Is Chronic Disorganization Taking a Toll on Your Productivity?

Do you lose valuable time at work due to disorganization? If so, you’re not alone. In a recent survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals, 51% of respondents said they lose up to nine hours a week due to desk or office clutter.

Now that we are past the recession, businesses are rebuilding their workforces and new work is piling up. With more to do, every minute counts. Let us know how workplace organization, or the lack of it, is impacting you.


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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:

Is Employee Morale Getting Better or Worse? You Tell Us

Employee morale took a big hit during the recession when workers faced difficult pay freezes, layoffs, and cutbacks. Downsizing forced remaining employees to take on heavier workloads, all of which as impacted employee morale further still.

But with the economy seeing some improvement, employers are now taking steps to improve employee engagement and morale to help keep their top talent from job hopping in 2011. Whether it’s reinstating benefits or offering pay raises, employers have made some strides in the first quarter of this year to reengage their workforce.

So we want to know,

3 Tips to Embracing Workplace Change

Worries The workplace is always changing. And, it always has been. But factors like a down economy and ever-advancing technologies have recently meant big changes, including company mergers, downsizing, restructuring, and turnover. In order to thrive – and sometimes just survive in today’s environment, employees – like their employers – have had to learn to adapt.

Being flexible to the changes happening in and around your company can help make you a valuable asset to your team and your employer. But whether it’s adjusting to a new boss, project, or even just to a new cube mate, change isn’t always easy. Here are three tips to help you embrace change in your workplace.

Choose Optimism Over Fear
The unknown can seem scary, but when you’re facing transitions at work, make a conscious effort to respond with optimism instead of fear. Try to focus on the upcoming opportunities instead of the unanswered questions or uncertainty you may be feeling. You don’t have to understand every aspect of a new program to get on board with the vision behind it. A new boss could help you grow your career in ways you never imagined before. A new cube mate could become a fun and beneficial member of the team. And, a new project could help you build your knowledge and grow your skill set. When change happens, instead of fearing what you can’t predict – or even control – get motivated about the new challenges and endless possibilities ahead of you.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Optimistically embracing change doesn’t mean you won’t have questions or concerns. Make sure you clearly communicate with your manager during times of transition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share concerns, but understand that your employer may not have all the answers yet either. If you identify a problem with an upcoming change like a new process, offer up a solution to help provide valuable input instead of just negative feedback. But most of all, remember that communication is a two-way street, so make sure you’re listening to the information your company shares and be open to the changes to come.

Be Patient
While change can happen fast, it can also take a while to fully integrate. Try to be patient during periods of transition in your company. Remember to be flexible when plans for change, change too. Patience and adaptability often go hand in hand, so while you’re waiting on changes to take place, let your leaders know you’re behind them and willing to do what it takes to help your team succeed. 

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Often, it can be a good thing. And either way, it’s an adventure. So no matter how much change you’ve faced at work, embrace new adjustments by choosing optimism over fear, effectively communicating with your leaders, and being patient in the new life adventure you’re on. 

How to Standout from 3,000 Other Job Applicants

Employeeappreciation As one of the top five of Fortune’s Top 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2010, Google sees thousands of résumés every day. In fact, in 2008 The NewYork Times reported that Google received more than 20,000 résumés each week – that’s an average of two résumés every minute. While most companies don’t see anything like two to three thousand résumés every day, let alone in a year, in today’s economy there’s still numerous applicants for every open job no matter where you apply. So how do you get the job when you’re up against such tough competition? 

What Google Looks for in Candidates
Entrepreneur Magazine recently interviewed Google’s staffing manager, Todd Carlisle, on what he looks for in an employee when hiring for Google’s highly coveted jobs, and one of the qualities Carlisle mentions is ambition. “An Ivy League alum with a high GPA is great, but even better is the person who was the first in the family to go to college and did well while working an extra job,” Carlisle said.

It’s probably not a surprise to you that employers are looking for qualities like determination and self-motivation in potential employees. With smaller workforces and heavy workloads, businesses need employees with the drive to help solve problems and boost productivity.

For unemployed job seekers, it’s difficult to stay motivated and driven when finding work has become a full-time job in its own right. For employees who are looking to job hop because of stress, employee engagement issues, or job security concerns at work, it’s tempting to play it safe and lay low in their current position. But, to get the job and stand out from the crowd, determination and aspiration are exactly what you need whether you’re unemployed or just job hopping.

