “no” may simply mean it’s not the right time or the right team, but not necessarily that it’s not the right product.

Humility is better than the best product

In the same video (above) at minute 1:30, Copa Di Vino’s owner James Martin brings wine by the cup—along with a whole lot of attitude—onto the show. Not just once, but twice. While every shark liked the product, nobody liked the man behind it. He admittedly came back the second time simply to gloat. He smugly sipped wine while playing coy with offers from the sharks. It was very off-putting. The old adage that people want to do business with people like they like is true. Each shark groaned at the thought of doing with business with him. Barbara Corcoran said, “He would’ve ruined our lives.” No matter how great your product or service, it behooves you not to be a total pain in the ass.

Do your due diligence

This is probably the least glamorous part of the whole thing (which is why it happens off-air) but even after striking a deal, the sharks do their research before putting their signatures on anything. They research entrepreneurs’ claims thoroughly and do their due diligence before moving forward. You better believe they also make sure business dealings are clean, worker classification is airtight, etc. This stuff—the unsexy, totally-necessary detail stuff about doing business? This is PayReel’s bread and butter. We know the laws and rules so clients can get back to doing what they do best.

Meet the Client Relationship Management team: Most likely to turn a problem into a solution

Meet the Client Relationship Management team: Most likely to turn a problem into a solution 2016 1512 Alicia East

Today, we’re introducing you to our CRM team. If you come to us with a problem, this is the team most likely to stop at nothing to make sure you leave with a solution. Better yet, we’ll do our best to keep you from having any problems in the first place.

Meet our fearless leader:

Brittney Clark

Most likely to wear flip flops. Year-round. In Colorado.

Brittney has been with the company for a year and a half. She started as a Client Relationship Manager and is now leading the team of eight, making sure things get done correctly and on time. Fun fact: Brittney sews her twin 5-year-old daughters’ clothes and is particular about pens (RSVP brand in blue ink, thank you very much).

Meet our client relationship managers:

Our account managers take care of customer service, run payroll, and work directly with employees.

Sadie Black

Most likely to be a stand-up comedian.

Sadie is a problem solver among problem solvers. She’s a go-getter who thrives on fixing the “unfixable.” She’s outspoken, energetic, and the first one to brighten up Monday with a funny joke. 

Liz Kendrick

Most likely to climb all the 14ers in Colorado.

This girl has a document and a color code for everything. You could look at her files today and know how she does all processes and procedures. She grew up in Aspen and returns to the mountains every chance she gets. She has 3 big dogs that love the outdoors as much as she does and if she decides to conquer all 58 mountains over 14K feet in Colorado, you better believe she’ll have an organized system to accomplish the task. 

Michael Harder

Most likely to start a brewery.

Michael is a fun-loving, super friendly guy who just recently moved to Denver from Iowa. He’s a fast learner and an asset to the team. 

Elizabeth Lewis

Most likely to be in a choir.

This one is a gimme because Elizabeth is actually in her church choir. She also sings her way through workdays, lighting up the office with “Joy” by For King and Country. That seems about right for her happy, cheery personality. 

Michelle Bowersox

Most likely to talk to animals.

Michelle is our team encyclopedia. Who needs Google? If you need an answer, just find Michelle. She’s also the Mama Bear of the team and of her two dogs—Jack Daniel and Dakota—and a cat named Glitter.

Meet our Payroll Specialist and newest team member:

Phalla Holton

Most likely to become a chef.
Phalla’s mom’s side of the family is filled with chefs and cooks. Wouldn’t you like to go to that family reunion?  Phalla isn’t new to payroll, but she is new to the team so she’s in the middle or learning the processes and how she can best support.
E-verify - PayReel

Immigration in the workplace: What you need to know to get it right

Immigration in the workplace: What you need to know to get it right 3916 2769 Alicia East

Immigration is one of the hottest topics in politics and much of the White House’s rhetoric on the subject (including the latest announcement) centers around employment. While employers may not make the policies, they do carry a great deal of responsibility in ensuring their employees are eligible to work in the United States.  

