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Showing posts from May, 2014

Casually speaking: when well-dressed employees don't fit in

A new OfficeTeam survey tells us how employees' clothing choices are wearing thin in today's casual Friday-through-Sunday workplaces. But what if you're always the best-dressed employee in an office full of sartorial slackers? Let's dress down a workplace problem that can be even more confusing than the short-sleeved turtleneck! Yes, I'll admit there are clothing items on the rack I've never fully understood, and the short-sleeved turtleneck is one of them. The short-sleeved turtleneck is nothing short of a confusing mix of seasons. It's too hot for summer and too cold for winter, unless you're wearing it underneath a sweater or a blazer and then, well, yeah, okay, fine. I guess? I don't know. The short-sleeved turtleneck confuses me as much as the winter vest. Ladies, you're not fooling anyone with the fashionable thermal shirt (oxymoron?) you're wearing underneath your Old Navy winter vest in mid-January. You simply look like you're wi…

Workplace Injuries Coming To Cutting-Edge STEM Jobs

If you think safety standards in your workplace could be better, then try this one on for size: What if you're a highly-trained scientist working with tiny nanoparticles that don't fall under nano-specific safety standards? Our STEM economy is quietly creating a whole host of high-end, scientific designer jobs that require advancing to candidacy with two Ph.D.s along with a penchant for ironic t-shirts and 3 a.m. time point checks. The nanoscientists among us spend their days working with nanoparticles only a few atoms in length. We're talking millions of nanoparticles adding up to the width of a human hair. Think about that for a second: A few million nanoparticles strung together to equal the width of one strand of human hair. Wow. Some scientists are working with nickel nanoparticle powder. Normal nickel in block form is fairly inert and largely ubiquitous; think the "stainless" in stainless steel. Nickel is everywhere these days. In our jewelry, in our be…

Finally, A Scientifish Study About Farting At Work

For some reason, a quickie blog post I wrote ages ago about farting at work ranks consistently among the top-ten "most read" posts on this workplace blog. I think it's time to give my readers what they deserve: The hard data on corporate crop dusting! A Black Sheep scientifish poll of nearly 100 office workers breaks wind on what we all want to know about our co-workers. Namely, did someone just break loose in the break room, and why does it smell like Chinese food broccoli gone bad? More than half (53%) of professionals polled said they fart wherever, and whenever, they feel like it. You know, when they let it go and can't hold back anymore, but not in a Queen Elsa from Frozen story arc kind of way that dealt with gasses in solid form. Will these 53% of employees surveyed tell anyone they passed gas in the break room? Let's not hold our breath, which we will almost certainly want to do if we walk into the break room after this employee has been there, done tha…

Survey: Employees Distracted By Personal Money Problems

A new Society for Human Resources Management survey finds employees are very distracted by their own money problems. Not today, boss, I have a financial headache. SHRM's 2014 Financial Wellness in the Workplace survey tells us something pretty much every hard-working employee already knows: It can be hard to turn off our personal worries at work. Money -- specifically, how to pay the bills this month -- is on employees' minds more than ever. More than 40% of human resources professionals surveyed said that workers' rampant worry about their personal financial picture is affecting the workplace, and employees' personal financial struggles have gotten worse since the Great Recession started seven years ago. In fact, one-quarter (25%) of HR professionals surveyed see employees' personal money struggles growing particularly worse over the last 12 months. So your distracted, headache-prone co-worker might not be worried about the numbers in the latest corporate s…

Workplace Trends: The Fold-Up Workspace

As if our jobs don't feel tenuous enough in this economy, companies are rolling out a workplace trend to remind us. Welcome to the age of the fold-up work area, where your cubicle collapses to the size of a vacuum-sealed Ziploc Space Bag! Sourceable reports a trend toward "reconfigured" workspaces where everything is on wheels and compression is liberally applied to workspaces just like the vacuum-packed astronaut meals we can buy at REI. Employees who haven't yet been downsized are definitely feeling sized down as they go about their work:Options include desks that fold away, storage that doubles as seating and casual lunch areas that become meeting rooms. Google, which is renowned for innovative work spaces, offers a completely flexible and fluid office on a large scale with its Google Garage office. In our "let's get small" work culture, meeting tables can be folded out (or down), filing cabinets are equipped with wheels, office chairs roam random…

