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7 Awesome Ways to Effectively Manage Your Stress on Weekdays

Stress is a silent killer and if you’re not doing well in coping with stress at work, it can spell problems for you.

Stress can strike anyone, even the most optimistic and energetic of people.

Your boss or teacher might not help as they keep pushing you to hit your goals. The next thing you know, you’ve lost your focus, energy, and confidence. You start going home late with stoop shoulders and a heavy feeling.

Then, you start seeking sweet treats to lift your mood.

Studies show that stress is one of the leading causes of chronic health conditions. Heart disease, accelerated aging, and diabetes are linked to stress. And if you’re not careful, this can lead to depression, too.

Yes, stress is inevitable. But there are many ways to manage it effectively on a daily basis.
Here are the best ones to help you start coping with stress at work.

Identify the nature or cause of your stress

To start coping with stress at work, you need to be more self-aware. Every time you are stressed out, step back and find out what’s really dragging you down.

In the workplace, stress can be due to the fear of being laid off. It can be due to an overwhelming workload or because of the leadership or management style of your boss.

At school, stress can be due to project deadlines, an unfavorable environment, and teaching style. Stress could also be due to financial and time constraints. It can also happen after a recent loss of a loved one.

To handle these situations, it’s best to talk to experts.

Control yourself. Eliminate your triggers to avoid feeling negative.

Allocate time for your hobbies, exercise, and social life

Set aside a couple of hours to hit the gym, do some painting (or writing), and commit to other hobbies. Choose who to hang out with. And, if possible, talk to an expert to get the social and emotional support you need to stay positive.

Coping with stress at work starts with your mornings

When you wake up early, you sleep early. This is especially true if you’re productive throughout the day and be more tired at the end of it.

It’s also the best time to apply Tony Robbins’ 15 Minutes of Fulfillment wherein you allocate the first 15 minutes of your day doing positive visualization. You may extend the 15 minutes to 30 minutes or an hour if possible.

Mel Robbins also promotes the 5-Second Rule that helps you avoid pushing your alarm clock’s snooze button. These principles can help you get on your feet fast and ready to take the day.

The secret to waking up and starting a great day really lies in your bedtime routine. Before you sleep, spend some time to pray, meditate, and write a one-liner gratitude journal. It also helps to plan, organize, and prioritize your to-do list for the next day before you sleep.

Choose your breaks strategically

Taking a break just because your friend invites you for a short cigarette or coffee break isn’t a good idea. Stopping in the middle of a task can disrupt your flow. When you get back to work, you won’t be as focused as before.

Learn to say no.

You can use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time. This technique allows you to transition from work-mode to relax-mode without compromising your productivity.

See Also: Hack the Pomodoro Technique to Boost Your Productivity

Don’t compromise your sleeping patterns and your healthy diet

It’s easy to fall into the trap of hanging out with friends for too long after work to ease your stress. But remember, the best way to ease your stress is to get adequate sleep.

Eating sweets may seem to alleviate stress, but indulging on sweet treats after work and at night can increase your insulin levels. The next thing you know, you’re having trouble sleeping.

Instead of sweets, eat foods that will help you fall asleep faster. A dinner consisting of almonds, turkey, walnuts, fatty fish, and kiwi is best. You can pair this up with chamomile tea, tart cherry juice or passionflower tea.

Take advantage of online time management, productivity tools, and stress management apps

A plethora of apps and tools are now available to help enhance productivity. These can help you get more things done in a day. Specifically, you may get started with the following:

Pomodoro Timer– to allocate time for work and rest

Pocket, Wunderlist, Trello – to create and organize tasks

Pocket Yoga – to meditate and exercise on the go

Spotify, Deezer – to listen to your choice of soothing, stress-relieving, or inspiring music or audio

Don’t forget to equip your web browser with a plug-in that limits your use of social media and other non-work related websites.

Be consistent and be patient with yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

You have to understand that handling stress is a skill that needs to be developed with consistency and commitment. If you think you failed today, plan and commit to doing better tomorrow!

Doing this helps you avoid the feeling of being stuck with self-blame and self-pity which also causes stress.

The reality is this:

Stress is as constant as change in the world. So don’t feel helpless and depressed when you’re experiencing it. This is normal and everyone has their own kind of stress.

You just have to know how to start coping with stress at work. And for that, what you need to do is to commit to following the tips above to fight stress and live a happier and longer life.

The post 7 Awesome Ways to Effectively Manage Your Stress on Weekdays appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Avoidable Workplace Safety Mistakes

Let’s accept it. Not all businesses are serious about their workplace safety.

Some of them leave the safety on the mercy of a few fire extinguishers and a couple of warning signs here and there. Some of them don’t bother if the chemicals are stored near their MCB box or employees go through a wet floor. Unfortunately, they only realize the importance of workplace safety when a serious accident occurs.

Why wait for something unpleasant to happen?

Create a secure and positive work environment by avoiding common safety mistakes in the workplace given below.

Failing to Use a Ladder Properly

common safety mistake

According to one report, 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries every year. Even worse, over 400 people lost their lives as they succumbed to those injuries.

Tiny ladder-related mistakes can lead to serious injuries. For example, some use unsteady ladders that can easily slide out while a person is on it. Leaning from the ladders is another mistake that can affect their balance. Using other objects like chairs, stools or scaffolding as a ladder is not safe, either.

Not Getting the Machine Inspected

If you are like most business owners, you are likely to skip an inspection if a machine is working fine.

Well, this can be problematic down the road.

You never know when an underlying fault can lead to damage or harm the operator. Therefore, make sure to get your machinery inspected on time.

Timely and proper inspections make sure that your machines are running correctly and won’t pose risk. With regular inspection, your equipment stays in top shape and won’t cause a halt due to breakdown.

Not Keeping the Facility Clean and Organized

Make sure to keep your facility clean and organized. Otherwise, a huge stack of waste or debris can lead to a fire outbreak if they come into contact with a spark or inflammable material.

Moreover, an unclean work environment is an ideal breeding ground for various bacteria and germs, thereby affecting the health of your workforce. By practicing proper work hygiene, you can prevent the growth of harmful viruses and bacteria, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

It goes without saying that having clean premises will also improve your business image.

Inappropriate Storage of Chemicals

Your workers are also prone to risks when they come into contact with harmful chemicals or toxic substance like gasoline, paint, and insulation. Here is how you can minimize the risks associated with them.

  • Keep the areas ventilated.
  • Make sure your employees wear protective gears like gloves and masks while using chemicals.
  • Tell your employees to seek treatment if they experience itchiness or not feel well after using the chemicals.
  • Store the chemicals away from any equipment and electrical short circuit board.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to store them.

Not Performing a Safety Risk Assessment

Let’s admit it.

We are often so used to our work environment that we forget about our safety. In fact, we take it for granted. We assume that we are aware of the risks as well as the ways to deal with them.

That’s not the right approach.

You need to assess the risk factors present in your workplace. For example, you never know when an overheated system can turn into a hazard or when a slippery floor can injure someone.

Therefore, you should perform a safety risk assessment of your workplace frequently. A health and workplace safety professional can help you with this task. They can assess your workplace for risks and help you deal with them.

Electrical Hazards

common safety mistakes electrical hazard

No matter how upscale and sophisticated work environment you have, you are not immune to electrical hazards. Electrical hazards are one of the major causes of workplace fatalities, even in developed nations like the US.

Power fluctuations can also affect the equipment in your workplace. A big power surge can damage your machinery, while an unexpected power outage can lead to loss of work.

Here are the tips to avoid electrical hazards taking place at your organizations.

  • Make sure to power off the device before repairing it.
  • Update your equipment as old equipment may have frayed wires or worn out segments.
  • Avoid stuffing outlets with too many equipment and tools. Avoid plugin more than high wattage equipment at a time.
  • Unplug equipment when not in use to save energy as well as minimize the risk of fire or shock.
  • Get your electrical cords inspected once a month to make sure that they are not cracked or damaged.
  • Don’t run the wires through high traffic areas like carpets or doorways.
  • The repairs and installation should be done by a licensed electrician.
  • All the equipment should be certified.

Not Wearing Protective Gear

One of the major causes of workplace accidents is not wearing protective gears like gloves and helmets.

Also known as Personal Protective Equipment, protecting gear protects workers against several risks on the job. These hazard risks can be anything from falling debris, wet floors, electrical sparks, and poisonous gases. For example, wearing hard hats provide protection to the workers against head injuries or shocks caused by falling objects.

These protective gears generally include items like eye protection, high visibility clothing, safety footwear, helmets and respiratory protective equipment like a mask.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why Wearing Safety Boots at the Workplace is Crucial

Not Having the Safety Signs

Many employees don’t bother if they walk on a wet floor. Some don’t realize that the lift is out of order until it halts in the middle. Some may not be able to find the emergency exit door when a fire breaks out.

This is why safety signs are used to help workers identify the risks. They warn the employees about potential dangers. For example, the sign of a wet floor will warn them to avoid the pathway so that they don’t get injured.

Some of the common workplace safety signs are prohibition signs, mandatory signs, warning signs, fire safety signs, danger signs, general information signs, and emergency signs.

These are the workplace safety mistakes you can avoid to keep your employees and infrastructure safe and sound. What do you think? Please drop your opinions to the comment box given below!

The post 8 Avoidable Workplace Safety Mistakes appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tips For Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes

If you are a company that requires employees to drive as part of their job, you need to establish a fleet safety program. Automobile accidents occur every five seconds with death and injuries as part of the mix. As an employer, you cannot be too careful when it comes to safety and liability. Most fleet accidents are caused by driver error and are preventable.

These tips will help you avoid motor vehicle crashes and keep your employees safe.

Tip 1 – Set up a Safe Driver Program

A joint effort by the NETS, NHTSA and OSHA designed to reduce motor vehicle accidents suggest that employers set up a safe driver program. They even offer a brochure to help you set one up.

OSHA explains that “your program should work to keep the driver and those with whom he/she shares the road safely. And, if necessary, the program must work to change driver attitudes, improve behavior, and increase skills to build a “be safe” culture. By instructing your employees in basic safe driving practices and then rewarding safety-conscious behavior, you can help your employees and their families avoid tragedy.”

Tip 2 – Written Policies and Procedures

Make sure your employee handbook includes detailed information on safety rules and procedures that employees must implement in their jobs. Have them sign an agreement to these terms to make sure they read and understand them.

Tip 3 – Ongoing Safety Training

Motor vehicle safety is not a one-off but an ongoing conversation with employees. Upper management needs to be on-board and committed to long-term safety and results. Hold regular training sessions with updated information on safety issues, proper use of seatbelts, fatigue, and drug and alcohol use when driving. Remember not all employees are the same. Some will need extra training and one-on-one instruction.

Tip 4 – Driver Screening

One of the best ways to prevent accidents is to screen potential employees, review their driving record, and hire only individuals with a clean and safe driving record. The Department of Motor Vehicles can provide driving records to employers.

Tip 5 – Vehicle Maintenance

vehicle maintenance

Just as important as your drivers, it is critical to keep your machinery in good working order. Make sure you have a plan for regular maintenance and safety inspections of all your vehicles. The NHTSA offers lists of the safest and most reliable cars to include in your fleet. Consider technological upgrades to your vehicles to help drivers be safe and more accountable for their driving behavior.

Tip 6 – Rewards/Disciplinary Action

Have not only a disciplinary action plan for employees who incur infractions (even minor traffic tickets or minor scrapes) but also a rewards program for those employees who display exemplary driving records while in your employ. Ask for employee feedback, so everyone is on the same page. Drivers can be your eyes and ears and bring up issues you didn’t even know about.

Tip 7 – Regulatory Compliance

employee background

Make sure you comply with all local, state and federal driving and road safety rules. If one of your employees is in an accident, report it to the police and follow insurance guidelines as well. Consult the agencies below to familiarize yourself with the laws and compliance regulations that you need to be aware of:

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)
  • National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)

Work-related crashes impact both the employer and employee in financial and psychological ways. Implement a robust program to avoid these issues and keep everyone safer and your bottom line healthy.

See Also: Personal Injury Claims After A Car Accident

The post Tips For Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely

You’re a 9-to-5 desk jockey chained to your cube.

The ambient chatter of your co-workers has burned into your earholes.

The worst part?

You can do your job from anywhere and be more productive.

Instead, you have to wake up at 6 am. It feels akin to crossing the Sahara desert with no camel.

Take heart and put your party pants on because you’re about to start working from a hammock and enjoy the blue sky.

Here’s what you can do when asking your boss to work from home.

Make Sure You’re a Top Performer

top performer

A whopping 56% of jobs in the US are compatible with remote work.

Yours might be one of them. But before you ask your boss to work remotely, your performance needs to be topnotch.

Chances are, your boss’ management style—we’ll call her Nicole—is based on Andrew Grove’s Task Relevant Maturity (TRM) concept.

I know, the name does not roll off the tongue but the idea behind it makes perfect sense.

Nicole is either hands-off or on depending on your performance:

If you do the job like Elon Musk, you can gallivant all around the globe. But if you’re more like Frodo with his arm broken, you’d better stick to the office like glue.

How do you know if you’re a top performer?

Your recent performance reviews shine green and your boss regularly takes his hat off to your achievements. Your work is in concert with peers.

All boxes ticked?

Crack on.

Decide What You Bring To The Table

You want to work from home in your pajamas but you need a better excuse. Your boss needs to know what’s in it for her.

So, come up with a list of perks Nicole will get when you’re away.

Here are a few examples if you’re a writer:

  • I’ll be able to output more articles a week for the company blog because of fewer distractions.
  • I will be able to start work earlier because I can avoid the commute.
  • I’ll be fully available in Slack and Skype whenever the team needs me and I can come to the office anytime.

Once you can show Nicole you’re better off working remotely, you’ll enter the digital nomad lifestyle with no hassle.

Have the Conversation

convince the boss

You’re killing it in your job and you can take your efficiency to the next level if you work remotely.

Now, it’s game time.

Shoot an email to Nicole. It’ll give her time to reflect on your request.

Here’s what you can write:

Spotlight your successes

Example: My last performance reviews were positive and I feel I’m doing a pretty good job. Two of my latest articles are ranking number one in SERP and they both have been shared by 100+ users.

Emphasize the benefit for the company

Example: If I could work from home, I’d be able to produce more articles because I’ll have far fewer distractions than I do in the office. On top of that, I could start my day at 8 AM because I won’t have to commute.

Address potential concerns

Example: Even though I won’t be physically present in the office, I’ll be available via Slack and Skype. If you want me to attend a meeting, I can come to the office anytime during the day.

Pro tip: If a home office is uncommon in your company/team, ask for small trial runs. If things work out, you’ll be able to up your remote days.

Once you prove you’d better off working from home, consider your request approved.

See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office

What Do You Think?

How would you approach the talk with the boss?

Let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

The post How To Convince Your Boss To Let You Work Remotely appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About AI Taking Your Job – Yet

As automation and artificial intelligence sweep through business, predictions for this amazing tech keep changing. Thanks to serious advances in this technology, some managers are looking at a high risk of losing their jobs to automation. But before you imagine your boss as a robot in a suit and tie, understanding the limitations of AI can help you prepare for our eventual future.

AI at Work: What AI Can Do Versus What AI Can’t Do

No matter how high tech automation may be, it can’t do the whole job on its own. Just last year in 2018, Amazon was forced to scrap a state-of-the-art hiring algorithm.

The reason?

Blatant sexism and discrimination in the resumes it favored. Developed in an effort to avoid the intentional and unintentional bias of hiring managers, the system itself began picking up on those bad habits through the data it was fed.

In the already male-dominated industry, the decade’s worth of resumes it reviewed to learn how to identify good candidates for successful hires were, not surprisingly, mostly male applicants.

The results lead to the opposite effect of intentions as the computer began filtering out female applicants and listings of women colleges.

Sure, screening algorithms like this work on the surface level — this means analyzing data, sorting through piles of resumes, and picking out the “best fit” for a position. But, the hiring part is a whole other ball game. More than half of small businesses use tech to help with the hiring process. They rely on it to pick up the slack so human managers can focus on the important parts.

However, machines can’t get a personal feel for an applicant. They can’t predict how well they will fit in with the culture of the workplace. Simply, they can’t make those intuitive decisions. Those are best left to talented hiring experts.

So don’t worry, your next interview is unlikely to involve a robot in a suit, at least for the foreseeable future. Management roles with the highest risk of falling to computerization include:

  • Payroll and benefits, 96%
  • Property and real estate, 81%
  • Administrative services, 73%
  • Transportation management, 59%

See Also: How Artificial Intelligence Will Dominate the Future of E-commerce

Bias In, Bias Out, And Other AI Limitations

artificial intelligence at work

Let’s not get too carried away, however.

If there’s anything you should learn from Amazon’s unfortunate hiring algorithm trial, it’s that placing too much trust and responsibilities in machines can be an algorithm for disaster. Understanding equally the capabilities and limitations is essential to finding the right kind of tech for any business’ needs.

Generally speaking, the drawbacks of AI in business point in the direction of human skills and emotional intelligence. Screening algorithms, like behavioral assessments, may pinpoint the best candidates out of a large data pool. However, it can’t point out which candidates will personally mesh with a team.

AI may analyze data in a way that identifies broken systems or unproductive workers and even suggest changes, but it will always overlook moral, ethical, and emotional factors. Customer service AI algorithms can quickly answer FAQs, direct questions from customers to the proper parties, and use past data to suggest solutions. However, they are unable to build relationships with clients which may be detrimental to customer retention and satisfaction.

How Can AI Streamline Your Business?

So, you may already be considering the idea of stronger and more powerful automation support for your business. What’s the next step?

Nearly one in five businesses reject the notion of new tech, considering it not worth the hassle of implementation or cost. Meanwhile, more than four in five believe that if they found the right kind of tech, their business could benefit from it.

Find the right tech with a quick look under the hood, so to speak. Are there any daily tasks that disrupt valuable work?

  • What responsibilities get downgraded or even ignored when urgent matters crop up?
  • What daily tasks demand too much time and attention from managers?
  • And what would be the ideal main purpose of new tech: mobile access, time-saving options, automation?

The common theme of AI support is obvious and smart business leaders will see a clear takeaway. It’s to utilize tech to the highest potential in data management so that human managers can lead their team more effectively.

Office AI is coming and it’s coming fast and the best and brightest of this tech could be at your very own fingertips. Ready to give your managers some brand new tools?

Take a look at this infographic for more on how to find the right tech for your business, whether or not AI replaces your manager.
Can AI Replace Your Manager?
Source: MBA Central

The post Why You Shouldn’t Worry About AI Taking Your Job – Yet appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Top 7 Ways To Achieve Legendary Level of Leadership

You must’ve had the pleasure of leading a team or a small group of people at some point in your life. Be it a project or a small campaign, you know how difficult it sometimes get to keep all of your team members on the same page and make them working toward your (common) goal.

Human history is filled with so many great leaders who made the whole world follow them without being distracted or having double thoughts. So, how did those people achieve that legendary level of leadership?

Here are 7 tips on how to improve leadership skills:

Connection

Being a leader, you definitely want your team to understand you better. But don’t you think that you need to understand your team members first?

The key to being a good leader is how good can he or she connects with his or her people.

Yes, your team members are your people. They should be as close to you as your family and similarly, you should be as close to them as their families. You need to know them (not just their names and bio), understand them, and connect with them.

Start talking to your team members or followers more often. Talk about not just about future goals and work-related stuff but also about personal things. Make them feel that you are a friend to them instead of a person who orders them. Share your personal stories first so that they can be more comfortable talking to you. Have fun with them.

Once they start feeling that you’re fun like their friends and caring like their families, you’ll see the difference in their way of working. They’ll start putting their faith in you. They will see you as a leader instead of a boss.

Motivation

Working continuously toward a common goal is what you and your team should be thinking and doing — always. But constantly doing so creates exhaustion due to our limited mental and physical capabilities.

This exhaustion later leads to a decreased level of morale and lack of motivation toward work. Now, it is your job to boost your people’s morale and their level of motivation.

