Tag Archives: work life balance

Keeping Your Work and Personal Lives Separate

You want to be the best employee you can be. Professional, organized, and enthusiastic. But you also want to be you with your own opinions and personal life.

Reconciling these two worlds is difficult. How many email accounts do you need? What about social media? Do you add all of your work colleagues on Facebook? Do you really need a LinkedIn?

We’re here to answer all your question. Let’s get started.

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Father’s Day: Recognizing Fathers in the Workplace

The first Father’s Day is believed to have originated in the state of Washington on July 19, 1910. Yet, the day did not become a nationwide holiday until President Richard Nixon made it official in 1972, nearly 60 years after Mother’s Day was declared a holiday.

Father’s Day will be celebrated this Sunday, June 19. In honor of the annual celebration, we’d like to recognize all fathers while taking a deeper look at those in the workplace.

Fathers in the Workforce
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 93% of all men with children under age 18 participated in the labor force in 2015. The Pew Research Center also revealed that in 46% of two-parent households, both mom and dad work full time. This is up from 31% in 1970.

Work-life Balance
With that many working fathers, the recent results from a Pew Research Center survey should come as no surprise. Just like mothers in the workplace, fathers often find it challenging to balance family and work. Yet, a large portion of those surveyed said they feel like they have to work to provide for their family. The survey also found that men want to be able to spend more time with their children and enjoy sharing the child raising responsibilities.

Here at Movin’ On Up, we salute our associates who are working fathers and wish all of them a happy Father’s Day!

Are you a working dad? Do you have tips for other working dads? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

Tips for Surviving Today’s Changing Workforce

Changing Workforce_blogToday’s workforce is in the middle of a transformation that is altering the way employees, new and old, work on a daily basis. With technological advances, a shift in the overall age and work style of employees, and more, it can be tough to discern how to effectively manage one’s career and be an effective employee. But, never fear! We’ve compiled some tips to help you navigate this unique time in your career and survive in today’s changing workforce.

Be flexible.
The workplace of today is not the same as it was in years past. You may end up at a company where shared workspaces and collaborative meetings are the norm, rather than individual cubicles or offices. Work schedules may also be different from what you’re used to or would expect. Instead of being frustrated or thrown off by the way companies are evolving, keep your stress levels in check to stay productive in this ever-changing environment.

Take advantage of training.
Whether it’s an internship or company-offered training, don’t shy away from opportunities to learn and add value to an organization. As baby boomers retire and younger generations fill those roles, employees and job seekers should bridge the skills gap by taking it upon themselves to be trained and ready to step into those shoes.

Keep a balanced life while working hard.
As younger generations move into roles, there is a stronger desire for improved work-life balance. Regardless of what your employer promotes, keep in mind that you will still have to put in the hours to work your way up the company ladder. The commitment to work hard isn’t a quality employers expect to see disappear. If your company does promote a strong work-life balance, be sure to utilize it without abusing it. Your life outside of work is full of people who are important to you, and finding a good balance will keep you happy in years to come, regardless of change.

Develop your skills.
Today’s changing workforce requires employees to be able to think critically across disciplines, while also being able to communicate effectively. As you adapt, it’s important to consider what skills you bring to the table. People skills are just as important as business and technical skills, and companies will want to know what value you can add to their business.

If you’re wondering where to get started, one option may be to engage a mentor or someone who can help develop those soft skills and give you guidance on achieving success. With the generational variety in the workplace now, it’s a great time to build relationships and learn from other age groups.

Get connected.
As social media continues to grow, it’s important to utilize these platforms to promote your professional brand and establish key career connections. While a traditional resume is still required for most job applications, a social profile promoting your skills and accomplishments can go a long way, as well. With the easy access, you can use social media to network, share your ideas and work examples, and demonstrate your personality to potential employers before they even meet you.

A word of caution: Be smart about what you’re posting on social media. For tips on how to clean up your social media accounts to garner positive attention, view this Movin’ On Up article from April.

Can you think of other ways to survive today’s changing workforce? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

The Results Are In: What Factors Contribute to Your Job Satisfaction?

results_job_satisfaction_webMany job seekers focused on their goal of finding a job at the beginning of the new year, and now that 2016 is well underway, it’s important to understand the key factors that contribute to job satisfaction in order to know that the job you’re trying to get is right for you. To help determine the factors that go into job satisfaction, we recently polled Movin’ On Up readers and the results are in!

Keys to Job Satisfaction
According to our poll, there are two main factors that go into overall job satisfaction. Tied with 27% of votes each, “feeling valued” and “engaging or meaningful work” are the most important factors to Movin’ On Up readers. Another 14% of respondents chose “compensation,” followed by 10% who chose “job security.” Additionally, 6% of respondents chose “leadership,” 5% chose “company benefits” and 4% chose “room for advancement.”

