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Showing posts from 2014

This Year's Hottest Business Trend Is the Landline Phone

Any business publication worth its salt is busy running listicles of workplace trends for 2015 that probably won't happen because nobody has a crystal ball. But we do have a new Pew Research Internet Project study that finds many employees are still phoning it in over a landline phone just like grandpa did! That's right, kids. As much as we talk about how forward-looking our workforce is trending in the smartphone age, here comes a survey that says employees everywhere can't quit email and LANDLINE PHONES! A full 35% of employees surveyed said the landline phone is "very important" to getting the job done on a daily basis, compared to 24% who see smartphones as their go-to work tool. Meanwhile, a mere 4% see social media as their main work tool. Landline phone fever. Catch it! I know what you're thinking: Employees are still using landline phones at work because their fuddy-duddy employers haven't caught up with the times. It could very well be; the su…

10 Workplace Resolutions For Employees To Break In 2015

It's safe to say that at least half of your co-workers have been "out of the office" since last week "running an errand" and will "return shortly." This workplace blogger has been "out of the office," mentally-speaking, since last week as well, and I don't have any plans to return to the "office" until next week, just like your largely-absent co-workers. So what is the bare, blogging minimum that I can do today? Well, I can simply re-work my workplace resolutions post from last December! It's still highly relevant, because we're still human. After all, how many of us make the same workplace resolution every single year, only to lose our workflow management mojo by the middle of January? Workplace resolutions are easy to make, but hard to keep. I don't want to keep you waiting, by the way; you have pre-new year's procrastinating to do! Without further delay, here are 10 common workplace resolutions, and why we…

Sorry, TLDR: Is Failure To Read Directions Costing Companies Millions?

My child recently took part in one of those hilarious "read the directions all the way through before taking this test" tests. Yes, that test. Many of us know the one. If we had taken the time to read to the end of the page, then we would learn that we only had to write our name in the top right corner of the paper. That's it. Easy peasy. Done. Fini. Thanks for playing. It quickly becomes apparent, however, who did not stop to read the directions all the way through as 99% of our classmates start waving a hand in a circle over their heads, yelling their names loudly at random intervals, and furiously scribbling the numbers one through one hundred in the center of a piece of paper before writing their full names around it 20 times in their best cursive. Better hurry, we have only five minutes to take the test! There's no way anyone will be able to finish the whole thing! I was happy to hear this classic rite of passage is still practiced in today's schools, b…

Five Ways To Correct Embarrassing Writing Mistakes At Work

We send a work-related email or text, only to realize seconds later that our message contains a very embarrassing spelling error. Oops. Okay, now what? If we work long enough, an embarrassing spelling error on the job will happen to us. We meant to write the word "duck" but "d" sits precariously near "f" on the keyboard. Unfortunately. Then there's Autocorrect, which is supposed to make our lives easier when it's actually making modern business communication much more difficult, since we must make sure that Autocorrect hasn't made us sound completely incoherent on top of our own spelling mistakes.FYI: I left the report on top of Bill's filing cabernet. I'm out of the office for the rest of the day, but just massage me if you have any questions. Thanks! Yes, we'll make sure to massage you if we have any questions, and we wonder if Bill's cabernet is full-bodied with an affinity for oak. Rest assured, we can probably figure ou…

Season's Grievances: When Co-workers Call In "Sick"

All right, we've spent enough time discussing holiday gift-giving in the workplace. It's time to talk about our co-worker who is giving our holiday-harried workplace the slip to learn Van Halen songs! Do you know that December is the month when employees are most likely to call in "sick"? An October 2014 CareerBuilder survey exploring the "most creative employee excuses" says so! More than 20% of employers surveyed said that December is the worst month for unscheduled employee absences, followed by January and February. The fact that it's a December to remember to skip work doesn't seem all that surprising. December means flu season, and our co-worker may truly be feeling under the weather today. Chances are good, however, that at least one of our co-workers will soon be feeling "sick" in a I'm-sick-of-work kind of way. Funny how it always happens on a Friday or a Monday, huh? Back in the old days [read: The 1990s], the only way to …

