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Showing posts from 2016

Managers, Just Offer Job Applicants a Pane Sandwich Already

If you had two job offers on the table, which company would you choose: the one that offers free food, or the one that does not?

A new employee survey from ezCater tells us that more than two-thirds of employees would bite at the job offer from the company that feeds its employees!

Hey, we can't all work at Google with its organic cafeterias, fleet of colorful bicycles and interview questions even its former CEO can't answer. Then again, Google is in California, where the produce is always fresh because that's where it's grown. Whenever I visit California, I go to the grocery store with the express purpose of standing between the oranges and nectarines to admire their perfect symmetry and lack of bruising. The produce there is, quite simply, incredible.

But back to the ezCater survey of more than 1,000 employees. Good coffee is a good perk, apparently! Nearly one-third of employees surveyed said their employer provides food at least once a month to employees, but near…

68% of Employers Expect To Hire Only Contractors By 2025

As you've probably heard, IBM is promising to hire 25,000 working professionals in the United States over the next four years. That's awesome news!

But what percentage of these jobs will be full-time, in-house positions?

A new Randstad US study** finds the majority of employees surveyed (70%) expect to be employed in an "agile" capacity over the next eight years, and the majority of employers surveyed (68%) expect to offer only "agile" jobs. The study also finds as much as 50% of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of "agile" workers by 2019.

What does "agile" mean? It means being a contractor, a consultant, a temporary employee or a freelancer. Think "gig" economy, or, if you're a Gen Xer like me, think "free agent nation." And C-suite leaders are apparently very interested in the idea of a permanently "on-call" U.S. workforce:

One of the most compelling findings that emerged from the study is the proj…

Most of Us Would Keep Working If We Suddenly Got Rich

The other day, my grade schooler asked me: "What would you do if you suddenly had a billion dollars?"

Hmm. For many of us, the answer would be a variation on a theme. We would quit our jobs, pay off our mortgage and other bills, take some nice trips, buy some nice things and donate a percentage to charity. Perhaps we would start a foundation in a loved one's name.

No matter what we decide to do, however, we would no longer be obligated to work another day in our lives, unless we wanted a cabinet-level position in the Trump administration.

But could the average employee really walk away from work for good if they won the lottery tomorrow? A new University of Florida business study finds most employees and entrepreneurs who come into a sudden windfall of cash can't deal with not working! It's like selling your company for mega bucks and then ending up as a skeptical investment shark on ABC's Shark Tank. Bring on your innovative Post-It note ideas!

Sure, the …

Dealing With Lying Co-workers In the Post-Fact Workplace

You've caught your co-worker in another lie, and you're wondering what to do about it. Let's get honest about the co-worker who has a shaky relationship with the truth in a post-fact world!

Another day, another lie. Maybe the lie is uttered by the water cooler, in a meeting or at your desk. Perhaps it's an outright lie of breathtaking proportion, or it's simply another extremely hyperbolic "exaggeration" of the facts.

Sometimes, the lies are big and sometimes the lies are small. You scratch your head wondering why on earth this co-worker would lie about something where the simple truth would easily suffice. Did you really need to lie to me about where you buy your groceries? Why?

Perhaps this co-worker is a habitual liar, or a narcissist? Perhaps they like to lie for the thrill of it? Don't blame Dame Judy Dench, though. She's a national treasure. She wouldn't shoplift just to see if she can get away with it! No lie, Tracey Ullman deserves an…

How To Find Some Certainty In Very Uncertain Times

I haven't blogged much lately. Why? Well, I've been feeling, in a word, uncertain. Uncertain about the future, and wondering what is going to happen.

Our president-elect wants to keep us in suspense, when that's the last thing we need right now. Speaking only for myself, I don't need more suspense; 2016 has already provided all the suspense I can handle! This year has left me mentally exhausted. What I'm looking for now is certainty, and the feeling that all will be well.

Doing Business in Uncertain Times
I raised the topic with someone I know, who mentioned the uncertainty they're feeling at work lately. A lot of questions hang in the air, and projects are on the back burner until they can get a better sense of what might happen in the coming weeks, or months. The mood seems to be: let's wait and see what happens.

