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Showing posts from October, 2016

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 …

When A Co-worker's Power Posing Invades Your Personal Space

The story du jour is the release of Workplace by Facebook, a workplace version of Facebook that will allow privacy-challenged employees everywhere to sandwich cute cat pictures between slices of corporate intellectual property in one, long news feed. But let's scroll right past it like a sappy, inspirational quote to talk about something else, shall we?

Did you see Donald Trump pacing around the town hall the other night? People are still talking about it, especially on Twitter. Whether he was looming over Ms. Clinton's shoulder or grabbing the back of a chair, Mr. Trump was all about the power pose. (Warning: presidential debate language NSFW.)

Power posing is all the rage in the business world. Wander into any conference room (or any open office environment) and you'll see someone doing their best Frank Underwood House of Cards impression in a meeting, at their desk, or in front of the break room microwave as they heat a burrito. 3-2-1, show us how it's done, Kevin S…

Study Finds Workplace Braggarts Better Be Able to Back It Up

Whether you're applying for a new job, hoping for a promotion or running for President of the United States, you'll need to make a strong case for why you should get the job over somebody else. You'll need to brag about yourself.

But a new study finds if you're going to get your brag on, then you'd better be able to back it up with tangible results! Oh, no. Maybe it's good that we don't have to quantify our Facebook status updates yet? Bragging makes the modern world go round, believe me.

You'll have a few choices to make before bragging about your background. Will you brag until you can't brag no more? Or will you take a more economical approach by focusing your boasts on the most relevant details to your argument? Go ahead and drop the H(arvard) bomb, but only once during the first date or you'll look obnoxious.

You might also choose not to brag, saying very little (or nothing at all) about your accomplishments. You'll let the results spe…

Surviving the Milllennials vs. Gen X at the Workplace

Ah, the Millennials. We can't work with them and we can't work without them, right?

I can't visit Google News without seeing articles about how to manage Millennials and keep them happy at work. Lately, however, I'm seeing articles that offer a new twist on the Millennial mindset -- e.g., how lame it is to be a Millennial stuck in an office full of Gen Xers!

Consider an Elite Daily piece that's written from the perspective of the lone Millennial working in an office full of Gen Xers. Here's an excerpt:

"My days are endless discussions about childcare, medical inquiries, retirement investments and ’80s references," the author writes, adding that "As soon as you start pointing out your knowledge of social media, the latest apps to make your life easier or the pros and cons of the latest iPhone release, you have instantly become just another Millennial. Thus, you've lost any chance at connecting with your older co-workers."

Oh, wow. This i…

When A Co-worker's Song Playlist Hits All the Wrong Notes

I was driving my kids around town the other day when an Adele song came on the radio. "Ugh, Mom music! Please change it," they asked.

It's funny, because I don't mind Adele (she's very talented even if her songs are a bit slow for my taste) but I'm not one of those Gen X Adelophiles who drags her kids to Adele concerts, either. We can pretty much read the teenagers' facial expressions in the Facebook check-in photos at the concert venue, can't we?

Really, Mom? No, you don't need to Facebook this concert, I don't want my friends to know I'm here! You're going to post it to Facebook or it didn't happen, aren't you? Ahhh! Say cheese whiz, kids. We got great seats!

But what happens when a work colleague cues up a playlist that leaves you thumping your head on a hotdesk to a funky, disco beat? How do you tell this colleague that their song list sucks?

Congratulations, you are now Matt Damon in The Martian, roving around Mars while …