Tag Archives: at work

Have You Considered Phased Retirement?

You’re tired of working and ready to retire, so what’s stopping you?

Maybe you can’t afford it yet. Or perhaps you don’t want to stop working because you enjoy it. You want more time to dedicate to your family or hobbies, but aren’t quite ready to give your job up and retire. So, regardless of reason, you keep working.

The Good

But working forever isn’t the only option. There’s another way to ease out of the workforce—phased retirement.

Not sure what that means? Investopedia defines phased retirement as including “a broad range of employment arrangements that allow an employee who is approaching retirement age to continue working with a reduced workload, and eventually transition from full-time work to full-time retirement.”

In other words, phased retirement allows you to work in a part-time capacity for a certain time period before you start full-time retirement. You get to keep working for longer, while employers get the benefit of you passing on your knowledge and experience before heading off to retirement.

Sounds enticing, right?

The Bad

A study published by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, as reported by Forbes, notes that 77% of employers believe many of their employees want to keep on working post-retirement. Forty-seven percent think employees would like to do some sort of phased retirement. The issue?

Only 31% of those same employers actually allow that shift to a phased retirement, and only 27% are okay with employees taking on jobs that are less stressful or demanding to make retirement easier.

The Solution

If you want to keep working and embrace retirement, there is still a solution through staffing companies like Express Employment Professionals.

You don’t have to pay anything to benefit from Express. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call a local office or register online. Let your employment specialist know your work availability and they’ll find you part-time positions that allow you to phase into retirement at your own pace.

For more in our retirement series, check out these helpful blogs:

Retirement: Happy 40th Birthday 401(K)

Beginner’s Guide to Retirement

Job Searching Past Retirement Age

Three Tips for Getting Your Retirement Started Off Right

Do you plan on retiring? If so, will you retire outright or opt for a phased approach? Let us know in the comments section below!

Poll: What Type of on the Job Training Do You Prefer?

A new job can be stressful. You’re learning new concepts and systems, all while trying to remember your co-workers’ names.

That’s why it’s so important to have some sort of new employee training in place. And even once you’ve gone from new to not so new, continuous training is still needed.

However, each one of us is different, and training that works for one person might not be ideal for another.

What’s your preferred type of on-the-job training?

Thanks for voting in our poll! Is there a type of training you don’t like? If so, let us know in the comments section below.

4 Flexible Work Arrangements Your Boss Should Consider

In the age of rapidly advancing technology and constantly evolving work-life balance priorities, workers expect more flexibility than ever before. And, given the current talent crunch many businesses are facing, companies that do not embrace at least some flexibility may end up a casualty of the talent war.

In a recent poll on RefreshLeadership.com, the Express Employment Professionals blog for business leaders, readers were asked, “What does flexible work mean for you?” The top answer provided was “freedom to adjust schedules to accommodate personal/family needs.”

Additionally, according to research by Zenefits, an HR software developer, 73% of employees surveyed said “flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work.” And 78% said “flexible work arrangements made them more productive.” The research also revealed that 77% of employees “consider flexible work arrangements a major consideration when evaluating future job opportunities.”

So, for many companies trying to attract and retain top talent, creating a more flexible work environment may be the key. Here are four of the more popular flexible work arrangements, along with a few pros and cons of each.

Telecommuting
One of the most common flexible work arrangements, telecommuting allows employees to work from home or other locations outside of the office via email, telephone, and/or internet.

  • Pros: Better work-life balance, employees are more focused and efficient without the distractions of a busy office. Avoiding long commutes. Employers may not need to maintain as much office space.
  • Cons: Less interaction between coworkers, including fun or teambuilding opportunities. Employers have less oversight over how employees are managing their time and staying on task.

Flextime
In most cases, businesses require employees to be in the office during a “core” period (i.e 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) However, during the hours outside that period employees choose their own schedule.

  • Pros: Freedom to schedule work around life and family events. Employees have more freedom to work when they feel the most productive. Employers can better address peak or odd business hours.
  • Cons: Similar to telecommuting, face-to-face time with coworkers is reduced. Complicated logistics of keeping track of everyone’s differing schedules. Opportunities for employees to abuse the privilege.

Compressed Week
In this arrangement, employees “compress” a full 40-hour work week into fewer than the standard five days. A common example would be working four 10 hour days Monday – Thursday with Fridays off.

