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Showing posts from June, 2016

Three In Four Employees Think the Workplace Lacks Empathy

Do you think your employer is empathetic to your needs, and concerns? An insightful new survey finds employers think they're empathetic, but employees think their employers need a little work in the empathy department. Oh, no -- we have a workplace empathy gap on Aisle 9!

Businessolver, a leader in "cloud-based benefits administration technology," has released its first-annual Workplace Empathy Monitor, which polled 1,000 CEOs, HR professionals and employees for their thoughts on workplace empathy -- or the lack thereof, ahem.

In sum, let's just say there's a difference of opinion among employers and employees regarding empathy at work.

But how is "empathy" defined? We'll need a working definition to know what we're working with here. Google defines empathy as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another." In this case, understanding and sharing the feelings of a fellow co-worker. A few, key empathetic behaviors at wo…

Five tips for handling the workplace cake pusher

Britain is in the midst of a huge problem. No, not Brexit. Cake culture!

A prominent British dental surgeon is warning the good people of Britain that the country's rampant workplace "cake culture" is creating a whole host of dental issues and obesity problems. The British Pound may be going down, but pounds at work are creeping up, and all because of cake! According to the BBC:

In the speech, [prominent British Dental Surgeon and Professor Nigel Hunt] will say: "Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions, and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays.

"But for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health."
The workplace is now our main sugar supplier as we worry about globalization swallowing our jobs, so please pass the fudge tray. Roughly 65,000 British employees require dental care for tooth…

Monday Workplace News Round-up

The British did it, they actually did it! Wow. Here's your Monday Workplace News Round-up.

More than 11,000 migrants are planning a "workplace action" on July 4th to gain legal protection after the Brexit vote.

Brexit may not actually happen, if you buy into an anonymous online comment that went viral over the weekend.

The Supreme Court of Canadasided with three medical workers who claimed their jobs caused their breast cancer.

Silicon Valley tech bros are biohacking with 36-hour fasts. The productivity stats ought to be fruitful.

Here are six ways women can lean in together. Just don't topple over because you've lost your collective sense of work-life balance, okay?

The Skyslide on top of LA's US Bank Tower will cost you $25 to slide 45 feet down while 1,000 feet up in the air. Nope. Just nope.

Mid-life internships are still around? Have fun working for free, 40somethings.

Social networking at work is a huge distraction, so just get used to it already.

A Texas libra…

When A Co-worker Disses Your Dog on Take Your Dog to Work Day

Friday is Take Your Dog To Work Day. But what if a co-worker thinks your dog is a big pet peeve? Meow.

I've covered Take Your Dog To Work Day. Do you know that it's actually Take Your Dog To Work Week? Yes, the dog thing at work is going on all week long, and it's likely at least one work colleague will get their dander up over it.

Let's say somebody walks into the office with Rover leading the way on the end of his leash. "This is Rover!" the happy employee says as Rover proceeds to sniff a vinegar-free work colleague who instantly recoils as if the lid has just been lifted off a container of moldy meatloaf.

"Go ahead and pet him, he's very friendly and he loves people!" the employee says.

"That's okay," the wincing work colleague says. "I'll pass."

"Don't worry, I'll hold Rover's collar while you pet him," the employee offers. "Go ahead!"

"No! I don't need to pet your dog,&q…

Millennials Need A Helping Hand Learning to Handshake

What does a Millennial handshake feel like? As Donald Trump might say: Weak!

The Millennial generation is lacking in the grip-and-grin department. A new study finds handshake grip strength is a lot weaker today than it was in 1985, when Frankie said relax.

And apparently, the Millennials are a bit too relaxed in their business handshaking style! Researchers at North Carolina's Winston-Salem State University had more than 200 study participants exert maximum force on something called a "hand dynamometer," which is a pound-based measure of grip force.

The researchers found that modern young men's hand strength has decreased 20 pounds since the mid 1980s. Young women's hand strength, meanwhile, is 10 pounds less than it was when Gen X women were young.

What's going on here? Why is hand strength down over the last 30 years? The researchers point to heavy technology use as one culprit. All the keyboarding and thumb typing isn't helping our hand strength. But t…

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Happy first day of summer! Hope you had a nice weekend. Here's your Monday Workplace News Round-up.