Here's What Not To Get Your Co-worker For Christmas

We need to buy our co-worker a BIG REVEAL present for the Secret Santa is finally over office party on Friday, but we don't know what to buy. Never fear, because Consumer Reports is here with a survey that reveals what we don't want for Christmas! The Consumer Reports survey examines our least-favorite gifts this year. Specifically, the gifts we might receive outside the office environment. However, we can go ahead and extrapolate that if it's a gift we don't want to receive at home, then we probably don't want to received it at work, either. So let's cut straight to the chase! Er, perhaps should I say straight with no chaser, because hard liquor in any form is apparently our least-desired holiday gift this year. Of course, we wouldn't buy a co-worker a big bottle of whiskey and present it to him or her at work because we're smart and know better, right? Right. The point is, our friends and family outside of work don't like hard liquor as a gift, …

CFOs: Managing Millennials Is More Work Than It's Worth

Ah, the Millennials! We can't read the business section anymore without finding at least one article about how awesome they are, and how management should bend to their every workplace whim. A new Duke University/CFO Magazine survey, however, finds companies are starting to quit the Millennial generation due to its workplace-diva ways! Now as The Workplace Diva, the definitive workplace source for all things trivial and annoying, reading that the Millennials are verging into my turf got my attention. I'm kidding, of course, but this survey could be all kinds of serious so let's take a quick look. While the CFOs surveyed said the Millennials as a whole are more tech-savvy than employees over age 35, they're increasingly way too entitled and disloyal to be worth the trouble. It sounds like the Millennials are sort of like dating a high-maintenance person who expects to be catered to without bringing much of anything to the table? It gets tiring after awhile, and we sta…

How To Talk To A Co-worker's Spouse At Company Parties

The company holiday party circuit is in full swing, and employees everywhere are making nice with their co-workers over appetizers and eggnog. Oh! Who do we have here? Our co-workers brought their significant others to the party, too! Here's how to speak with them without coming off as a total dweeb. A lot of us have been on both sides of this fence. We're standing there, trying to figure out how to make conversation with a co-worker's spouse while roaming the crowded, noisy ballroom of the local Hilton. Or while loitering around the living room of the boss's house. Or while sitting around a long dinner table at a very nice restaurant. Does it matter where we are? Unless we've gotten to know this co-worker's life partner off the clock, we may feel at a loss for words when in their company in a company-casual setting. Business stories about company parties usually offer tips for interacting with customers and co-workers at the company party, but what happens…

Which U.S. State Has the Most Social Media Braggarts?

A new survey ranks the U.S. states by number of social media braggarts. Hold on to that humblebrag, everyone, because we're going in to assess the state of online bragging! App company Hey Lets, which curiously seems to have forgotten to add an apostrophe between the "t" and the "s," recently polled 2,500 social media-using Americans to find out how much they self-promote over social media. Okay, let's all roll our eyes together at their unending stream of amazing survey responses! Among the survey's findings? The residents of some U.S. states are far more humble than others. Utahns are the most humble online, followed by Oregonians (Go, Ducks!), South Carolinians, Kansans and Arizonans. Thanks guys, we appreciate that we don't have to hide you on Facebook. The most "braggy" state? California hands down, and by a rather large percentage, too. Hey, scoot over six inches so you can get that palm tree in the selfie, guys! The state of Wash…

Survey Says Your Co-workers Aren't Getting You A Holiday Gift

We can't wait to find out what our favorite co-worker got us for Christmas, but a new Harris Poll/Spherion Staffing Services survey concludes we might just be getting a proverbial lump of coal! The "WorkSphere" survey polled 873 working U.S. adults last month by asking something along the line of: "So...are you planning to gift your co-workers this holiday season?" First off, can we please stop using "gift" as a verb? "Gift" is a noun, and should always remain so. We can consider the de-verbification of "gift" as our gift to the English language. But back to the point of this blog post. More than half (56%) of employees surveyed said they do not plan to give their co-workers any sort of holiday gift this year, while even more of those surveyed (59%) do not plan on presenting the boss with a present. Good day, you lose! Why aren't employees in the gift-giving spirit anymore? The employees surveyed had their reasons. Some sai…

Workplace Trends: Paid Menstrual Leave As Workplace Perk?

