All Articles Tagged "office"
During a typical 9-to-5 workday, many employees begin to struggle through the mid-afternoon lull, the most frequent time period workers begin to slump in their cubicles because of boredom, exhaustion, or plain-old burnout. The work is piling up, there are back-to-back meetings, and the struggle to hang on during those last few hours of the day gets critical.
Instead of clinging onto your coffee, take a look at some of these great superfoods and snacks designed to give you a boost naturally.
Welcome to the “Work It!” column, where we take a look at business innovation of every kind.
When we think of the workplace, the cubicle is probably the most common template that comes to mind: high walls that block us off from world, lit by fluorescent lighting, surrounding us in neutral colors. Forward-thinking companies are changing the way they approach the spaces that surround their employees.
Innovation is accepted as the key to an organization’s growth and business minds are paying more attention to the link between environment and creativity. Human creativity, the heart of innovation, just isn’t cultivated in the cubicle. Even the creator of the cubicle, Robert Propst, admitted at the end of his life that his invention was “monolithic insanity.” Research shows that we need to collaborate to mix ideas and come up with new insights and ways of thinking.
Organizations looking to update their offices are creating open floor plans that democratize the seating chart, placing executives in wall-less offices just a few paces away from the new intern. The arrival of millennials in the workplace is also causing a shift toward spaces that encourage socializing. Other trends include:
- Themed Areas - Work zones or neighborhoods that are set aside for tasks like special projects and brainstorming. Having a designated area for innovation helps get employees away from their desks and in a creative mindset.
- Windows and Lighting - The only thing windowless rooms glowing with white fluorescent lights inspire is thoughts of escape. It may be cost-effective, but companies are turning away from this dull design for warmer lighting and floor to ceiling views.
- Communication and Technology - Communication is vital to the sharing and creating ideas. In addition to creating spaces and opportunities for departments to mingle with another, firms are clearing out the cords and integrating wireless technology into desks and workstations.
Of course there are downsides to this take on workplace design, particularly open floor plans. Workers have voiced displeasure with the decrease in privacy and the increase in noise associated with the change. What fosters innovation for one company’s office may not work for another.
Whether you’re redesigning an entire office or just your work area, a successful redesign requires first figuring out how you use the space. Then think about what equipment you use most often, and what business activities take place in that space. From there you can figure out the best arrangement to meet your needs. Here are some tips for creating a space that helps you do your best work:
- Establish Activity Center – Take a cue from the work neighborhoods trend and set up various activity centers for your most common tasks. A reading area that is separate from where you work on your computer can help you focus on the task at hand.
- Bring in Some Color - Bright colors keep us awake while darker colors offer a different, more relaxed stimulant for our creativity. Pick colors that attract your attention and inspire you.
- Cater to You - Do you need a blank canvas with no distractions or something stimulating to motivate you? Design your space with your work style in mind. Don’t forget to surround yourself with work and words that inspire you.
- Embrace Nature - Natural lighting and greenery will ward off any feelings of claustrophobia that creep in after a long project.
- Clear Out Clutter - Use creative storage to make the most of a small space.
- Make Space to Create and Communicate – Chalkboards, white boards, and wall calendars are great tools that allow you to jot down ideas, or let family and coworkers communicate with you without disturbing your flow.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
By Christie Mims
You are sitting at your desk, buried under work, and you are exhausted. So you reach for a can of soda, or a leftover cupcake from the company lunch, and eat it mindlessly as you click through your email.
As you get dressed the next day, you zip up your pants and think to yourself “Oh nooooo…my job is making me fat!”
Sure, you can argue about long work hours, loads of stress, no time to finish your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight (remember that?). You can easily just blame your job.
We’ve all been there, trying to finish up a project before the next meeting and eating whatever is leftover in the break room for lunch. Or coming home exhausted and surviving on a diet of caffeine instead of sleep. You aren’t alone in feeling like your job is (literally!) a weight around your neck.
But the truth is that your job has nothing to do with it.
Your job isn’t grabbing a cupcake and shoving it in your mouth (for a long time, I was convinced my job was purposely buying cake…you know, just to mess with me!), it isn’t skipping workouts and making you chose a burger over a salad at lunch.
Read more on YourTango.com.
Q: I need your advice for the problem I’m facing now. I’ve been dating my boss for nearly a year and we agree to hide our relationship from our colleagues because we want to avoid any gossip that might affect our working environment. Fortunately, both of us can separate our personal and professional relationship. Well, until now.
He is a nice man and he likes to flirt with the girls in the office. He does it jokingly, but unfortunately, many people misunderstand his gestures. They think that he’s falling in love with them. Right now, the real problem is with his assistant. She and my boyfriend are very close professionally and personally. One day, I accidentally read their messages, and I found out that their relationship has become more than just friendly. She was admitting that they are dating each other. At that time, I told my boyfriend about this and asked him to let me out of his life if he really likes his assistant.