Here Are The Top 10 Cities For New College Graduates

It's that time of year again! Graduation. And new college graduates need a new place to live, hoping that if they can make it there, then they can make it anywhere. Luckily, Apartment Guide is here with its annual list of Top 10 Cities For New College Graduates. So where should you move, beleaguered post-baccalaureates suddenly straining underneath the heavy weight of onerous student loans you'll be paying back for the next 40 years?Apartment Guide partnered with job site Indeed to rank the top 10 cities in America for new college graduates by assessing the average rents for one and two bedroom apartments in specific metro regions compared to the number of entry-level job openings. And where should you be moving to, stat? The Top 10 cities for new college graduates, according to Apartment Guide/Indeed are:1. Washington, D.C. 2. New York, NY 3. Houston, TX 4. Chicago, IL 5. San Francisco, CA 6. Dallas, TX 7. Austin, TX 8. Los Angeles, CA 9. Atlanta, GA 10. Phoenix, A…

Many Employees Are Busy Breaking Up With Break Time

When was the last time you took a real break at work? To clarify, I'm referring to a work break that took you far away from your work area, because a new Staples survey tells us that many employees feel like they can't leave their desks anymore. Let's turn the tables on what appears to be a recession-based workplace problem. Ah, poor Milton and his disappearing red stapler. Anyway, Staples surveyed 200 office employees in the United States (and Canada!) to learn more about their work, and work break, habits. Staples finds that more than half of employees surveyed (55%) feel like they can't break away from their desks to take a real work break. No, they need to be at their desks ALL THE TIME, even though the vast majority of employees (86%) think work breaks make them more productive. Management, contrary to popular opinion, would actually like employees to take short, regular breaks to spur overall productivity levels: A full 90% of employers Staples surveyed enco…

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Millennial Employees Are the Most Likely To Call In "Sick"

Which generation among us is the most likely to lie to management to get the day off? Yes, the headline gives it away so let's just cut to the chase and say, "Stop it already, Millennials!" SpringHill Suites has booked its 2014 annual travel survey that reveals more than half (60%) of employees in the 18-34 demographic have made faulty excuses in order to get "an unplanned vacation day." Hmm. So that's what the kids are calling it now. Somehow, I suspect a lot of pre-planning goes into being "unplanned," if you know what I mean. The survey finds the number of employees playing hooky from work decreases with age. That's because Gen Xers and Baby Boomers tend to be workaholics very worried about getting laid off due to their age, and having a much younger co-worker tattle to management that they were spotted shopping at the big box store during the work day when they're supposed to be "sick" wouldn't bode well for them. Ameri…

LinkedUp! Wants Us To Love Its Workplace Romance App

Career website LinkedIn will hook us up with a new business partner, but now we can use workplace romance app LinkedUp! to help us find a life partner based on personal attributes such as profession, age, gender and office proximity. Ah, modern love. It gets us to the office on time. So how does LinkedUp! work? According to TechCircle, LinkedUp! utilizes photos and personal information from LinkedIn users' accounts to put their best online footprint forward to find a quality love match based on...LinkedIn data? The Wall Street Journal reports that the app has "no affiliation" with LinkedIn, but developers can apply "to use elements of the site's database." Status: It's complicated. But back to workplace romance. LinkedUp! users will be able to "like" or "pass" on everyone in their professional connections list, and both parties must "like" each other can get the go-ahead to "chat," but only for free via iPhones …

You Might Think About Quitting Your Job At 1:42 p.m. Today

Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day, but sometimes it just works out that way every seven days or so. And here we are again, on a Monday, wishing it were Sunday because that's our fun day. Rest assured that our collective temptation to quit our jobs will peak later today at a very precise time. British charity organization Citizens Advicereports that our personal workplace morale issues -- not to mention our workplace anxieties and stress levels -- are most likely to peak at 1:42 p.m. on Mondays. Then we somehow find our inner zen, proceed to work very hard all day Tuesday before we begin preparing for our peak moment of career-related euphoria, which will occur at precisely 6:08 p.m. on Friday when we're stuck in traffic listening to The Cure. Citizens Advice has found that traffic seeking "basic rights at work" advice on its website spikes at 1:42 p.m. on Mondays. If we can extrapolate this finding to the rest of the global workforce, then we're seemin…

Breaking News: Meetings Still Waste Too Much Work Time

Yes, I know we need to run off to another meeting. Before we go, however, a new article in the May issue of Harvard Business Review is here to let us know what a huge waste of time it will be! To get straight to the point -- which seems to take forever in the average company meeting, go figure -- company meetings are consuming a staggering 300,000 hours of work time. The authors of the study, a trio of Bain & Co. consultants, poured through company logs to find that company meetings "rippled through the organization in a profoundly disturbing way." Ding! We have entered the meeting. How did the researchers arrive at this 300,000-hour figure? Well, this number includes all of the MEETING PREP TIME involved in preparing for meetings, which can be rather time consuming. Corporate employees are spending 7,000 hours on average preparing for the weekly executive committee meeting; 20,000 hours getting ready for the "senior staff unit" meeting; 63,000 hours ramping …