Preparing for Your Next Interview
Before your next interview, come up with several examples that demonstrate your ambition, whether it’s when you took initiative to make a process more efficient at work or when you went to night school while you working full-time to build a better future for you and your family.

Above all, as you continue your job search, remember to stay motivated. Don’t settle. Keep learning. Keep dreaming. Keep growing and doing. The skills you acquire and develop today will help get you the job of your dreams tomorrow.

60 Seconds to Better Personal Branding

BetterbrandingWhether you’re on the job or on the job search, how you brand yourself can have a big impact on your future. From your résumé to your appearance to your experience, expertise, strengths, and knowledge, everything you do at work and on the job hunt says something about who you are to employers.

Every effort, big or small, you make helps to develop your brand. So, take 60 seconds today to boost your brand by making your email signature count.

Having an email signature that represents you well is a must. It not only makes it easier for co-workers, business contacts, and perspective employers to find your contact information, the right email signature can show your professionalism and demonstrate your attention to details. Make sure your email signature has these three things for a better brand.

1. Contact information
First and formost your email signature should contain correct contact information like your name, phone number, and email address. So make sure you provide the right information whether it’s adding your extension, or twitter handle to make it easy for people to contact you. And, don’t forget to update it from time to time when information changes like when you get a promotion and need to change your job title or you get a new cell phone number.

2. The right look and feel
These days, you can go way beyond the simple name and contact information, so make sure your email signature has the look and feel that’s right for you and your brand. If you work in a creative industry for example, consider a fun font and layout for a more exciting signature. You can left justify your signature, center it, bold specific content, change font sizes, add colors, and more!

Have fun with your signature to make it stand out but also remember to keep it professional. If you’re representing a business, keep company branding in mind as well. For example, my work email signature integrates my company’s colors in the links I share. Also, remember to be mindful of fonts and images that may not be compatible with other computers. If you’re emailing perspective employers, you may want to stick with a basic font like Arial, Tahoma, or Times New Roman to make sure they receive it correctly and it’s easy to read.

3. Share links to social media information and more
If you have a LinkedIn profile or a Twitter or Facebook account that you’d like to share, make sure you add the correct links to your email signature. You can even share your or your company’s website. Just make sure that your social media efforts and website information also support your brand. You don’t want to direct a potential employer to your Facebook profile if you have information posted you wouldn’t want them to see.

You can do a lot to help brand yourself for the industry you’re in and every little thing helps. So, take 60 seconds today and reinvent your email signature to help you and your contact information stand out.

3 Tips to Writing More Effective Emails to Get the Response You Need

3tipsforemails An estimated 247 billion emails are sent every day worldwide, according to Royal Pingdom, an internet and web development company that monitors website and server performance. Workers everywhere are being overloaded with email messages whether it’s the latest forward or a follow-up message from their employers. With so many messages coming and going, how do you make sure the emails you send to your boss and co-workers don’t get lost in their inboxes only to be forgotten or ignored?

Your time at work is valuable and limited. And, your projects can’t always wait for a co-worker to respond to an email. But, your teammates’ time is valuable too. So, help them out by writing more effective emails that will save them time and get you the response you need.

Use the email subject line wisely.
To ensure your email message is opened and read, include a subject line that is clear and concise. If possible, add information like an action item or deadline time.

Place important information up top.
The most critical information like the action steps the recipient needs to take and when you need a response should be listed first. This ensures the reader gets the information they need to know up front. And, if there are action steps to follow up with, they may be able to get the job done more quickly.

Make your emails scanable.
With today’s busy work environment, most of us don’t have a lot of time to read novel-long emails. Help save your teammates the headache of deciphering the information by making your content scanable and precise. Break up larger content by using bullets or paragraph indentions. Highlight important information by bolding or underlining key points.

We’re all pressed for time. It’s easy to type out an email without thinking about it. But if you take just a little more time to craft a message that is effective and saves your co-workers time, you just may get what you need from them without having to send a second or third email reminder. So get in the habit of making your emails scanable. Use your subject line wisely by including pertinent information. And, place the important information at the top for an email that gets you what you need faster.