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Showing posts from October, 2014

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…

Say, What?! The 12 Worst Things An Intern Can Say At Work

The Millennials. We can't work with them, and increasingly, we can't work without them. For Gen Xers, it feels like only yesterday when we were the lowly-paid (if we were paid...) intern fetching coffee, making copies and answering the phones. Now we're watching the Millennial generation navigate the average internship and...oh, wow, do they have a few basic things to learn! Of course, on-the-job training is what the average internship is all about, but what is up with the younger generation? I mean, some of them are totally amazing interns, while others need help learning the very basics. And by "the very basics," I'm talking about one-on-one, professional interaction with co-workers on the job. Without further delay, here are the 12 Worst Things An Intern Can Say At Work:1. Can I leave early today? Perhaps it looks like rain and the intern forgot an umbrella, or it's simply Friday afternoon and he or she wants to get an early start on the weekend. W…

How Should We React To A Co-worker's Plastic Surgery?

It seems like everyone is talking about Renee Zellweger today. Specifically, everyone seems to be wondering what has happened to adorable Dorothy Boyd from the 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire. Great movie. Personally, I've always liked Renee Zellweger, who seems very personable and down-to-earth for an Oscar winner. Like she'd be fun to hang out with over a cup of coffee, if she drinks coffee. I'm not going to speculate one iota about her "altered" appearance, as if anyone would care about my opinion, anyway. All I will say is: If she's happy (and she says she is!), then I'm happy for her. She's in a tough business for women of any age. How should we react, however, if a co-worker walks into the office one day looking...noticeably different? Perhaps it's a fuller chest, a forehead that is suddenly as smooth as a newly-opened container of margarine, or something else that makes us wonder whether or not they may have had something "done." This…

Management Scandals Can Hurt Our Future Job Search

A new study finds that scandal in the C-suite can make it harder for even the company's entry-level employees to land future jobs, even if they've done nothing morally or ethically wrong. Trickle-down economy, indeed. The fascinating study, entitled "Moral Suspicion Trickles Down," was published recently in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. It concludes that less-than-honest corporate behavior in the C-suite can leave the average, well-meaning, scandal-free job seeker tainted by association. In fact, the research finds that low-level employees linked to unethical leadership can incur more damage to their professional reputations than being associated with an ethically-challenged, but lower-ranking, co-worker. Is this finding really all that surprising? Somehow no, especially in these tough economic times when employers have their pick among new hires, but it's still interesting to ponder. We can almost hear the thought process of hiring…

Does Your Company Need A Chief Birthday Officer?

Some many co-workers, so many birthdays. How is a harried office manager supposed to stay on top of it all? Well, Edible Arrangements, which makes yummy edible arrangements, has come up with its own solution to this age-old, company-wide problem! It's hiring for a brand-new position called Chief Birthday Officer. The Chief Birthday Officer is a C-suite role, and this new hire will "act as a designated birthday ambassador, social media maven and the go-to person for all things birthday" at Edible Arrangements. The CBO's job responsibilities include handling internal company birthday celebrations. In other words, planning the employee birthday party!!! As we digest our lunch and wait to leave early for the weekend, I have to wonder if the Chief Birthday Officer is an idea whose time has come. I mean, it's a natural fit for a party planning-oriented employer such as Edible Arrangements, but what about a 20,000-employee technology company? Would it work there? W…

Sick Employees Think the Boss Appreciates Their Presenteeism

Staples Advantage's fifth annual flu survey is out this week, and it says that the percentage of employees coming to work with the flu has dropped for the first time in five years. Now for the bad news. While fewer employees are coming to work with the flu, four in 10 office employees Staples surveyed said there is simply too much going on at work to stay home when they're feeling sick. The most alarming statistics, however? Nearly half of the 1,500 employees surveyed feel a need to "tough it out" at work when feeling sick, while nearly one-third surveyed (31%) will come to work sick because they think the boss "appreciates" it. Apparently, these employees think the boss will see them as a dedicated team player for showing up, anyway.What a trooper! Thanks for powering through it and staying productive! With flu season on the horizon, now is a good time for managers to tell employees that they're not going to earn any brownie points for coming to w…

