Tag Archives: work

The iPhone Versus Workplace Etiquette: Take the Poll

Smart phones are once again the talk at the water cooler as co-workers chat up the recently-launched iPhone 4's features (and bugs) and compare notes on the latest in smart phone technology – from Android to Blackberry to iPhone and beyond. According to a recent ComScore study, over 45 million people in the U.S. own smart phones, the largest-growing segment of the 234 million-strong U.S. mobile phone market.

Now that mobile phone technology has advanced to the stage that people are carrying small, hand-held computers around with them on a day-to-day basis, the culture is definitely changing. From impacting e-mail habits to altering the way our brain processes information to changing the intrapersonal communication styles of a generation, mobile technology plays an important role in the digital age.

So this month, we want to know how smart phones affect etiquette in the workplace. Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below:

Jump into Spring with These Top Tips

Spring is in the air, and everyone is feeling the anticipation of sunny days and warmer weather. But, if you’re feeling the effects of losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time and waking up before the sun rises, check out these top tips to help put the spring back in to your step.

Start Your Workday Right – It’s important to begin each day with a positive attitude. This will affect how others perceive you, your productivity, and your overall well-being. So, check out these seven tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Go on an Inexpensive Vacation – With the weather showing signs of spring, thoughts of a get-a-way are not too far off. But, with financial stresses and a heavy workload, a lengthy vacation may not be possible. But before you toss out the idea of a well deserved break, try these inexpensive ways to rejuvenate yourself just in time for spring.

Find Inspiration in Your Day – Let’s face it. The past year has been tough, but the recovery has started. If you’re trying to find some inspiration in your day, check out these four places to look.

Change Your Mood with Color – There’s a reason spring weather puts a little skip in your step. The green grass and blue skies are just two examples of what the changing landscape can do for your attitude. But, you don’t have to be outdoors to increase your positive behavior. Paint your destiny with these vibrant colors inside the workplace.

Re-energize at Work – Working out after the holidays isn’t the only time you should focus on your health. Spring weather is the perfect time to get out and get some exercise. Don’t have time to workout? No problem. These helpful tips can get you back into shape while you’re at work.

With a change in the temperature just around the corner, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and jump into spring with enthusiasm, a new attitude, and a fresh start.

Before You Go On PTO (Paid Time Off)

Coming back to work after taking some time off is never fun, especially if you’re coming back after a fabulous vacation. But, as sure as the morning sun rises each day, going back to work is inevitable. What you do before you go on your paid time off however, will be the difference between coming back to a mountain of work and sliding back into your normal work routine with ease.

Recently, I had to take some time off for a tonsillectomy. I know, not necessarily a stay at the beach, but still a planned event that required a number of necessary days off from work. So, I made a plan ahead of time to get as much work done as possible so I wouldn’t be bombarded with projects when I came back and my co-workers didn’t hate me for pushing work onto their already full plates. When you have a scheduled vacation or any other upcoming event that requires time off from work, try following these tips to help your transition be an easy one.

Work ahead. If you work in a job where you are able to work ahead on tasks, do so. Don’t procrastinate and wait until the last minute to complete them. Figure out task deadlines that need to be completed while you’re out and those that are due when you first come back, then make sure they are done before you leave. This will ensure that your co-workers don’t have to add your additional work to their heavy workloads. If you can’t work ahead on job assignments, make sure you keep your scheduled paid time off on your boss’s radar and co-workers’ minds so they aren’t surprised when it’s time for you to leave.

Create points of contact. It’s always good to assign someone to be the point person on specific tasks in case anyone outside your department has questions while you’re away. Create a cheat sheet for the project officers you’ve assigned tasks to help them easily access information. A cheat sheet should include background information on tasks, where they can find file folders if necessary, deadlines on tasks you were unable to meet prior to your leave, and important phone numbers. 

Inform those who need to know. Make sure you let your department and contacts know the dates you will be unavailable. This will help keep the lines of communication open and allow questions or concerns to be addressed prior to your time away from work. Also, create an assigned task list with the name of the project officer to give to your supervisor to keep them apprised of who is working on what. If you work with people outside of your department, let them know who will be able to help them on specific items in your absence. Always remember to leave an out-of-office message on your e-mail and voice mail so you don’t leave people wondering why you haven’t responded.