Delivering motivational speeches frequently during meetings is one of the best ways to cheer up your people. If some individual is feeling hopeless, then you have to talk to that person individually instead of calling a team meeting.

For more information on how to deliver a killer speech, you can check this article by John Corcoran on Dumb Little Man.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Teamwork

As they say, “With great power comes greater responsibility!”

Being a leader, you might have a very diverse group of people who are very different from each other. This diversity is good for the exposure and scope of your team as it can bring new ideas as well as creative insights.

However, this diversity also creates conflicts when two or more people don’t agree with each other or their beliefs clash on some topic.

In that case, you need to come up with a solution on how to create harmony in your team while avoiding conflicts. It can be achieved by taking those people for a coffee or dinner to talk things out.

If your people can become friends, they’ll be better at working together. So, you need to introduce this friendship to your team members as it encourages solid teamwork.

Be more active in case a new member joins your team. It can be hard for a newbie to find his place in the team as well as in the social sphere. Introduce your newest member to the team and make him feel good by proudly announcing his achievement among your team members.

You need to keep checking the cohesiveness in your team as it is highly fragile. One conflict or misunderstanding might lead to a collapse.

Greater Goal

greater goal

To keep everyone on the same page, you need to keep reminding them about the greater goal. It is okay if everyone in your team works for their own progress and success. But you need to tell them how important achieving your common goal is.

Connect your goal to a greater good. Shout proudly in your speeches or casual talks that achieving this goal will be crucial for the development of society and also beneficial for mankind.

Hearing this will definitely make your whole team proud of themselves. It is necessary for their self-esteem as it’ll increase their scope of thinking. Knowing that they are working for something bigger will give them the boost they need.

Be Loud and Clear

You know that they don’t call the lion ‘the king of the jungle’ for nothing.

You are their leader and you have the responsibility for everything. So, you need to be loud whether it be a motivational speech or a regular talk with your team member.

You cannot afford to stumble while talking. You need to keep a lion-like image among your team. They should look up to you whenever they need any help.

You should also be clear and straightforward. It is your team so you better clearly assign work and give tasks to your people. Since you’ll be responsible for anything good or bad that happens to your team, better be loud and clear always.

Always Be Humble

Being loud and clear doesn’t give you the right to be rude or arrogant even for once. It simply is unacceptable. The moment you start behaving negatively, you’ll be dragging the entire team down.

Even when your team members are not so humble to you all the time, you need to act in such a way.

Being humble shows a positive attitude. Plus, it encourages your people to practice humility as well.

I understand that you are also a human being who has emotions. Yes, you can be angry but you need to control your negative emotions.

Control your anger by using specific techniques, like counting 1 to 10 in your head. Now, once you have enough self-control, try to be humble as much as possible.

See Also: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader

End on A Good Note

leadership skill

If you’ve ever delivered a speech or did a presentation, you’ll know how crucial it is to end things on a good note.

Just think of someone who is delivering a motivational speech to a crowd and suddenly says ‘Thank you’!

Ending your talks or speech is as important as any other steps of being a leader. You can include any inside jokes which only you and your team can understand. It’ll help ease up any awkward situation and introduce subtle humor.

You can also include any quotes by famous personalities, such as the one below:

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What do you think a leader requires to be legendary? Leave in comments down below.

The post Top 7 Ways To Achieve Legendary Level of Leadership appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity

Do you feel stressed or distracted as soon as you get to work? Here’s one cause you may not have considered: not having a clean desk at work

Sure, you’ve probably heard things like “yeah, my desk is messy, but so was Einstein’s”. This idea that having a cluttered desk is a good thing has become much more common in the last few years. But alas, that doesn’t make it right and we’re going to do a bit of debunking.

Here are 5 reasons why a cluttered desk isn’t better:

messy desk

It Creates Stress

When you start the day feeling like you’re behind, that can be deeply discouraging. That’s exactly what happens (even subconsciously) when you’ve got unsorted piles all over your workspace.

It’s Distracting

A mess can stop your flow. If you find your eyes drifting to the odds and ends strewn around your desk, those moments are lost time. More importantly, it’s an interruption. This can be particularly counterproductive when you’re “in-the-zone” and cranking out fast, quality work.

It’s Unhealthy

The average office keyboard has roughly 7,500 bacteria on it. Taking care of yourself includes taking care of your work surfaces. An uncleaned desk can have a real impact on how often you’re sick or not feeling well.

It Can Undermine Your Reputation

According to Adecco, a majority of Americans (57%) admit they judge co-workers by how clean or dirty they keep their workspaces.

If you work in an office or shared space, your desk will impact how your colleagues and superiors see you. A messy or disorganized desk can be interpreted as a sign you are disorganized and inefficient in your work. That’s not the type of image any of us want.

It Reduces Self Confidence

In addition to affecting the way others see you, a messy desk can impact how you see yourself. Don’t miss the importance of this. Having confidence can have a profound impact on how you present yourself and pursue your work. A clean desk at work is a very simple step that can have a variety of benefits in your professional life.

Now that we’ve established the negative effects of a messy desk, let’s do something about it. Here are 4 things you can start today to get your desk in order:

organized desk

1. Create a Cleaning Habit

Even 15 minutes/week makes a huge difference. I like to do this on Friday afternoons. It gives me a sense of resolution and paves the way for a positive start on Monday morning. If you want to go bigger, decluttering at the end of each workday can be a great cadence.

2. Purge Based on Frequency

If you don’t use it every week, store it or throw it away. If you use it every week, put it in an easily accessible bin/shelf/drawer. In case you use it daily (or hourly), keep it within reach. The idea is to strategically place files, tools, and materials based on how often you use them.

3. Create a Clear Filing System

This applies to paper files and digital files. The amount of time we waste trying to find stuff is outrageous. Take an hour to establish a clear system. This will save you hours (even weeks) in the long run.

4. Splurge on Organization Tools

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your desk is to add something to it. That may be a bit counter-intuitive but adding something like a shelf or desk cover can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your workspace.

That’s it, now do it! Add a block to your calendar or planner and transform your workspace into a well-oiled machine.

The post 5 Reasons a Messy Desk Is Not Good For Your Productivity appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves

Ice freezing offices. Social media. YouTube. Fantasy football leagues. There is one thing all of them have in common – they are all primary suspects for causing your productivity at work to plummet. Even the top-level CEOs fall under temptation to watch the latest cat video uploaded on YouTube. The difference is, they found a way to overcome these bad habits with some simple hacks and tricks.

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” –Paul J. Meyer.

Your environment cannot always be controlled, but you can control what you get accomplished. In addition to that, you can always learn from others, mimic their behavior, and discover how they get things done more efficiently. Certainly, there are some easy ways to accomplish more, like turning off your smartphone or blocking access to YouTube.

However, these are all small things that wouldn’t get you far enough. There are far better ways to become the best version of yourself at work. And the best thing is that you can learn these productivity skills by following the good examples of some of the world’s most successful people.

Below are some productivity secrets top-level CEOs swear on.

Develop the growth mindset

You should never be satisfied with where you and your company are right now. You should know that there is always room for improvement in every area. There is always a better and faster way of doing something.

Elon Musk once said: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

And that is growth mindset at its finest.

This skill separates successful people from everyone else.

When your mind is trained in such a way, you know that anything is achievable as long as you put enough effort into it. And if by any means you fail, don’t take it too personally. Instead, approach the problem from a different angle until you get it right.

Use technology for productivity, not for the distraction

use technology

We bet that now you are saying: “What are they talking about? In the beginning, they said that technology is credited the most for all the distractions at work.”

Well, yes and no.

Technology can be of great help and top-level CEOs know that. There are plenty of mobile apps that can make their lives a lot easier and stress-free, especially for the ones who travel a lot. Business apps allow them to stay productive and work from wherever they are. They can basically bring their whole offices with them through a device that fits perfectly into their pockets.

Therefore, we decided to share with you one very interesting interactive infographic created by the people from Cometdocs. It will show you what mobile apps can completely and effortlessly replace traditional office equipment. Just click on the blue dots in order to find out what mobile app replaces the selected office element.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

Schedule your day around when your brain is at its finest

What we mean by this is you should schedule your day around when your brain is at the peak of its power. Postpone all brainless and unimportant activities until it is fatigued.

First of all, there is one question you have to give a precise answer to: “When is my brain at its peak power?”

Let’s say it is from 7 to 11 a.m.

During that period, you should only focus on your most challenging tasks. Your schedule should be blocked off so you could have as little distractions as possible.

What about after 11 a.m.?

Well, continue with your everyday work, respond to emails, do those charts or call people back.

Basically, your mornings or whenever your concentration is at its best should be kept for important stuff and that time should be non-negotiable. Only afterward should you start dealing with your everyday work.

By following this little hack, you will achieve in 6 months what other people wouldn’t achieve in 2 years!

Set limits for everything, meetings, emails, tasks, you name it

set limits

There is no time for wasting time – see what we did there?

Previously, we talked about how you should plan your day around according to your level of concentration. And now, we will let you know how you should manage your everyday work aside from those prime time hours.

Top level CEOs know how to make the most out of every minute and that is easily achievable by limiting your everyday tasks.

For example, you could limit your meetings to 1 hour, 20 minutes for presentation and 40 minutes for the discussion. Nothing less and nothing more.

Or you could set the limit for the length of the emails you send. That way, you could respond to every work-related email you get and save time because you are keeping the responses short. Basically, every task can be limited in some way and you should definitely take advantage of it.

Replace “but” with “and”

Whenever you say “but” in a conversation, you are indicating that everything that you said before the “but” is not relevant. People are subconsciously trained to immediately forget everything you said before the “but”.

For example, someone may say: “I completely agree with everything you said and did, BUT here is what I think.” Have you felt it? Like your brain is preparing to fight.

Replacing “but” with “and” completely changes the tonality and dynamic of communication and this really works. People feel more appreciated and are likely to be open-minded to new ideas and suggestions when you approach them this way. Try it the next time you want to suggest something, you won’t regret it.

Final thoughts

You may try all of these productivity secrets at once or one tip at the time. The case is, all of the top level CEOs focus on doing several things really well each day rather than doing a hundred things poorly.

We truly hope you enjoyed reading this article and we would love to hear about the hacks you use to stay productive in the comments below.

The post Productivity Secrets Top-Level CEOs Would Rather Keep to Themselves appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Six Golden Rules for Successful Project Management You Need to Know

Project management is pretty straightforward – you find the requirements, create a realistic plan, assign the right people on the job, set a deadline, and most importantly, get work done. However, when it comes to the real world, project management is never that easy. The situation often gets too complicated and the team gets confused managing multiple tasks at once. As a result, deadlines are missed and the project faces absolute failure.

So, what can you do to make a project successful? How do you ensure that your project gets completed on time and on budget? Where can you start mastering how to manage a project so that it becomes successful?

Well, it’s your lucky day. Here are a few golden rules that you can use to guarantee your project’s success.

Ensure you have a detailed project scope

The scope of a project comprises of the complete project details ― key milestones, deliverables, deadlines, the overall budget, and more. Now, before a project starts, it is extremely important that you and your team have access to the detailed project scope. If something is missing, don’t hesitate to ask your client or stakeholder to provide the necessary information.

Create a flexible strategy

create flexible strategy

When it comes to project management, you never make assumptions. In order to ensure the success of a project, you need to have a plan for everything. Furthermore, it is also important that you are able to mold your plans and strategies according to the evolving needs of your project. Basically, make sure you are prepared for every situation.

Have the right team

A major factor that decides the fate of a project is the kind of talent you have on your team. That’s why it is important that you hire the right kind of people. Make sure that their skills and expertise are a perfect match for your project and its requirements. Also, don’t involve too many employees. Limit the size of your team to perform more productively.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Set clear roles and responsibilities

set roles and responsibilities

When many people are working on the same project and deadline, confusion and conflicts may happen. This is why it is important that a project manager clearly defines everyone’s roles and responsibilities at the start of a project. Consider using project management and task management tools for this purpose. These tools can make it easier for you to make each team member understand what is expected of them and what tasks they are responsible for.

See Also: Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation

Never micromanage

If you want to see your projects succeed, you will have to let your team members make their own decisions whenever needed. Don’t over-control or micromanage your projects. Give your team some space and empower them to bring the best results.

Celebrate

Last but not the least, make it a habit to recognize and reward people for their great work. This is a great way to keep everyone motivated and track overall team productivity from time to time.

Managing and delivering projects is a stressful job. However, it won’t be challenging if you keep the above rules in mind. Try to follow them as closely as possible and you’ll soon know how to manage a project successfully.

If you have a rule that helps you manage things better at work, share it with us in the comments below.

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Data Security Tips for the Remote Workforce

As technology advances at a rapid pace, hackers and cybercriminals are finding it easier to hack into a company’s system to steal data. According to the SMB cybersecurity report, almost 43% of all small businesses in the United States suffered through a data breach and were victims of cybercrime in 2016.

Therefore, it is important for you to develop and implement the best cyber data security tips to prevent such attacks from taking place.

What Are the Threats?

Data Loss and Device Failure

Forgetting to back up your data and not updating your device on a regular basis can cause huge problems. You could lose data due to human error, experience file corruption or even overheating of your device. This makes it important that you keep a backup of your data in your Cloud accounts so you can easily access the information that you need.

Stolen Devices

Another threat that can harm your business operations is when your device gets stolen and the criminals get access to your company’s information. People often steal devices in order to sell them for cash.

Cybercrime

cyber crime

Cybercrime is a virtual crime which happens online. It includes stealing of personal and financial information.

There are rules and laws that are created to stop such illegal activities. Whenever you see any illegal activity on online platforms, you should report it to the authorities right away.

How Can You Enhance the Security for Remote Employees?

Create Backups and Recovery Plans

Having backups and recovery plans are the best strategies you can implement. You should also have regularly scheduled system cleanings and updates to maintain the security of your company’s system.

Backing up information is extremely important because it helps restore the original data in case you lose your device or it gets compromised by hackers or intruders.

Spread Knowledge

The rules and regulations regarding security tend to change quite frequently because technology is advancing. This is why you need to update your security strategies to cope with the changing threats.

You need to research threats that can be harmful to your company so that you can educate your workforce for more effective security. Your employees play a vital role in the security of your company. They have crucial information, which can be extremely dangerous if leaked outside.

Update your employees regularly and get them the latest tools to fight the threats and defend against the attacks.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

In order to enhance the security of your company, you should use a Two-Factor Authentication as it makes it more difficult for hackers to operate. The Two-Factor Authentication system will lock your account and require a password along with a code to unlock it. This is a strong type of system that keeps unauthorized people away from your accounts.

Update Your Software Automatically

When running a business, you need to update it on a regular basis. Waiting for an installation of the latest update is not an option. You need to have the latest version installed to serve your customers.

In addition to this, the latest versions allow for better performance because they include solutions that weren’t available previously.

Use VPN for Secure Networks

There are many employers that offer remote employees access to the secure network so that they can work without any obstacles. An encrypted connection will allow employees to safely and securely browse the internet while preventing third party interception.

Off-site employees should never use open or public Wi-Fi connections. They might get intercepted by hackers and the company information can get leaked. Employees should be provided a VPN so that they can easily work in a safe environment with no issues.

See Also: How to Set Up a VPN

Security Protocol and Access Controls

You should keep a constant check on the security protocol and access controls of your network because employees might not be using the information correctly. You need to keep an eye on the information that’s flowing in and out of your company in order to check for fraudulent activities.

Protect Smart Devices

protect smart devices

You should protect the mobile devices of your organization at all times. This is to prevent unauthorized access to confidential information.

You can do that with strong passwords, photo recognition, thumb impressions, and pattern unlocking systems. In addition to those, you can use a two-factor authentication to enhance the security of your devices.

See Also: 8 Easy Steps To Your Browser Security And Privacy

Security is of utmost importance and should not be taken for granted. You cannot compromise your organization’s security because hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for opportunities to hack into your system. That is why you need to implement these data security tips and strategies to ensure a safe working environment.

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5 Really Useful Tips For Dealing With Toxic Bosses At Work

According to a Gallup research, 75% of employees in the U.S. leave managers and not companies. That isn’t surprising because while poor pay structures, stagnant jobs, and stunted growth are some reasons people quit jobs, dealing with a toxic and condescending boss at work can get extremely challenging.

Considering you spend more than half of your day at your workplace, having a toxic boss not only hinders productivity but is also detrimental to your mental well-being.

To help you out, here are some of the most useful tips for dealing with toxic bosses.

Do your job well

one on one meetings

Be observant and keep a check on all the things that irk your boss and you’ll surely find a pattern. Do your job to the best of your ability and make conscious efforts to refrain from giving your boss any reason to point fingers at you.

The best way to stay out of trouble is to effectively communicate with your boss. Make sure you give timely updates, have a solution-driven approach, and don’t shy away from asking questions.

See Also: The Importance of Meeting the Boss Regularly

Respond professionally

Thanks to a difficult boss, you might often find yourself at the receiving end of numerous insults and unreasonable outbursts. However, shouting back is the worst way to deal with it. While you may have the urge to argue, remember that it never ends well and only makes matters worse.

In the middle of an outburst, if you start getting anxious, take a minute to calm down and approach the situation with maturity and grace. It’s always safe to remain calm and respond in a professional manner rather than losing your cool.

Take the learnings

When you stop complaining about your boss’ difficult behavior, you realize that even this unpleasant situation has a silver lining. Apart from learning how NOT to be, there is a lot more you learn by dealing with a toxic boss.

Bad bosses help you toughen up and become more resilient. If taken in the right spirit, they can motivate you to do better and perform well under pressure. While it is easier said than done, these are essential soft skills that can take you a long way in the corporate world.

See Also: 9 Traits of a Great Leader

Think long-term

deal with toxic boss

Amid all the workplace drama, it is natural to forget the bigger picture and lose focus on your job. Yes, your boss makes coming to work a nightmare, but nothing is worth running your career over.

Bosses are transient and should not drive you to take decisions that can prove to be detrimental to your career. Keep your eyes on the end goal and don’t let everyday office politics deter you from reaching your destination. Once you are out of this situation, you will be glad you were patient enough to not derail.

Don’t take it personally

Last but not the least, do not let your boss’ behavior affect your self-esteem and confidence. Their behavior is a result of their own shortcomings and what they say in a fit of anger certainly does not define you.

The best way to deal with your boss’ undue criticism is to be emotionally detached. Form a strong support system at work with whom you can discuss your workplace frustrations. The last thing you want is to take the negativity at work back home and have it ruin your personal life.

Everyone comes across bad bosses at some point in their lives. You can either spend your time whining and let their behavior demotivate you or deal with it maturely and take it in your stride.

While these tips will help you deal with your toxic boss, remember to speak up and escalate matters if your boss’ behavior is getting out of hand. If you ever find yourself to be a victim of verbal abuses, racial discrimination or sexual harassment, you should immediately report it to the human resources department because you have all the rights to.

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One Simple Trick to Get Rid of the #1 Workplace Productivity Killer

Coworkers, emails, phone calls, customers or clients…. The amount of things that can distract us from our responsibilities in a work day is enormous. Normally, we don’t resist these distractions and we end up switching over to them because want to.

This kind of multi-tasking kills our ability to be productive.

Scientific studies have shown that we lose 40% of our time due to switching between tasks. That means that we’re losing 16 hours of our work week by multitasking alone.

The #1 offender that gets us off track?

Mobile phones in the workplace.

Why are mobile phones so good at getting us off track?

There’s actually a simple explanation and it has to do with the way our brains work.

It’s called the Triune Brain Theory.

If you’ve never heard of the Triune Brain Theory, here’s the short version:

The Triune Brain Theory is a model for how the brain works as proposed by Dr. Paul MacLean. Our brain is actually made up of three brains which evolved on top of each other: the physical brain, the emotional brain, and the thinking brain.

triune brain theory
Via slideplayer.com

The physical brain controls all of our physical needs such as safety and security, hunger, sex, and shelter. The emotional brain controls all of our emotions and emotional needs such as happiness, sadness, relationship, and connection with others. The thinking brain controls all of our complex thinking skills such as language, abstract thought, and planning.