  • Pros: Extended hours during busiest workdays. Employees have more time away from work to pursue personal interests.
  • Cons: Longer work days can be more grueling. Employees may find it difficult to arrange childcare during atypical hours. Vendors and other outside contacts likely still work a traditional work week.

Job Sharing
Job sharing involves two employees who work on a part-time or reduced hours basis to perform a job that is typically performed by one employee working full time.

  • Pros: The two employees’ skills may complement each other, creating more well-rounded performance. Time off can be staggered so the position is always covered. Employees have better work-life balance.
  • Cons: Inversely, the two employees may not be compatible and work slips through the cracks. Pay and benefit structures in such an arrangement can be more challenging for employers.

In the end, the type of flexible work arrangement a company implements—if any at all—comes down to their individual business needs. What works for one workplace may not be suitable for another. However, no matter which arrangement you choose, communication with employees is vital in order to ensure everyone benefits.

Navigating Complex Workplace Situations; Or: My Coworker Smells Bad—How Do I Tell Him?

We’ve all been there. Maybe someone in your cubicle row breathes loudly. Or someone on the assembly line just won’t stop talking. And then there’s the case of the coworker that smells … less than good.

These are all real problems, but you’re working with this person every day. How can you politely let them know that their behavior is negatively affecting your performance?

Honestly, it’s really a three-step process.

  1. Calm Down and Think Rationally

It’s easy for issues like these to fester and become bigger in your mind than they actually are. After behavior like this goes on for months on end, it can seem like they’re personally targeting you.

But in all honesty, they probably have no idea they’re doing whatever it is that annoys you so much. People aren’t going to have a reason to change their behavior if they don’t know it’s causing problems for other people.

Also, take time to consider the facts. Is this something that the person is even capable of changing?

Human behavior is complex. Most people aren’t setting out to bother the rest of the workplace every day. Perhaps they keep talking because they’re nervous and want to impress you. Maybe they just breathe oddly because that’s how they’re built.

  1. Don’t Speak to Them Directly

But don’t gossip about them either. Take their manager aside and talk to them about the issue. Don’t be accusatory. Let them know that it’s totally possible there is a cultural or behavioral reason for the offending behavior. You don’t want the coworker to feel called out for something they didn’t know was wrong! Put yourself in their shoes. Of course this tactic helps you as well; you don’t want to look like your complaining about what looks like a relatively small problem.

  1. Observe and Adjust

Okay, you’ve done all that you can do. You’ve let their manager know. If the behavior continues, consider changing your own behavior to block it out. If they talk to much, let them know when you have to work and put headphones on. If they emit an offensive odor, grab a scented oil dispenser or some scented spray. Though it may be annoying to change in a bid to adapt to someone else’s behavior, it’s far better than telling them they stink and dealing with the ensuing awkwardness for years.

Have you ever had to deal with an awkward work situation? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Competition and Productivity: A Balancing Act

Best and Worst Jobs 2013When you think about competition, your first thoughts probably drift to sports arenas and the like. Yet, competition also lives in the workplace. And, while competition can breed productivity, it’s important to know how to balance the two to create the best workplace environment for your company and your career.

Competition Can Increase Productivity
The relationship between competition and productivity has been studied by numerous scholars, and most agree that competition can be beneficial in producing a higher level of productivity and efficiency.

Healthy competition among your co-workers is a natural way of pushing each other toward team goals. When members of a team are competitive in an appropriate way, there’s more focus, drive, and determination to provide quality work.

Along the same lines, competition in the workplace drives efficiency. As this happens, goals are met more quickly, things get done, and the company can see profitable benefits.

Finding the Balance
For competition to create productivity in the workplace, it has to remain healthy. When co-workers become overly competitive, stress levels go up, trust declines, and the overall team can deteriorate. It’s important to find the balance between being competitive enough to drive productivity and being so competitive that you drive away anything beneficial.