He insisted on maintaining our relationship and convinced me that the messages were only romantic words, which meant nothing to him because he was just being nice to her. He told me that she must have just misunderstood. I know that she has a tough life and she is a lonely girl. I just thought that she might need someone who can be there for her and she found it in my boyfriend and therefore considered him her boyfriend too. Either way, this matter is still annoying me and I cannot control my heart and my mind every time I see them together. She doesn’t know that he is my boyfriend, and she always tells me stories about what happened between both of them and even sometimes asks me for some advice. I’m trying to be neutral, and not say too much, because I just want to be fair to both of them. It really breaks my heart and it’s distracting.
My boyfriend knows about how I feel and always convinces me that he loves me and will not cheat on me. My heart says that I can trust him. Please, tell me what I should do. How I can control my jealousy? Should I still trust him? I would really appreciate for your help. Thank you!
See what advice celebrity psychologist Sherry Blake has for this woman on Essence.com.
American workers not only get less vacation time then workers in other countries, but they don’t usually use as much of their vacation time either. According to a study conducted in 2012, U.S. workers received an average of 12 days last year for vacation time, and out of those 12 days, most workers only used 10 days.
With a fresh February jobs report showing growth and progress in the job market, the current state of American workers is bolstered (if only slightly). So why not take advantage of your time off? Vacation time is not necessarily a birthright as an American, but it is your right as a hard working employee to take it. No sense leaving yourself overworked.
There are many ways you can utilize your vacation time throughout the year to ensure you are revitalized to work at your best. Consider a few of these vacation ideas for those 12 days you have under your belt to spend time away from the office.
Everyone is looking for a little career advancement. Most of that depends on doing good, quality work. But there are other things you can do to get noticed, express your interest in different professional avenues, and otherwise set yourself up for a raise or promotion.
We outline a few tactics and strategies in the following pages, and we’d love to hear any success stories you have. The comments section is open.
But let’s start with the very basics: You must first enjoy the profession you’re in. You have to find value in your work, like doing the tasks that the job calls for, and aspire to reach the top. If you’re not feeling your job or the industry, there’s no amount of strategizing that’s going to make things better.
Do you find that some days, you just don’t get anything done at work? And by the time you get into gear, it’s time to clock out? Distractions can thwart productivity. And one of the biggest distractions is technology.
People spend lots of time at work chatting on IM services, checking Twitter or updating their status on Facebook. In fact, a new study found that social media distractions at work could be costing the U.S. economy $650 billion per year — or $4,452 per company.
And even when you log off, it takes time for to get back to work. According to the study, conducted by Mashable, it will take you 23 minutes to get back on track.
Catching up with the latest office gossip and bringing problems from home can also eat into your day.
The Washington Post recently interviewed Robert Pozen about how to boost productivity. According to Pozen, author of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, there are practical lessons to increasing productivity. The general philosophy of these lessons is that you should focus your time on your most critical goals. So first, you have to identify and rank your priorities based on your own skills and desires as well as the needs of your organization. Then you clear away the lower priorities with as little headache as possible. Finally, you perform your high-priority goals more efficiently by quickly reaching tentative conclusions, instead of spending days or weeks researching basic facts, Pozen tells the Post.
In order to prioritize however you need to define your goals, he adds. Determine which are long-term versus short-term, then rank the longer-term goals by importance. Then figure out what you have to do more immediately, taking into account what your boss wants and what the business needs, Pozen explains.
And of course, keep your personal online activity to a minimum. Checking social media on your lunch hour or during 15-minute breaks is fine. But if you’re spending too much time on Facebook, all the prioritizing in the world can’t help.
In a perfect world, men and women are on equal footing in the workplace. But like it or not, this just ain’t so. Even when the woman is the boss she faces different obstacles than her male counterparts.
And along the way, women in charge sometimes overcompensate. “One mistake is they act like a man,” notes Maryann Reid, executive editor at Alphanista.com, a lifestyle website dedicated to the alpha female perspective with a twist. “Don’t try to be friends with male employees to even the playing field nor should you use aggressive male tactics like severe discipline or verbal intimidation to be taken seriously.” Instead, says Reid, use your women’s intuition. “Act like a woman. Use your femininity in positive and constructive ways around the office. There is lots of power in that,” she tells us.
But balance this. Don’t become motherly. “[Women] can invite too much [emotion] into their relationships with employees, blurring the line between boss and friend. Such blurring can go along for a time, and it can feel cozy and wonderful, but it inevitably backfires when circumstances require the ‘friend’ at the top to institute a strict workplace rule, for instance, or deliver a tough message about performance,” according to O magazine.