Let’s start with The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA):

This is the foundation for the rest of the article. I-9 and E-Verify are simply tools to support compliance with the IRCA. Read the government info for the definitive legalese, but in a nutshell, this act prohibits employers from:

  • Knowingly hiring unauthorized employees
  • Keeping an unauthorized person employed once they know
  • Knowingly falsifying an unauthorized individual’s paperwork
  • Knowingly accepting falsified documents
  • Discriminating against authorized workers due to national origin or citizenship status
  • Refusing to honor appropriate documents

According to the U.S, Customs Control and Immigration, penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ an unauthorized foreign national range from $375 to $16,000 per violation. 

Notably, these sanctions, as well as the burden to supply an I-9, do not apply to independent contractors (ICs). Since inappropriately classing workers as IC’s can lead to hidden immigration risks, we’ll do our customary shout-out to proper worker classification here.   

Form I-9

Form I-9 is a federal mandate for all employers. “Mandate” is short for: we’ll make you sorry if you don’t comply. An employer must submit the I-9 in accordance with the government’s guidelines. 

It has three sections. In the first, the employee confirms that he or she is authorized to work in the U.S. 

The second section is where employers confirm that they’ve examined the required documents to verify the employee’s identity and eligibility and that the documents appear genuine. This employer must be complete and sign this section within three days of the employee’s start date. 

Employers complete the third section if they need to reverify an employee’s work authorization status or if an employee is rehired within three years of when the Form I-­9 was originally completed.

Additionally, forms must be meticulously completed. Any inaccuracy can cause a fine. And yes, there are I-9 audits and they are on the rise.

Meeting the requirements of Form I-9 makes up the lion’s share of the administrative work when onboarding new or returning employees.

How does E-Verify work?

E-Verify is an additional tool to support employers with IRCA compliance. For certain federal contractors, using E-Verify is mandatory, but employers outside these parameters may choose to use E-Verify voluntarily in conjunction with Form I-9. 

E-Verify allows employers to enter information into an online system and then compares the employee’s identification with government databases including the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. 

When everything matches, the employee gets confirmed. If something doesn’t match, it comes back with a tentative non-confirmation (TNC). From there, the employee can follow a process to update the information that caused the mismatch. Even when everything checks out, there is a formalized process to update everything within the government records. If something doesn’t check out, it can trigger loss of employment or an immigration event. 

What are the challenges of using E-Verify?

Employers who choose to use E-Verify should know it increases the administrative burden within the company. Appropriate company representatives must be very knowledgeable and pass a test before implementing it in the workplace. Once implemented, it must be used consistently across all employees. This burden was particularly notable during the government shutdown, when E-Verify was inoperational, causing additional delays and headaches. 

Additionally, President Trump expressed concern that it may be too tough for some employers. On a Fox interview (around the 5-minute mark) on Sunday, he discussed the possibility of using E-Verify as part of his immigration plan, but said, “The one problem is E-Verify is so tough that in some cases, like farmers, they’re not – they’re not equipped for E-Verify. […] I used it when I built the hotel down the road on Pennsylvania Avenue. I use a very strong E-Verify system. And we would go through 28 people – 29, 30 people before we found one that qualified.”

Employers aren’t the only ones affected, this Washington Post article claims E-Verify may hurt legal workers. Here at PayReel, we’ve seen legal workers end up with a mismatch through the system. It takes at least one live visit to the Social Security Administration to clear it up. 

What now?

As long as we have people entering the country, we’ll be discussing the economics and ethics around immigration. 

Employers must develop an effective compliance program to minimize liability or hire a partner to take on the liability. 

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with contingent workforce management and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

30 years crew connection - PayReel

30 years and 5 lessons

30 years and 5 lessons 800 430 Alicia East

Everyone can see opportunities, but successful people act on them. With a 2-year-old, a newborn, and a home under construction, Heidi McLean had every reason not to fill the need she saw in her world. But instead of making excuses, she went for it—starting a business that connected the film crews she knew from her freelance news work with the companies that needed them. Crew Connection started with just Heidi, incorporated a month later and hired its first employee within a year. When the need for contingent workforce management became clear, PayReel rose to meet it. Together, the sister companies employ about 20 full-time employees and consistently rank among the top Colorado Companies to Watch.

A few decades of experience provide some great tips for anyone looking to grow personally or professionally:

Be persistent

If it seems overwhelming at first and at many points after, that’s because it is. Take small steps. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving slowly, just as long as you’re moving forward.

Be flexible

Sometimes progress is painfully slow, and sometimes growth happens so fast you have to scramble to keep up. Every stage of life and business brings its own challenges (or opportunities). The sooner you accept that there will be endless challenges, the better. Just grow with it.

