Monthly Archives: April 2011

How Safe Are You At Work?

According to a survey conducted by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC), 85% of workers cite safety regulations as the most important labor standard – even more important than family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay, maximum hours limits, and the right to join a union.

Safety is becoming even more important to business leaders due to skyrocketing injury claims and drastically increasing workers’ compensation rates. Many employers have taken significant steps to revamp their safety policies to ensure a safer environment for their employees and to help reduce the expenses involved with workplace injuries and illness. 

So, we want to know:

4 Health Must Do’s and One Habit to Ditch Fast

HealthEating_April2011_web With summer quickly approaching, many are looking to firm up their diets and their tummies. By avoiding poor workplace diet and exercise habits, you will quickly find yourself a happier, healthier employee. Here are some tips to help.

Portion Control.
One of the biggest mistakes a snacker can make is simply eating too much. Although counting calories isn’t the only consideration to be made, it is an important one. A good rule of thumb is to eat snacks equal to the size of your fist. Whether you’re grabbing almonds, fruit, or even chips be sure to only grab a fist full. Additionally, limiting yourself to two snacks per day will keep your tummy from growling during office meetings while helping you keep off the pounds. 

Ditch the Soda.
Arguably one of the healthiest habits you can practice is drinking less soda. Incorporating more water into your diet will leave you feeling more hydrated and thus, more refreshed and energetic. Your new-found energy level will directly and positively impact your work ethic, helping you take on challenges and opportunities presented throughout the day.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies.
The same nutritional rules from when we were younger apply; fruit and vegetables are always the best snack you can opt for. Try to find fruits and vegetables that are in season to ensure they taste delicious and are as inexpensive as possible. Visit your local farmers market for great in season foods. Incorporating more of these two foods into your diet will radically change your health and your performance in the office.

Exercising regularly will whip you into shape, while also creating a stronger drive to get healthy. Setting and achieving goals in the gym will give you confidence in your work goals and ability. Your newfound stamina will also allow you more energy and strength to devote to your daily tasks.

Reward Yourself.
Although healthy diet and exercise is key, you are allowed to reward yourself occasionally. We all deserve some “cheat days” and should be allowed to act upon some of our ever-present cravings. Just remember, all rewards should come in moderation in order to maintain the health you’ve worked so hard for.

Diet and exercise affect so much of our daily life, including our time spent at work. By adapting healthy habits today, you will ensure improved health and work performance for the future.

Five Tips to Make Your Boss Adore You

Bossadore_April2011_web In today’s economy, great careers can be tough to come by – and sometimes even more difficult to keep. Once you’ve landed your dream job it is imperative you continue to impress your employers with work ethic and ability. And these 5 tips  are a terrific place to start!

Be a great listener.
Being an active listener is a trait that for some comes naturally, while others must work to learn it. Hearing directions from your employer is quite different than intentionally listening to what your boss has to say. Company leaders don’t always have a lot of time so be sure to soak up all the direction and information you can. Take notes during meetings so you won’t have to ask the same questions repeatedly. Star or mark specific tasks you’ve been assigned. When your manager presents in team or project meetings listen for ways you may be able to help.

Apply the things you learn.
After learning a new technique or principle, apply it as soon as possible. Whether your boss informs you of something simple or more meaningful, put their direction to use as quickly as possible. By incorporating your boss’ instructions and advice in your tactics, you’ll demonstrate a willingness to learn and accept feedback.

Take the initiative.
If you notice something that can be improved upon in your office, say so. Employers will respect the fact that you are working to better your work environment and showing interest in what’s happening around you. Look for opportunities to suggest ideas that will positively impact your company as a whole, and potentially your career as well.

Focus on the task at hand.
Remember, time spent in the office is not your personal time. While there, your time belong’s to your co-workers, employer, and clients. It’s key you dedicate your time to work rather than distractions.  Spending time on projects rather than talking on the phone with your friend will not only improve your work experience, but also the opinion others hold of you.

To be reliable, practice following up on projects, meeting deadlines, and applying what you’ve learned on a daily basis.  Combining these characteristics with great work will exemplify your dedication to your field. Keep in mind, the more consistent your behavior is in the office, the more responsibilities you will gain.

Gaining and retaining a career you love is no easy feat, but it is possible. Applying specific and beneficial traits to your daily work schedule can make the employee your boss adores.

Tackling Costly Celebrations at Work

Workplaceparty2_April2011_web Adding celebrations like birthdays, wedding or baby showers, and other milestones into the mix of regular office life is a balancing act. Celebrating special moments together is an important part of team building.  But, such festivities can sometimes cause stress, distractions, and even a financial burden. With wedding season just around the corner, keeping the following tips in mind will ensure you not only survive celebrating in the office, but truly enjoy yourself during the process.

Don’t make it a competition.
Believe it or not, your work ability will not be judged based on your involvement in planning work parties and giving the best gifts. Although you may receive accolades for a generous donation of time, most likely you won’t be receiving a raise or promotion for your input on your co-worker’s wedding shower. Set realistic boundaries regarding what time and energy you can devote to the planning process. Consider other obligations including work, family, and life. Don’t feel the need to devote more time than necessary, neglecting more important duties, for the perfect company celebration.

Remember, work comes first.
Although these parties are a great way for the office to unwind and escape the daily grind, work tasks still take priority. Never allow parties to come before finishing a project, meeting with a client, or completing necessary duties. Learning to balance work, along with your other responsibilities, will show your boss that you deserve the occasional break!