Are workplace wearables just a way for employers to spy on employees? British employees sure think so in a new PwC survey.

A dirty workplace leads to a lower levels of brain cognition, according to new Florida State University research.

Fewer employers will be offering on-site flu shots to employees. We can still come to work sick if we feel like it, though.

Talking politics at work this year is making us all kinds of uncomfortable. Maybe everyone can discuss this trippy commercial instead?

Barbie Careers Game Developer Doll is joining the ranks of Barbie career-minded dolls. Math isn't hard anymore.

Being artsy in our spare time reduces our stress even if we can't draw very well.

June 21 is the 2nd annual International Day of Yoga, or simply Yoga Day if you prefer. Namaste.

The Millennials are most likely to have a best friend at work.

The EEOC released a rather depressing report …

Should Non-Compete Agreements Include a Partial Salary?

Are you bound by a non-compete agreement? If so, you're among nearly one-fifth of the U.S. workforce.

A recent White House report, meanwhile, estimates 37% of U.S. employees will be asked to sign a non-compete agreement at some point in their careers.

We tend to think that only well-compensated, "knowledge economy" employees are subject to non-compete agreements, but employees in all walks of work life can be asked to sign a non-compete agreement these days. The White House report finds 15% of employees without a college degree are currently subject to non-compete agreements, as well as 14% of employees earning less than $40,000 a year. Fast-food employees, warehouse workers, and camp counselors have also encountered non-compete agreements.

A few states have passed legislation to restrict the terms of non-competes placed on employees. Hawaii has banned non-compete agreements for technology workers. California, meanwhile, has essentially rendered non-compete agreements …

Survey Finds Technology Is Dumbing Us Down

A new Point Taken-Marist poll finds many Americans think technology is hurting our humanity and damaging our personal relationships.

That's right: too much technology is hurting our humanity. The poll finds seven in 10 nationally believe technology is making us less human, and 54% said it's damaging our connections to friends and family. Gen Xers are the most likely to think technology is making us less human by a whopping 77% margin.

Nearly half surveyed think all the technology at our fingertips is making us dumber, too!

Now you would think the Millennials would be the most likely to think all the Tweeting, Facebooking, Snapchatting and texting is making us smarter, but the majority of Millennials actually think technology is dumbing us down in a big way! Both Millennials and Gen Xers agree by a 53% margin that technology is dumbing us down. At the rate we're going, we'll all be wearing orange tuxedos to the ball.

Americans over age 65 (the "Silent" genera…

Betty the Robotic Manager Begins Two-Month Office Job

If you think your real-life office manager seems a bit robotic at times, then you haven't seen anything yet.

A team at the University of Birmingham has created a software-guided robot named Betty, and she's the new office manager on a "trial basis" at the Transport Systems Catapult in Milton Keynes, England.

Betty is part of the STRANDS Project, which is exploring how robots can work alongside humans in a "controlled workplace." Will Betty the Robotic Office Manager do our jobs better than we can, or will she be a big, metallic distraction? Can Betty check with HR to see if we can have a week off in August?

Betty is loaded with scanners and cameras as well as a working memory so she can spot minor changes. She will do the people's work -- in addition to recording the comings and goings of human employees, collecting data on everyone's office clutter, observing who is staying to work after hours...and OMG, she's starting to sound just like the …

Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

What's going on in the wonderful world of workplace news this morning? Let's find out with the Wednesday Workplace News Round-up!

Pulse owner and employees vow to re-open the nightclub after last weekend's horrific event. Good for them.

Yesterday wasWorld Blood Donor Day, but you can still get out and donate if you can. For more information, visit or The American Red Cross. Here's an overview from supermodel Niki Taylor.

Summer interns, here are the 15 worst mistakes you can make at work, according to Business Insider.

Hiring managers are thinking these things when they interview you.

The Millennials are freely sharing their salary levels, and they want you to share yours, too. Good luck with that, Millennials.

Zenefits (yeah, that company) is laying off 106 employees and is seeking buy outs from other employees in a restructuring effort.

California is smoking out smokers in the workplace with even tighter smoking restrictions.