Sure Thing? Study Finds Uncertainty Can Be A Motivator

Uncertainty. It's everywhere these days, and nobody likes dealing with it. Or do we? A new University of Chicago Booth School of Business study reveals something very interesting: We humans can be more motivated to succeed when we don't know exactly what's going to happen. Let's turn the page to see what it could mean for the workplace! For sake of simple example, say our supervisor offers to pay us a $5 bonus for a job well done. Are we feeling stoked yet? Ready to tackle the work in return for a sure thing? Well, we might feel more motivated to get the work done if the boss had posed his or her offer something like this:I'll pay you a bonus of anywhere between $2 and $5, depending on how it goes. Now get out of my office, slacker, and don't let the door hit you on the way out! How does it work? I'll let the press release clear up any last-minute reservations:In "The Motivating-Uncertainty Effect: Uncertainty Increases Resource Investment in the P…

Workplace Stress Is Shortening Women's Life Spans

New research finds men are getting a lot healthier, while women are succumbing at younger ages due to workplace stress. Can we get a hot cup of tea and the soothing sounds of Enya over here, stat?! Britain’s Office for National Statistics recently analyzed (with a "z" because I'm American) the mortality rates of men and women over age 50, and you know what it found? I'll let an article in The Telegraph (U.K.) explain:But the new study, which compares death figures from 1963 and 2013, also singles out the effect of the transformation of women’s lives over the last half century. It concludes that while men are becoming healthier than ever, women could now be being held back by patterns of workplace stress and associated traits such as smoking and drinking once more commonly associated with men. Women are still outliving men, but the gap is narrowing. Women of the labor (without a "u") force: We can't have it all, or at least, we can't have it al…

On Boss's Day, Remember How It Could Always Be Worse

October 16 is Boss's Day, the one day of the year when we're supposed to look at management and say, "Thanks for all you do, I guess." I'm kidding, of course! The good news is, we tend to like our boss most of the time these days. A brand-new OfficeTeam survey tells us that the majority of U.S. employees really do like their immediate boss! Slightly more than three in four (76%) employees in the OfficeTeam survey rate their boss as having "strong leadership skills," while slightly more than two-thirds (67%) think their boss does a better job bossing everyone around than they could if they were the boss -- if that makes sense. So, let's give a round of applause to America's bosses! Now the question is, how are we going to thank our most excellent boss for the fantastic job he or she does all year long keeping us busy with work to do (not always an easy feat in this economy!) and, in general, for just being an all-around good person? I suspect…

Workplace Trends: The Office Telemedicine Kiosk

Imagine that you're not feeling very well at work one day. Is it a cold, the flu or simply a garden variety headache? In the future, you might not have to wonder anymore as you listen to a co-worker with vocal fry blather on and on about her epic weekend! That's because the Mayo Clinic has announced a pilot program to test "telemedicine kiosks" in the workplace. The Mayo Clinic's program is dubbed the "Mayo Clinic Health Connection." An article in the local Post Bulletin gives us the full work up:The system will use a product called HealthSpot, "which combines robust cloud-based software and a private walk-in kiosk that offer solutions to care for patients in their place of work." Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants from both Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System will meet with patients who can visit the kiosk with no appointment required. Kiosk visitors can interact with medical professionals online and be treated fo…

Don't Worry, Robots Are At Work To Make Us Look Good

Can humans work alongside robots for real? Well, robot makers want us to know that robots are working with us, not against us! Unlike our zero-sum, promotion-oriented co-workers, today's friendly robots are working alongside us to stop, collaborate and listen long enough to get the job done. As a new New York Magazine article beams in:According to collaborative robot companies, robots can work productively alongside humans on factory assembly lines, doing simple kinds of repetitive, injury-prone work while freeing humans up to do more creative and challenging tasks. (A "collaborative robot" isn't just a PR euphemism; it's a set of technological standards that applies to any robot that is capable of working in the same physical space as a human, without injuring the human or needing huge safety cages.) Companies like Universal Robots make industrial robots that can grab, twist, pick up, and perform other simple assembly motions, making them potentially extreme…

Let's Make Break Time Happen Again, America

A recent Staples survey found more than 20% of U.S. employees never take a break -- except maybe for lunch! -- because they feel too guilty to stop working. Let's step away from our workspaces for a minute without feeling the least bit bad about it! The May 2014 survey, which queried more than 200 U.S. and Canadian employees, found more than half of those surveyed (55%) don’t feel like they can leave their desks. It's leading to a serious case of collective burn-out: More than four in 10 employees (41%) feel completely, utterly exhausted. Desk-based peer pressure may be partly to blame as employees think to themselves: "Yeah, I should take a break, but I have to get this done today. Besides, nobody in the office ever takes a break anymore, so I'd probably look like a total slacker if I left for 15 minutes and came back looking like I just took a break." Is every employee thinking this? No. Are enough employees thinking this way in order to be statistically s…