The strongest is the physical brain, followed by the emotional brain, then by the thinking brain. These brains all want different things and have their own unique ways to get them.

In order to get rid of distractions, we have to learn to manage our physical brain.

The physical brain loves immediate, physical gratification and wants it ALL the time. It also pulls our emotional brain in to help it in this task. When it fails to get its needs, it dumps us with negative emotions.

For example, our physical brain loves looking at our phone. Scientists discovered that when we look at our phones, we get a hit of dopamine: the chemical that makes us happy.

In this article, researchers connected electrodes to Anderson Cooper from CNN and measured his heart rate and perspiration. When he couldn’t check his phone every time a notification alert occurred, he showed the same withdrawal symptoms that you see from an addict.

The Solution

In order to overcome this addiction and take your productivity back, you have to put your phone in a place where it’s accessible if you really need it, but not so easily accessible that you’ll reach for it in the case of a distraction.

My recommendation is a lock with a timer.

With this, you can lock your phone away for a set time and work uninterrupted.

locked box

Try this: Get a small box that can be used with a lock. Get your timed lock and set the time length for 45 minutes and work. Make sure your phone is on silent and vibration is turned off.

When you get your phone back, go nuts for 15 minutes. Be as impulsive as you want. Get on Facebook, start reading the news, start scrolling through Instagram or text/call your friends. Doing this will get rid of the biggest work distraction out there and allow you to focus and work uninterrupted.

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Bringing Work And Life Back Into Balance In The United States

Knowing how to achieve work-life balance isn’t always easy. We live in an age where technology blurs the line between our hours at work and at home.

In fact, 40% of Americans think that it’s perfectly fine to answer work emails at the dinner table if it’s “urgent”.

Now, the only problem with that is your boss might have a different definition of urgent than you do.

Achieving work-life balance isn’t about being rigid and inflexible with your 40-hour workweek. It’s simply knowing how to set boundaries so your work won’t end up ruining your life.

America Kind Of Sucks At Work/Life Balance

The United States sits at the 30th spot (out of 38 countries) when it comes to work/life balance. Nearly 12% of our workers are working more than 50 hours a week, compared to The Netherlands, which only has 0.5%.

People in The Netherlands spend 16 hours each day working on leisure and personal care. In comparison, people in the United States only spend a little over 11.

The average workday in the United States is also creeping up, logging in at 8.15 hours a day for full-time employees.

Because of that, nearly 60% of Americans say that technology has ruined the modern family dinner because bosses expect answers at any hour.

Other complaints American workers have include:

  • 60% bad or overbearing bosses
  • 39% work beyond normal working hours
  • 39% experience inflexible work schedules or inadequate off time
  • 31% struggle with incompetent coworkers
  • 30% endure long commutes

commute from work

Working Too Much Can Burn You

You need that time away from your job to rest, spend time with friends and family, and just generally recharge your batteries. When things get out of whack, you suffer not only at work but also in your life at home.

Those with poor work and life balance report missing important family events or even ruining family time by being distracted or unavailable. They also tend to lose focus even when they are physically present.

At work, you can lose productivity, too. You’ll feel fatigued and even experience poor morale and high turnover rates.

In the end, people who don’t figure out how to balance work life and home life could end up with higher blood pressure, a coronary heart disease, anxiety, depression, and even hormonal changes.

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

How Can You Regain Your Balance?

work life balance

All that technology that is preventing you from separating your work life from your home life can actually be helpful in regaining your balance in life. Many American workers report that remote work, flexible scheduling, and paid time off can help restore that balance.

You can do that with the following:

  • Negotiate for a flexible schedule. Nothing makes your job worse than having to choose between being there for major family events and paying your mortgage.
  • Utilize that technology to work remotely from time to time. Being in an office is a great way to keep office stress at bay but sometimes, being able to cut out your commute and channel that time into other things can be a great way to restore balance to your life.
  • Draw lines in the sand. It prevents you from being called into meetings when you need to rest and relax during those times.

See Also: 5 Ways to Balance Work and Family Time Even if You’re a Workaholic

How Other Countries Beat Us To The Punch

In The Netherlands, there is paid vacation and maternity and paternity leave. People have a legal right to decrease their hours without having to worry about losing their jobs.

In Denmark, workers get to choose whether to work from home and when to start their workday. There is a minimum of 5 weeks of paid vacation for all workers, too.

We have a long way to go to get to that and it starts with redefining work in America. Learn more about restoring work/life balance from this infographic!

Work-Life Balance

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The Truth About What Makes A Great Leader

Leaders are essential to any group or organization. They are the people that guide, control, and manage others so that they can be more productive and efficient in meeting their goals.

However, not all leaders are great ones. Some of them are just wearing the title and don’t live up to their position.

If you’re curious to know what makes a great leader, here are some points to highlight their traits.

“Good leaders tell you what to do while great leaders make you realize what needs to be done”.

great leader

Good leaders have ideas that can only alter what’s within their area while great leaders have ideas that can change the way things are done around the globe. The scale of their ideas is what sets apart greatness from merely being good.

Game-changers and out-of-the-box thinkers are great leaders because they have the power of changing the way people think. They can call their fellow people to action and steer them towards change. An organization that has great leaders with the right mindset will be able to continue growing and evolving.

A magnetic personality is what makes a great leader. Their passion and drive are visible in everything they do. Their shoulders aren’t slouched and there is a zeal that drives them to inspire the people close to them.

“Good leaders say. Great leaders show.”

great leader observation

Great leaders make people observe them. They know that people learn and adapt their behaviors through observation. So, they set examples of effective work culture, communication, and work ethics to influence everyone around them.

Great leaders believe in actions and in inspiring others. They believe that every person has an innate quality of greatness within them and they strive to bring that out.

A good leader will not improve you as a person as much as a great leader will. He can only tell you what should be done in your workplace but he rarely follows his own words.

Good leaders can make you feel good but great leaders can make you feel great about yourself. You will literally see yourself evolving into a better professional when you are under the guidance of a great leader.

“Good leaders cover their weaknesses while great ones work on them”

A good leader will try and cover his weaknesses with tons of excuses. He will make excuses so that he can avoid doing a job he’s weak at. This trait gets communicated to everyone, building a negative vibe.

A great leader, on the other hand, will realize his weaknesses and will try hard to overcome them, even if that involves learning from his subordinates. Great leaders, after all, have no ego when it comes to learning.

Their only goal is to make his employees and the organization better. Everything else is secondary to them.

Great leaders work so hard on their weaknesses to turn them around into their strengths.

See Also: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader

Good leaders aren’t motivators! They can show you the direction but they won’t fuel you up for the journey.

Great leaders will fill you with the thrill of embarking upon something new and will see to it that you stay motivated throughout.

Good leaders become bosses but great leaders become friends. A good leader will only remain your boss and will stay within his professional boundaries. A great leader befriends everyone in his team and doubles as a mentor to everyone.

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The 3 Types of People That Ruin Meetings

Aah, the office meeting. While there are many grievances in the average workplace, none is quite as loathsome as having an unproductive meeting. And yet, we still spend around 31 hours a month doing it. If you’re in the upper management, you can expect to spend 50% of your time in meetings. While some meetings- like brainstorms and quarterly reviews- are justified, many are just awful time-suckers that yield no productive results. So, what makes these meetings unproductive and so terrible? Check out these 3 types of people you should never invite to your meetings.

Naked Ned

Remember the parable about the Emperor with no clothes? Fast forward him into the 21st century, arm him with an excel spreadsheet, and get ready to have the worst meeting of your life. The naked Emperor may have a position of authority but he actually spends his time doing very little. To compensate for this, he hides behind an incomprehensible spreadsheet and spends several hours every week explaining it to the team. But, is there an explanation? Never! Instead, the naked emperor weaves together buzzwords and gibberish sounds so that nobody really understands what’s happening. He tries so hard to hide the fact that he is actually spending that six-figure salary going through Pinterest.

How To Defeat: Ask direct questions and don’t let the Emperor’s words fool you. What is that spreadsheet for? What is the ROI? What is the objective? Keep drilling until you get clear answers in English. When the Emperor inevitably trips up and makes a fool of himself, hopefully, he’ll decide that dragging everyone into a pointless meeting isn’t the best way to disguise his laziness.

Sad Sally

Sad Sally is supposed to be breaking down the budget but she’s just breaking down. Before your coffee cools, Sally has already shared with the meeting that she’s recently gone through a break-up, she’s about to get evicted or her car got a flat tire this morning. While sharing personal information with colleagues can often be a bonding experience, the Monday round-table isn’t the best time and place to do it.

How To Defeat: Create a meeting agenda and write down who gets to speak about which topic. If Sally starts veering off course in the next meeting, gently remind her to stick to the agenda.

Angry Amber

In every business, things go wrong. A team failure is hard for everyone but the only thing worse than making a mistake is being publicly raked over the coals for it. A good leader will learn from that mistake and create a plan to avoid it from happening again. A bad leader will drag everyone into a meeting to scream and throw things at them. Worse than general yelling is when a boss decides to single out one employee and scream at him in front of the entire team. That is not leadership but harassment. Generally speaking, there are two types of screaming bosses. The first one is emotionally unstable and cracks under pressure. The second one enjoys belittling people to make himself feel bigger. While neither are fun, the first boss is likely to return to normal once the crisis is over while the second type remains a toxic bully.

How To Defeat: Dealing with a toxic boss isn’t easy for anyone. You can say nothing and wait for the storm to pass, attempt to talk it out, speak to HR, or jump ship.

See Also: 3 Easy Ways To Stay Positive When Dealing With A Difficult Boss

Does This Really Need A Meeting?

The best way to make meetings better? Only host them when they’re very necessary. While a Naked Ned, Sad Sally, or Angry Amber might be too tone-deaf to realize that everyone hates their meetings, you can be a better colleague by refusing to engage in unproductive meetings.

See Also: How To Make Meetings More Effective

Not sure if you should host that meeting? The following infographic, courtesy of Fundera, has a handy flowchart to help you decide, along with key facts about the true cost of unproductive meetings.does this really need a meeting

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The Importance of Meeting The Boss Regularly

Everyone knows that effective communication is absolutely necessary to make a relationship successful. Marriages fail every day due to a breakdown in communication between spouses. Professional relationships in the workplace fail for the same reason.

Misunderstandings and differences of opinion can turn into distrust between an employee and the boss. Once that happens, the workflow gets disrupted and the success of the business gets compromised. To prevent any of those things from happening, both parties need to recognize the importance of meetings.

When Meeting Regularly with the Boss is Not an Option

For a lot of employees, having a one-on-one meeting with their boss may not always be possible. This can be due to their demanding schedules and other specific deadlines that they have to meet. For some employees who are located in another office or work site, meeting with their boss regularly isn’t a practical option.

Despite those conditions, meeting with the boss should still be a priority. It’s one of the most effective means for keeping the boss updated.

If you’re one of those employees who work far from the main office or your boss is frequently away, you can turn to technology. The internet provides a lot of means to have a meeting even if the parties are not physically together. You can use your computer or your mobile phone to communicate with your boss regularly.

Things to Communicate to Your Boss

one on one meetings

To keep the boss in the loop of how things are progressing in an organization, it is advisable to keep the lines of communication open on a regular basis. One way to accomplish this is to have a regular or weekly meeting with the boss.

Some of the things to be discussed at the meeting would be:

Status of projects

It is always important to keep the boss updated on the progress of his projects. Provide regular updates and be prepared to have a full report instead of waiting to be asked for it.

Goals and objectives

The boss will want to know how well you are keeping up with your team’s goals and objectives. Meeting with the boss on a regular basis will keep him/her updated on how things are progressing and what goals and objectives are yet to be met. While written reports outline the details of your progress, being able to discuss and explain the report is much more effective.

Personal goals

A good boss will want to keep employees motivated. Therefore, he/she will want to know more about the goals or personal ambitions of the employees. These things are best discussed in a one-on-one meeting.

Ongoing issues

Most bosses prefer hearing about issues as they happen and what is being done to address them. A regular meeting with the boss can provide the necessary updates regarding those issues.

Projection of possible issues down the road

Since no boss likes being caught off-guard with bad news, your boss will want to know any potential challenges that could pop up in the near future. So, regularly communicate any negative issues concerning his employees and what things can be done to address them.

Responses to last meetings

It sounds like common sense, but employees often get so wrapped up in their day-to-day issues that they forget to address issues that were discussed at their last meeting with the boss.

Read your notes and review them from time to time. This way, you’ll have an answer to your boss in case he asks related questions on your next meeting.

Wants and needs

The boss will not know what tools, resources or training you need to be successful unless you tell him. He’ll likely assume that all is well unless he hears otherwise. If you have any request or demand, don’t hesitate to communicate it during the meeting.

Updates on schedule for upcoming vacations

It is prudent to always compare schedules with the boss to know when the boss will be going on vacation and when an employee will be out of the office as well.

Input for strategic plan of the organization

Meeting with the boss can be a great opportunity to share thoughts and ideas about what’s happening in the workplace. It’s also a good chance to alert the boss about the things that can hinder the business’ success. Honest, frank discussions where ideas can be exchanged between the boss and the employees can help in the achievement of the organization’s goals.

Building Trust

meeting importance

Regular meetings establish trust, mutual respect, and care. And the more often these meetings occur, the less anxiety employees will have when sharing honest information concerning the boss and the business. The boss, on the other hand, will find it easier to rely on his employees, knowing that they are doing their best in their job.

See Also: How To Make Meetings More Effective

The post The Importance of Meeting The Boss Regularly appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

3 Top Job Industries That Are Flying Under Your Radar

When your job search feels stalled, it’s time to make a change to your strategy. So many top job industries are emerging, providing opportunities for you to pursue one of your passions.

Your job search strategy should have more structure than just randomly sending your documents to dozens of job openings every week. Reflect on what industries align with your interests and focus on those.

Let’s take a look at the most exciting job industries you can start with.

Outdoor Recreation

outdoor recreation

More people are spending time and money on experiencing the great outdoors. In fact, according to an April 2017 report from the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation industry creates $887 billion in consumer spending and employs 7.6 million Americans.

If you love taking hikes, camping, and seeking adventures in your local parks, this is the perfect industry for you. There are several awesome companies to choose from.

For example, Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) is perfect if you’re into outdoor gear. They continue to be recognized as a top employer. Every year since 1998, they earned a spot in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which is based on anonymous employee feedback.

Additionally, they ranked second in Glassdoor’s 2016 list for Top 20 Employer Benefits and Perks. Employees enjoy discounts, retirement plans, community involvement, two days of additional PTO for outside activities, healthcare, and a positive culture that shares a passion for the outdoors.

To make the most of your job search, learn how to show your enthusiasm to potential employers. Niche industries are especially competitive because there are fewer opportunities and a lot of passionate people who want to work there.

Just this year, my company, JobsInSports, conducted a survey of employers. They said one of the best ways you can express enthusiasm for your industry is by writing a tailored cover letter. Also, one in four employers says sharing industry experience during your interview is crucial to demonstrating enthusiasm.

To put it simply, gain experience as you look for jobs within a niche industry like outdoor recreation. Search for internships and volunteer opportunities if you’re struggling to get entry-level work. As you work, think about how you are going to write about your learning experiences and how you can share them in your cover letter.

See Also: 5 Tips To Making Your Resume Cover Letter Stand Out

Sports

The world of sports is huge and it’s only going to get bigger. According to a 2016 report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the sports industry will be valued at $75 billion by 2020.

However, this doesn’t just include the major sports, like football, baseball, and basketball. Soccer is becoming more popular in North America and esports shows no signs of slowing. In fact, a 2017 report from Newzoo found that there are 191 million esports enthusiasts worldwide and just the esports industry alone generated $696 million in revenue.

The best part about the sports industry is that you have plenty of opportunities within each sport. Depending on your interests, you can find the perfect employer.

For soccer fans, look at MLS. Baseball enthusiasts thrive when they work in MLB. For those interested in sports media, ESPN still stands as one of the best employers.

Another exciting world within the industry is sports technology. Companies like Hudl and SeatGeek are among the best employers. They offer exciting growth opportunities and great benefits.

The best way to stand out in sports involves two key factors: networking and building an online presence.

Employers noted that the top ways candidates stand out to them include joining professional organizations, commenting on industry discussion boards, sharing industry content through social media, and engaging with relevant industry groups through networks like LinkedIn and Facebook.

When you meet people and publicly engage with sports groups online, potential employers will see you’re passionate. They will also see what your expertise is if you’re sharing ideas and starting discussions.

Wellness

spa and wellness

The wellness industry includes nutrition, alternative medicine, beauty products, the spa industry, fitness, and wellness tourism. With more people interested in self-care, this industry is booming.

As a 2017 report from The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) found, the U.S. generates $202.2 billion of the annual $563.2 billion global market. In other words, there are several opportunities awaiting you.

Our survey found that employers think the most important aspects you should know about a potential employer are core values, the vision, their products/services, and their mission statement. When you want to work for wellness companies, start researching them.

See Also: 5 Best Ways to Use Technology To Land Your Dream Job

Not only will you gain a clear understanding of their role in the market, but you’ll also see how you align with their culture and how you can provide value to their mission. Then, you can tailor your resume and cover letter to clearly indicate why you’re the best fit for them.

How are you focusing your job search strategy in niche industries?

The post 3 Top Job Industries That Are Flying Under Your Radar appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Facebook’s Workplace, now at 30,000 orgs, adds Chat desktop apps and group video chat

 It’s been once year since Workplace, Facebook’s social network designed specifically for businesses and other organizations, came out of beta to take on the likes of Slack, Atlassian, Microsoft and others in the world of enterprise collaboration. Now, with 30,000 organizations using Workplace across some 1 million groups (more than double the figures Facebook published April)… Read More

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Facebook’s Workplace is turning into a serious Slack competitor

TwitterFacebook

Facebook may be the last company you’d ever expect to make software for serious businesses, but the social network is quickly proving the haters wrong.

A year after officially launching Workplace, the business-focused version of Facebook, the service now counts more than 30,000 businesses and organizations using the software, Facebook announced Thursday. 

That group, more than double what Workplace claimed six months ago, includes names like Starbucks, Spotify, Lyft, and Walmart.

Though not as huge as some of its biggest competitors — less than a year in Microsoft Teams counts more than 125,000 organizations — the growth is impressive, considering that it wasn’t that long ago that the idea of Facebook launching professional software seemed like more of a joke than anything else. Read more…

More about Tech, Facebook, Workplace, Apps And Software, and Social Media Companies

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Why Volunteering Is Important In Getting Your First Job

If you are a college graduate and still don’t have enough experience, volunteering can be a great start for your future career. It can show your strongest sides and develop your skills. These may be useful depending on the field of work you want to be in.

Just spend some time analyzing your interests, hobbies, and previous experience to select the most interesting area. After that, you can go ahead, make new connections and discover all the benefits the volunteering world has to offer!

Benefits of Volunteering

volunteering work

If you are still doubtful whether volunteering can actually help you to promote yourself, here are the three main reasons why you should definitely give some free time to non-profit organizations and devote yourself to a bigger cause:

  • It will show your interests. It is quite easy to get lost in a boring and academic resume, providing brief information on your college achievements. Volunteering experience may add colors to your CV and make your individuality much brighter.
  • Present yourself in the best way. You will be able to show your strongest sides and concentrate on the key features, which will help you stand out from the rest.
  • It will help you to promote your soft and hard skills. It is not surprising that volunteering work is so popular as it allows students to gain and develop transferable skills applicable to any career. Such skills include teamwork, leadership, and much more.

However, if you still don’t have volunteering experience, you can always contact your local student organizations or various volunteering websites to choose a project. Usually, such companies are always searching for volunteers, so you will easily find a project that will fit your tastes and preferences.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Spheres to Choose from

Before you apply for any volunteering project, you need to make sure you know what area to choose. Try to make a list of things that interest you the most and imagine yourself being a part of such a project. You can also contact local organizations or volunteers to find out more about the activities they perform.