Student-loan repayment is the hot…

Employee Delegates Job to Computer, Then Forgets How to Do It

Do you ever have days when you wish you could delegate your entire job to somebody else? One programmer decided to do just that, and eventually forgot how to do his job.

The employee set up a computer to run all of his software tests so he could spend his work time engaged in non-work-related activities. The anonymous employee writes that he didn't have any friends at work, so nobody noticed.

After six years of letting a computer do his job, the employee got caught and was fired.

The problem, other than having to explain the situation to potential employers? In the course of delegating his entire job for six years (!), the employee had forgotten how to do the work. He writes that he didn't know how to write "good" software anymore, and had "basically forgotten everything." Just in time to find a new job.

It's vaguely like a Big Head situation from HBO's awesome show Silicon Valley. Just nod and smile, you know?

Is this whole story a hoax? I don&#…

Monday Workplace News Round-up

It's Monday, which means it must be time for another workplace news round-up.

But first, let me offer my condolences to the friends and family of those lost and injured in this weekend's horrific events in Orlando. It's hard to find the right words. I hope everyone can find peace.

Here are ten workplace-related headlines catching my eye today:

A new GAO report finds 99% of federal employees receive rave job performance reviews.

Laid-off Americansare starting to talk about training their foreign replacements, and other terrible corporate pink-slip practices.

Robots are strong, they eat our medicine for fuel, and they're taking our jobs.

A writer for The New York Timeswrites a piece about quitting Twitter.

Will the office deskbe tabled by 2020?

Microsoftis buying LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. Maybe Microsoft can do for LinkedIn what it did for the iPod "Human Ear" Edition?

Two thieves dress like Apple employees, walk into a New York City Apple Store, and steal a bunc…

Let's Stop Bothering Everyone With Our Smartphone Noise Pollution

I was sitting in a waiting room recently when a mother sat down next to me with her preschooler on her lap. "Would you like to play with my phone?" the mother asked.

The child eagerly grabbed the mother's phone. That's fine; screens are a lifeline these days for anyone, young or old, who is left sitting for too long in a quiet, boring waiting room. The old-school magazine rack must be on its last legs by now.

But this particular waiting room was no longer quiet. The preschooler started watching a video on repeat play with the volume on full blast, and the mother didn't seem to think anything of it. "Watch it again!" the child clapped gleefully when the video clip mercifully ended. "Okay," the mother said cheerily. "I know you like this one."

By now, the other adults sitting in the waiting room were looking up from their own screens to glance at the mother, and I'm pretty sure everyone was thinking the same thing.

Hey mom, turn th…

Workplace Trends: Smash Cakes In the Break Room

Another day, another birthday party for a Millennial at work. They want their smash cake, and they're going to eat it, too!

Smash cake? Yes. A "smash cake" is a mini whole cake (about the size of a Costco cupcake and averaging around $10 in cost) that's presented to the highchair-bound birthday boy or girl at their first birthday party so they can "smash" the cake all over their face (get it?) while everyone takes pictures. Because serving a simple slice of cake is so 2012.

Apparently, the somewhat cloying "smash cake" phenomenon isn't confined to the toddler set anymore; it's a thing with grown Millennials, too! Today's 20-somethings (and those turning 30) are donning tiaras and sashes and smashing their faces into small cakes as professional photographers preserve the moment for social media posterity.

The Millennials aren't ready to put away childish things just yet. As The Washington Postreports today:

That's the underlying …

Thursday Workplace News Round-up

I haven't done a workplace news round-up in a very long time, and thought I'd assemble one just for fun. Hey, it's almost summer here in the Northern Hemisphere! We deserve a break today.

Maybe the workplace news round-up will become a regular thing again? In the meantime, here are ten workplace headlines catching my eye:

The Millennials expect the workplace to "adapt to them." Good luck with that, Millennials.

Scripps Networks Interactive, the parent company of HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, is expanding family leave support and is offering a new transition-back-to-work option for employees returning to work after taking their leave. That's cool.

OSHA'snew workplace injury regulations are here. Break a leg, employers.

The smartphone is making us all a bunch of workplace slackers. PS: Don't forget to check your Slack updates.