Here are a few ways to help you find that balance:

  • Learn from mistakes – You will inevitably make a mistake, but when you do, figure out how to learn from it. Sometimes when competing, you may let your competitive drive overshadow the bigger picture, allowing a mistake to happen. If and when you do make an error, take time before you react. Give yourself a breather, relax, and regroup.
  • Focus on relationships – When competition becomes unhealthy, it could be due to poor relationships. You won’t always get along with everyone you work with, but you have to learn to work well with others and grow relationships with those who can help you put your energy into generating productive outcomes.
  • Be a classy competitor – Unlike the sports world, you have to continue to work with and around those you’re competing against on a daily basis. Avoid putting others down and focus on your long-term growth at that company. Let your work be proof of your determination and skill, and if anyone tries to create an unhealthy environment for competition, maintain your integrity. The reputation you build as a classy competitor will speak volumes to your employer.

Do you have any tips for balancing competition with productivity? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

What’s Wasting Your Time at Work?

Are you bogged down with emails? Do you spend a good part of your day in meetings or trying to organize your desk? If so, you’re not alone. A recent survey from Express Employment Professionals revealed what employers believe are the biggest daily wastes of time in the workplace.

Of the more than 2,000 respondents, 21% identified “constant interruptions by employees/co-workers” as the biggest office time waster. An additional 17% said “reading/replying to email” wastes too much time, and 15% selected “unnecessary meetings.” Disorganization, social media, and smoke breaks also made the list. Take a look at the graphic below for the full results:

COM16_07-13-16_AEv3

“Today’s workplace is full of distractions. Modern conveniences can easily become modern wastes of time,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express. “The first step in reducing wasted time is recognizing its causes. It’s easy to feel like we are at the mercy of forces beyond our control, but setting clear priorities and sharing them with co-workers can help improve productivity and ease workplace frustrations.”

How do you stay focused at work? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Try These Snacks to Keep You Focused

snacks_to_keep_focus_webAt some point during the day, nearly everyone has a hard time focusing. If you’re faced with distractions, didn’t get enough sleep, or just keep zoning out, you may need a little help staying focused on your work. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to increase your ability to focus, and all it takes is a little snack. In fact, when it comes to increasing your alertness, there are several foods you can eat to feel the difference.

Tea
If you’re not a coffee drinker, consider adding green tea to your morning routine. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that increases alpha brain waves. These brain waves are similar to the ones that happen when you spend time meditating, so your body responds by becoming more relaxed and calm. In turn, you are more focused. For a tea with more flavor, go for peppermint tea. Studies have found that the smell of peppermint can perk up your brain by reducing anxiety and fatigue. Try sipping on these brews in the afternoon if you’re trying to avoid the higher caffeine content of coffee.

Coffee and Spices
Of course, coffee is another option for increasing your alertness. The drink is famous for its ability to perk you up and help you focus and has also been linked to other health benefits. If you don’t mind the caffeine jolt, go for a cup of coffee when you find yourself in a slump. And for an extra boost, add a few sprinkles of cinnamon to your coffee. A recent study found that the smell of cinnamon can make you feel more alert and decrease frustration.

Dark Chocolate
There’s good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate has been shown to boost blood flow to the brain and stimulate the release of feel-good chemicals called neurotransmitters. That means dark chocolate may increase your alertness while simultaneously putting you in a good mood. Better yet, as little as one-third of an ounce of chocolate may help protect against age-related memory loss.

Leafy Greens
A recent study found that people who ate two or more daily servings of vegetables, especially leafy greens, had an increase in mental performance and focus that matched people five years their junior. This boost in alertness is just another reason to go for that salad at lunch.

Fresh Berries
Studies show that eating berries can boost your concentration and memory up to five hours after consumption. The antioxidants in berries increase blood flow to the brain, which in turn, makes mental tasks easier. In addition to a boost in alertness, the health benefits of berries also include a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, so try adding darkly-pigmented fruits like blueberries to your oatmeal or snack on them in the afternoon.

Water
We all know the health benefits of drinking lots of water. But, did you know that going for a glass of water can help you regain your focus? Studies show that dehydration can negatively affect your memory and brain function, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Adding a few drops of lemon to your water can improve your mental performance even more.

Avocado
Try incorporating avocado into your meals or snacks to help clear a foggy brain. Avocados contain monounsaturated fats that support nerves in the brain and increase mental alertness. Add the healthy food to your burger at lunch, or snack on chips and guacamole when you’re feeling less alert.

Remember to get off to the right start with a healthy breakfast every day. Try eating whole grains, oatmeal, high-protein eggs, or fruit and nut mixes to help you stay focused all morning.

How do you keep your focus on the job? Share with us in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.