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Showing posts from November, 2009

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I ignored my own holiday menu plan and bought a turkey. We'll be working our way through tons of turkey leftovers this week. Hope your holiday weekend was memorable and relaxing.

Now it's time to get back to work. Here are a few headlines catching my eye today:

Another survey reveals 35% of wealthy investors plan to jump back into the real estate market over the next two years. The United States - surprise! - will be the most attractive market for new property investments.

Adding it up: A new survey finds 42% of consumers would be willing to put up with more ads in return for subscription discounts.

More Americans shopped on Black Friday than last year but they spent less.

Down on the corner, out in the street: Americans who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits are turning to day laboring.

Do you know that today is "Cyber Monday," the online equivalent of Black Friday? Everyone get keyed up!

Does the Senate's health care bil…

Gen Y Reclaims the Guest Room

13% of parents in a new Pew poll say they've had an adult child move back in with them in the last 12 months.

1 in 10 young adults (between ages 18 and 34) say the poor economy has forced them to move back in with Mom and Dad. Another 12% say they've gotten roommates instead - anything to keep from moving in with Mom and Dad, I guess.

I spoke with a hiring expert not too long ago who told me that it will take members of Generation Y 10 years to get their careers back on track after this recession. He pointed to my generation, Generation X, as going through the same thing after the downturn of the early 1990s. I have to agree; the early to mid 1990s were tough for us Gen Xers. The dotcom boom made up for lost time -- for a little awhile, anyway.

But 10 years to get their careers going? Man, the Gen Yers could be living at home for awhile. Hey, parents: You might want to hold off on converting your child's bedroom into a guest room...

The Streets of San Francisco -- in 1905

I came across this music video based on actual footage filmed in downtown San Francisco in 1905, about a year before the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed much of the city.

It's surreal to watch all these people - probably all long dead by now - going about their day.

Watching the video also made me realize how temporary things can be, and how much our lives have changed within 100 years. It's really quite astounding. And if you think driving in downtown San Francisco is crazy now, wait until you see this video.

The tall building at the end of the street survived the 1906 earthquake and is still standing today. It's called the Ferry Building and is home to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, which sells organic food.

I can't help but wonder what the people in this video would have thought about fancy markets that sell food taken directly out of the ground without pesticides and processing, and the consumers who are willing to pay a lot of money for it. To them, organic w…

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Well, so much for that idea! IT survey concludes most workers aren't ready to work remotely in a crisis.

A Canadian IBM worker on paid sick leave for major depression has her benefits yanked after photos of her having happy fun times turn up on Facebook.

A new study finds one-third of workers are willing to steal company data to help a friend or family member get a job.

A recession by any other name is still a recession: Survey reveals one in five Americans were already living the recession lifestyle before the government officially called it a recession.

60% of employees currently working say they plan to seek a new job and 21% are already networking.

A group of economists announces U.S. GDP growth will be higher than expected in 2010, but will little or no job growth.

The price of gas is dropping in the United States because Americans can't afford to fill up their tanks.

No free lunch: Poll finds people in 27 countries are skeptical ab…

Employees Are Ready to Bolt

A new Right Management survey of 904 employees finds that 60% plan to find a new job as soon as they can, and 25% are actively networking and updating their resumes.

Only 13% intend to stay with their present employer.

Okay employers, you'd better get your act together and start re-recruiting your employees. But it might already be too late...

Is the Recession Making Us More Ethical?

A new report out today from the Ethics Resource Center says employees have gotten more ethical during this recession. Bring on the nice!

The number of employees who have seen misconduct on the job fell from 56% in 2007 to 49% in 2009, according to ERC's report.

But that still means roughly 50% of employees think they have seen some sort of unethical behavior at work this year. What are they witnessing, exactly? According to the report:

15% have seen retaliation

14% have seen discrimination

10% have seen improper hiring

9% have witnessed stealing or theft

7% have seen sexual harassment

The report also finds that retaliation on the job has actually increased this year. Interesting.

You can find the report here.

Hands Up! Office Burglaries Are On the Rise

The poor economy is resulting in more criminals targeting offices.

Now that I think about it, I've noticed an uptick in stories about retail employees taking down customers who try to shoplift at their stores. The idea of robbing cube farms in broad daylight is a whole new angle, however.

Anyway, it's just another side effect of the recession for employers to ponder.

New Report: U.S. Leave Policies Fall Short

I can't seem to kick this damn cold.

I've been under the weather for over a week now coughing, wheezing and leaving a Mt. Everest of used Kleenex in the garbage can.

It could be a lot worse, I guess. At least it's not H1N1. I work at home, too, so I can dress like a bag lady and no one cares. There's no pressure to show up at work because I work at home. I don't have any co-workers to sicken, either. Self-employment still has a few benefits, even in this bad economy.

Maybe that's why a new Harvard/McGill University report is catching my eye today. It finds - yet again - that the United States lags behind the rest of the world in offering benefits from sick days to parental leave.