Another mistake women sometimes make is dating their subordinates. “Sad but true that many hardworking female bosses spend lots of hours at work and may feel like they hold the cards at having their pick of handsome, available male employees. This breeds disorder and jealousy. Don’t do it,” notes Reid. “Kindly turn down proposals for dates. A woman in power is hot. Don’t abuse it, but be kind when you turn down offers.”
Men and women communicate differently on the job. It not exactly two separate languages, but you may need to use alternative ways when give men direction.
“Don’t communicate the same way with male employees like you would with female employees. It is a scientific fact that men process info and details differently than women,” advises Reid. “Learn how men communicate. Understand that their short, curt answers or lack of providing every detail is not laziness or a personal vendetta against you, but just that men and women respond differently to the same information.”
At the end of the day, you not only want to be a good boss but an effective one who can rally her troops to success.
The question of the day? Are you going to wear a Halloween costume to work? With the day falling on a Wednesday this year, many will be tempted to bring trick-or-treat to the office.
According to The Los Angeles Times, “Spending on the holiday is expected to hit a peak of $8 billion, up 10.7% from 2011. Consumers will shell out $2.9 billion for costumes, a 12.2% increase coming off a 34.8% boost in 2011.” Halloween is the second most popular holiday, second to Christmas. “Nearly half of adults say they plan to dress up, which means there are a lot of people either giddily anticipating or dreading going to work that day,” says Life magazine.
If you are wearing a custom to work, don’t go to crazy. Your co-workers might not be too pleased with your attire. “More than half of the people surveyed by career website Glassdoor said the colleagues who celebrate Halloween in poor taste should be asked to change. Some 14% think they should be sent home,” reports the LA Times.
Th most popular costumes this season are Halloween masks of President Obama and Governor Romney because of the elections. Steer clear of anything too revealing or violent, notes the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
Here are other office Halloween no-nos, according to career blog Jobacle.com:
- Nun/Priest/Jesus: Bringing religion into your place of work is never a bright idea, no matter how innocent or funny the idea may seem.
- Tone It Down: Turning Snow White or Cinderella into a hottie, or showing off your pimp cane during the 9-to-5 is a loser idea.
- No Twins: Never dress as someone you work with. Dressing as someone else might get a few cheap giggles, but you will end up hurting someone’s feelings and looking foolish in the process.
- Easy on the Makeup: Since work is still work, you never know when business will come calling. Be sure that you choose a costume that is relatively simple to change out of (and always have a back up outfit ready to go!).
- Choose Celebs Wisely: Showing up as your favorite drugged-up rocker or a recently deceased pop star might fall into the inappropriate category. Yes, these are hyper-sensitive times, friends.
If your company is holding a holiday event, but sure not to over indulge–in either candy or cocktails.
The Center for Talent Innovation (wow… this exists!) has just published a new report — “Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals Into Leadership” — finding that people of color, from African Americans to Latinos and Asians, feel they have to put up a front in the office. “More than 35 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as 45 percent of Asians, say they ‘need to compromise their authenticity’ to conform to their company’s standards of demeanor or style,” The Harvard Business Review reports. “Forty percent of African-Americans — and a third of people of color overall — feel like outsiders in their corporate culture, compared with 26 percent of Caucasians.”
The conclusion that the article draws is that while companies are good at diversifying the staff, real change to the corporate culture isn’t happening. An Indian executive says she was told her accent was “too stuffy.” African-American workers say they’re conscious not to come off as the “angry Black.” Additional research conducted by another group, CTI, shows that when you “compromise your authenticity,” it leads to a lack of loyalty and a tendency for people to leave their jobs.
Of course, this, in and of itself isn’t news. People of color didn’t need a study to gather this information. They live it. It’s something we’ve covered on Madame Noire extensively. Nonetheless, attaching the anecdotal to something scientific (even it it’s quasi-scientific) is a positive.
Company leaders need to open their eyes and look around. The demography of the U.S. is changing. So are the demographics of their employees, their customers, and their corporate partners. Where businesses may not have felt it necessary to do any more than offer a little lip service to diversity before, they need to actively address the issues their corporate culture is facing. Any company that isn’t tapping into the innovation that comes with nurturing a diverse staff is missing an opportunity that will, undoubtedly, lead to negative consequences for that business.
The first consequence will be the loss of good people. Fortunately, there are companies that know what’s up. If you feel you’re not being fully accepted at the company you work with, you should feel free to pursue other options. Keep your eyes peeled for new opportunities. Maintain your professional networks. Ask around about the culture at other companies you’re interested in. And make sure your resume is always up-to-date so you can act when something looks appealing.