For example, will the new overtime regulations that just went into effect be repealed weeks from now with the stroke of a pen? Will regulations…

Survey Ranks the World's Most Expensive Coffee Cities

Coffee. It's what makes the modern workforce run. But where can you get the world's most (and least) expensive cup 'o Joe? I know this topic is really perking you up, so let's pour it on!

Online office supply company Service Partner ONE has just released its 2016 Coffee Price Index, which tells us which cities around the world offer the best value for our coffee money. But first, we must cue the soundtrack of our work lives.

How on earth did the researchers create this index? By drinking copious amounts of coffee, I presume. But they also averaged and ranked the cost of four different types of coffee. These include the coffee we get in the office (if we dare); a Grande Latte from Starbucks; a medium cappuccino from an independent coffee shop; and the coffee we brew for ourselves at home. The survey sample included 75 cities from 36 countries.

The World's Most (and Least) Expensive Coffee Cities
So what's the skinny on our skinny latte costs? Let's start by …

When You've Been Invited To A Client's Holiday Party

Its mid-November, and that means the corporate holiday party circuit is here!

Whether it's planning for this year's edition of Secret Santas, buying employee gifts that are actually relevant in the modern era or pulling off a Thanksgiving lunch in the break room, we'll be spending some quality time with our least-favorite co-workers.

But what if you've been invited to a client's holiday party? Ah, now things get interesting! It's not your party, and you can't cry if you want to. You'll have to navigate another company's holiday shindig -- with all of its unspoken third rails, cough -- without putting your foot in your mouth.

It's very nice of the client to invite you, isn't it? They must like you, and what a good feeling that is! Attending a client's holiday festivities can represent a tricky minefield, however, because you will be representing your employer. In fact, you may be the company in your client's eyes if you are their so…

Does Not Compute: How To Survive A Reply-All Email Chain

The presidential election is over, and we wait nervously to see what President-elect Trump will do. In the meantime, let's start another "reply-all" email chain!

While we talk about draining the swamp here in Washington DC, the employees of Britain's National Health System have been swimming in a "reply-all" email chain! A test email was apparently sent by mistake to more than one million NHS employees, and the email chain has taken on a life of its own.

Business Insider reports that, at last count, at least 120 replies had been made to the "reply-all" thread, which adds up to -- get this! -- 140 million useless emails sent in reply between NHS employees. Yikes. NHS employees have a fever, and that fever is for more delete buttons!

Enough Already!
Many of us have been there, watching a "reply-all" email thread devolve into an increasingly bitter (and occasionally very funny) internal company exchange that goes on and on, and typically goe…

Chill Out, Study Finds Career Success Can Happen At Any Age

Can we have the biggest success of our career at the tender age of 70? Yes, and a new study tells us why.

Researchers looked at the published papers of more than 10,000 scientists with 20+-year careers in physics, chemistry, economics, ecology, neuroscience, and other scientific fields. If you know anything about scientists, then you know that their overall career success highly correlates to the number of published papers they have, as well as how often these papers are cited by fellow published scientists.

But what leads to long-term success, and when is success most likely to happen? Is it just luck, is it productivity, or is it the result of a sustained impact over time?

It turns out that success is random over our lifespan, which means our best work can be theoretically attainable at age 25, or age 75! As this article explains:

The research, published on Thursday in the journal Science, found that the timing of producing high-impact papers is completely random, it means …

Here's A Look at Eye Care Coverage Around the World

Do you need glasses, but you don't have eye care coverage?

Then you might want to look the other way for a minute, because we're going to discuss a new global ranking of countries that make it easy to see an eye doctor!

British online optician Mister Spex has released The World Eye Care Coverage Index, which offers some insight into eye care access in 65 countries.

Before we get to the list, however, it's important to mention how necessary eye care can be for people around the globe. The World Health Organization estimates 929 million people worldwide will be living with some sort a vision impairment by 2020 -- a full 27% increase since 2010!

A study by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, the South Wales Australia University and the Eye Research Institute in Singapore, meanwhile, predicts more than 4.1 billion people around the world will have myopia** by 2050. (In comparison, 1.4 billion people globally were myopic in 2001.)