Not to put a cramp in your day, U.S. managers, but we have to talk about paid "menstrual leave" as a trendy workplace perk. Menstrual leave is a reality in Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan. South Korea also offers paid menstrual leave, but counters it by offering additional pay to South Korean women who do not use this paid leave. Canada has been mulling the idea of paid menstrual leave, and now it's a topic of discussion in the United Kingdom. Will U.S. employers incorporate paid menstrual leave policies into their HR manuals, too? Would women of the U.S. workforce find such a perk highly desirable, or uniquely degrading? Would women of the U.S. job candidate pool want to hear an interviewer utter: "We offer free dry cleaning service, subsidized doggy day care, and up to 72 hours off when Aunt Flo is visiting"? Would women of the U.S. workforce want their male co-workers to blurt out: "Oh, you're leaving early for the day? I was wondering if it was th…

Keep Dreaming: Americans Remain Chronically Sleep Deprived

Christmas is coming, India wants its yoga back, and we're laying awake at night making lists and checking them twice. No wonder America is sleep deprived. Going to bed only to lay there awake (or sleeping for four hours and then laying awake until the alarm goes off, if that's how you roll) is a personal form of purgatory many of us know all too well. If you've ever stared glassy-eyed at CNN's 20-minute news loop at 4 a.m. waiting for that fickle circadian rhythm to kick back in, then you know exactly of what I speak. Why can't I fall asleep?! Let's ask The Barenaked Ladies, who wrote the anthem for insomniacs. Chances are, many readers of this post know exactly what I'm talking about, since an estimated 40% of Americans are constantly, chronically sleep deprived. As in, getting five (or fewer) hours of sleep every night, for years on end. That's a lot of random catnaps and five-second mental pauses during the day. Why did I walk into this blog post …

Non-drinking Professionals And Company Parties Don't Mix

Have you ever wondered how teetotaling employees navigate the booze-filled company party circuit? Well, a new study has just uncorked the answer to this bold and frothy question. Cheers! Most business stories about alcohol at company events talk about how to keep our hard-partying co-workers from getting embarrassingly inebriated. Communication researchers at North Carolina State University and Texas State University, however, recently interviewed successful, non-imbibing professionals to learn how they get around drinking alcohol in the company of co-workers. From the press release:"Drinking can be a big part of workplace culture, and being viewed as an outsider for any reason can hurt you professionally," says Lynsey Romo, a communication researcher at NC State who led a recent study on the issue. "In our study, we interviewed successful professionals who don't drink," Romo says. "We found professionals felt that being a non-drinker was a form of devia…

5 Tips For Hiding Cyber Monday Shopping From the Boss

We gave our thanks, and we didn't go anywhere near a mall this weekend because we didn't want to go mano-a-mano over a cheap Chinese TV. Now that we've missed out on all the big, Black Friday savings, what's left? Well, Cyber Monday, of course! Today is Cyber Monday, the day when Americans who spent Black Friday "shopping" for newly-uploaded YouTube videos of stressed-out shoppers struggling over Stuffies will log on to their favorite retail websites to buy their niece's favorite Frozen merchandise as quickly, and efficiently, as possible. Click, done.Cyber Monday 2014 is expected to surpass in-person shopping for the first time, too. Last year, Cyber Monday raked in a staggering $1.74 billion. Yes, billion. That's a lot of Stretchkins. What if, however, we're roaming the online mall world at work to spend money we don't have on things we don't need? It's a very modern question in a very materialistic world where the reason for the s…

Are Your Co-workers Faking Their Company Potluck Baking?

A new survey from social app Skout finds that men and vegetarians are the most likely to pass off store-bought Thanksgiving food items as their very own. Beware, the "homemade" hummus dish at the company potluck might just have an honesty issue! We've all been there, noshing on potluck food in the conference room when a co-worker blurts out with a mouthful of food: "Whof mathe thif?" Yes, who made this? Everyone in the room wants to know, because this comfort food tastes great, it feels very familiar somehow, and it's sure hitting the spot. It's this year's go-to dish, and it's getting snapped up faster than a football in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl because when it's gone we're left with hamburger tater tot casserole and Cousin Edna's three bean salad. (Sorry, in my experience, the company potluck is a workplace ritual to be endured instead of embraced.) Anyway, everyone is raving about this year's go-to potluck dish w…