If you still don’t know what area to choose, try to answer the following questions:

  • Do you like working with children? If you love children and want to become a teacher one day, it will be a great option to work in a camp, various church or school groups and so on. It will show your potential employer that you are well-organized and can engage a large group of people.
  • Do you like movies? Then you can assist with various tasks behind cameras and work on behind-the-scenes projects.
  • Do you like working with animals? There are always many stray animals and organizations which require help and attention. You can contact zoos, shelters or clinics to offer your help. It may be a bit messy, so you need to be ready to get your hands dirty.

animal rescue volunteer

  • Do you want to learn more about medicine? If you like helping others and are compassionate enough, there is always a huge number of projects which help ill and elderly people. You can play various games or simply talk to them, feed and do simple tasks at hospitals.

Useful Tips

If you are planning to do volunteering work, there are a few tips which may greatly help you to achieve all of your goals and obtain your first job:

  • Stay tuned. It is important to build relationships and stay connected with people even if you leave the project. The whole point of volunteering is creating networks and engaging everyone to achieve bigger goals. Don’t neglect personal meetings, phone calls, various events and lectures to exchange experience and make useful contacts.
  • Learn more about the company. It is always important to possess as much information as possible to be able to understand the goals and missions of the organization. That is why you need to spend some time researching and analyzing information before having your first interview. It will be useful to learn about the organizational structure and the culture of the company.
  • Be passionate. If you want to do volunteering simply to attract attention and get your first job, you will most likely fail. Be sincere and find a project which will get you involved.
  • Think about the skills you can use. If you find your place, it will be much easier to move along the career ladder and show your potential to the fullest. Spend some time to make a list of things you can do better than others and choose a sphere that can reveal your strongest sides.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer

The post Why Volunteering Is Important In Getting Your First Job appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Clean A Blood Spill: Safe and Proper Blood Cleanup from Workplace Accidents

Many of us think that safe and proper cleaning of blood spills is as simple as taking a mop and a bucket of water mixed with bleach. But to tell you a fact, there is no simple thing about a blood cleanup.

Aside from the fact that it can be potentially infectious, blood is hard to clean because of its ability to attach tightly to the fabric and penetrate into porous materials. As such, a stain might look clean but has dangerous bacteria just beneath the surface.

The harm caused by blood led the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to publish the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The BPS is a set of guidelines that aims to protect workers against health hazards made by bloodborne pathogens.

OSHA Standard

The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires employers to comply with OSHA’s guidelines and encourages them to create an Exposure Control Plans if it is highly likely that workers and employees will have contact with blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids in the performance of their work duties.

Even though most workers and employees, such as those working in banks and financial institutions, do not perform duties in which there is an anticipation of contact with blood, employers should have the appropriate knowledge in case of bloody accidents.

In the guidelines, OSHA also demands employers to provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection.

Employers should implement the use of universal precautions, treating all blood, bodily fluids, and items contaminated with blood as potentially infected with HIV, HBV, and other pathogens. Vaccinations for hepatitis B should also be available within ten days of initial work exposure.

blood contamination

Employers Imperative

If you own a particular business, it is imperative that you follow the guidelines and regulations made by OSHA concerning biohazard waste. One way of being a good citizen is to comply with government regulations that put importance on the health and safety of everyone.

Materials Needed to Manage Minor Spills

Before you start the process of blood cleanup, you will need these materials:

  • Personal protective equipment
  • Registered disinfectant product that has a broad spectrum pathogen elimination
  • Biohazard bags
  • Biohazard labels
  • Brush and dustpan or forceps/tongs
  • Leak-proof sharps containers
  • And disinfectant wipes

biohazard suit

Here’s how to clean a blood spill on a surface:

Equip

It is necessary that you equip yourself with the proper protective materials, such as gloves, gowns, masks, and protective eyewear to protect yourself from any splashing. Be sure that your protective wear fits comfortably and does not have any holes so that no pathogens can penetrate your body.

Remove

Use your available materials, such as a brush and dustpan or forceps and tongs, to remove sharp shards of broken glasses that could cut through your protective gear. Then, place each piece into a leak-proof sharps container and do not remove them with your hands.

First Cleaning

Cover the blood spill with cloth towels to absorb as much blood as possible. Keep in mind that the disinfectant will not work if the blood still covers the surface. Then, throw the towels in a biohazard bag.

Second Cleaning

Before you proceed with the second cleaning, make sure that there is proper ventilation in the room where the spill happens. Then, you can pour the disinfectant onto the surface and let it absorb for ten minutes. After that, scrub from the outside toward the center of the spill area with cloth towels. Again, discard the towels into a biohazard bag after the second cleaning.

Third Cleaning

Again, place some more towels and put disinfectant onto the surface of the spill. Then, put the towels in a biohazard bag and leave the surface to dry.

Dispose

Same as with the towels, you should dispose your protective equipment into a biohazard bag. Seal the bag and put it into a second container then label it. Call your local health department for proper disposal.

Decontaminate

You should use a registered disinfectant to decontaminate any reusable materials, such as brooms, dustpans, and buckets. Then, scrub the equipment and rinse it with water.

Check

Final checking is essential for you to be sure that your body is not contaminated. Check if there’s any drop of blood splashed onto your shirt or your feet.

Wash Hands

Wash your hands thoroughly with water and disinfectant soap. You can also use disinfectant wipes.

Report

It is crucial that you fill out an incident report. Do this following any cleanup.

Takeaway

It is vital that you know how to clean blood spill in your workplace. It is one way of maintaining the health and safety of the workers and employees in your area. This guide can help you with that.

The post How To Clean A Blood Spill: Safe and Proper Blood Cleanup from Workplace Accidents appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Every Bossy Person Should Really Know

Are you in the habit of bossing or ordering the people in your life around?

You know, instead of asking them to do something and having them consent and agree to do it, you give them commands which you expect will be followed immediately and without protest?

“Do this.”

“Do that.”

“Don’t do that.”

If you do, have you ever considered how it affects other people?

Have you ever stopped to question how they’re really responding to your commands inside their heads? Have you ever wondered what they truly think of you?

Most people will just comply when they’re ordered around, especially if it’s from someone who has some authority over them- like a parent, boss or significant other.

Before moving forward, let me ask you another question:

Are you the type of person who wants to win the respect of the people you interact and deal with?

Because I can guarantee you that if you boss and order people around, you’re working against yourself and you’re actually losing their respect. In fact, there’s a good chance they secretly despise you for it.

Of course, they’ll never show it to your face. They’ll just complain and gripe about you behind your back. They’ll revel in their contempt and resentment for you with others who feel the same way. They will criticize you and make jokes at your expense whenever you’re not around.

These are things you’ll probably never see, but I can guarantee you that they’re happening.

The Problem With Bossy People

We all hate being told what to do. We like to be in control of our lives and be able to make our own decisions.

When others make decisions for us and “force” us to comply, we try our best to look extremely well on the surface. What we feel inside, however, is a very different story. As we carry out the tasks, we generate resentment and even anger towards bossy people.

Now, ask yourself this question.

What’s more important to you:

Having certain tasks you delegate carried out or establishing and retaining the respect of others?

I reckon they’re both important, but here’s the thing:

When you order others around, you may successfully get the task accomplished, but you lose their respect. They will not willingly follow you. Though they may carry out the order, they will do it begrudgingly and they’ll look at you with disdain.

See Also: 3 Easy Ways To Stay Positive When Dealing With A Difficult Boss

Is there a better way?

Certainly, there’s a way for you to delegate tasks and have them carried out without jeopardizing the respect people have for you.

It revolves around the issue of consent.

When we boss people around by giving them orders, we strip away their consent to carry out the activity. They feel that they have to do it because they have no other option.

So, what you want to do is have them carry out the task while taking their consent into consideration. You should aim to have the task accomplished without undermining their dignity and pride in the process.

How do you do that?

There are two great ways. Let’s check them out.

Ask people to do what you want

be a good boss

Don’t boss or order people to do it. You ask them.

The simple phrase you need to remember is this:

“Would you…”.

Then, insert your wish. For example:

“Would you take out the trash?”

“Would you wash the dishes?”

With this approach, you can show respect for other people’s free will. You can let them retain their sense of dignity and you won’t make them feel like servants or slaves. More importantly, you don’t come up as an all-powerful master.

People who realize that you’re respecting their power to make their own decisions will be more willing to carry out your tasks. They will do it happily and with respect for you for not abusing your authority.

Make your wishes known to people

nice boss

The phrase to remember is this:

“I’d like you to…”.

Then, insert the activity. For example:

“I’d like you to clean up your mess.”

“I want you to help me out with some cleaning.”

Same as with the first approach, this won’t make you look like you’re forcing them to sacrifice their dignity and sense of self-respect by bending to the wishes of a “master”. Instead, this can get your tasks completed while maintaining the respect of everyone around you.

If you want to be a great leader, you need to know how to appeal to the consent of your followers. You shouldn’t force them to comply with your wishes just because of your position.

See Also: 7 Awesome Things that Very Inspiring Bosses Do

The post What Every Bossy Person Should Really Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them

“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Work is meaningful and essential. Work is a part of life. It’s utilizing our talents in order to get something in return. It is a give-and-take process that benefits both parties for the betterment of society.

Through work, you get to feed yourself and your family, pay the bills and get to buy your wants and needs. It is a comfort to the people who have it because it is the answer to their needs.

Unfortunately, not all jobs fit everyone. Some are unfortunate to land a job they dislike while others simply fall out of love from their jobs. This makes it harder for them to work efficiently.

The Common Factor That Makes People Hate Their Jobs

There are a lot of factors that make people hate their jobs.

For some people, it’s the imbalance in their work and personal life. For others, it’s the overwhelming workload and the toxic people they need to work with. The list can get long but one thing is present in all these factors- stress.

Stress is the body’s natural response to pressure or danger around you. It produces hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that activates the ‘flight-or-fight’ response of your body. Every day, we encounter stress. However, too much stress can have negative effects on your health.

Here are the common types of stress at work and how to manage them.

Time Stress

time stress

This is the most common type of stress at work. You usually experience this when you think there’s not enough time for you to finish a task. Panic sets in and you struggle to finish as many things as you can. You rush until you get burned out, do all of them half-way or, worse, not get any work done at all.

How To Manage Time Stress

When facing time stress, it is important to manage your time and get your priorities straight. Filter your tasks so you can easily see which ones you need to do first. You can use the Eisenhower matrix for this.

Here’s how:

Do First. Tasks in this category should be your first priority. Anything that is placed here should be done as soon as you’re able and not later than the day after tomorrow.

Schedule. This could be important tasks but are not so urgent. These kinds of tasks are either important scheduled meetings or an article with a set deadline.

Delegate. Tasks in this section are not important but still urgent. It could be a follow-up call to a client or a request for your presence for a presentation. These can be transferable to people you can trust, though.

Don’t do. Tasks in this category are neither important nor urgent. You can either do it when you have nothing else to do or not do it at all.

You can use this method if you like prioritizing things the traditional way. However, with today’s technology, you can use apps like Evernote and Toggl to boost your productivity and manage your ideas and time easily.

Anticipatory Stress

anticipatory stress

This stress is associated with the feeling of anticipating the future a little too much. You anticipate so much that uncertainties of what could happen in the future overwhelm you.

Here’s How To Deal With Anticipatory Stress

Be Positive. The best way to deal with anticipatory stress is to not let fear get the best of you. Positive visualization of outcomes helps by cutting off the negative stream of thinking. Meditation and calming yourself down can also help you from stressing yourself out.

Be Prepared. Face the unknown and tackle it head on by visualizing both the best and worst case scenario. If you think that something is going to go bad in the near future, be prepared and formulate back-up plans that you can use.

Be Brave. Anticipatory stress is mostly caused by the thought of failure. In order to combat failure, prepare yourself by visualizing possible obstacles in your path. Take those obstacles as challenges and see failure as a chance to learn and grow.

Situational Stress

situational stress

Situational stress happens when everything starts to go out of your control. It appears suddenly and you will have no clue on what to do. It is the time when you think that everything is going smoothly but suddenly, in a blink of an eye, everything goes downhill.

It could be a time when conflict suddenly erupted near you and you are caught in the middle of it. Or it could be the time where your boss suddenly mocked you in front of many co-workers.

Getting Over Situational Stress

Everyone reacts to situational stress differently. You can act out based on your behavior or on how your automatic response work in specific situations. In a sudden eruption of conflict, you either join the conflict or back away.

Be Self-Aware. The most important point is to be self-aware in whatever you will be doing. Being aware of yourself, your actions and with everything around you, will help you think of a solution despite the stress you are under.

Be Calm. Keep hold of your cool and use your head instead of your temper or emotions. Keeping calm lets you assess the situation before doing something that can negatively affect you, your reputation or your job.

Be Patient. Be patient by hearing each side of the conflict before deciding how to solve it. Meet them halfway in order to come up with a peaceful end to it. If you are dealing with situational stress with your boss, hear him out before reacting.

Encounter Stress

encounter stress

This stress involves the feeling of being overwhelmed by meeting new or too many people. All of us can be overwhelmed by a lot of people, whether we are introverts or extroverts.

It might be because you don’t like them or they don’t like you, but you have to interact with them. It might also mean that it’s the first time you’ll meet them and you worry about how they will react or how they will perceive you.

Handling Your Encounter Stress

Practice People Skills. In order to be able to manage a lot of people well, practice or even perfect your people skills. Be confident with interacting with them, so that you can take control of the situation. You’ll be calmer knowing that you can handle any problem that can arise.

Be Emphatic. Empathy is understanding another person from their point of view. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will make you understand them deeper and feel what they are feeling without judging them. It’ll avoid possible conflict and strengthen relationship bonds at the same time.

Breathe. Whenever stressed, it is important to breathe. Deep breathing has the ability to reduce stress in the body. This signals the brain to calm down and the brain sends the message all over the body.

Other Stress Management Techniques

Write. Studies show that writing about your feelings or anything that makes you happy reduces stress. Take time, relax and write anything you can think of.

See Also: Writing Therapy: How It Can Make Your Life Easier

It is very important for you to be able to take care of your well-being in order to continue doing what you love and sharing what you can do to everyone. Equipping yourself with a healthy body, engaging mind and a positive attitude will make you go a long, long way.

See Also: 4 Ways To Reduce Stress Inside and Outside of Work

 

The post 4 Types Of Stress At Work And How To Deal With Them appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space

Public coworking spaces and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in the last decade. In fact, in over six years, the number of shared office spaces available has jumped from 1,130 to 13,800 — a leap of 12,670 spaces.

This popularity is due to the undeniable benefits of shared working spaces, especially for freelancers and independent contractors. Factors such as energy level, professional ambiance and mingling lend a hand to the success of this office style. However, like working anywhere, shared spaces have their own unique downsides. Sensory overload, random uncontrollable noise and self-management can decrease your work productivity.

Here are a few tips to making this public space work for you!

Invest in Headphones

coworking space productivity

Open work spaces come with a lot of noise. Even with the best efforts to keep quiet, keyboard strokes, coffee sips, small chatter, conference calls and more can quickly become a nuisance.

The solution? Headphones.

Using a personalized music playlist or listening to your favorite podcast is proven to be effective in enhancing your focus. However, make sure to cater to your work. If you’re writing, music is usually a better choice than a podcast as it provides too much word input. But, if you’re designing web platforms, a podcast you enjoy will keep your brain busy while you’re completing tedious tasks.

If music in your ear isn’t your jam (pun intended), consider complete silence with a high-quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Covering up with a pair of these will block out the chitter chatter and clickety clicks, so you can focus on your workload in peace and quiet.

See Also: This Type Of Music Can Increase Your Productivity

Create Your ‘Office’

cowork space

Much like audio chaos, visual noise is worth reducing for increased productivity. Avoid having anything chaotic or messy within your sight to help maintain focus. Items like trash bins, cluttered tables, washroom hallways and even busy streets are distracting.

Try facing towards a view with simple, clean lines. It can be a garden window or a wall. It seems boring, but Zen tradition suggests this is a great way to stay on task. If possible, include daylight near your workspace. Increased light exposure is proven to improve sleep habits and therefore increase productivity.

Having a plant nearby can also relax the body and foster creativity. If the space doesn’t have plants, consider commuting with your own or bringing a few to leave in the space. Of course, make sure to talk to the owner of the workspace first to ensure that your greenery doesn’t get tossed out at the end of the day.

If your line of work involves a high level of creativity, you may choose to face the excitement head on and use it as your muse. The saying “to each his own” is appropriate for visual decluttering.

See Also: 7 Surprising Benefits of Coworking Spaces

Prioritize Your Time

Most people (64%) who use coworking spaces are better able to meet their deadlines. Time management plays a large role in their ability to do so. To become one of the 64%, it’s suggested that you mute all unimportant notifications. Little beeps for unimportant tasks will take your focus away from larger, more important jobs.

Next, studies show that in order to produce the highest quality of work in the shortest amount of time, people should work intensely for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.

The trick? Staying off of social media, text messaging and the like. Instead, use your break to take a refreshing walk or mingle within the office space. Not only will this help you refocus, but networking never hurts!

Scheduling your own hours is a huge perk that comes along with this style of working. However, if you aren’t disciplined with your time, it’s easy to start working in overdrive. Keeping set hours helps you stay on track, sets the pace for your day and for your potential clients and assures you do not overwork yourself.

One of the reasons shared working spaces are successful is the fact that they provide a structured space to work that is not home. Use this to your advantage and keep work and home time separate.

In addition to these three focus points, maintaining a work-life harmony and keeping procrastination tendencies under control are also important to increasing your productivity in a shared work environment. Once your space is perfected, you will reap the benefits of joining a coworking habitat, including an improved home life, a potential increase in income and added professional flexibility.

Share our awesome infographic on Tips For Getting Work Done.

 

The post How to Increase Your Productivity in a Coworking Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Tips To Making Your Resume Cover Letter Stand Out

You know what they say—applying for a job is a job in itself. Albeit a little negative, the saying is correct—it does take a lot of energy and effort to search and apply for jobs. In this day and age, it’s likely that you will be submitting at least 20 or more applications in an average job search. And when each job requires your resume, an online application (complete with questionnaire), plus a stellar cover letter that’s tailored to each and every job listing, it’s easy to see why the process gets exhausting.

Although it might be tempting to just write a generic cover letter for each of these job listings, you could be sabotaging your job search. The average number of people who apply for one position is around 118. So, how do you put your name at the top of the stack out of the dozens of people applying for a job? Although there’s no surefire trick that will help get you each and every job, having well-written and tailored job materials will always increase your chances of getting a call back for an interview.

So, what are the key components of a cover letter and what should you say in them? How exactly do you write a great cover letter?

Here are a few tips on writing an effective cover letter that will help you land your dream job.

What Does a Good Cover Letter Consist Of?

A good cover letter will accomplish the following four things:

1. Have correct formatting.
2. Tell your prospective employer who you are.
3. Tell your prospective employer why you’re qualified for this job.
4. Tell your prospective employer why you’re more qualified than other applicants.

See Also: 16 Worst Resume Mistakes

Now that we know what the components are, let’s break down each section.

Get in Cover Letter Formation

First things first, you have to make sure that your cover letter format is correct. You will need to have your name and contact information in a centered header at the top. The first line will be the date you’re writing the cover letter and will be left-aligned. Underneath your date, you will put a space, and then you will address the person you are writing the letter to (the person listed in the job ad) and put their position name if known, company, and address.

See the example below.

In addition to your name and your prospective employer’s name being correctly formatted, you also want to be sure to keep your cover letter all on one page. If your prospective employer sees more than one page, it’s likely they are not going to read it. So, even if you really want to mention that you won the sixth-grade science fair, you probably won’t have the space to do so. Be sure to sign your letter with a “Sincerely,” add a space below, and then put your first and last name.

Tell Them Who You Are

Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to your prospective employer, and, if you’re lucky enough to get the job, then this will be the introduction to people you could potentially work with for years. You definitely want to make a good first impression, and to make a good first impression you need to properly introduce yourself. In the first paragraph of your cover letter, say your first and last name and write exactly what position you are applying for (there could be several positions open in the company).