Poor eyesight can be costly, leading to an e…

Let's (Not) Do Lunch! When Colleagues Blow Off Meetings

Do you work with somebody who suggests having meetings that never happen?

Whether this co-worker proposes a one-on-one meeting or a working lunch, you've learned something: this co-worker seems to be all talk, and no action!

The non-committal, calendar-challenged colleague is impossible to pin down -- even when the meeting was their own idea! A quick lunch should be an easy proposition, but clearly it's not in this case. Let's have a meeting of the minds regarding our no-show co-workers!

Table For One: When A Colleague Stands You Up
You've just been stood up by a colleague again. What is going on here?

Maybe your colleague feels overwhelmed, or is simply trying to make conversation by suggesting meetings that will never happen. Perhaps this colleague feels guilty for totally ghosting you last month, and now feels compelled to keep dangling the idea of re-scheduling it. But they don't seem serious about it. Why can't these colleagues stop making fake invitation…

When Your Workplace Is Too Professional For Fun

I hope you get to have a little bit of Halloween fun at work today. After the crazy year we've had, we deserve it!

But what if your employer doesn't "do" Halloween? A new survey finds roughly 70% of employees surveyed celebrate Halloween at work by wearing a costume, bringing food and/or having a party.

However, more than one-quarter of employees surveyed (28%) work for employers who do not let them celebrate Halloween at work. So much for your super-cool roller ghost costume, right?

While you were walking into the office this morning dressed like the Oscar Mayer wiener, chances were good that an employee working for another company saw you and wished their employer would let them wear a costume, too!

Most business articles discuss the HR risks of offensive Halloween costumes, but what are the risks of not allowing employees to celebrate Halloween -- or any other holiday, for that matter -- in the name of "professionalism"? This is the office that won…

Should Open Office Environments Come With Free Flu Shots?

A new study finds nearly three-fourths (74%) of employees are highly bothered by frequent noise at work. From humming to finger drumming to cackling laughter to projectile coughing, the noise never really stops, does it?

It's no secret that today's open office environments are making the noise level worse, but the open office environment is also making us sick! Studies show that employees with old-style cubicles fall sick less often than open-office employees who are sitting ducks for any airborne illness. There's nowhere to hide from the sick co-worker sitting two feet away! Consider this NPR article:

The popularity of open offices has exacerbated the [noise] problem. The University of California's Center for the Built Environment has a study showing workers are happier when they are in enclosed offices and less likely to take sick days.

This does not bode well for some workers facing cold and flu season, when hacking coughs make the rounds. But some people, such as Mi…

Dealing With A Co-worker Who Is Out For Revenge

Have you ever felt like a co-worker is out to get you? The vindictive co-worker is out for revenge, and is determined to make your job as difficult as possible. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

You're being left out of key conversations, watching co-workers turn against you and feeling surprised to find yourself held responsible for something that never happened. All roads lead back to one co-worker who seems to have it out for you. Dealing with a vindictive co-worker is one of the most frustrating, gut-wrenching roadblocks any working professional can face. So let's hit it head-on, shall we?

When A Co-worker Is Out For Revenge
This post is inspired in part by a riveting Richard Branson interview and in part by my highly-vindictive cat, who was angry about his food choices the other day and quietly peed on a pile of clean laundry out of pure spite. If you've ever smelled cat urine, then you know that it packs an incredibly pungent odor that can take days to abate. Cats can hold a…

How To Motivate Yourself In An Unmotivated Workplace

You rush to work, only to find there isn't much work to do today. In fact, there's never enough work to do! How on earth will you fill the time? Even more, how will you deal with co-workers who seem just fine with this work-starved work environment?

Tales From the Slow Workplace
I've been there. In college, I worked as a clerical temp and accepted a full-time, five-day receptionist assignment over a holiday break. I showed up first thing on Monday morning. I can't remember what line of work the company was in; all I remember is how quiet it was in that office. Nobody made any noise. The walls were a sad beige. I didn't know the company's backstory, but it felt like a tearjerker.

