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Showing posts from August, 2013

Survey Says Have Fun Working Over Labor Day Weekend

It's the Friday before Labor Day, when any work feels like labor as you watch your co-workers watch the clock and halfheartedly shuffle papers around their desks before bolting out the door 30 minutes early for the long weekend. But not you, my friend. No, no, no. You've drawn the short straw this year and get to work on Labor Day, the day we've set aside as a federal holiday since 1894. Rest assured that you won't be alone in your laborious misery: a new Bloomberg BNA Holiday Practices Survey reveals that nearly 40% of employers will "maintain operations" this weekend and require at least "some" employees to be at work. After all, someone has to make sure the lights are blinking on the server, customers aren't able to return items without a receipt, stupid mistakes are fixed in the report, female shoppers are still being deceived by modern sizing, car owners are getting up-sold on oil filters they don't need, tepid food orders are return…

Workplace Trends: The Pavlov Poke

Hey, managers. Are employees missing deadlines and generally wasting time because they're constantly checking social media for new updates? If so, two Ph.D. students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a way to face down this time toilet and get employees' attention back where it belongs: on the work! The two Ph.D. students, Robert Morris and Daniel McDuff, realized that they were wasting a combined 50 hours per week on social media instead of writing their dissertations. Wait a second. Is Facebook still interesting? It's the same five updates again and again these days. Besides, I thought employees were wasting precious work time on Vine, the logical progression of our ever-shortening attention spans. What could be better than a 5-second video on repeat loop over and over and over and over and over and over and over again? Anyway, Morris and McDuff decided to invent something, since they go to MIT. The result is The Pavlov Poke, a device th…

What Will You Do For National "Just Because" Day?

I've already written a post for today, but I'm writing a quick second post to remind everyone that today is National Just Because Day 2013! So what will you do for your co-workers and the rest of humanity today "just because"? Let's all stop and think about it together, just because. Of course, it would be preferable to be helpful rather than hindering to your fellow co-workers and the rest of humanity on National Just Because Day 2013. For example, you might volunteer to brew a new pot of coffee after taking the last cup instead of leaving the task to someone else. Be more thoughtful and less self-absorbed. Be kind, rewind. Don't worry, be happy. You get the idea. Today, or at least what remains of it, is your opportunity to pay it forward a little bit by doing something nice...just because. So refill your co-worker's stapler after using up all the staples, just because. Refrain from office gossip, just because. Hold the door open for the person behind…

Labor Day Survey Plunges Into the Dirty Office Restroom

Labor Day is almost here! In honor of the occasion, commercial hand washing products manufacturer Bradley Corporation has released its fifth annual Healthy Hand Washing Survey that examines the state of the average company restroom and the cleanliness habits of the U.S. workforce in general. Hold your nose and breathe through your mouth, because we're going in!Bradley Corporation surveyed 1,015 American employees earlier this month, and verging on all of them (93%) said that how well a company maintains its restrooms reveals just how much it cares about its employees. First, the good news: 61% of employees rate the state of the office restroom as "excellent" or "very good." Now for the bad news: 41% surveyed have experienced "trouble" in the office restroom ranging from terrible smells to clogged toilets to soap dispensers that are either empty, jammed or leave soapsplosions on the counters. Isn't someone else going to clean it up? Sure, right …

Calling Out Co-workers Who Always Put You On Speakerphone

You're on the phone with a co-worker when you suddenly feel like you're talking into the bottom of a tin can. Oh, no. Your smartphone-wielding co-worker has put you on speakerphone again for all the world to hear! Here's how to make these co-workers talk to the hand. We all have a speakerphoneophile in our lives these days, but it can be even worse in the workplace where confidentiality remains important. Who hasn't been roaming the grocery aisles, the mall, a casual dining establishment, or a city street as a duly employed person speaks way too loudly to a co-worker over speakerphone about a demanding client, a project gone wrong, or the lazy summer intern? Please tell me that I'm not the only one. Believe it or not, there are many people who still prefer one-to-one, speaker-less phone conversations, particularly regarding work-related things. Self-conscious and long-range thinking professionals do not want to share the deets of their day or the pros and cons…

Friday Funnies: I Forgot My Phone

I haven't posted a Friday Funnies for awhile, but I think this 2:10 video clip is worth the time. Of course it's now Saturday (I got distracted), but 24 hours later this video remains a sad and succinct commentary on our modern times. I dedicate it to anyone who is still trying to forge real, in-person conversations with others. Keep on keeping on.