After that, you will want to give the employer your “elevator speech” on paper. The HR team or the hiring manager will be blazing through these cover letters to see whom they can eliminate right away so it’s crucial to stick to the important facts quickly. Say why you’re qualified for the job right away. Name your years of relevant experience, your string of internships, or anything else that is relevant. Be brief and professional. You want to be as succinct as possible.

Write Why You Are Qualified

cover letter

After you’ve introduced yourself, the next one to two paragraphs are going to be about why you’re qualified for this position in particular.

It may be uncomfortable, but this is your time to brag. You don’t want to come off as too much, however. For example, something like this would be fine: “I believe that my experience working on several different types of publications, experience editing in both AP and Chicago Manual of Style, and my ability to collaborate with writers make me qualified for this copyediting position.” But something like this might come off as too braggadocious: “I believe I would be able to enter your position with relatively no training as I have already mastered everything that was listed in your qualifications on the job ad.”

If you can also put your achievements in quantitative terms, do so. An example would be: “As Sales Manager in X Company, I was able to raise our annual profits by a total of 20% for 2016.”

Key tip: Use language directly from the job ad in your cover letter. If the job description says that you must be an expert in using Specific Program XYZ, then specifically state that you are an expert in using Specific Program XYZ.

Write Why You’re Most Qualified

So, you’ve already established that you’re qualified for the position. Now is the time that you need to write about why you’re more qualified than anyone else.

Why would you be good to work with? Have you never missed a deadline on your own account? Do you go above and beyond? Are you always the first one at the office? What is it about you that sticks out above all the rest? Write that in a short paragraph and then you’re ready to close it out.

At the end of your cover letter, you will need to add just a sentence that says something along the lines of, “If you have any questions about my work history or would like any more information, please contact me at _____. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

And then you write a signature and you’re ready to send that letter off.

Be Sure to Proofread

resume proofreading

Lastly—and this can’t be overstated—it’s so important to have someone give your cover letter a read and ensure that it is 100% grammatically correct and doesn’t contain any spelling errors. It’s really difficult to catch your own errors, and you don’t want to re-read it after you hit send and discover that you misspelled something in the job title or accidentally wrote the name of the wrong company.

Do yourself a favor and have a trusted family member or friend read over your letter, or consider hiring the services of a professional editor to do the job.

Writing cover letters takes a lot of time and effort, but once you get that call that says you got the job, you will be glad you took the time to do it correctly.

See Also: What I Learned From Reading 1,000 Resumes

 

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Integrating User Experience Design and Internet Marketing Successfully

There was a time when having a website was the new thing in marketing. In 2010, there were just 255 million websites worldwide. That number nearly quadrupled to 966 million in just six years.

As a marketing professional, this trend tells me two things: websites are a major factor in strategy planning and websites have to deliver more in order to rise above the crowd.

At first glance, you might say that I have only to worry about the first and leave the second to website designers. However, website designers tend to focus more on how a website looks than how it works and that can be problematic for marketers when the website design has a negative impact on the user experience or UX.

As Steve Jobs said, “Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” That is exactly what it means to have a website with good user experience or UX.

A Marketing Approach to Your Site’s UX design

The UX was not always a big issue, which is why there is a divide between marketing and website design. People, back in the day, were more patient and willing to overlook a cumbersome website if they could get otherwise inaccessible information.

That is no longer the case today.

Now, users have higher expectations when it comes to website performance. Since they have a wider option of obtaining what they want from other sources, they are more likely to leave a site if it has a negative UX design.

The factors that influence website UX include accessibility (loading speed, working links), usability (navigation), findability (SEO), value (content relevance and credibility) and desirability (design and layout). When a website lacks one or more feature, it results in a negative UX.

How does this impact on marketing?

Well, consider that the average user in 2017 will wait only a few seconds for a page to load and about 80% of users are less likely to use a website with poor UX. This means fewer conversions and that’s not good from a marketing perspective.

Marketing and UX Pairing

The question then is how marketing can improve the UX. The answer is simple: the two sides have to work as a team.

Sales and marketing professionals routinely deal directly with people, unlike website designers. As such, they have an in-depth knowledge of what people want and need when they visit a particular site.

For example, if you sell clothes online, the people that go to your site need to buy clothes. How can you provide them with a solution to their problem? The answer is to make it easy for them to find what they want.

Marketing professionals can provide valuable insight into buying behavior and psychology, which may not make much sense to web designers. On the other hand, marketers have no idea of the principles behind website design. They may know how to sell but not how to present it to the user effectively.

In other words, marketing and UX design have to forge a working relationship. Below are some brilliant ways marketing and UX design can boost your site’s conversion rate together.

Coordinate marketing efforts

marketing campaign

One of the biggest challenges for many companies today is coordinating different marketing campaigns to benefit the company as a whole. One study shows that nearly two-thirds of companies identify marketing silos as a barrier to communications, productive and effective execution of a cohesive marketing strategy.

Collaboration with the UX design team can break down these silos and improve communications because it establishes a common ground to work on. Working with the UX design team makes any breakdown in communications among marketing glaringly apparent, so it necessitates agreement among them on major goals. When there is a cohesive message and approach, the UX design team can produce a better website. It’s a win-win situation.

Carry out user testing

Marketers may know people but, ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. UX design teams have access to information that reveals how users actually interact with the website through user testing tools. These provide valuable insights to marketers about what the users want so they can refine their marketing campaigns and maximize conversion.

This, in turn, will guide marketers on what they need the UX design team to fix on the website so that they can improve and create the ideal UX. This entails a certain measure of trial and error but it is a very effective method of designing the perfect website in the long term.

designing the perfect website

Unify campaigns across different channels

Websites often serve as the anchor for campaigns and the average company uses about eight different channels for their marketing efforts. While marketing strategies for each channel optimize user response, they don’t necessarily dovetail neatly into your conversion funnel.

You need to make sure your email campaign is in line with your mobile app so that they end up generating leads or sales for your company. The best way to do this is to design your website to be the pivot or hub for different channels so most of your leads can conveniently navigate across channels.

Actionable plans

Now that you know how marketing and UX can work and complement each other, your next step is to take action. Here’s how to do that:

Do initial research

Designing a site for a kick-ass UX all begins with gathering information about your user. You need to find out who they are, what they care about and where they come from. You also need to know how they spend their time before you can even think about your site design. Learning about your target audience is essential for success in developing your website UX. After all, it is the user experience.

Monitor users

Your initial user research will give you a good idea of how to design your website. However, until you take it out for a test drive, it is just an idea. Once your site goes up, you should monitor how users are actually interacting with your site and use tools to monitor and analyze their behavior.

Before you do that, take note of your own expectations on user behavior to serve as a benchmark for future observations. This will prevent you from “hindsight bias” and help you figure out gaps in your user research.

Do a survey

According to TermLife2Go, after you have observed your users and identified certain behaviors you want to understand, do a survey to get the answers from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Most of e-commerce websites are doing actionable plans to enhance users shopping experience. They send specific questions to ask why users bought an item or why they clicked on a certain option. Your intention is not to be nosy, but to increase your understanding of how your users think. That way, you can improve the website UX as well as your marketing campaigns.

Conclusion

A marketing approach to website UX is simply about integrating two important elements of your conversion funnel. If you can manage to do this successfully, it will maximize your marketing efforts to an incredible degree.

See Also: The 5 Internet Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2017

 

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3 Steps to Getting That BIG Raise at Work

One of the most important components of achieving long-term financial well-being is increasing your income. In most instances, this will come in the form of raises to your salary. As you gain more experience and rise up the ranks, you’ll receive compensation adjustments.

But, do you know exactly how to get a raise?

In this article, we’ll discuss how to craft a compelling ASK which you can use to maximize your salary increase. This past year I used these techniques to increase my base salary by 10%!

Look at your work situation objectively

work evaluation

To start the process, you’ll first need to sit down and objectively look at your work situation. Have you been over-delivering on your project requirements? Have you been showcasing your leadership ability?

Sit down and write a list of 5-10 things that you’ve done to add significant value to your organization. If you can’t come up with at least a few things that you’ve done to add value, you may not be ready to ask for a raise.

If this is the case, don’t be discouraged. Use the situation as a motivator to improve yourself. Reach out to your boss and ask for feedback on what you can do to improve. Once you determine your areas for improvement, begin working towards your action items. Once you come up with 5 -10 talking points, it’s time to begin crafting your compelling ASK.

Crafting your ASK

You’ve done all the hard work of delivering results, now it’s time to talk about them. When developing your ASK, it’s important to determine how much of a raise you’d like.

Do you want a 5% raise? A 10% raise?

Be sure to research what an average raise for your position looks like and determine how much you deserve based on your performance. You’ll need to be prepared to justify this amount to your employer when you’re at the negotiation table.

Next, you’ll want to begin structuring your ASK appropriately. Start by thanking your boss for his/her time and express your appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of a great organization. This will help diffuse the situation and give you an extra positive boost when you begin your negotiation.

Next, you’ll want to highlight the 5-10 items on your list that have added value to the organization. It’s extremely important that you express the VALUE you’ve provided because, in the end, that’s what your employer cares about. Use metrics and other supporting data to solidify your case.

Once you’ve explained your positive results, close out by asking your employer for your determined percentage raise. Below, I’ve given an example of what a good ASK would look like:

“Over the past 6 months, my team and I have successfully delivered on project x & y, increasing revenue by $100,000 as well as reducing customer service average wait time by 3 minutes. I plan to continue to set the bar high for myself and my team so that we can continue delivering more results like these to the organization. As a result, I feel that my compensation should be adjusted by x% to reflect my performance”.

Practice your ASK in front of people to get comfortable delivering your request. This will most likely feel awkward at first, but practice can help you gain the confidence you’ll need to deliver. Now that you’ve crafted and practiced your compelling ASK, it’s time to set up a review meeting with your employer.

The Negotiation

raise negotiation

Now that you’ve crafted a compelling ASK and practiced delivering it, it’s time to begin your negotiation. Reach out to your employer and request a time to speak with him/her. If you already have a pre-set evaluation meeting, mark it in your calendar.

On the day of the negotiation, show up dressed to impress and ready to kick some butt. When your meeting time finally arrives, thank your employer for meeting with you and sit down to begin your discussion. During the discussion, remember to highlight the VALUE that you’ve created for the organization and focus on the key metrics that you’ve delivered. Once you’ve given your pitch, ASK your employer for your desired raise.

From there, your boss will either accept or reject your proposal. If he/she accepts your proposal, congratulations! You worked hard and deserve every penny of your raise. If your boss rejects your proposal, ask if you could substitute some of your proposed extra yearly compensation with other forms of compensation, such as year-end bonuses, stock options or more vacation time.

Many employers are more lenient with this form of compensation and it may be a great option for you. If your boss still rejects the proposal, ask them if there is anything else you need to do to be considered for a raise in the future. When your boss provides you with feedback, take that feedback and implement it into your plan of attack right away. Once you’ve completed the desired items outlined in your discussion, re-engage the raise conversation.

Bringing it all together

As a high performer and excellent contributor to your organization, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your contributions. Preparing for this important interaction with your employer will not only help you achieve better results in the present, but it can also have a massive impact on your long-term financial well-being.

See Also: How Social Niceties Can Ruin Your Chances Of Getting A Promotion At Work

Pro-tip: Book Recommendation

A good book to read in this scenario is “The Greatest Salesmen in the World” by Og Mandino. Mr. Mandino delivers key selling success strategies through a parable set in ancient Babylon.

I found the timeless lessons he discussed in this book extremely compelling and I enjoyed the story he illustrated to frame these lessons. Learning the soft skills taught in this classic book will surely be of benefit to you in many life and work situations.the greatest salesman in the world

Do you have any stories or experiences of asking for a raise? Do you have any beneficial tips or strategies that you’ve utilized in a wage negotiation? I’d love to hear from you.

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How And Why To Work On Your Emotional Intelligence

Parents and educators have done a serious disservice to many people by leading them to believe that IQ is everything and that your grades actually matter once you are out of school. Learning is good and getting good grades can certainly open a lot of doors, but your IQ is basically set for life in childhood. So, if you are going to depend on that for the rest of your life, it will just be a losing game for you.

There is good news, though.

Your emotional quotient, or EQ, can be developed throughout your life and can have a greater impact on your career success than anything else. How to work emotional intelligence? Read on.

What Is EQ?

Your emotional quotient, like your IQ, is a measurement of your emotional intelligence. The more you develop different areas of your emotional intelligence, the higher your EQ climbs.

These are things like:

Social skills – How well do you interact with people and get along with your coworkers?

Empathy – Can you put yourself in other people’s shoes to really understand their point of view? Are you in the habit of doing this regularly?

Motivation – Are you passionate about your work or your hobby? Are you motivated by money and power?

Self-regulation – Are you able to accept things that are out of your control and think before you act?

Self-awareness – Are you aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses? Can you acknowledge these and admit your mistakes?

How Are EQ And IQ Different?

Your IQ is consistent throughout your entire life. It basically measures your ability to learn. There are no major differences between men and women.

Your EQ, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with a little effort on your part. There may be some differences between men and women in general, but it is unclear whether they are biologically or socially driven.

Typically, 70% of the time, a person of average intelligence will outperform someone with high intelligence and EQ is likely the reason behind that.

Some Of The Most Successful People Have High EQs

oprah winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is so well known for her emotional intelligence that it has its own name: Oprahfication. She has used her ability to get people to open up to build a television empire.

Matt Damon has also used his emotional intelligence to build and maintain relationships with fellow actors as well as to launch the H2O Africa Foundation. Pepsico’s Indra Nooyi once wrote to the parents of 29 of her employees to tell them they had raised good kids.

Emotional intelligence traits like these have allowed each of these people to accelerate their professional lives much more than if they were completely reliant on IQ.

Why Work On Emotional Intelligence?

People with high levels of emotional intelligence earn on average of $29,000 more per year than those with low levels of emotional intelligence. In fact, for every point your EQ rises, you can expect to earn an average of $1300 more a year. The majority of top job performers have high emotional quotients. Clearly, increasing your emotional quotient is something you can’t afford not to do.

See Also: The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader

How Can You Improve Your Emotional Intelligence?

There’s no one way to improve your EQ and there’s no magic class or text you can take. It comes from hard work and perseverance. You will have to do some hard work and some introspection.

Here are some of the things you can start on:

Practice empathy – Putting yourself in another person’s shoes is something you have to consciously do. It won’t come naturally at first but once you do it enough, it will become second nature.

See Also: How To Develop Empathy By Understanding Subjective Hardship

Admit your own faults – Know your limits and admit to them. If someone else is better at something than you are, acknowledge it!

Listen – Don’t shut someone down because you think you know more than he does. Listen and try to understand where the other person is coming from.

Deal with your stress in a positive way – If you notice it building, take up yoga or meditation to keep it under control.

yoga mental health

Give honest feedback nicely – Sometimes, tough things need to be said. Learn how to do it in a constructive way.

Look at failure as an opportunity to learn

Check out this infographic to learn more about emotional intelligence.

Source

 

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Five Career Killers Every Professional Should Be Aware Of

Hard work is, without a doubt, an indispensable factor in the ladder of success. Without it, there is not much that can be accomplished.

Working hard with sincerity and integrity is sure to take an individual’s career a long way. Unfortunately, there are instances where hard-working individuals can lose their fight and succumb to the various obstacles along the way. These obstacles may look like subtle and honest mistakes on the surface but, in reality, they usually have very serious repercussions.

You don’t need to do something dramatic to be kicked out of your job. In some cases, various honest and subtle mistakes can be enough to end your career.

Here are 5 career killers:

Hard work

signs of overworking

“When you’re a hard worker, the only person that can come in the way of your success is you!“

Everything in this world has its own pros and cons. We’re all aware of the merits of hard work but, like all other things, it can be dangerous too.

It’s a scientific fact that people who usually work hard are differently wired than people who don’t. In the prefrontal cortex of the brain, there’s an enzyme called catechol-O-methyltransferase or COMT. The function of this enzyme is to balance out the dopamine levels in the brain.

Now, there are two types of COMT, a fast acting one and a slow acting one. The slow acting one clears up the excessive dopamine five times slower than the fast acting one and is usually found in hard working people. This makes the hard workers prone to anxiety, stress and over-thinking. These things can negatively affect their performance under stressful situations.

People who work hard tend to focus more on the ‘working’ aspect of the job rather than the ‘result’ aspect of it. They come early to office only to be the last person to leave. They work hard but aren’t able to churn out desirable results because they direct their energies in the wrong direction. These people get so involved with working that succeeding in the work takes the backseat. This has turned out to be a big career killer because, at the end of the day, a good result is all that matters.

See Also: 7 Signs Of Overworking (And What To Do About Them)

Resting on the laurels

“Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon.”

Now, it’s an understood fact that with hard work comes success and with success comes glory. But, it is also true that basking in that glory for too long is a sure shot career killer.

Resting on one’s laurels is a common mistake most people make. They get too attached to the pride and glory a particular task provided them and just can’t seem to move on from it.

Working hard for a task is important but it is equally important to get over it once it’s done. We’ve often heard that such-and-such fell because they let the success get over their heads. This is, in fact, a real practical problem that professionals face which can end up ruining their careers.

Complacency

“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.”

Complacency is almost like the evil twin of the previous flaw. Being self-satisfied is, perhaps, the biggest hindrance to personal growth. Hardworking people have the tendency to feel self-satisfied, if not pushed hard enough.

When a professional works hard and gets his due success, he is appreciated for his work. This appreciation leads to a sense of smug self-satisfaction which makes him complacent. If they are under-appreciated, they lose the motivation to carry on further. It’s a strange paradox.

Anyhow, this complacency is another legit career killer. The trick here is to not be too attached with work and the outcomes of it. You have to know how to keep working and learning without getting stuck at a single point.

Promising big things

“Rarely promise, but, if lawful, constantly perform.”

Remember hard workers being differently wired than the rest? That strange little chemical responsible for the dopamine balance has another role to play in the career-killing behavior of professionals. Quite a mischievous role biochemistry plays in this whole thing!

So, what happens is, this excessive dopamine makes hard workers much more charged than the rest. While being assigned tasks, they (in their charged up zone) end up promising big things to their senior officials. They have the belief that they can actually deliver without realizing the unreasonable nature of their claims.

When they aren’t able to deliver the promises, it ends up pissing their seniors off. Even though they might have done a good job, their broken promises put them in the negative light.

Sucking up to the boss

sucking up to the boss

“Suck up to your boss if you’re not good at what you do!”

One who is good at what one does will only focus on his work, not on other means to climb the success ladder. This is one of the most obvious and common mistakes people make in order to become successful in their careers and it ironically ends up sabotaging them.

There is no other thing that can place a particular individual in a more negative light than sucking up to their senior officials. It’s just plain wrong and immoral! Most people confuse it with people managing and playing politics smartly when they’re two polar opposites. There is no way one can sugar coat this truth. Sucking up is sucking up.

See Also: Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner

Working hard is not a sure shot formula to success. In fact, there is no formula to success. It’s just a mix of complicated elements, characteristics and biochemistry! Just make sure you don’t make these general mistakes. Work hard, keep an eye on your results, and keep growing. It might just help you succeed!

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Helping Women Succeed In The Workplace

“In corporate America, women fall behind early and continue to lose ground with every step,” begins the 2016 Women in the Workplace Study.

It’s not hard to believe, considering that only 17% of startups have a female founder. There are multiple factors holding women back from succeeding in the workplace. The study continues to note that women often miss out on vital interactions with members of management, stifling their ability to climb the corporate ladder from the get-go.

The more interactions missed, the shorter the ladder becomes over time. This creates a cumulative effect that becomes impossible to make up for later in life. What can be done to ensure that everyone has an equal shot at success? How do you boost the success of women in the workplace?

When Sheryl Sandberg wrote “Lean In” four years ago, her stated goal was to have half of businesses run by women and half of homes run by men. “In terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off,” Sandberg said in a USA Today interview earlier this year.