Readers were also able to select the “other” option and provide their own responses. Of the 6% who selected that option, responses included:

  • Variety of work
  • People
  • Environment
  • Work-life balance
  • Enjoyable work
  • All of the above

Results Compared to 2015
Last year, we asked the same question and received very similar results. In 2015, 32% of respondents selected “engaging or meaningful work.” Additionally, 29% of readers chose “feeling valued” as the key factor for job satisfaction.

What Leaders Think
Interestingly, it seems there may be a disconnect between a company’s decision makers and those trying to secure a job. On Refresh Leadership, the Express blog for business leaders, we asked the same question and the results were very different. In fact, the number one factor business leaders cited was “poor leadership” with 47% of the vote. That’s a sharp contrast to the job seekers’ opinion that leadership matters most (6%), and it suggests a divide between what employers think is needed and what employees want. The number one factor for job satisfaction among job seekers was recognition and feeling valued (27%), but only 16% of employers believe that as a factor in employee engagement.

What other factors contribute to your job satisfaction? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

The Results Are In: How Do You Wish Your Company Showed Appreciation to Employees?

results_show_appreciation_webThe holiday season is quickly approaching, and many companies are deciding how they’ll show appreciation to their employees this year. In a recent poll, we asked Movin’ On Up readers how they wish their employers, or future employers, showed appreciation this time of year.

According to the results, 29% of respondents would most appreciate a cash bonus, while 23% reported pay raises would be better incentives. Aside from monetary gifts like gift cards (6%), 16% of respondents picked days off or shortened holiday hours as their top choice.

Holiday parties received 6% of the vote, followed by non-monetary gift items at 1%. An additional 15% of respondents reported that a combination of items would be best received.

Participants also selected “Other” and respond with their own thoughts, including:

  • “Work-life balance”
  • “Incentive vacation time for employees with no sick days”
  • “Well-developed systems”
  • “Better benefits”
  • “Company profit sharing”
  • “A turkey or ham at Christmas to take home”

An overwhelming majority of people requested one thing in particular – appreciation. Responses included:

  • “Praise and acknowledgement”
  • “Just to hear someone from management say, ‘Thank you for doing a great job’”
  • “Respect”
  • “A thank you would go a long way”
  • “I’ve never heard a thank you”
  • “Saying thank you or I appreciate you”
  • “Email or verbal appreciation on a regular basis”
  • “Recognition”

These results are not far from last year’s, which revealed that 27% of respondents would most appreciate a cash bonus, followed by 13% who selected pay raises, and 9% who chose days off. Last year’s results also revealed that appreciation would go a long way with today’s workforce. In 2014, 31% of those who selected the “Other” option wrote that they wanted appreciation from their supervisors. This year, that number rose to 42%.

The results of the Movin’ On Up poll reveal some of the most powerful gifts are the easiest to give. From a turkey at Christmas to a thank-you email, sincerity is the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season.

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

Be Thankful: How to Appreciate Your Job

be_thankful_for_job_webThe holiday season is fast approaching, and it’s a time of year when many people consider all they are thankful for, like family, shelter, and friends. When you count up your blessings, do you include your job? Even if your current job isn’t perfect, it is something for which you should be thankful. If you’re struggling to appreciate your job, take a look at these tips to help alter your thinking.

Appreciate your perspective.
Remember, you control your perspective. That means your attitude – and yours alone – shapes the way you think about the situation you’re in. It also means you’re the only one who can make yourself enjoy your job. So, take a few moments every morning to remember the things you enjoy about your job and start your day off with the right attitude.

Appreciate your contributions.
You contribute a lot to your employer. If you’re struggling to find meaning in your work or are having trouble enjoying your job, take a moment to consider what you bring to your workplace. Take an inventory of your talents, skills, and personality, and remind yourself that you are a valuable employee. Then, shift your focus and contribute even more. Make an extra effort to voice great ideas, and put in a little extra participation when you can. Chances are your increased efforts and positive attitude will be noticed and maybe even rewarded.

Appreciate what you receive.
Even though it may not always seem like it, your job gives back to you in many ways. Your income isn’t the only thing you get from your work. Take a moment to make a list of the things you receive from your workplace, like health insurance, benefits, time off, or teambuilding opportunities. Does your workplace offer a gym for employees, or bonuses during the holidays? Do you have flexible work hours? Does your employer provide coffee in the mornings? Even that is a benefit you may not have noticed.

Appreciate your alone time.
Taking breaks during the work day can really help you unwind and let go of stress. If your workplace allows, take advantage of your break time every day. Even getting away from your desk for five minutes to step outside, make a phone call, or grab a snack can be enough of a mental break to get your head back in the game. Don’t forget to leave all of your emails and work behind for those few minutes. Your time away from your desk or work station may help you relax and remind you to appreciate a few moments of quiet time during a busy work day.

Appreciate your co-workers.
When you contribute toward a pleasant work environment, you also help your co-workers appreciate their job. Don’t participate in gossip, as it only spreads negativity. Instead, minimize your time with those whose personalities clash with your own and spend time with people you can help and befriend. Have fun at work by inviting your co-workers to lunch or keeping up with their life outside the workplace. When you get along with your co-workers, it not only makes for a more enjoyable work environment but can also help the team’s overall morale.