Be willing to evolve

The minute you settle for what is, you get behind and lose the joy of pursuing what could be. Crew Connection couldn’t get too comfortable operating with the phone lines and fax machines of its inception. With the launch of CrewCloud—which offers customizable online crewing—the business has evolved for the digital age. Being industry pioneers is hard, but a lot of fun.

Surround yourself with the right team

The luxury of being able to shut up is a direct result of being surrounded by advisors and team members who are smarter than you and whose strengths function well together.

Attitude is the ultimate trump card

For team dynamics, attitude trumps everything. If you have to choose between working with someone inexperienced with a positive outlook or one with all the training, but a sour demeanor, the choice is easy. You can develop skills, but a bad attitude is like poison—deadly and difficult to remove. Once it’s in the system, things go downhill fast.

THANK YOU for 30 amazing years.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risk associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection puts a world of international video and production service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our professional crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Sign up on, call us at 720-531-9000, or shoot us an email at

food prep - PayReel

How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices

How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices 2428 2428 Alicia East

What’s worse than going to the grocery store hungry? Working all day without opportunity, time, or access to food that’s actually food. That’s when a Big Mac and Biggie fries start to seem like a good idea. These recipes provide an alternative to the “just get something in my belly” options we sometimes have working on location. In about an hour, you’ll get week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. And since many of our readers spend long days working live events without access to microwaves and refrigerators, the snacks, sides, and lunches included here can be kept safely in an insulated lunchbox and don’t need to be heated on-site.

These tips will take your on-the-go meals from ho hum to finger-licking good


food prep

These sous vide egg bites (sous vide not required) from My Forking Life are creamy, satisfying, and highly versatile (substitute veggies and meats as you see fit). They take about 10 minutes to prep and will feed you for the whole week. Note that in addition to a blender, you’ll need a silicone food mold and electric pressure cooker.

Don’t have the tools? Try kitchn’s similar option made in the oven. It’ll take a little longer, but the bonus is that you can make more at once and freeze them to last even longer than a week or to feed more members of your family.


Another 10 minutes of prep and you’ll have a versatile chicken or tuna salad you can eat with veggies, crackers, or bread. The Wellness Mama has a great recipe if you want to make the chicken from scratch and have it for dinner the night before (you’re an overachiever and I’m secretly jealous). If you’re already going through the trouble of making dinner, why not make a little extra? That’ll allow you to break up the week and pack leftovers for a hot meal or two. No microwave? No problem. Just heat your meal in the morning and a good quality thermos (here’s a guide) will keep it palatable for 5 hours.


veggies food prep

Take another 10 minutes to slice up some veggies (bell peppers, carrots, and celery are excellent for cutting ahead), peel or chop fruit, and cut cheese cubes for your sides. Nuts or Real Food with Dana’s simple trail mix are other great side options with minimal prep.


food prep larabar

Another 10 minutes of prep will get you these way-better-than-store-bought “Larabars” by 100 Days of Real Food. The ingredients are embarrassingly simple and when I don’t have cashews, I sub any mix of other nuts and the bars have always been delightful.

The process from prep to cleanup

Here’s how to maximize every precious minute.

  1. Get all your ingredients and tools out on the counter.
  2. Blend up those sous vide bites and throw them in the oven or pressure cooker.
  3. Prep Larabars and put in the freezer to set.
  4. Prep your chicken or tuna salad and sides.
  5. Clean all the tools and dishes that aren’t currently in use.
  6. Slice the Larabars.
  7. Remove the sous vide bites.
  8. For super duper overachievers, you can pack up your lunches for the whole week while the bites cool. That means less cleanup and prep during the week, but a little more time up front. It’ll also require you to have enough lunchboxes (these and these are some of my faves) for the job.
  9. Finish cleanup.
  10. Feel like a champ for setting yourself up to eat like a grownup.

Bottom line

Eating nutritious food is hard enough. Doing it on the go or in the middle of a long day and without access to a microwave is practically a miracle. But with a little bit of work up front, you can say goodbye to junky handfuls of nothingness.

*The definition of “real food” is probably about as controversial as politics, so I will include a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist or doctor and am simply including recipes that contain real food as I understand it. None of these links are affiliate links. I am simply sharing resources I, the queen of making regrettable food choices on the run, have found helpful in my very busy life. 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.