She continued by noting that women comprise less than 6% of the Fortune 500 CEO in the United States. There are fewer countries in the world run by women today than there were when her book was first published. In the United States, she notes, there is only a tiny percentage more women in Congress. There has not been, she points out, much appreciable forward movement in women in leadership roles worldwide despite the efforts of a veritable army of women leaning in.

Along with the launch of her book, Sandberg also launched a nationwide campaign urging women to form “Lean-In Circles” in order to support and encourage each other throughout different stages in their careers. These groups provide mentorship and camaraderie for women who might not be getting such in the workplace.

According to Leanin.org, the most important steps for managers to close the gender gap in the workplace include:

Challenge The Likeability Penalty

Oftentimes, women are punished for being “bossy” or “shrill” in the workplace just for doing their jobs. It’s important to ask yourself if you would react the same way if you were talking to a man.

Evaluate Performance Fairly

Try to measure performance objectively and look for opportunities to make decisions in a gender-blind manner.

Give Women Credit

If you see a man take credit for a woman’s work, speak up.

Get The Most Out Of Meetings

Be on the lookout for women who are being kept in the background in meetings and encourage them to take part.

Share Office Housework

If there are tasks, like making coffee or emptying garbage, that need to be done, be sure they aren’t just automatically falling to female employees.

Make Work Work For Parents

Support working parents any way you can. Make sure they know they are part of the team. Don’t make assumptions about work-travel and work-life balance without checking with parents about their needs.

Make Negotiating A Norm

Women are less likely to negotiate and may need encouragement to do so.

Support Mentorship and Sponsorship

Mentoring can help women succeed from both sides—leadership as well as personal development. Having a program in place can foster a sense of purpose from within your organization.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

woman at work

In addition to these steps, there are many habits women can employ to propel themselves forward in the workplace. Overcoming adversity is necessary for many women. Oprah overcame an impoverished childhood and J.K. Rowling overcame being a single mother on welfare.

See Also: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Becoming Millionaires

Everyone can benefit from writing down goals. Dolly Parton has been known to not only write out her goals but also to go about her life as though she had already achieved them.

Taking time to rest and recuperate is crucial. Many women burn the candle at both ends thanks to an imbalance in work and home life. If you are one of these women, meditating or just enjoying a few minutes of quiet time can really make a difference.

Finding balance is the key. There will be compromises as the world changes, so tempering expectations and making the most of even the smallest of victories is going to make you happier in the long run. Learn more about the habits of highly successful women from this infographic.

Source

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How To Deal With People: Little-Known Secrets To Make People Like You

“The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you” – Rumi

When I was younger, I often questioned why people did not treat me nicely. I would doubt why they did not communicate with me, even though I was such an interesting and well-versed person.

Probably, I thought, because they are not at my level of education and are just interested in simple things.

Later on, I wondered why men aren’t courting me or showing signs of attention, even though I always acted as a very nice and loving person and tried to always look good. Later, in business, I was also perplexed why clients were not choosing me among others. That is even though I always communicated professionally and did my best to understand their needs.

In situations like these, I was tempted to think that the people around me were wrong, that they did not understand the depth of my nature, the value of my presence or the accuracy of my offers. Though, while such thoughts helped me to feel better, they did not make the people around me nicer.

Until one day, I realized the secret which fixed all the “wrong” people and made them very “right”.

The secret is very simple:

I am responsible for everything that is happening in my life. I am responsible for creating the way other people treat me. And I came to realize that the way I acted in the past, even though it seemed right for me, was not a “winning strategy”. It was simply not the right way!

Here are some of the things that helped me learn how to deal with people.

I thought that being smart was cool

I was always smart and the people around me just didn’t have the opportunity to show they were actually smart, too. The lesson for me was to learn how to be “unsmart” or “foolish”.

I learned to show my vulnerability, ask for advice and reach out for help and support as often as I could. Being able to be smart and unsmart at the same time is such a beautiful combination. It allows me to pour my knowledge when others need it or to empty myself for receiving new knowledge when I need it.

I was always loving

love yourself

What was I doing wrong by being loving? What could be better and more desired by men than that? Why were men still treating me bad?

For sure, something was wrong with them. At least, that’s what I thought to myself. Mistake!

Intelligence is a lot like love. If you are always full of it, then the people around you wouldn’t have a chance to add to it and this makes them very confused. The real winning strategy here is to be attentive whether the love you give is accepted and well perceived.

If you come to the point when you give so much out of your full heart but you receive no response, then it’s a clear indicator to switch off your flow.

For example, every time you think of sending another love message to your partner, send it to yourself and show love to yourself. Every time you want to suggest something fun and entertaining, suggest it to yourself and do this exclusively for yourself.

Do not be afraid to lose your partners. It is just not possible to not love a person who loves and respects herself/himself. The quality of your partners will go up.

Start with making small experiments with this new strategy. Building up this balance between loving your partner and loving yourself is a jewel addition that can promote self-development. I guarantee you will love the effects.

I was so professional

being professional

Why would people not want to work with me? Again, it is not about me being cool, but about how they feel next to me. I realized my strong stand made them feel threatened, low and tightened. I also realized that professional business is not only about the uniqueness and greatness of my product, but about whether people feel comfortable, appreciated, respected, fulfilled and honored next to me.

I learned that maximizing professionalism and maximizing empathy and care go hand in hand.

This is how I approach “inconvenient” people now:

  • When someone is too aggressive – I know they want my modesty.
  • When someone is too manipulative – I know they need my sincerity.
  • If someone is too smart – I know they ask for my appreciation.
  • When someone is too stupid – I know they need my faith.
  • If someone is too untidy – I know they are thirsty for my inspiration.
  • If someone is too depressed – I know they want my naivety.
  • When someone is too negative – I know they need my love.
  • When someone is too egoistic – I know they ask for my vulnerability.

See Also: How To Develop Empathy By Understanding Subjective Hardship

Conclusion

The bottom line is simple:

I came to realize that those people who seemed nasty or “bad” to me came to my life as teachers.

They taught me things I once considered wrong or inappropriate. However, looking more deeply into the issue, I found some brilliant lessons that helped me learn to love myself as well as others. Those lessons helped me give freedom to others and to set the rules, to know how to let go and to appreciate what I have. I also learned to keep my mind flexible and open.

I understood that when I got irritated about someone, that was exactly the opportunity for me to identify and correct my rigid beliefs. Enlightening these “gray” areas of my mind helped me to gain more clarity about all the situations of my life and to become much happier and reasonable.

When life teaches you through other people, do your best to understand the lessons it presents and work on achieving that perfect balance in your personality. Thank these people for making you more aware, skilled, and happy.

People are not bad. All people are, in fact, good. Each of us is born from a divine sparkle and everyone has some goodness. You just have to know how to deal with people and how to bring out the best in them.

See Also: 12 Stressful Things To Let Go Of If You Want To Live A Calm Life

The post How To Deal With People: Little-Known Secrets To Make People Like You appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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10 Questions To Ask Your Commercial Agent When Leasing Office Space

When it comes to renting office space, you can never be too careful when signing a lease. Failure to do your due diligence can lead to problems. For instance, the wrong space can hurt your business if it’s difficult for your clients to access your building or if you don’t have the amenities they require.

To minimize the chances of these and other disasters occurring, consider taking benefits from professional property management and asking your commercial property managing agent the following questions:

What happens if the space isn’t ready by the expected move-in date?

Unless your office is ready, you can’t be sure that there won’t be any more problems. To avoid last minute problems, you should double check if your lease is clear about what can happen if your office space isn’t ready by the move-in date.

Read the fine print carefully. Watch out for any clauses that say your landlord can place you in a different office space within the building if your designated area is not yet ready by your moving in date. Being forced to occupy a temporary space will only magnify the costs and other issues associated with moving.

Does the lease come with an option to renew?

After your lease expires, the landlord is under no legal obligation to offer the same space to you – unless there’s a renewal clause in your lease. This guarantees that you will have first dibs on the space when the lease expires.

Will the landlord take on the cost of changes (like new carpet, special electrical needs, etc)?

new carpet

You will probably want to modify and update your new office space to meet your business’ specific requirements. In most cases, you will be responsible for these costs. But, there are some landlords who are willing to amortize the costs over the term of the lease so make sure to ask.

See Also: How Often Does A Landlord Have To Replace Carpet Or Repaint In Rental Unit?

How much traffic does the area get?

office space traffic

Is your building in a central location that’s close to train stations and airports to accommodate heavy business travelers or out of town clients? Depending on your business type, this may help determine the amount of traffic that you will receive. The agent should have information about community demographics, car counts and other essential statistics available.

Do you have “right of first refusal” if the space next to yours becomes vacant?

There are some instances when a tenant is faced with unexpected growth and, when that happens, there are some landlords that will move you to a larger space with no penalty. If there is a “right to refusal” clause in your lease, it will ensure that you get first dibs if any adjacent spaces become vacant.

Is it possible to secure a non-compete clause so that a competitor cannot open up shop in your center or building?

When renting office space, it’s a good idea to consider your business’ security first. Having a competitor in close distance can spell disaster for your business so check if there are zoning laws in place to protect your company. You can try to include a clause in the contract that forbids your landlord from leasing nearby office space to direct competitors. 

Is it possible to enter into a CAM Stop Lease?

A lot of leases today are triple net. For example, you’ll be responsible for paying the rent as well as a share of the property taxes and CAM fees for the property.

A Cam Stop Lease will ensure that you are only responsible for the increase in property taxes and CAM fees above your initial base year. You may also want to ask for a cap on the CAM so that it won’t increase by more than a certain percentage.

What happens if a major system (like electrical, plumbing, or HVAC) fails?

Agreements about repairs and renovations should be in writing and, in the best case scenario, come complete with a detailed floor plan and a cost estimate from a reputable contractor. But, it’s important to note that this standard is different from property to property.

Who is responsible for insurance?

When signing a lease for an office space, we tend to skip over insurance. And, as a result, a lot of buildings, especially those with several tenants, are coverable by insurance policies that are inadequate in some respects and overlap in others. Thus, if a major disaster occurs, like a fire, it can take years for the various insurance companies involved to check out the claims and decide where coverage begins and ends.

Will the office space meet your technology needs?

Most commercial properties offer tenants networking options like T1s, fiber, DSL and Cable. If your business will require a ton of bandwidth to successfully operate, make sure that the property has the infrastructure to support your needs.

Moving to a new commercial space can be a hassle. But, if you ask your commercial agent the aforementioned questions, it can take a lot of the headache out of the process. Good luck!

See Also: One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How Office Space Caters To Each Stage Of A Business Journey

 

The post 10 Questions To Ask Your Commercial Agent When Leasing Office Space appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life?

One thing I’ve always been very keen on is talking about taking ownership of things. I don’t mean physical things. I mean ownership of what you’re doing and who you’re being. It’s about being responsible for yourself and your life.

As someone who’s both been an employee and an employer, I know that the team members that are valuable to the company are the ones who take full and total responsibility for what’s happening around them. The ones who whine and point their fingers at everyone else are — let’s face it — hard work.

We’ve all experienced it.

We go into a shop or restaurant and the person who’s supposed to be serving us couldn’t give a hoot about what we want or make sure we leave the place as happy and satisfied customers. They make us fully aware that we’re an irritation and that we’re asking too much.

Then you go to a different shop and the person assisting you there makes all the difference. You’ll go back there because of the service and because you feel valued. The person who served you took complete ownership & responsibility for ensuring that you have a wonderful experience. He took it upon himself to give you a great experience.

I could, quite happily, go on for hours about this subject and I hope it’s something I drummed into my kids. This is how I see it:

Whatever you’re doing, you take FULL and COMPLETE responsibility for making sure that whatever is supposed to happen does happen, in a way that leaves everyone involved feeling great.

It doesn’t matter if your boss is an idiot or your colleagues are lazy and have a bad attitude. The only thing that matters is that YOU give it your all and that YOU make sure that you’ve done everything in your power to generate that outcome.

In other words, take full ownership of what’s happening around you and take complete responsibility for the outcomes. Not blame, but responsibility. They’re two completely different things.

See Also: Why Criticizing Others Won’t Get Them to Change … and What Will!

What do I mean by taking responsibility?

taking responsibility

Now, it’s really easy to look at this from the perspective of the job we’re in.

If you look around, you’ll see that almost every problem that you encounter in the workplace is potentially caused by your failure and your co-worker’s failure to not take ownership. This can manifest in many different ways, such as:

  • Having a bad attitude
  • Not wanting to be there
  • Someone who doesn’t care
  • Having a goal that isn’t in alignment with the company
  • Someone who likes to bitch and moan
  • Someone who is only on the lookout for themselves

There are lots of ways these things can show. In certain instances, they can come out very subtle.

Now, take a look at your life. Are you taking full, 100% responsibility for your life?

Be honest and consider these things:

  • In which areas of your life does your attitude stink?
  • Which areas look exactly as you want them to?
  • Do you live how you want to live?
  • Which areas of your life inspire and motivate you?
  • Which areas downright suck?
  • Do you go to bed at night completely satisfied with your day?
  • Do you show up exactly how you want to show up for everyone in your life?
  • Are you the person you want to be?
  • Do you do the things you want to do?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those things or if there are areas which stink or suck, then you’re not taking ownership of your life. And there are a lot more questions I could ask, so don’t go thinking that because I haven’t asked a specific question, you’re off the hook.

You’re not and you’re not being fully responsible. It’s as simple as that.

This is not a blame game

This isn’t blaming and I’m not suggesting that anyone is ever going to be perfect. This is about constantly moving towards your true purpose in life. It’s about trying to get in alignment with who you really are.

Do you see the difference?

Blame is bad and just wrong. It stops you dead in your tracks.

Taking responsibility means you know where you’re going and if you’re not there yet, you just have to keep moving forward.

Let’s go back to employees who take ownership for a minute. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, you know who among your colleagues is great to work with and who isn’t. In other words, you know who takes responsibility for their job and who doesn’t.

Take that analogy and think about it in terms of your life.

If that person who takes responsibility makes such a difference to their workmates and their customers, what kind of a difference do you think it will make if you apply the same level of responsibility to yourself and your life?

See Also: 11 Ways To Pick Yourself Up And Bounce Back After Failure

How would your life be different if you took full, complete, 100% responsibility for it?

work responsibility

What kind of difference would it make to the people around you? What would you do differently?

Who would you make sure you showed up as? Would you experience your life differently? Would it feel different?

What if your real job in life, the one that you absolutely MUST take complete responsibility for and ownership of, was to show up as who you really are? To just be 100% fully you?

The universe put you here for a reason. If you want to reflect that reason, you’d better be fully responsible for showing up EXACTLY as the universe designed you.

What do you need to do to take ownership of your life?

 

The post Taking Ownership: Are You Taking Full Responsibility For Your Life? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Visual Tools To Boost Your Productivity At Work

Did you know that you can only be productive for about 3 hours in an 8-hour work day?

One good reason is the limited concentration of humans. Aside from that, there are other factors that can eat up your time at work. Just think about meetings, lunch breaks and having small chats with your co-workers.

If you aren’t careful, those 3 hours of productivity can easily go down the drain.

While there are plenty of methods and tools which you can use to organize your work and enhance your focus, not all of them are effective in generating positive results.

Increasing Productivity Through Visualization

Human beings are visual learners. In fact, they can process visuals 60,000x faster than text. This is why a visual tool can truly boost your productivity, especially when you need to organize your work and increase your focus.

But, first, why would visual methods or tools work better?

A tool or a method that is based on visualization has the power to engage both sides of the human brain. Such tools require the skills of the left brain for letters, sequences, lines and numbers as well as the right brain for color, spatial awareness, image and rhythm. This does not only enhance the thinking process, but it also stimulates creativity.

To help streamline your work and increase your productivity, you can use the following visual tools.

Mind Maps

From Northwestern University

A mind map is a tool that you can use to visualize an idea that is sprouting in your head. It provides a framework for gradually developing a concept or a strategy.

At the center of the mind map, you put down the main idea and, as you develop it, you can add the related information on the branches that fork out from the center.

A comprehensive mind map makes it easier to identify and analyze links between details that make up the concept. It is a great tool to use when planning out a strategy, event or a project.  Use a mind map to schedule your day at work first thing in the morning, and you’ll see how it helps you estimate and organize your work properly.

Flowcharts

With a flowchart, you can graphically illustrate the sequence of steps in a process, be it the hiring, sales or the manufacturing process.

How does this help you increase your productivity?

Imagine you are working on developing a new sales process. With the use of a flowchart, you can easily picture how it should work out as well as identify the areas that need more careful planning. Plus, when it comes to pitching your idea to your team or seniors, a flowchart can explain at a glance what you will have to explain in a thousand words.

Flowcharts are also an effective decision-making and problem-solving tool.

See Also: 5 Key Steps That Will Improve Your Decision Making

Gantt Charts

A Gantt chart is a project planning tool. It helps a team visualize the project schedule and monitor and record the progress you make. It can also be useful when allocating resources or setting up deadlines.

A comprehensive Gantt chart provides you a quick overview of all the important details of a project, such as the due dates, task names and those who are in charge of them. When estimating your tasks and tracking their progress, a Gantt chart could be a handy productivity tool.

Organizational Charts

Traditionally, this type of chart is used to graphically illustrate the structure of an organization. While it illustrates job titles and responsibilities, it can also clear the reporting structure within or between departments. It can also be used to identify ideal employees when allocating resources and help new employees in understanding company hierarchies and departments better.

Fishbone Diagrams

Fishbone diagrams (a.k.a. cause-and-effect diagrams) help identify the root cause of an issue. It can be considered as a visual problem-solving technique. Drawn like a bone of a fish, the head of the fish represents the issue that needs to be solved. The bones, one the other hand, can be used to jot down the potential causes.

A fishbone diagram can be considered as a time-saving tool when used to structure a brainstorming session or a thorough analysis of an issue.

See Also: 55 Bulletproof Productivity Hacks 

The right work strategy can help you improve your output by 25% and, with the right tools, you can definitely further the outcome.

How to Increase Workplace Productivity through Visualization

Created with Creately.

 

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5 Effective Ways To Sound More Human Over A Customer Support Live Chat

Not all good call center agents can be great live chat experts. Talking through a live chat requires a special kind of training and it’s more than just typing responses.

For instance, a call center agent providing support via phone is expected to sound patient and relaxed. A live chat agent, on the other hand, should be a multi-tasker who can handle multiple chats and tasks at the same time.

To help you develop those skills, let’s examine the best live chat customer service tips.

Make the most out of the initial seconds

friendly customer support

As a lot of people say, “ the first impression is the last impression”. You should bear this statement in mind, especially if you are into a customer service job.

Some might argue that working as a live chat customer service representative is easy since clients won’t be able to see or hear you. The truth is it’s the other way around.

Creating an impression when you are just typing words can easily lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. Because of this, you need to be extra careful when chatting with a customer.

Here are a few tips you can use:

• Be cheerful and friendly. Your words and sentences should reflect positivity and politeness. These things can help a customer stressing over an unresolved issue.

• Never be sarcastic even if the customer is. Stay helpful and never joke irreverently with anyone.

• Avoid being blunt and use complete sentences, grammar, phrases, and punctuations. Always reply with a complete answer, even if you believe it’s not necessary.

All you want is good feedback from the customer, and that can only be obtained by using the right tone and the right words.

Speak the customer’s language

Having a refreshing and cheerful attitude is important, but so is speaking in a way your customer feels most comfortable in. For example, if a customer is direct and formal in his/her tone, you should reply accordingly.

On the other hand, if the customer seems to be a conversational-type, then you can start the discussion by asking him how he’s doing. This will help both of you to feel at ease.

In addition to that, you should also know how to approach a customer that’s not too familiar with the English language. In such cases, it’s best if your department can invest in language translation tools or use agents who are multi-lingual.

Avoid jargon

When communicating with a customer, most live chat agents often make the mistake of assuming that the customer is very familiar with their products or services.