Have a budget and stick to it.
Occasional splurging is quite understandable, but with all the different festivities at work, spending large amounts consistently is unrealistic on your wallet. Talk with your co-workers and see who is interested in giving a group gift. Consider shopping sale aisles, discount stores, or even making your own presents. The old saying, “it’s the thought that counts,” still holds true.

Company celebrations can be a time of fun and relaxation, or a time of stress and financial strain. Remember to realistically set boundaries regarding your time, work, and money and you could be the life of the party!

Two Dangerous Downfalls to Slacking Off at Work

Downfallsslacking_April2011_web Let’s be honest – we’ve all had our lazy moments while on the job. Whether your laziness comes in spurts or daily instances, it’s important to realize procrastination actually causes more problems than solutions. We all need a break from time to time, but watch out for these two consequences.

The greatest challenge that comes with procrastination is the stress that partners with it. Putting off a project until the evening before it’s due may seem like a good idea at the time, but it can take quite a toll on your stress level at work – and on your health. Avoid the added stress that comes with stalling by prioritizing your work. Ask yourself what needs to be accomplished and when. By organizing your work, you will find yourself much more in control of your projects and at ease when in the office.

Low Expectations.
If you develop a reputation of putting things off until the last minute, those around you are going to have low expectations. And, low expectations will lead to fewer responsibilities and even fewer opportunities to shine in the office. In order to gain the confidence of your co-workers, and your boss, you must hold yourself to a higher standard and surpass expectations.

Work Smarter.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, resist the urge to procrastinate. Instead, find ways to work smarter. Working smarter means you approach tasks with efficiency in order to avoid more work than necessary. Applying this principle to your daily tasks can radically change your schedule and motivation in the workplace. By incorporating efficiency in your daily routine on the job, you will be able to produce valuable work while saving you time and the company money, which is a win-win for everyone.

Although it is difficult to be productive 100% of the time, it is a worthy goal. By focusing on your work in a timely manner you will increase your independence, responsibilities, and worth in the office.

Ideas Your Boss Will Love and How to Pitch Them

Ideapitch_April2011_web One of the most important lessons a new professional can learn is the benefit of being proactive at work. Employers take notice when an employee is innovative and shares insightful ideas that can boost productivity or streamline processes. If you want to help your team find solutions to problems but don’t know where to start, ask yourself two questions first.

How Can We Make More Money?
Most suggestions that involve your company making more money are going to be well received by your employer. That being said, you needn’t suggest every “get rich quick” scheme you know during office meetings. Share ideas that can truly impact your company in the long run. Ask questions that help you evaluate the company and its competitors.  What can your company provide that other businesses in your market can’t? What special qualities and services make your team stand out? By answering these questions first, you’ll open the floodgates for ideas that will impact the company’s bottom line.

How Can We Save Time?
For many people, time is more valuable, than money. Learning how to save your company time will impress your boss and benefit your career. When it comes to performing daily duties, keep the motto “work smarter, not harder” in mind. This motto does not promote slacking off but rather, efficiency. Realize that time is money, and therefore it’s precious in your employer’s eyes.  Strategize and suggest changes that can save your company time and streamline processes. Remember, even shaving a few minutes off tasks can increase productivity immensely in the long run.

Deliver With Confidence.
Remember, you are in your current position for a reason. Your employer knows your worth, capabilities, and potential. Therefore, deliver your ideas with confidence and give the facts and research to back it up. Not every idea you suggest will be approved, or even liked, but by showing initiative your employer and coworkers will respect your dedication. And remember, if your idea isn’t implemented don’t look at it as a failure, but as an opportunity to grow as an employee.

Coming up with ideas your boss will love is not always easy, but it can be mastered. By concentrating on what’s important to your company and delivering your ideas with confidence and knowledge, you will be well on your way to impressing your boss and proving you are an employee they can’t live without!

Three Things to Do When You Land Your Career Job

Individuals entering the workforce for the first time share similar ideas about what a new job will mean to their life. Most hope for competitive pay, meaningful work, and independence. While all that is obtainable, it is difficult to gain immediately. But by keeping a few thoughts in mind, young professionals can enter their first year in a new career with as much ease, and success, as possible.

Spend Wisely.
First things first, realize that although you may be making more money, you don’t have to act like it. Remember that with your new paycheck comes a great opportunity to spend the money you earn wisely. Work toward paying off loans, investing in a suitable work wardrobe, and saving. Practicing discretion with your cash flow from the beginning is a great step in your future financial planning.

Prove Yourself.
Secondly, understand that although you are now in the workforce, you still have a long way to go. Young professionals must continue to prove themselves to employers and coworkers, even after they’ve been given a job. Persevere despite others questioning your ability. Challenge yourself, and your coworkers, by sharing ideas, being proactive, and offering others help when you can. Once you show your boss you are reliable, you will be well on your way to gaining more respect and responsibility from those around you.

The biggest surprise many young professionals face is the amount of time a new career can take. If your job has traditional 8 to 5 business hours this can be quite a change from a flexible retail or school schedule. The first year in a career often demands more time and energy than your schoolwork or entry-level jobs required. Learning to prioritize can be a challenge. You must learn your own limits and not be afraid to share those boundaries with your leader. Although it is important to be dedicated to work, it is also important to take time for yourself.  Finding a balance between work and life outside of it will take some time, but is important to keep you from burning out. 

The first year in the real world is undoubtedly tough. Learning how to manage money, balance time, and prove yourself is no easy feat. However, the first year can be pivotal to your career’s journey. Remember that we’ve all made mistakes, especially during our first year, and that every wrong move provides ample opportunities to learn valuable lessons for the future.