From the story:

Of the world's 15 most competitive nations, 14 mandate paid sick leave, 13 guarantee paid maternal leave and 12 provide paid paternal leave by law, they said. Eleven provide paid leave to care for children's health and eight provide paid leave for adult family car…

Monday Morning Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye:

The recession has made Gen X even more restless and pissed off and ready for Boomers to retire.

NPD Group survey reveals 37% of U.S. consumers plan to buy all their Christmas gifts on sale. I'm surprised the figure isn't higher.

67% of non-profit executives think traditional media coverage is more effective for fundraising that social media.

Is Time gearing up to name Twitter its Person of the Year? Because annointing "You" (the American consumer) and driving the point home with that silly reflective mirror wasn't annoying enough, I guess.

Not phoning it in: Nokia's technology workers in Finland threaten to strike.

It's starting to dawn on companies that good employees might leave so they'd better try to keep them. I think it might be too little, too late for some companies.

U.S. charities can look forward to dismal giving levels this holiday season.

NASA Space Shuttle employees start their countdown to unemployment

Was Charla Nash On or Off the Clock?

I've been under the weather lately with a bad cold, and it's kept me up at night coughing.

So there I was, hacking and wheezing on the sofa at 4 a.m. the other night, when I found a recent episode of Oprah on our DVR player. I cued it up and started watching.

What I saw was startling.

It was the story of Charla Nash, a Connecticut woman mauled in February by a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis. Not just mauled, eaten. The chimp ate her face off, as well as her hands. Oprah interviewed Ms. Nash, who for the first time unveiled her disfigured face (caution: very graphic and disturbing video).

Travis belonged to Ms. Nash's friend and employer, Sandra Herold. Apparently, Ms. Herold had called Ms. Nash to ask for her help getting Travis back into his cage. Ms. Nash showed up at Ms. Herold's home-based business and somehow survived the 12-minute attack.

Now her family is suing Sandra Herold for $50 million in damages. The family is also suing the State of Connecticut for $150 mi…

ED Drugs & Harassment Lawsuits

I'm hearing whispers of an emerging workplace trend in sexual harassment lawsuits being filed against older male employees who are taking pills to treat ED, or erectile dysfunction.

Apparently, some older men are letting their minds and hands wander at work when they start taking these pills, and they're getting slapped with lawsuits.

I haven't seen any numbers yet to back up this "trend," but it's an interesting workplace dilemma if true. Stay tuned.

What's in Your Suggestion Box?

A new CareerBuilder/Harris Interactive survey asks 2,900 hiring managers to share the strangest requests employees have stuffed into the office suggestion box.

Here are a few:

Can people change their clothes in their cubicles?

Can we put a tanning bed in the break room?

Could the HR person wear nicer shoes?

Can jail time be covered under family medical leave?

You'll find more golden nuggets here. Enjoy.

In Honor of Veterans Day

On Monday, President Obama signed an executive order meant to increase the number of military veterans who work for federal agencies.

The executive order establishes an inter-agency council called the Council on Veterans Employment that will help match veterans with job openings. The council will track hiring trends and keep the president updated.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki will chair the council.

At least 24 federal agencies are gearing up under the new initiative, including the Department of Homeland Security, which just launched a new hiring website for veterans.

Hiring of veterans has increased a little bit in recent years. We'll see if this initiative brings more job opportunities to those who have served our country so well.

H1N1: Coming to a Law Near You

On Friday Rep. George Miller (D-CA) introduced H.B. 3991, which would require employers to offer up to five days of paid sick leave annually to employees who exhibit symptoms of a contagion such as the flu.

The legislation, entitled the Emergency Influenza Containment Act, would also extend paid sick leave to employees told to stay at home after being exposed to someone who is contagious. Companies with more than 15 employees would fall under the new law.

Employers who don't comply would be in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and would be subject to financial penalties.

The H1N1 virus is specifically mentioned in the bill.

If passed, the new law would expire after two years if Congress doesn't renew it.

Democrats in the House are already disagreeing over the bill's provisions, however. Critics argue it gives employers too much power over who gets to stay home, among other things.

Here's the full text of the bill, which is actually quite concise (two pages) …

Small Employers to Cut Gift Giving

The holiday season is almost here. For small employers, it means deciding which gifts to give to customers and employees.

Enter the latest American Express OPEN Small Business Holiday Monitor, a survey of 516 small business owners, which finds 11% drop since last year in the number of small employers planning to give gifts to employees. 13% fewer plan to offer year-end bonuses. Almost one-quarter (23%) won't give gifts to customers, either.

Most employees will understand that budgets are especially tight this year. They'd rather keep their jobs than get a new day timer or engraved pen, anyway.

Employers can still find cheap ways to show employees and customers their appreciation this holiday season, even if it means emailing holiday cards to customers and holding a potluck lunch for employees.

Even better, ask employees how they'd like to celebrate the holidays this year. To make it more fun, you might hold a company-wide contest where employees submit ideas that stay within …

Monday Morning Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Fears over H1N1 are changing business etiquette.