To avoid confusion, assume every customer is a new prospect to your offerings. Avoid using jargon or overly complex terms to describe the product’s features and benefits. Instead, keep the conversation as simple and clear as possible.

The point is to make the customer understand the nature of the business and products without making them feel intimidated by their technical aspects.

Remember that you’re not a robot

To counter language and other communication issues, most companies have a defined ‘style guide’ that teaches agents on how to talk to their target audience. Such style guides may teach you the basics of communication within your industry, but you shouldn’t rely on them too much. Remember, you’re not a robot!

Since most companies tend to hear the same concerns over and over again, they believe that creating standard responses to such concerns can save them time. Unfortunately, not all customers will have the same concerns.

Ideally, it should go well if the customer asks something that is exactly in the style guide. If that’s not the case, you have to be prepared to come up with your own resolution. Get used to modifying each reply before sending it to the customer. Keep in mind that agents are there to solve each customer’s issues!

Unlike robots, humans are naturally sympathetic to the specific needs and emotions of their customers.

Take product A and product B for example. A customer might be interested in product A, but as a professional having a clear understanding of what the customer needs, you think product B would be a much better choice for him. So, instead of explaining the features and benefits of both, you try to emphasize why and how product B would meet his needs more than A.

Be honest and work it right

customer support

Continuing the above discussion, you suggested product B over A to the customer because it was a better problem solver. But, what if product A was more expensive than B, and its sales could easily uplift your revenue figures? What would be your preference in such a situation?

No matter how much it tempts you, you should avoid misleading a customer into making a wrong purchase. Always express the most authentic and honest opinion to your customers. The clearer the facts, the easier it will be for them to make the right decision. In the end, a satisfied customer is most likely to be a repeat customer.

Also, if you aren’t thoroughly informed about a product or an item, never lie to your customers. Some live chat features allow the agents to redirect the call to relevant personnel who might be able to provide your customers with the information they need. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if the situation requires it.

See Also: 11 Key Tips for Improving Customer Support

Conclusion

If you are currently working as a live chat agent or you’re undergoing a related training, take those live chat customer service tips into consideration. They won’t only help you build a long-lasting relationship with your customers, but they can also helo boost your sales.

See Also: 5 Steps to Creating a More Productive Sales Team 

 

The post 5 Effective Ways To Sound More Human Over A Customer Support Live Chat appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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India's first workplace with 'pawternity' leave is here

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Pets require a lot of attention when you first get themLike, a lot

Sometimes you, as an adoptive parent, are compelled to bunk work and tend to your fur babies. Very few workplaces though understand this need to allow “pawternity” time.

But, now there’s one from India, and possibly the country’s first.

Publishing giant HarperCollins India has announced pawternity leave for its pet-adopting employees. Starting this year, they will be entitled to a week’s — or 5 working days’ — paid leave if they have just adopted a pet, HuffPost India reportedRead more…

More about Parenting Family, India, Workplace Safety, Workplace, and Workplace Culture

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How To Be More Assertive Without Becoming Disrespectful

While some people are naturally more assertive, others are naturally more submissive. In today’s world, choosing to be more assertive can help you be more successful.

Assertive people tend to be better communicators. They have a better chance of ultimately getting what they want. They are more satisfied with their lives and get more respect from their peers and superiors, too.

However, if you are naturally submissive, learning how to be more assertive can be tough. You’ll probably think:

· I don’t want to sound like a jerk.
· I don’t like confrontation.
· It’s easier for other people.
· It’s just not who I am.

But, there’s a lot on the line when it comes to being assertive. So, don’t associate being assertive with being a jerk and don’t convince yourself that it’s only something “other people” can do.

You can make yourself more assertive and do so without coming off as disrespectful or insensitive. Here are some strategies to help you out.

Prioritize respect

The fastest way to look like a jerk is to disrespect someone.

No matter how assertive you want to be or what situations you find yourself in, you must create a foundation of respect if you want to succeed.

For example, you need to learn how to make assertive statements at the proper time and place to avoid embarrassing or undermining anyone. You have to know how to listen carefully to other opinions before expressing yours. In addition to that, you also have to keep a professional and cordial tone.

These are just the basics. At this point in your career, you should already have a solid knowledge of the things that show respect.

See Also: 10 Ways To Earn the Respect of Others

Take baby steps

You don’t have to go from being fully passive to fully assertive overnight. You don’t even have to challenge yourself with big events, such as asking for a promotion, right away.

Instead, start with little things until you feel more comfortable expressing yourself.

For example, you could let your co-workers know that you’d like them to brew a fresh pot of coffee if they take the last of the old one. This is going to ease you into being more assertive while helping your co-workers recognize the more assertive version of you.

Think through your words carefully

choose your words wisely

Being assertive means being a clearer communicator, too.

It’s impossible to be assertive when you’re rambling about things. Try to be as logical and precise as possible when you express your ideas and needs. If necessary, take a moment to think through what you’re going to say before you actually say it.

This will help you collect your thoughts, filter out the points you really want to get across and make you feel more confident about expressing them.

Remove the niceties

In our society, we’ve adopted a number of social niceties to mask our real intentions. For example, you’ll often encounter phrases like “When you have time, I was wondering if you could help me with…” instead of “Please help me with…”

The former may seem more polite, but the latter is clearer, more direct, and probably more respectable, too. People appreciate straightforwardness and are more likely to feel manipulated if you stuff your speech full of unnecessary niceties.

Say what you mean and mean what you say. It will become more comfortable in time.

See Also: 4 Keys To Speaking Your Mind With Confidence

Be sincere

This should be obvious, but it’s a shame how many people ignore this key element of being assertive. Assertiveness is about making your thoughts and feelings known and asking for things you need directly.

Trying to be more persuasive or seem nicer by making up lies or bending the truth are strategies that won’t work. If you want people to respect you and if you want to become more effective in your delivery, you need to speak from the heart. Again, this will become more comfortable in time.

Remain open to negotiation and disagreement

be open to negotiation and disgareements

You can’t always get what you want. No matter how assertive you are or how successful you’ve become, you’re going to face disagreement, resistance, and flat-out rejection.

You have to be prepared for this or you’ll lose face and become intimidated the next time you encounter the same situation. You need to open yourself up to the possibility of negotiation and compromise.

Being assertive isn’t just about “getting your own way”. It also involves being more open to further communication which can help you get closer to what you really want.

Being assertive without being a jerk boils down to being respectful of others and being in control of your actions. There’s a fine line between assertiveness and arrogance. As long as you know where that line is, you’ll know how to be more assertive without offending anyone.

The post How To Be More Assertive Without Becoming Disrespectful appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How To Get Your Boss To Agree To Anything You Want

If you could change anything about your job, what would it be?

Do you want a savvier office or a bigger holiday allowance? Perhaps you’d like more mentorship or opportunities to develop new skills. Are you thinking about getting a fatter paycheque at the end of each month?

Whatever it is that you want, there’s a good chance you won’t get it easily- unless you know the best tricks in persuading your boss. If that is the case, here’s a quick guide to help you out.

Understand Their Point of View

Before you ask for anything, work out why you haven’t already been given it. Mapping out your boss’ mindset on this issue is important since it can help you find a way to counter his arguments.

Generally, you know your boss well enough to get a feel of how he thinks, especially when it comes to making big decisions. Despite this, make sure you still ask him. As long as you frame your request in a neutral, non-accusatory manner, he should be happy to answer your questions.

Collect Compelling Counter-Evidence

To get what you want, you need to be able to show your boss both that it’s a good idea and that any concerns your boss may have won’t be a problem. This involves collecting evidence.

If you’re looking for a career or salary boost, you need to prove you deserve it. Hunt down performance reports, output statistics, glowing reviews from clients and so forth. Similarly, if you want support for a new way of working, then find reputable studies and surveys that can back up your idea.

See Also: 5 Tips On How To Negotiate Your Salary

Present It As A Benefit To Them

office presentation

As wonderful and deserving as you undoubtedly are, if the work change you crave only benefits you, it won’t be on top of your boss’ list of priorities.

If you can find a way to present it as a gain for the business, he’s going to be keen to hear you out. Bosses are almost generally keen about enhancing the productivity of their workforce and the monetary gains of their business. If you can argue that your suggestion will create improvements in those areas, you’re likely to be a winner.

Make It Easy To Implement

By this point, you should have built such a persuasive case that your boss is, at least, open to considering the idea. However, managers are busy people and if you let your boss go away without giving it much thought, it’s possible that he’ll find the idea too ambitious.

See Also: 6 Ways to Recognise a Really Bad Manager

To stop this from happening, lay out a quick and easy way to put your idea into practice and volunteer yourself for any of the required legwork. Talk about how the transition from your current position would work and how any predictable problems that are likely to crop up would be surmounted.

Make It Time-Limited And Reversible

One of the reasons why all of us, including managers, are so scared of change is that it can be difficult to correct if anything goes wrong. To encourage your boss to be bold, suggest that you run your idea for a trial period first.

This will give you and your boss enough time to see if the project will work for the business. Trial periods are much easier to agree to. They’re easy to extend, too.

Allowing your boss to backtrack might seem like a risk, but it makes the initial agreement much more likely. As long as you can prove that your idea will work, it’s unlikely that your boss will force you to revert back to your previous position or working condition.

Play Devil’s Advocate

work proposal

No matter how persuasive your argument is, your boss is still likely to throw some criticism at your idea to check its value. Avoid getting caught off-guard by assessing your own idea first. Finding the holes in your proposal can give you the opportunity to prepare either a solution to a potential problem or a convincing reason why the benefits still outweigh the cons.

It can actually be an effective technique to bring up some of these negatives while talking to your boss. It’ll show that you’ve seriously considered all angles and analysed the proposal thoroughly

The post How To Get Your Boss To Agree To Anything You Want appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision

Eye safety in the workplace is a commonly overlooked issue. Unless a worker is assigned in a hazardous environment, he’s not likely to wear any protective eye gear.

Unfortunately, the industrial setting isn’t the only place you can compromise your vision. Even working at home can negatively affect your eyes.

As a guide, here are some of the ways you can promote eye safety at work.

Maintaining Eye Safety in Factories/Industrial Settings

Job-related eye injuries are common, especially for carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and other craft workers. Serious injuries could leave your vision impaired for life so make it a point to protect your eyes while at work.

Here’s how:

1. Understand the Risks

Most eye injuries are caused by small particles or larger objects hitting the eye. It’s a fairly common incident among people who work in factories and construction sites.

In addition to that, exposure to chemicals, radiation and bodily fluids could also raise the risk of injury, contamination and blood-borne diseases.

If you work in an industry where you’re exposed to these dangers, pay special attention to your environment and gauge how at risk you are.

2. Protect Your Eyes

safety goggles

The best way to prevent eye injury while at work is to wear protective eye gears, which are considered 90% effective. Because of this, most industries require workers to wear impact-resistant safety goggles, protective glasses, face shields or helmets.

You can also get prescription safety glasses or special eyewear that can protect against radiation and chemicals.

3. Replace Eyewear Regularly

Replace glasses and protective gears if they show signs of damage. In addition to their negative effects on your eyesight, they can also potentially cause injuries.

If you wear contact lenses, make sure to have them replaced before they scratch your eyes. Scratched eyes can disrupt your vision and make you more prone to infections.

They can also increase your sensitivity to light, too.

If you wear prescription glasses, it’s a good idea to consider LASIK eye surgery to get rid of them. It’s safe, painless and the best choice for vision correction.

Maintaining Eye Safety in an Office

Industrial settings are not the only ones that can put your vision in danger. Working at an office or from home can also affect your eye health, especially if you spend long hours in front of a computer.

Digital eye strain has become a common complaint. In fact, over 70% of Americans suffer from it today.

To make sure you don’t end up adding to that number, here are some of the best tips you can try:

Modify Your Workspace

eye safety in the office

The area where you work should be set up in an eye-friendly manner to prevent strain and improve comfort.

Ideally, the center of your computer screen’s display should be 10-15 degrees below your eye level and 20-24 inches away to keep your eyes and neck comfortable.

Keep the brightness of your computer screen at a level that matches the area around it. Make sure to reduce the color temperature and enlarge the text so you can read easily.

See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office

Install Proper Lighting

The wrong lighting can affect your eye comfort, especially if there’s glare on your computer screen or work surface.

To ensure proper lighting in your office, avoid placing lights directly over your head or behind you. If you use a desk lamp, ensure that it doesn’t shine straight on, over or behind your computer screen.

Use blinds or drapes to reduce glare from windows. You can also install adjustable lighting so you can choose a comfortable level of illumination for your work.

Take Frequent Breaks

If you stare at a computer screen for too long, your eyes are going to get strained. Give them a break by following the 20-20-20 rule.

This technique involves looking away from the screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Blinking 20 times every few minutes can help as well.

Stepping away from the computer for 5-10 minutes to stretch and walk around also improves eye comfort. In addition to that, moving around reduces muscle strain and boosts productivity, too.

See Also: 7 Foods that can Improve your Eyesight

No matter what your job is, your eye safety in the workplace should be a top priority. It won’t only ensure your health, but it can also boost your productivity and efficiency.

If ever you face an eye injury, blurriness or loss of vision, seek medical attention right away. The earlier you receive medical help, the more you’ll be able to prevent severe eye damage.

The post Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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4 Things Tom Brady Can Teach You About Career Management

Tom Brady has created what is possibly the most successful career for any NFL quarterback, perhaps even in all the major sports. He continues to dominate the league as he nears 40 years old, and he cemented his legacy as the best quarterback ever with his Super Bowl 51 win. He now holds more Super Bowl wins than any other quarterback.

However, his ability to sustain peak performance condition while staying cool under pressure doesn’t happen by accident. His career management skills are worth an in-depth look.

Job seekers and professionals alike can learn a lot from Brady. His career management tactics can benefit anybody who wants to make the most out of their professional life.

Let’s take a look at how you can be the Tom Brady of your industry:

Stay Healthy

healthy diet

It’s no secret that Brady sticks to a strict set of rules for himself. Early last year, his private chef Allen Campbell told Boston.com about Brady’s strict diet. He eats 80 percent vegetables and 20 percent lean meats. Between that and his exercise routines that focus on muscle pliability, he has a very meticulous lifestyle.

When you prioritize your health, your sleep is better, you improve your mental health, and you experience more energy and alertness throughout the day — a clear advantage in your career.

Brady also ensures he gets quality sleep every night, and uses cognitive exercises to destimulate his brain when it’s time to go to sleep. You should also keep your mind healthy with meditation, mindfulness exercises, and visualization. This way, you think clearer and can manage your emotions and stress levels.

See Also: 5 Easy Healthy Habits You Can Start Straight Away

Be Grateful

A common word comes up when people talk about Tom Brady — humility. Despite so many successes in his career, he takes nothing for granted and focuses on bettering himself every day. It’d be easy to call it quits after winning four Super Bowl rings, but he stays focused on playing well into his 40s.

It’s important to stay grateful throughout your career. Just as Brady does, don’t underestimate the value of an opportunity — and that includes those opportunities to experience setbacks. Exercising gratitude helps you keep a healthy perspective on all your ups and downs.

In fact, gratitude can improve your health. A 2016 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that a gratitude journaling intervention improved biomarkers for patients with asymptomatic (Stage B) heart failure. Participants experienced less anxiety and depression, slept better, and even had lower levels of inflammation.

Maintain a gratitude journal throughout your career to stay focused on the positive things. For example, on those days that you feel like you fall short, instead of wallowing in self-pity and stressing yourself out, you can look at it in a healthier way. You can write about how grateful you are to yourself for trying your hardest and to your employer for giving you the opportunity to try.

Remain Calm

remain calm

Brady is an excellent pocket passer. When the defense breaks through the offensive line, he remains in the pocket instead of scrambling away in a panic and making a bad throw. He adapts quickly when the pressure is on and stays calm while he looks downfield for an open receiver.

He also stays focused on the bigger picture. During Super Bowl 51, despite being down 21-3 at the half, Brady led the Patriots to a stunning comeback. He got sacked five times, threw an interception that was taken back for a touchdown, and still stayed focused on taking the small steps necessary, every one of his 43 completions and 466 yards passing, to make the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

This level of calmness and confidence can be applied to your career management. Embrace major changes, like added responsibilities or new policies, as a way to expand your knowledge, and continue to focus on the bigger picture.

Remain open minded when facing these challenges, and understand that major setbacks play a part in a successful career. This way, you don’t scramble in a panic and miss out on a growth opportunity. After all, those setbacks, whether you’re throwing interceptions or losing a major client, are opportunities for you to learn and grow.

In fact, you should be proactive and seek out new opportunities to learn and grow. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone to look for exciting challenges to overcome.

Show Creativity

The New England Patriots are notorious for running play-action passes. Brady will hike the ball, turn around and fake a hand-off to his running back. As the running back pushes forward into the defensive line, the defensive backfield will come forward to stop what they think is a run play. This gives receivers enough time to get open, and Brady will throw to them for a completion.

This creative play keeps the defense guessing. To succeed in your career, you should seek out ways to innovate and think differently about how you do things at work and with your team. Harness creativity in your line of work and show it off to current employers or prospective employers when you’re looking for a new job.

See Also: Top Tips On Training Your Brain To Be Creative

The 2015 Searching for Work in the Digital Era report by Pew Research Center found that 74 percent of 2,001 respondents said it would be easy to highlight all their employment skills using a personal website. Let’s say you’re passionate about graphic design and want to showcase your skills. A website or online portfolio is a great way to prove your design abilities and showcase your creativity. This way, when people ask to see your work, you can direct them to your online presence.

Career management involves planning and making deliberate choices about what kind of work fits you, how you want to achieve a comfortable work-life balance, and how you want to succeed at personal goals.

It all starts with a vision. Tom Brady envisioned playing a long, successful career in the NFL, and he continues to pursue that everyday. His dedication to his daily routines and career management tactics drove him to five Super Bowl rings, and his career, as he nears 40 years old, doesn’t have an end in sight. You need to commit to your goals, stick to your values, and always be aware of how your actions impact your career management.

How are you managing your career like Tom Brady?

 

The post 4 Things Tom Brady Can Teach You About Career Management appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Ways to Recognise a Really Bad Manager

Managers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Unfortunately, not everyone has had the benefit of obtaining the necessary training to lead a team. Many bosses just do it because, well, they have to. When interacting with staff, it’s often their personalities that can dictate how they deal with their team.

Do you recognise any of these unhappy management traits?

The People Pleaser

Cast your mind back to Michael Scott from The Office and you will instantly recognise the type. People Pleasers have a deep insecurity and an ingrained desire to be liked by everyone they work with. Uncomfortable of exerting authority, they tend to avoid conflict and unpopular decisions preferring to be everybody’s friend.

As a result of their vague, noncommittal and ultimately ineffectual leadership style, no one really knows where they stand, who is held accountable, or if any progress is actually being made. The danger with this type of management is that the strongest personalities in the team will simply take over and make decisions instead without being held in check.

The Micromanager

The Micromanager is a perfectionist and control freak who wants to be involved in everything. No detail is too small, no activity too mundane, and no decision too minor for him/her to step away. The need to micromanage stems from a firm conviction that the manager is the only person who can do the job properly.

This distrust displayed towards anyone else’s skills and decision-making abilities makes the Micromanager a hard worker, but one who finds it hard to delegate. Often, these are people who have been promoted within the organisation, rising from functional/technical roles to managerial positions where a little more overview is required – and they’re struggling to stand back from the day-to-day detail.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

The Seagull Manager

seagull manager

You’ve no doubt heard the analogy: he flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and flies off. The opposite management style of a Micromanager, the Seagull Manager pays takes no interest whatsoever in the daily running of the project. He’ll be there at the beginning with a vague brief, but then is unavailable for long periods until he drops in at short notice and criticises everything and everyone for doing it all wrong.

Communication skills are not the Seagull Manager’s forte; This manager expects other team members to interpret his unclear directions correctly (perhaps using mind reading skills?) and are flabbergasted and highly critical when this approach doesn’t achieve the desired results. Projects tend to succeed in spite of the manager, usually involving superhuman efforts and oodles of goodwill by the team.