Do You Work With Someone Who Always Thinks Out Loud?

You're trying to work, but all you can hear is your co-worker muttering to herself again and giving you the play-by-play of everything she is doing. I know that you can't hear yourself think as she blathers on, and so I'll cut to the chase: how, exactly, are you going to get her to shut the hell up?Your loquacious co-worker's running commentary starts in the morning and goes all day. It doesn't matter what this co-worker is working on; you'll get to hear her inner monologue all day long from two or three feet away.Where did I put that? Oh, here. Okay. But what is this? This doesn't match that. Why not? I'm hungry. Are you hungry? I brought a snack, where did I put it? I can't remember. I'd better get this done first, though. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Okay. Where did I just put that piece of paper? Oh. Why did I put it in there when I just had it in my hand?! Silly me! Wait. Why don't these numbers match up? I'm so tired today. I forgot to s…

Do You Work With Someone Who Always Leaves Early?

Congratulations. Only 30 minutes until quitting time, the wonderful time of day when the proverbial whistle blows and you can get up, punch out, and go home! But not your co-worker, who is already plotting the escape plan she'll put into action a full 7-to-10 minutes before quitting time. Again. Let's vent about the co-worker who always leaves early! First, I'm assuming your job allows you to put somewhat of a crowbar's separation between work and home. It can be an old-fashioned concept in our mobile work culture and in certain jobs, but plenty of jobs still require standard, 8-to-5 work hours and a sincere dedication to follow-through. And by "follow-through," I mean working ALL THE WAY UP TO QUITTING TIME, which is an old-fashioned concept your flee-the-scene co-worker doesn't seem to grasp. We've all worked with someone who always leaves early. This co-worker is the counterpart to the employee who is always late. In some cases, it's the sa…

Your Crappy Co-workers Are Making Your Food Taste Bad

We already know that they can give you diabetes, but your co-workers aren't stopping there. No, siree. A new study finds that unfair treatment at work is changing the taste of your food! Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Sauder School of Business had a group of study participants contemplate their fair and unfair workplace experiences -- how did that make you feel? -- and then rate how "strong" their food tasted. The researchers also had study participants watch scenes from The Office, because who doesn't like watching this show, but only the first two or three seasons when it was really funny? Anyway, the study participants who focused on sharing their worst job experiences reported that their food tasted...stronger. In fact, the study participants who spit-talked over food about a past, unfair work situation said that the food tasted as much as 10% stronger compared to their study cohorts who shared their most awesome work experiences. Eve…

"Desk Rage" Is All the Rage These Days At Work

Forget road rage during the morning commute, because we're saving our best anger moments for when we're sitting at our desks! A new Old Jamaica Extra Fiery Ginger Beer survey of British employees -- who, may I remind you, are pretty much our drunk cousins -- reveals that more than half (51%) are "desk raging" when something doesn't go quite right at work. In fact, the average British employee is "desk raging" TWO TIMES A DAY on average. So there's a morning rant and an afternoon rant, and a lot of under-the-breath muttering in-between! What is "desk rage," you ask? Well, it's pretty much what you think it is: unbridled fury over something relatively minor in the larger scheme of things. For British employees, this means someone didn't brew a new pot of tea or not having proper time for a lunch break. Mondays are the worst for desk rage incidents, which really isn't all that surprising when you think about it. Six o'clock …

Study: Single Employees Get Singled Out For Being Single

Are you a single, childless employee who feels like your co-workers with kids get all the breaks? Simply put, do you feel singled out for being single? Well, a recent study coupled both questions and shows that you may just be right! Duh, as if you didn't already know this as you watch your co-worker waltz out the door early AGAIN to tend to aforementioned children instead of finishing the report that's due tomorrow. As PsychCentral reports:Although the research in this area is preliminary, a recent small study highlights that single workers feel more mistreated and stigmatized in the workplace than their married counterparts. Single workers may resent their married cohorts receiving more flexibility, in terms of duties and hours worked, alongside other real or perceived benefits. In one recent study conducted by Wendy Casper, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, a diverse group of 59 singles from various work sectors, ages 22-70 were recruited an…