Appreciate work-life balance.
When your work day ends, make sure you don’t take it home with you. Mentally check out of your job before heading home for the day. A recent study from Good Technology revealed that 80% of people continue working after they leave the office, and checking emails is the biggest culprit. It’s okay to enjoy your work, but you need to find a balance between your job and your personal life to ensure happiness.

Appreciate the experience.
Even if your current job isn’t the one you want for the rest of your life, you can appreciate the experience you’re getting. Your job may not be part of your overall career plan, but it can add valuable skills and experience to your resume that will help you land the job of your dreams later. Not to mention, supervisors, managers, and co-workers are important people to have in your network. You never know who they may know, or where a better job connection may turn up down the road.

According to Business Insider, “the luckiest employees reap rewards from multiple areas: financial, emotional, and professional. They see their daily work as a chance to learn, better themselves, and understand the lessons hurled at them.”

At the end of the day, remember that you’re lucky to have a job. That doesn’t mean you should stay in a job that isn’t right for you. If your work is stressing you out or making you feel unappreciated, it may be time to look for something new. While you consider a career change or take up a new hobby, use these tips to help you appreciate the job you have right now.

Why are you thankful for your job? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

Work-Life Balance – Is It Possible?

worklife_balance_webThere’s an art to balancing work life with personal life, and it’s not easy for everyone. In fact, a recent study from Good Technology revealed that finding balance for workers has either become less of a priority or more of a struggle. The study found that an alarming 80% of people continue working after they leave the office each day. This includes half of respondents who check their email in bed, 78% who check it before 8 a.m., and half who believe they have no choice but to work after hours.

According to the study, the average amount of work occurring outside normal working hours is seven hours per week, almost a full day. This equates to nearly 30 hours a month or an additional 365 hours per year. At a salary of $10 an hour, that’s $3,650 in unpaid wages for hours worked.

By far, the biggest culprit for working outside of office hours is email. According to the survey, 57% of respondents checked email on family outings, 38% checked it at the dinner table, and 40% checked it after 10 p.m. Perhaps the most alarming figure, 69% reported that they can’t go to sleep without checking their email.

Women in the Workplace
According to Forbes, women are particularly prone to lacking work-life balance. Data from McKinsey research reveals that women hold 53% of corporate entry-level jobs, a number that drops to 37% for mid-management roles and 26% for vice presidents. Further, men are twice as likely as women to advance through career stages, which McKinsey Research suggests means men are more likely than women to be in positions that allow them less workplace burnout. In fact, men are 25% more likely to take breaks throughout the day for personal activities, 7% more likely to take a walk, 5% more likely to go out to lunch, and 35% more likely to take breaks in order to relax.

A Shift for the Future?
Brian & Company recently released a study that suggests the tides may be turning. According to their research, work-life balance is no longer just a women’s issue. When asked if they plan to prioritize non-work commitments over career progression, 50% of men and 51% of women currently in an MBA program said they do. Similarly, 42% of men and 40% of women reported the biggest obstacle to reaching their career goals is keeping some balance in their lives.

Since these MBA students report anxiety over derailing their careers for the sake of their families and personal lives, it may be time to rethink work culture. Julie Coffman, author of the report, points out that 80% of women and nearly 70% of men reported that they intend to have a joint parenting role in their family. “That starts to raise the question: Is it really feasible to parent and have a big job?” she said.

Time to Take Action
The struggle with work-life balance in the workplace can be remedied if all parties are willing to take action. Schools should offer more courses or programs that address the challenges of having a family and a powerful career, and companies should shift the way they reward employees. Harvard economist Claudia Goldin suggests that instead of rewarding those who work long hours outside of the office, employers should develop flexible career models that allow people to work their way to the top via different paths. Additionally, instead of rewarding tangible accomplishments, they should recognize those who work behind the scenes or go above and beyond to make the workplace enjoyable.

Employees can also do their part to make work-life balance less of a career stumbling block. The following steps may help those who experience workplace burnout:

  • Prioritize. Decide what matters most to you and work with your manager to keep it a priority. Work hard and give your all in the workplace, but don’t let that affect the things that are important to you – like family dinners or your children’s extracurricular activities.
  • Take care of yourself. Healthy habits improve how effective you are at work and help you combat the build-up of stress. Exercising regularly can help you blow off steam, and your lunch break may be the perfect time to do so.
  • Set expectations. Know what is expected of you after hours and on the weekend so you are prepared when a project, phone call, or email sneaks up on you. If you set the expectation with your boss that he or she will only email you after hours if it’s extremely important, you’ll know that action needs to be taken if your receive an email on the weekend.
  • Log off. Breaks are important, especially if you’re not on the clock. If you’re spending time with friends, are at a family event, or are enjoying a vacation, don’t check your emails or use your phone. Prep your team ahead of time so the expectations are set and a plan is in place for your work to be accomplished while you’re away.

How do you unplug from the office? Let us know in the comments section below!

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