New study finds Brazil, Finland and France offer the most employee vacation time. The United States is near the bottom of the list. Canada comes in last place. Canada?

TGI...M? Mercer study concludes Monday is the most popular day for U.K. employees to call in sick. January is the most popular month to skip out on work.

U.S. worker productivity increases at fastest pace in six years. Fear of losing one's job is a good motivator to work harder.

Employers grappling with employees who show up at work with H1N1 symptoms for fear of losing their jobs.

Study concludes workers feel eight to 10 years younger after they leave a crappy work environment.

The U.S. Census Bureau is looking to hire 1,000 temporary census takers in West Virginia.

Rep. George Miller of California introduces HR 3991, which would require employers nationwide to offer five days of paid sick leave to employees sent home with …

Tragedy in Orlando

Yesterday, we had the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas.

Today, a workplace shooting is being reported at an office building in Orlando, Florida. So far, seven people are thought to be wounded and two are dead. The gunman (or woman) is apparently not in police custody and shots are still being fired inside the building.

Update: It's being reported that an ex-employee walked in to a company and opened fire.

It's a terrible reminder of what a powder keg the workplace has become in this economy. Stay safe, everyone.

Aluminum Foil is the New Plastic Wrap

We won't be buying very many Christmas gifts this year.

My husband and I have agreed not to buy a present for each other so we can spend a little more on the kids. We'll send a few small gifts to our parents and the youngest nieces and nephews. Otherwise, we're keeping a tight lid on spending this season.

I'll also clamp down on any impulse to "do up" the holidays.

Will I buy a few new Christmas ornaments this year? No.

Splurge on a Christmas light covered, head-bobbing reindeer for the front yard? Nope.

Purchase a skirt for the Christmas tree? Um, no.

Invest in some new holiday cookie cutters? I don't think so.

Snap up a snow globe that swirls snow and plays music when I press a button? Maybe next year.

I might cruise a local upscale thrift shop (oxymoron?) to see if I can find these items for pennies on the dollar, but I may walk away empty-handed depending on what's in stock. That's life when there's still month at the end of the money.

We're t…

Americans Want Better Healthcare Billing

A new TransUnion survey of recent hospital patients finds most of them can't decipher their medical bills.

A major surgery is scary enough without the cascade of never-ending, obtusely-written medical statements that pour in piecemeal for months afterward. Going through the mail can become a nerve-wracking experience. Why can't patients receive one all-encompassing bill that breaks down -- in layman's terms -- all the services they're being billed for? It doesn't seem like it should be that hard to do. Or is it?

USA: Land of the Hearing Impaired

The National Hearing Conservation Association is petitioning the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to lower acceptable noise standards in American workplaces.

NHCA says OSHA's 30-year-old noise exposure regulations are out of date and out of touch with present-day hearing research. It's asking OSHA to lower the acceptable decibel limit in U.S. workplaces from 90 to 85, which has become the global standard for maximum workplace noise exposure.

NHCA would also like to see OSHA extend these regulations to the construction, agricultural, shipbuilding and oil and gas industries. These noisy industries are not regulated for noise levels.

The Better Hearing Institute estimates 24 million Americans have untreated hearing loss, and two-thirds of them are under the age of 65.

You can access NHCA's letter to OSHA here.

Companies Think Temps & ICs are Useless

A new Manpower survey is out today, saying that more than 60% of companies worldwide don't view contingent labor -- e.g., temps, independent contractors, consultants -- as critical to their success.

54% of companies surveyed say they don't use contingent employees at all. Those who do employ them are using them for seasonal work, or for replacing employees on leave.

Manpower concludes that technology companies are the "savviest" at utilizing contingent employees.

Manpower surveyed 61,000 employers, who evidently view contingent labor's impact on their companies the same way they might view using an umbrella in a hurricane. Why bother?

Temporary employment is down, and Manpower -- surprise! -- encourages employers to consider utilizing contingent workers as the economy pulls out of this death spiral. If we ever has a repeat of the hot labor markets of the late 1990s, employers will have no choice.

Monday Morning Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Administaff's 3rd quarter earnings slide 51%. CEO says the company is "pleased" with its financial results.

Hey, put some clothes on! Gartner predicts that 70% of companies will have behavior guidelines and dress codes for online avatars by 2013.

Pentagon auditors tell Iraq contracting firm KBR to cut its headcount or pay $200 million for having too many people on payroll.

Built Ford tough? Ford has cut 45% of its North American workforce since 2006. In other news, Ford's Canadian employees just agreed to further pay cuts, while U.S. workers reject Ford's latest offer.

New Hewitt study finds half of workers who left jobs last year cashed out their 401(k)s.

In a new Universum survey, business and engineering majors say Google is the most desirable place to work.

Medical marijuana. Workplace. Combine the two, and you have a growing workplace problem.

Laid-off employees are blogging about their former employers and -- surpris…