Ready, set, go! Get ready for the age of the workplace sprint! Why does this classic Monty Python skit suddenly come to m…

Staying Late At Work Isn't Something To Brag About

Staples Business Advantage (in conjunction with Jacob Morgan) unleashed its 2016 Workplace Index this morning, and you might want to step away from your standing desk to sit down for a minute.

Okay, here's the scoop: Employees are burned out! Slightly more than four in 10 employees surveyed (41%) admit to feeling incredibly burned out at work, while 63% single out the workplace as their main cause of stress.

But wait, it gets better! 70% of employees said they're working more than 40 hours per week, and 46% are staying after hours to finish the work they didn't have time to complete during the 8-hour work day.

To me, this 46% statistic says a lot about where we are as a work culture. We're working more hours, but for many employees these extra hours are for catching up on the work they should have already finished. And I thought technology was going to make us more efficient. What's going on here?

There are many reasons why we're taking longer to finish our …

Forget Business Trips, Today It's All About "Bleisure"

Do you travel for business, or leisure? Today's business travelers are blending both into a trend called "bleisure," and there's a new report that tells us all about it!

Travel consulting firm FCM Travel Solutions updates us on the state of modern business travel, and let's just say it's not all about jetting to some far-flung destination, sitting in on a series of meetings, and then going home as soon as possible. No, today's business travelers are all business in the front and party in the back as they Airbnb their way through the world's big cities. They work a lot, then play a little and now we're supposed to call it "bleisure."

According to FCM's research, 30% of the business travelers it books are extending their business stay by at least one extra night.

The experts say companies can expect employees' "bleisure" demands to increase as younger generations enter the workforce, get promoted, and say, "Hey, if I…

Morgan Stanley Will Be Unpacking Its Adjectives Soon

Does your employer still rate your overall performance on a scale of 1 to 5? If you've ever wished your employer would find a better way to assess your performance, then I have one word for you: adjectives!

Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley, which already has enough numbers to deal with every day, will be ditching the traditional 1-through-5 performance rating scale in favor of descriptive adjectives.

MBAs have discovered Strunk & White in a STEM world, and now Morgan Stanley managers writing performance reviews will be listing up to five adjectives to describe employees. But which five adjectives will Morgan Stanley managers choose from among the hundreds of worthy dangling modifiers among us?

This is where things get very interesting, given the voluminous English vocabulary. Obviously, managers ditching numbers for words will need to revisit their School House Rock archives! Pro tip: frustrating, worst, smart, bitter, productive, successful, emotional, expensive, pregnant, d…

Psst, Your Workplace Is Full of Food Thieves

Enjoy your sack lunch today -- er, the one you would have eaten if it hadn't been stolen. Grrr.

Well, feast on this: A new survey from grocery delivery service finds seven in 10 employees have had their snacks, lunch sacks and fizzy drinks lifted from the company fridge!

I know you're hungry for more information about the survey, so let's unpack it item by item, shall we? In a nutshell, the 24/7 economy has created a workplace full of Blutos from Animal House. Let's say it together: Food fight!

These days, nobody's sack lunch is safe from the co-worker who opens the break room fridge to retrieve their boring PB & J sandwich and...ooooh, what's that? It's our pre-packaged, Trader Joe's microwavable enchilada lunch. Score!

Now this co-worker wants the whole enchilada, and they think they deserve it. They're working waaaaay harder than we are, and scrolling our name across the wrapper in big, black Sharpie isn't going to stop them. …

Hey Guys, Please Stop Saying "Hey, Guys" at Work

Hey, guys! How are you doing today? Most of us use this phrase every day without giving it a second thought.

But hold on guys, because the Diversity Council of Australia has just launched a #wordsatwork campaign that kindly suggests all the Sheilas and Blokes at work stop using the phrase "guys" on the job!

Why? Because saying "guys" is exclusionary to half the modern workforce. Check it out, ladies:

"Research has told us for years how language cuts people out or cuts them down, and yet it still happens," [Diversity Council of Australia Chair David Morrison] says in a DCA promotional video. "When it comes to words at work, we've all got to walk the talk."

And walking the talk means not using the word "guys" at work anymore because it's a gendered word when half of a work team might be comprised of women.

So, what should employees say instead of "Hey, you guys"? Two suggested possibilities include "Hi, everyone…