Thumb's Up: Managers Are Turning Their Backs On Facebook

A new survey finds senior managers are significantly less interested in being a fellow professional's Facebook friend than they were just four years ago. Gee, was it something we said? OfficeTeam recently asked more than 1,000 senior managers the insightful question: "How comfortable would you feel about being friended by the following individuals on Facebook?" These "individuals" included their bosses, co-workers, the people they manage, clients and vendors. And you know what these senior managers said? I'll tell you what they said. Eh, it's mid-August and so I'll let OfficeTeam's press release do the heavy lifting instead:Here's some "friend"-ly advice for those interested in reaching out to work colleagues on Facebook: Proceed with caution. More than six in 10 senior managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said they are uncomfortable being friended by their bosses (68 percent) or the employees they supervise (62 percent), up from 47 pe…

Fast And Furious: How To Clean Your Work Car In 30 Seconds

Summer is winding down, and I've been driving the kids around town for the last several weeks. Between all of the fun road trips and occasional Happy Meals, I'm realizing that the back seat of our car is starting to look a little bit like a war zone. Okay, I exaggerate slightly, but it does need some work. It's been a busy summer, and let's just say that it's going to take a lot of quarters and a generous spraying of Armor All to get this situation under control. Frankly, I'm just glad that I don't have to drive a VIP (Very Important Professional) anywhere important today. At least until I can get around to vacuuming and spot cleaning the interior, that is. When it comes right down to it, "Can I get a lift?" is one of the most fear-inducing questions for any working parent -- or really, any employee without children these days who uses his or her car as a part-time (or full-time) office space en route to another VIM (Very Important Meeting) wh…

The Millennials Are the Biggest Tattletales In the Workplace

Be very careful, older employees (and by that, I mean any employee over, say, age 28) because the average, tech-savvy Millennial employee is the biggest snitch in the workplace! A recent Ethics Resource Center report entitled Generational Differences in Workplace Ethics rats out the Millennial generation as the biggest workplace tattletales. These employees not only tend to "observe" more unethical behavior in the workplace, they are also more likely to report it -- putting them on par with the oldest workers in the workforce, only without the eye contact and proper social graces. In fact, a whopping 67% of Millennials will gladly tattle on a co-worker they see taking care of personal business on work time, abusing the use of office "resources," or any perceived instances of lying, stealing, or cheating on time cards. Boss! I saw so-and-so making a personal phone call on work time, and now she's doing it AGAIN!According to a new article:While earlier studies…

Employees Think Their Co-workers Are Lazy Internet Surfers

A new Zogby Analytics/Marlin Company poll of employees' technology and social media use reveals what employees really think of their co-workers' Internet-using ways on the job. (Hint to all of the co-workers out there: you're the lazy, time-wasting one in this blog post.) Yes, employees think that THEIR CO-WORKERS ARE WASTING TWICE AS MUCH TIME with technology while they, of course, sit there working as hard as can be while checking Facebook for new status updates, texting their besties, uploading a photo of their half-eaten business lunch to Instagram, and trimming their latest snappy Twitter retort to 140 characters or less. Please make it stop. According to the press release:Well, the typical American worker reports that he or she spends an average of a mere 15.5 minutes a day using smart phones, tablets and other computer devices in the workplace for personal or social purposes. But their co-workers? Workers estimate that those folks spend an average of 37.5 minutes a…

Psst, Your Co-worker Might Be Stealing Your Vacation Time

It's August, and everyone seems to be on vacation, at least in their minds. But not you. No, you're sitting at your desk or standing at your workstation, working. You had excitedly told your co-workers months ago how you were planning to take this week off -- specifically! -- and where you were going to go. When you asked management for the time off, however, poof! -- this week was no longer available. A co-worker, one you've had your "issues" with, somehow snagged it on the down low and scuttled your plans. If you're reading this blog post thinking "Oh wow, that's happened to me," then you're not alone. A new Officebroker.com annual leave study finds at least one in 20 employees will strategically snag vacation time at work simply to get underneath a co-worker's skin!You, my fellow co-worker I secretly despise, made me have to work too many weekends and Christmas Eve, and so I'll make sure that you're working through the seco…