Don't Like Your Boss? Then Just Own It Like A Boss

Do you have a good working relationship with your boss, or not? Well, if you're in a bad boss-employee relationship, a new study finds simply owning your bad opinion like a boss could help you do a better job. No more faking it until you make it to quitting time; it's time for a little more transparency in your bad attitude! Researchers at Michigan State University find that managers and employees stuck in poor work relationships can actually gain motivation when both sides know the score. As in, "We don't see eye-to-eye and we both know it, so let's just be accept our sorry state of workplace affairs and move on because we have work to do, and by the way, I'm always right." From the official press release:According to the MSU-led study of 280 employees and their bosses, motivation suffered when an employee believed he or she had a good relationship with the boss but the boss saw it differently. The finding held when the flip side was true and the bo…

Storm Warning! Dealing With Weather One-Upping At Work

If you've been following the news, then you know that Buffalo, New York has received a whopping six feet of snow with three more feet to come. Wow, that's a lot of snow. It got me thinking about the nice people I've met from Buffalo and other snowy, cold parts of the country who always reminded me of their geographic origins whenever we received a dusting of snow on the ground. "Businesses and schools are closed for this?" they would ask in utter disbelief. "This is nothing! When I lived in Maine..." Okay, let's stop right there, because we know what comes next. Generally, a detailed account of Real Snow and how today's sort-of snow that has shut everything down is a mere trifle not to be taken seriously. We obviously lack the perseverance (and the driving skills) to cope with it. Now I truly admire Buffalo residents' fortitude and expertise in dealing with such weather. Coping with that much snow in one fell swoop does take skill and p…

Women Now Equal To Men In Getting Yelled At On the Job

A new report finds that men and women have finally attained equality at work. Well, at least when it comes to verbal abuse. Yay, equality? That's right: When it comes to verbal abuse unleashed at work, women have finally caught up to men! Or have men finally caught up to women? Anyway, gender inequality on the job could be a thing of the past -- at least when it comes to having a supervisor get all up in our grill about missing a deadline or whatever. A researcher at the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal in Quebec, Canada (whew, I hope I got that right...) conducted the study. Hey, aren't the Canadians known for being very, very nice, though? Let's not muddy matters here, however. Any sense of chivalry seems to have given way to shouting, and we need to figure out what all this gender-neutral screaming means for the workplace. It's been going on since the fourth season of Mad Men. Yes, Peggy. It's your job! That's what the money is for! Now…

Survey Plunges Into the Depths Of Employee Restroom Use

Everyone is talking about Facebook developing a workplace network where employees who don't work at Facebook will be able to chat with colleagues and share documents. Just imagine all the high-level corporate managers who will be storming into the conference room of the future to say: "Hey, guys! I have a great idea! Why don't we start chatting about our proprietary company information over Facebook, because if there's anyone we can trust to protect the privacy of our proprietary company information, it's Facebook! Let's. Do. This!" But I'm the furthest thing from a technology writer, and the closest I'll ever get to storming into a corporate conference room in designer duds is wandering into the kitchen in yoga pants to pour another cup of coffee while I talk to the cat, who never does what I say, anyway. (The "herding cats" mentality? It's true.) What we're not discussing, however, is how our future, proprietary Facebook A…

Employees Want A Holiday Party, Just Not At The Time Chosen

A new OfficeTeam survey finds many employees would like to have a company holiday party, if only the company could pick a time that works better for them. Let's talk about the timing and inconvenience of the company holiday party! The invitation to the company holiday party -- er, email -- arrives in our inbox and...oh, no. The party planning committee couldn't have picked a worse day and time to fit our jam-packed lives! The company's time coordinates simply do not work for our daycare arrangements, our appointment television schedules, our previously-scheduled engagements, and our social media enragements. All those "look at me!" Facebook humblebrags and Twitter hashtags don't write themselves, you know. Or so it seems, according to the new OfficeTeam survey in which more than half (52%) of employees surveyed said they would most like to celebrate the holidays at work with a company party, but more than one-quarter (27%) cite "inconvenient scheduling…