Leave an emergency number. It’s always a good idea to leave an emergency number in case something comes up. Most times, your co-workers will value your time away from the office and will not bother you. But, if a crisis happens in your absence, it shows great consideration and dedication to your team if they can contact you if needed. If you’re concerned about being contacted often, set expectations that have been approved by your supervisor on when co-workers can call.

Preparing a plan before you go on your scheduled leave from work and completing the necessary steps outlined above will help ensure your transition back to work is a smooth one. Not to mention a smooth work environment for your co-workers who have to help you in your absence. Plus, when it’s time for your co-workers to take time off from work, they may follow your example and remember how you prepared. 

A Simple Goal-Setting Guide

Creating goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated, focused, and progressing throughout the year. As we approach the close of the year, goal-setting is a hot topic, especially in business. But you can set goals for yourself any time of year, for any reason. To get started, determine the areas you want to set goals in.

1) Select Goal Types.

Personal – As the most common type of goals, these  may focus on personal enrichment activities, health and fitness objectives, hobbies, spiritual enrichment, etc. Though the new year is a popular time to set these goals, creating short-to-mid-term , measurable personal goals may be more realistic and help you get the results you want. 

Job Search – Looking for a job? The job search can be a long and daunting process, so create weekly and monthly goals to keep yourself on track.

Work – Want to really enjoy your work? Create goals for yourself so you can enjoy the feeling of continual success as you accomplish your daily tasks.

Career – Want to move up in your career or even switch fields? Career goals can be mid-to long- term and help you advance in your profession.

Networking – Whether in social media or in person, creating networking goals can help you expand your network and deepening relationships with important contacts.

Education – Want to pursue a degree, vocational training, or apprenticeship? Educational goals are critical because they can help you make important decisions on coursework, programs, conferences and even career choices.

2) Create SMART Goals.

Once you’ve selected the areas you want to create goals for, use the SMART goals formula to set goals that will help you progress. This formula is a time-tested way to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.

Specific – Make sure your goals are clear and well-defined. For example, instead of creating a health goal such as “work out more,” create a goal: “to exercise twice a week.” 

Measurable – How will you know if you’re accomplishing your goals? Make them measurable from the get-go! The goal “ to exercise twice a week” is something you can measure, as long as you can count to two! Let’s try a more complex goal, like an educational process. Instead of “to obtain a college diploma,” which is very vague, “complete 20 hours of coursework towards my bachelor’s degree this year,  is something you can check to ensure progress as time goes by.

Achievable – You don’t want to set your goals so high you can’t reach them. On the other hand, you don’t want to set them so low they don’t mean much. So, make sure you are taking into account personal, financial, and other factors. Make your goals something you can accomplish through diligent effort.

Relevant – This may seem like an odd component of a good goal, but especially when it comes to your work life, it’s important to have relevant goals. For example, if you want to become a manager, setting a goal to get a degree in philosophy might not be the best idea. So, make sure your goals are something relevant to you.

Time-based – Goals that have no deadline are little more than talk. That’s because without deadlines, you’ll find yourself procrastinating on your progress. Timelines are one of the most important parts of goal-setting, but it’s the thing most people leave out of the process. So, give your goals deadlines and stick to them!

3) Commit and Follow Through.

The final step in the goal-setting process is to write your goals down, share them with someone who can hold you accountable, and measure your progress. Also share your goal deadlines with a friend, colleague, family-member, or other trusted person. Have them follow up with you on your timeline to help keep you on track!

Are you setting goals for this month? Are you already planning goals for next year? Share your thoughts on goals in the comments section, and feel free to share a goal with us there, too!

Start Your Workday Right: 7 Silent Tips to Get You Focused

Worday Morning StrongWhether you’re spending your time in an office, on a
construction site, or hitting the pavement looking for work, how you start the
day will set the tone for what you do, and how you handle situations that
arise.

That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes
at the start of each day to focus and prepare yourself for what’s ahead.
So, use these seven tips to find focus in the silence of the morning, before
the hubbub of work pulls your attention away.

1. Listen – Turn on your favorite song, or find another
sound you find soothing. Before you begin talking and engaging with the world,
listen to it.