I greeted the manager and was directed to a desk near the front entrance. The manager asked me to answer the phone. It was 8 a.m., and I braced myself for a steady stream of phone calls. Take a deep breath, because you won't be coming up for air until lunch time! That was usually how…

Weak! How To Talk Like Donald Trump At Work

I was having lunch with a friend at a fast-casual dining establishment. Amid the trays and discarded straw wrappers, I asked how things were going.

"I'm an eating machine," my friend deadpanned between bites of burrito. "I'm a total disaster with a bad attitude, believe me."

I did what any supportive friend would do as this election year winds down: I laughed and did my best Hillary shoulder shimmy. I mean, what else can you do?

Not only had I just been "trumped" by Trump's terrible, horrible, no-good comments in jest, I had just been triple-Trumped in one, cilantro-fueled comment! Eating machine. Total disaster. Believe me. My friend was doing things bigly, that I can tell you.

Maybe like me, you need your up-to-the-minute election news fix in this roller coaster ride of an election year. Whether it's Morning Joe or The Washington Post, you want to know what Trump said this time (which might be even worse than what he said las…

Workplace Trends: The Workplace Advice Bot

Have a problem at work and need some advice? Never fear, the workplace advice bot is here!

We now live in a world where bots are beginning to offer workplace advice. Or should I say, where bots are beginning to pull up relevant business articles for us to read on the subway, during a colleague's boring PowerPoint presentation or while a co-worker is humming her favorite song for the 20th time today.

Harvard Business Review is using "Slackbot," Slack's automated assistant, to put hundreds of "how-to" workplace articles under the noses of workers everywhere. Now we can Slack our way to workplace success, one stupid question at a time!

The hope is that HBR's workplace advice bot will become a one-stop shop for dealing with annoying co-workers (you're still welcome to visit my workplace blog, though!) as well as a whole host of career-related questions. Forget workplace blogs, they are so 2015. We want advice, and we want it at the click of a button! A…

When A Co-worker Thinks You're Leaving Early (But You're Leaving On Time!)

It's been a long day filled with meetings, conference calls and demanding customers, but now it's quitting time!

You're making a beeline for the door when a work peer lays on the guilt trip. "Hey, you're bailing on us early again, I see," this co-worker says. "Aren't you going to stay for the 4:30 meeting? It starts in 30 minutes." Let's talk about the co-worker who can't seem to understand that you start work a few hours before they do!

Dealing with Colleagues Who Don't Understand Your Schedule
You've been in this awkward position many times before, reminding the Time Warped Colleague that you always -- always! -- leave at this time of day because you start work hours before they do. "No, I won't be at the meeting," you answer. "I got here at 7 a.m., and I'm done for the day. See you guys tomorrow!"

"It must be nice to be able to leave two hours early and miss important afternoon meetings when th…

USA Makes List of Top 10 Most Empathetic Countries In the World

If the presidential election has you worried that we're losing compassion for one other, then take heart: A new survey of more than 104,000 people around the world ranks the United States as number seven on the list of most-empathetic countries!

The study, which has just been published online in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University, the University of Chicago and Indiana University. The researchers assessed people in 63 countries for their compassion toward others and how they tended to look at things from another person's perspective.

In other words, empathy. What did they find?

For starters, the researchers concluded that seven of the least-empathetic countries are in Eastern Europe, with Lithuania ranking last among all 63 countries on the "I feel your pain" scale. Okay, I know what you're thinking. You want the Top 10 "most empathetic countries" list, don't you?

Ecuador is the most…

Seven Steps For Creating a Kinder, Gentler Workplace

Is the election getting your down? You are not alone; a new American Psychological Association/Harris Poll survey finds the presidential election is leading to incredible levels of personal stress!

This election has become so dark, and so negative, that we're actually feeling it in the pit of our stomachs. Incivility -- at least in the media -- has reached a new high in this election. APA experts suggest limiting our media exposure until election day to block out all the very stark, incredibly mean messaging.

We can shy away from media, but we can't shy away from work. We still need to show up every day -- after somebody cuts in front of us in the coffee line and somebody else cuts us off in traffic, that is! Dealing with the thousand cuts of incivility every day can take its toll on our stress level. I still believe that most people are essentially good and will do the right thing in the end, though. For every time someone cuts us off in traffic, someone else will hold open …