Wink, Wink: Be Very Careful How You Flirt At Work

Are you a flirt at work? Warning: it might not be going over as well as you think if you're stuck in a very "masculine" work environment. We've all worked with someone who is, shall we say, "strategically flirtatious," meaning that this co-worker flirts with selected colleagues more than others as we sit nearby quietly rolling our eyes and shaking our heads in amazement that the recipient is falling for it again. (Wink, wink.) Recently, the Academy of Management prairie dogged over Cupid's cubicle walls to find out how flirting affects women at work. The Academy of Management surveyed 300 female attorneys at 38 law firms across the Southeast and concludes that women who send flirty emails to male colleagues, smile at them "that way" or er, go "all the way" like a Five Guys cheeseburger in workplaces that outright encourage aggressiveness and assertiveness and a high-octane, take-no-prisoners attitude (e.g., "masculine" w…

Study: Older Workers Work Better Than Younger Workers

Ah, youth. Employers want to hire for it, thinking that they'll get more productivity out of a younger workforce. Yeah, riiiiight. Good luck with that, employers! A new study from Berlin's Max Planck Institute for Human Development reveals something completely unsurprising but wonderful to hear, anyway: older employees are more reliable, are more consistent, tend to be in a better mood all the time, and have fewer "bad days" at the office! The researchers had groups of younger people (ages 20-21) and older people (ages 65-80) take a series of cognitive tests and the older group had far less "performance variability from day to day" and, in fact, showed more overall consistency across the board: "Further analyses indicate that the older adults' higher consistency is due to learned strategies to solve the task, a constantly high motivation level, as well as a balanced daily routine and stable mood," explains [researcher Florian] Schmiedek. T…

How To Handle The Workplace Conspiracy Theorist

Do you work with someone who always has a new theory as to why everyone in the office is about to get fired? Oh, no. You've just crossed paths with the workplace conspiracy theorist. You're doooooomed! For clarity's sake, I'm not talking about the co-worker who keeps going on about Bigfoot, elves in Iceland, or whatever topic he or she is mulling after watching a few weekend episodes of Fact or Faked,Destination Truth or Joe Rogan Questions Everything. No, let's keep this conversation inherently work-based, as in: I (or we) are going to get fired any minute now because I heard/saw/can sense that ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________!!!! I'll let you fill in the blanks based on your own work experience, because every workplace has at least one conspiracy theorist. If you work long and hard enough, then you WILL work alongside this termination-minded employee, especially in th…

Conference Rooms? Employees Are All About Lounge Space Now

I thought about blogging about the July jobs report, but then I decided that meh, it's probably going to be pretty much the same jobs report as last month because they all sort of look the same these days, don't they? Then I thought: why not blog about Washington's efforts to repair our national jobs crisis, but Congress isn't doing anything meaningful to solve the jobs crisis. Besides, it's August, and our most useless Congress ever in the history of useless Congresses is about to go on a month-long vacation, which means its penchant for doing absolutely nothing about anything will last through September. So what's left to talk about on this fine first Friday of August? Hmm. How about a new Teknion survey that finds employees who do not get August off every year are craving a little bit of privacy in their increasingly open work environments. There are only so many plants to hide behind, they can't seem to get away from the sound of their co-worker tap…

New Hires Mentally Check Out After Six Months On the Job

Are you feeling less and less motivated at your new job with each passing day? Don't worry, Gallup is here to confirm your feelings: the honeymoon is over, pal. Now get back to work. A new Gallup report reveals that 48% of employees stop trying nearly as hard after six months on the job:When Gallup analyzed engagement by employees' length of service, the research showed that though engagement peaks during those first six months, only half (52%) of employees are engaged at this point, while 40% are not engaged, and 8% are actively disengaged. This suggests that there's room for improvement in how companies bring new employees on board. Workers' relatively high engagement levels during the first six months on the job may reflect an initial excitement about being part of a new company -- and that enthusiasm might be strong enough to counteract any early negative impressions. New employees might also feel good about expectations and having opportunities to learn and grow…