Welcome To the Age Of Getting Fired By Robocall

Robocalls. We've all gotten them, whether they're reminding us of a dental appointment, encouraging us to go to the polls on election day, or pushing us buy some strange product or service we've never heard of and do not want. But now, robocalls can apparently tell us not to bother coming to work anymore! Yes, robocalls can let us know in the most impersonal way humanly possible that. Our. Services. Are. No. Longer..........Required. Thank you. Goodbye. According to a CBS Moneywatch story, Ford Motor dismissed a group of employees by robocall on Halloween. By robocall. On Halloween!!! Really? The Moneywatch story goes on to report there were employees who showed up for work anyway to find their access denied and their services no longer required. It's stories such as these that make me need some super-mellow, mindless, on-hold-with-customer-service music as I shake my head in utter disbelief. So, there we go. Robocalls apparently aren't just for election day a…

Do You Work With Someone Who Has No Sense Of Humor?

A good sense of humor can help us navigate all kinds of workplace situations. But what if our co-worker doesn't seem to have a sense of humor at all? So not funny. This is the co-worker on which our silly, innocuous (read: workplace-friendly) puns, jokes and self-deprecating wit always (always!) fall flat with a giant thud. Instead of a chuckle, we simply get a look, a forehead-wrinkling glance, and occasionally, a comment. Oh, that was supposed to be funny? M'kay. I guess you had to be there. Do you have the invoice from yesterday? Ouch. It's only 10 a.m., too. At this rate, it's going to be a loooong day. As much as we talk about how work styles can be mismatched in the workplace, our individual senses of humor can also be, ahem, "highly misaligned" at work. In fact, our random volleys of wit, sarcasm, pop culture commentary, satire and clever puns can go woefully un-returned as we go about our jobs in today's open office environments. Knock-knock: W…

New Survey Finds Employees Trust Leaders Even Less Now

A new survey finds more than one quarter of employees surveyed trust the boss even less this year than they did last year. Hey, I thought the economy was supposed to be getting better?The 6th annual Building Workplace Trust survey from Interaction Associates, which polled more than 500 office dwellers, tells us that 26% have even less trust in their supervisors in 2014 compared to 2013, while more than half of those surveyed give their company "low marks" for "trust" and "effective leadership." Wow. Of course, if 26% surveyed have even less trust in the boss this year, then 74% must have about the same level of trust as last year. That's good. But let's stick with the 26% who trust the boss even less this year, because that's the far more intriguing blog post. Plus, it's an excuse to listen to old Billy Joel songs circa the Christie Brinkley era. I always liked this one. Anyway, the researchers defined "trust" as "the will…

Workplace Trends: New App Blocks Work Email At Home

You have no new messages! It's the message stressed-out, off-the-clock employees have longed to receive for years now, and a new workplace app is finally making it happen! It's no secret that our work-life balance is off-kilter these days, thanks in part to technology that makes us available at all hours to get back to micromanaging bosses and demanding clients. Why, oh why, can't we watch our favorite television shows at home without the distraction of work-related emails and messages? Well, a company called Winward Studios has created a new app called "Enforced Vacation" to take the pressure off employees to always be "on." It's going to withhold our work emails from us as soon as we go home! Now we can watch a new episode of The Daily Show in peace!According to a Yahoo! News article:Enforced Vacation has an aggressive name, but the result it's banking on providing is more relaxation and peace of mind for workers and employers alike. The en…

Are You the Employee Who Never Wears A Halloween Costume?

Halloween is almost here, and you have to come up with a costume to wear to work, or to the company party. Who, or what, will you be this year? After some thought, and more than a little bit of foot-dragging, you've decided to go with a Halloween wardrobe selection that's sort of crazy and "out there," a little now, a little wow, a little weird-looking compared to your Party City-clad co-workers. You're going as yourself this year. Again. You, my friend, are that employee. The One Who Never Wears A Halloween Costume. Here's how you can make yourself even a little bit more scary. While your co-workers (or friends, as the case may be...) are amusing each other with their glowing vampire teeth and 1970s hair wigs, you're sitting there wearing what you always wear. You're not planning on changing your basic position on this well-worn issue, either. It doesn't keep everyone in the office from asking you (yet again) what is wrong with you. Hey, whe…