2. Meditate – Before work, chances are your mind is
running over all the tasks, meetings, and projects you need to tackle. It can
be difficult to focus in the morning when your thoughts are all over the place.
So, take a few moments, perhaps on your commute to the office, to pray, think,
or meditate on the things to come. Clear your mind of all the distractions,
worries, and expectations you have, and find a place of calm where you can
settle for a few moments before you get into the activity of the day.

3. Stretch – Taking just a few minutes to stretch before
you start to work is a great way to prepare your body for the day ahead.
Whether you’re active or sitting at a desk, you need a chance to warm up
your muscles and energize your mind. There are many quick and easy stretches
you can do, so take just a few minutes and stretch.

4. Breathe – Simply closing your eyes, relaxing your
neck, shoulders, and face, and taking a few deep breaths is a great way to
clear your mind so you can focus.

5. Smile – It may sound silly, but research shows that
simply smiling can enhance your mood. So smile every morning, and remind
yourself of all the good things the day holds. Smiling in the morning will
energize your face and help you feel happier and keep you smiling you
throughout the day. If you need a little smile inspiration, check out the
Happiness Project, a photo group that’s collecting pictures of a million
unique smiles.

 

6. Play – Perhaps you have a child or pet you can spend a
few moments of quality time with before you head to work. Or, find a brain
teaser or puzzle you can work on before heading out the door. Get your mind
engaged in a fun activity early in the morning, and wake up your brain.
Don’t wait for your workday to finish before you find time to enjoy life.
Awake your creativity by finding ways to play before you start the daily grind.

7. Plan – Set one goal for yourself daily. A goal you can
reasonably accomplish. Choose the most important contribution you can make at
this moment in time. Of course, you’ll probably accomplish more than that
one thing, but set your focus early by knowing your top priority. This will help
you cut through the clutter and noise of the workday and set you up for
success. Because when you accomplish your day’s goal, you can celebrate
and enjoy the satisfaction of that accomplishment.

Before you start work, be intentional about taking some time
to find your focus. Spend a few minutes engaging your mind and your body so you
can get the most out of the potential in each day. You’ll find yourself
ready to take on the challenge of the day with energy, focus, and purpose.

Do you have a favorite part of your morning routine that
helps you get ready for the workday? Share your ideas and tips in the comments
section.

It’s Time for Time Off, Workers Say

Despite economic conditions and expert predictions that people may be wary of taking time off work this summer, our latest poll found that this year, workers are indeed planning time away from the job.

In fact, 77% of over 1,100 respondents said that they planned to take some time off from work this year.

When asked “What are your thoughts on taking a vacation this year?” 42% of respondents said they plan to take time off work to travel, 35% said they plan to take time off work because they need time away from the office, 18% said they are not planning to take time off work because they can’t afford it, and only 5% said they are not planning to take time off work because of concerns over job security.

Are you planning time off work this year? If so, what are your plans? Share your fun vacation and relaxation tips in the comments section.

And, if you know you need a break but are looking for some inspiration, check out our post on inexpensive vacation ideas.

Generations and the Job Search: Who’s Having a Harder Time?

When it comes to the job market, there’s been a lot of talk about how grim things are for two different spectrums of the labor pool. Recent reports show that both new grads and mature workers are likely to have a hard time finding work right now.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that over 1 million people 55 and older are unemployed and looking for work. Many mature workers are delaying retirement due to the recession. The AARP Public Policy Institute reports that the ones who are looking for jobs will typically search about a third longer than those younger than 55.

But this year, things also look tough for the college crowd. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ reported that employers expect to hire 22% fewer new graduates than in 2008, and internship hiring is also down by about 21%. Experts say that in an expanding labor pool, new graduates typically have less experience than others in their industry who are now also looking for work, lengthening the job search process.

When it comes to generations in the workplace, the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennial generation have different values and views, but in the job search, experts say both generations must adapt to a quick learning curve and apply every job search tactic available to bolster their chances of landing a gig. So, we want to know what you think.

Have more thoughts or insights into these two generations on the job hunt? Do you fall into one of these two groups and have a story to share with us or a question to ask? Share your feedback in the comments section.