The Screaming Toddler

screaming toddler

This is the boss who throws a tantrum at the slightest problem. If anything goes wrong at all, however trivial, it’s a complete disaster. From forgetting to put sugar in his coffee to losing a major client, it’s always the end of the world. Shouting has become a habit.

Somehow, this type of manager lacks the ability to differentiate between what’s a small deal or a big deal. What’s worse, the verbal explosion will always be aimed at someone in the team, possibly even the entire team; the perceived ineptitude is never the boss’ fault.

Fear is the overriding emotion here. The team has to operate on the basis of second guessing their boss’ mood and make sure every detail is 150% correct to avoid a full-volume verbal dressing down.

The Best Friend

When you spend every working day with the same people, it’s hard not to develop a bond with them. But what if the line between professional and personal friendship is crossed? The Best Friend manager knows no boundaries, and will offload personal problems without hesitation, expecting individual staff members to manage his emotional state of mind.

This is incredibly draining on team members. When the boss’ bad day becomes your bad day, and their private troubles become your troubles, you take on the extra role of sounding board or and counsellor, which certainly won’t have been in your job description.

The Mushroom Manager

Another appropriate image: keep them in the dark and feed them manure. Another control freak, the Mushroom Manager will divulge information on a ‘need to know’ basis only. Project or company goals are hazy, budgets are kept under lock and key, and top down sharing of information is restricted.

Whether out of a desire to further their own careers or because their mantra ‘knowledge is power’ leads them to see anyone in the team as a potential threat, when a mushroom manager is in charge, communication channels between employees and manager are deliberately kept to a minimum. There may be a chosen ‘manager’s pet’ employee who is given access to insider information along with the best jobs, but the rest of the team is effectively ignored.

See Also: Four ways of effective Management: How to achieve Extraordinary results from Ordinary people

If you are ever in a management position, don’t forget this list of bad managers and avoid these same pitfalls.

The post 6 Ways to Recognise a Really Bad Manager appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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What Can Employers Do For Employee Appreciation Day?

Your company is full of assets, I know. But there is one asset in particular that puts the soul into your business and without it you would be overrun and, almost certainly destined to fail. That asset is, of course, your employees!

Showing your employees your appreciation for their hard work and emphasizing how important they are to your company is vitally important for employee morale. After-all, by increasing their self-worth, you’re also increasing job satisfaction and motivation.

One great way to show your employees how much they mean to your business is by celebrating Employee Appreciation Day this 3rd March.

Although it’s not considered an official day in the US, there are plenty of employers who do follow it and make it an “official” day for their company. If you struggle to engage with your employees on a regular basis because of busy schedules, then use this day, along with other employers and business owners around the world, to show your employees how valued they are.

Celebrating the day is easy too, so you needn’t worry about it causing too much fuss or taking people away from their work.

Here are some simple and fun ideas for you to give back to your employees, wherever you are in the world.

Early Finish

Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated on the first Friday of March every year. This is the perfect day to let your employees finish up a little earlier. You can, for instance, let a 9-5 worker go around 1pm so they get a half day off and an extended weekend. Although you might “lose” half a day of working time, you’ll certainly gain productivity elsewhere, as this UK study shows.

Office Lunch

office lunch

By far one of the simplest ways to show appreciation to your employees is by providing lunch over an extended period. It’s not very often an entire company will be able to enjoy their lunch time together, so for a couple of hours, just turn off all phones and let everyone enjoy a lunchtime together.

An office lunch is also perfect if it’s too late to make preparations for an elaborate gathering. You can simply call your local restaurants and get delicious food delivered.

After Work Drinks

after work drinks

Often, your employees won’t be very happy if they don’t get a chance to unwind. Arranging an after-work drink is an easy and effective way to allow your employees to get some free, relaxing time to unwind and socialize with fellow workers.

Put together a kitty so every employee can get a drink or two on the business and allow everyone to have some fun while feeling appreciated. Come Monday, they’ll be feeling motivated and ready to go.

Team Building Activity Day

Perhaps one of the most effective ways to boost team morale is through a team building activity day. Not only will this feel like a fun holiday for your staff, but it also builds essential skills for your employees such as team work, making it a win-win situation for your company.

You might want to research your employee’s interests first though, as although you might enjoy extreme water sports, not everyone else will. There are, however, hundreds of choices when it comes to activity days with everything from paintballing to escape rooms. Each one has its own merits and all are perfect for showing-off your employee appreciation.

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

 

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First Day at Work? How to Make a Good Impression

Your job interview is over and you are confidently getting ready for your first day at work. But now it’s time to make sure you can make a good impression on everyone – your management, co-workers, and other team members you are going to work with.

Why does it even matter, you might ask. Because every company expects to hire not just good professionals, but also good team players who will gladly acquire new skills, show enthusiasm and willingness to collaborate.

A good first impression is not just about being good in someone’s eyes. It will help you achieve the following:

– Undeniably successful trial period
– Friendly and easy-going relationship with other team members
– Easier conflict management in a team
– Faster promotion to higher positions and salary rise
– More trust from the management
– Better reputation at your workplace
– Higher job satisfaction

Now let’s see what you can do to make it happen.

Look Professional

Your clothes can tell a lot about you. No matter what job you have, too informal clothes might create an unfavorable impression about you. If you are going to deal with clients, you’d better wear some formal clothes. If not, it’s enough to find a good combination of formal and casual styles.

Try to remember what others were wearing when you came for a job interview. It will reduce your confusion a bit. Make sure that your makeup, accessories, and clothes reflect the image of a professional career person.

Be Open to New Knowledge

be open to new knowledge

Every employer expects to find candidates with the appetite for new skills and expertise. Don’t ever say that it’s not your job to do something.

Don’t leave the workplace as soon as your workday ends. Stay for a few minutes or even for an hour longer to show you are really interested in your new job.

Ask questions whenever you are unsure about something. Keeping yourself from asking questions may lead to misunderstandings later on and you might end up re-doing some of your work.

If your managers assign more materials for you to read in order for you to get to know your job and the company better, welcome this opportunity instead of complaining. You can even ask for more advice on honing your skills, or finding really useful literature and resources. Employers take note when they see employees making an effort.

Become a Part of the Company

Emergencies and deadlines are usual things. You might face them on the very first day at work. If you do, remember that it is not anyone else who has to deal with them. Show your willingness to help, especially if you have the necessary skills.

If you are asked to stay at work for a bit longer, don’t show your unwillingness and dissatisfaction. Your company’s success is your success and your company’s failure is your failure. You need to show that you care not just about job responsibilities, but also about the company as a whole.

If there is an opportunity, introduce your creative ideas into everything you are involved in, be it a project or upcoming entertainment event. As a new employee, there will be situations where you do not have the big picture yet but many employers will appreciate hearing fresh ideas and new takes.

Avoid Gossiping

avoid gossiping

You might notice that some of your coworkers spend a lot of time gossiping, browsing the web or simply chatting non-stop. It doesn’t mean it’s appropriate in this company and you should do the same. Just do your job as you have to. If this chatting distracts you, just put on headphones and concentrate on your work.

While some gossipers might consider you a nerd, your managers will appreciate your focus on your job. As you are a fresher, your progress will be strictly monitored. You might even be asked at the end of the day to show what you’ve done. Every minute of gossiping and chatting will make your results look poorer.

See Also: 3 Amazing Strategies To Increase Productivity 

That’s not to say you really have to be an antisocial nerd. Build a friendly relationship with other team members during lunchtime or short tea breaks. Engage them on “safe” and positive topics like leisure activities within the company, their job responsibilities, and the most interesting projects. Avoid speaking badly about your former job. Be friendly and optimistic.

Mind Your Time

Being late is a bad habit that says a lot about you. Make sure you get to your workplace on time, especially if the schedule is not flexible. Take traffic and other factors into account to make sure you are there when the workday starts. Otherwise, it might say a lot about your inability to meet deadlines or respect company rules.

Time is also important when you are given certain tasks during the day. Do your best to do all them in time. If you are falling behind on a task, inform your manager and ask for more time. Similarly, if you finish ahead of time, inform your manager that you are already finished and ready to move on to the next task. It will say a lot about how responsible you are and that you don’t feel comfortable wasting your time at work.

See Also: 5 Essential Time Management Tips to Live By 

Summary

Often, people’s first impressions depend largely on personality types. However, the rest is still in your hands. You already succeeded when your resume passed a stringent screening process and when you aced your job interview. The first days of work, however, is the time to prove that your employers made the right choice when they hired you. Just remember how easier it will be for you to build your career, deal with coworkers, and simply enjoy your new job if you make a positive impression.

 

The post First Day at Work? How to Make a Good Impression appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Tips to Happy Coworking with Your Pets

It may surprise you to know a few facts:

There are about 80 million dogs and more than 90 million cats nice and comfy in U.S.A. homes.

According to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 45% of people telecommute for at least part of their work week.

Now that’s a lot of mega numbers and stats to throw at you – but it only means one thing to pet parents who are trying to get work done from a home office: that one of your closest coworkers has four paws and may need a walk at lunchtime or perhaps some tuna!

If you are working from home but are having a challenging time with your pet, hopefully these tips will help you. Probably the most important “take away” to understand is that your four-footed colleagues have needs and priorities, just as anyone who is trying to reach a work deadline or land a big client does too. If you are tempted to work from home then it is important for you to understand that getting along with your pets is part of the equation.

Tip #1: Your pet belongs in the home just as you do.

If you are frustrated at your pet’s actions while you are working, realize that in some ways you have “invaded” their space. You have been the one who has been working outside of the home, going to school or who has had another routine. In other words, they are the alpha dog and you are the beta.

coworking desk with pet

Tip #2: Understand that your dog or cat has a “job” just as you do.

Now drinking out of the toilet in the middle of the day or watching traffic go by from the biggest window in the living room may not seem like the toughest job you’ve ever seen – and we certainly aren’t going to disagree with you. But your pet is doing what they’ve always done and what you love them for – being a pet and an animal! Most pets have a sense of a routine to their day and will regularly do things in the morning, mid-day and then the afternoon just as you do for your job. Now that you are working from home – your job and their “job” may have conflicts, as your pet is trying to do what they’ve always done and you, my friend, are trying to do something new. Again, you are the beta.

Tip #3: If their actions disrupt yours, how can you work with them?

You may need to help them modify behavior – or you may need to slightly modify yours if you can. Now this is one of the most helpful tips to getting along with your pet. I’ll give you an example from working from home with my cat Sammy.

Sammy was part Russian Blue, a cat breed that is known for being very social, super friendly and also extremely vocal (big meows!). I would be on the telephone with clients and they would say, “Do you need to check on that crying baby?” Most of my clients are pretty understanding about a cat, but if I was making an important call or calling a new client – I would put Sammy outside or try to call when he was going outside for awhile.

I have a new cat now, Penguin. He has a very sweet personality but I’ll admit I’m finding it frustrating that he is absolutely determined to walk straight across my keyboard when I’m typing! To modify his behavior, I’m picking him up when he starts to walk by and then patting him. It seems to me that he wants my attention because the computer and keyboard have all of my focus in that moment – and smart lil’ kitty has figured that out! So again, modifying behavior can be possible too sometimes.

Other ways to modify behavior include giving them toys to play with as a distraction, treats for a reward for good behavior, and sending them outside (like with Sammy).

Tip #4: Be proactive about phone time.

After chatting with work-at-home friends, I discovered that this is one of the top challenges they’ve faced with working with a pet. The pet is either noisy or simply wants them to be with them instead of the phone. Realize that you have made the choice to work from home and it may come with some benefits – no commute other than from your morning cup of coffee to your laptop and you can wear yoga pants all day. But your phone calls to your boss should not be interrupted by you saying every 2 minutes “Not now Pickles, walk time later! Sorry…what was that again?” Otherwise you’ll likely find yourself back in the cubicle farm and someone on the other end of Pickles’ leash!

morning routine

Tip #5: Protect your computer.

Anyone who has not dropped out of the sky from a time machine sent from 1982 or who is not a complete luddite knows that you need to have antivirus software. But that’s not at all what this is about. I’m talking about protecting it from your four-footed coworker.

Yes, there is actually software to prevent what is called “cat like typing!” So when your pet jumps up and types RFTRFTRFTRFT all over your report and then puts a hind leg on the Enter key, this lovely document will not be sent to the Corporate Office where they will wonder what you are putting in your morning coffee.

Tip #6: Listen to what your pet is saying to you when they act up.

One of the true gifts of working at home with pets is you have the opportunity to really bond with your pet, spending time with them during the day you might not have otherwise. And the two of you may need to adjust to this, as I’ve mentioned, with you needing to help them modify a bit and you doing that as well.

But if you’ve tried this in a gentle way and your dog keeps barking or your cat keeps being disruptive, it may be time to take them to the vet. It is better to have a quick vet visit to rule out other conditions, like an illness that is causing them pain or discomfort so they are acting in this way because they are uncomfortable and upset.

No one wants their pet to suffer and if there is nothing else going on, your vet may have other tips to suggest for you, ways to modify your home environment, or routine to help them as they know your specific pet.

Tip #7: Be glad you can cowork with your pet.

All joking aside, one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about working from home is spending time with my cats. You can remind me of that in case Penguin does manage to send a funny document to a client as I help him “modify” his behavior!

Two years ago, my cat Steinbeck was diagnosed with cancer and given a month to live, if that. I was devastated but took comfort in the fact that I would be at home with him as much as possible. Stienbeck lived for four and a half months, in comfort, active and with a hearty appetite, all things that surprised his vet. “He lived to be with you,” one of my friends told me. Enjoy every day with your pets!

See Also: 8 Tips for Coping with Pet Loss

 

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What Can Employers Do About The Student Loan Crisis?

There’s news about the student loan crisis just about every day. College tuition is going up at a greater rate than wages. Daycare costs more than college, leaving parents unable to save beforehand. The average student graduates with over $37,000 in student loan debt, often deferring payments and increasing their debt overall.

According to Florida Representative Dennis Ross, “Unfortunately, most students today are saddled with extraordinary debt and are entering one of the weakest economic recoveries in history. . . More than 43 million Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loans, with a repayment delinquency rate of 11.6 percent. That’s more than $150 billion in student loan delinquency, not including interest. This is a serious problem we cannot continue to ignore.”

An Educated Workforce Is Better For The Economy

college students

We all know that individuals who have achieved a higher level of education do better financially in the long run, but that principle also scales to the entire economy. Our economy actually does better when more people are better educated.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, investing in education is the single best thing we can do as a society to better the lives of individuals. In a recent study, they found:

  • States with the highest wages are also the best educated
  • Investing in education can lead to greater economic opportunity
  • States with more educated workers can attract higher wage jobs
  • Initial investment in education can return greater tax income to the state in the long run as wages grow

See Also: How a 529 Plan Can Help You Save for Your College Education

Why Employers Should Pitch In

working student

Even if some magical force rendered college tuition free tomorrow, we would still have an entire generation of students saddled with student loan debt. More and more companies are offering signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and other forms of help for students these days. Companies want to attract and retain top talent, and offering relief from student loans is certainly likely to help you keep your employees happy.

In one study, healthcare giant Cigna was able to achieve a 129% ROI on its tuition reimbursement program, mainly through retaining talent. In that same study, employees who took advantage of the program were able to gain promotions within the company, resulting in an average wage increase of 43%.

Even companies like Best Buy and Starbucks are investing in the education of their workforce, with Starbucks explaining, “College education is a priority for Starbucks partners, but for many, the rise in tuition costs has put college out of reach. We know that there is a clear and demonstrated value of having a college degree, both the opportunity it affords and the measurable impact on earning potential throughout a lifetime.”

One of the student loan repayment proposals on the table right now was proposed by U.S. Representative Dennis Ross. Under his plan employers would get tax credits for matching up to $500 a year in student loan repayment for up to 3 years, but only for students who have an associates degree or higher and who have more than $10,000 in student loan debt. Says Ross of the plan, “Overall, this bill is designed to help students become gainfully employed and pay off their loans while employers are benefited by hiring skilled and educated employees with a vested interest in long-term employment.”

Work Study Programs May Not Be Enough

Many students opt to take advantage of work study or resident advisor positions in order to lessen the burden of college costs, but that may not be enough. If employers can pitch in to make up the difference, there will be a better educated and less burdened talent pool to be attracted and retained, and there may even be some tax benefit to employers in the near future.

See Also: 7 Ways to Save Money while Earning a College Degree 

Student loans follow people around for the rest of their lives, unable to be bankrupted. In today’s economy with stagnating wages and greater competition over jobs, student loan debt is tantamount to a noose around your employees’ necks.

Preventing student loan debt before it starts is crucial to loosening those nooses. Learn more about the possible alternatives to student loan debt from this infographic. You might be surprised how many other options are out there!

Source

Hacking

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Japan's largest messenger app is taking on Slack with chat for work

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One hot rival has entered the arena for workplace messaging. 

Japan’s most popular messenger app Line announced on Thursday the launch of Line Works, its chat app for offices. 

Line Works is available for iOS and Android smartphones, and for Windows and Mac on the desktop.

The company, which is owned by South Korean web firm Naver, has an average of 218 million monthly active users, and is immensely popular in Japan and other Asian countries such as Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Line is well known for its iconic stickers, which generated $280 million for the company in 2015. Read more…

More about Line Messenger, Workplace Messaging Apps, Workplace, Office, and Messaging

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7 Ways to Manage Difficult Personalities At Work

Colleagues can either be constructive or disruptive!

The helpful ones make work much easier and the workplace a great place to look forward going to every day. But, handling the disruptive ones requires a lot of tact or else, they can make your already difficult work atmosphere even more difficult. With some tactful interference, you can either keep away or handle such difficult personalities at work.

Here are some tips to manage different personalities in the workplace:

Identify difficult co-workers

gossiping at work

The very first point of importance is to identify the difficult-to-handle co-workers.

They can come in all sizes and shapes. There are gossip machines, bossy teammates, blamers, victims and show-stealers in all organizations. The very first step involves identifying who’s who in the office.

Once you know the people who can create problems, the least you can do is to avoid their company as much as possible. It will not help you avoid the problems they create, but it will keep you away from them and you can better concentrate on your work and productivity. Out of sight, out of mind, so they say.

Have Patience

When you work in the same office, it is very difficult to avoid some people completely. They can provoke you into a fight and then scoot away easily when supervisors pop up. You will realize only later that the troublemaker who started it all has already escaped. So, don’t allow yourself to be provoked. Patience makes a great barrier against impending fights.

Evaluate the Situation

To help you avoid trouble at work, evaluate a sticky situation with a troublemaker officemate. See how it will affect your position in the office, how it will affect your relationship with your colleagues, and how it might affect all the achievements you’ve built up over the years. This way, you might be able to find a better way out of your situation that won’t mean getting into a fight with a difficult co-worker.

See Also: How to Deal with a Workplace Bully

Know who you are dealing with

As you evaluate the situation, you need to know the person whom you are dealing with too. Sometimes, troublemakers create issues just to gain some attention. Other times, it is for their professional gain.

Seniors can make your life hell at work just for the sake of playing the boss. If they have more connections in the office, it is best to avoid a confrontation as you will be the person who can be more affected because of it. If it is a teammate, evaluate his connections.

A colleague closer to the boss can invite more trouble than one who is not. It is hence important to know more about the troublemaker before you decide on a strategy to combat trouble.

No point discussing with colleagues

Discussing your issue with your colleagues will only make matters worse. If any of them spill the beans to the person involved, it can aggravate the issue. When there’s a gossiper in the group, anything you shared may be communicated in a totally negative aspect. More often than not, your colleagues will be hard put to offer a realistic solution so there’s no point discussing the matter with others.

Try talking truce

office truce

Once you have evaluated the situation and the person involved, you can try talking to the person involved to sort out your differences. If things can be settled amicably, that’s the best solution. Sometimes the issue might be because of a misunderstanding which can be sorted out by talking things over. One trial at discussing a truce will be a good option to try anyway.

Escalate when you cannot handle it

Finally, if things seem to be getting overboard, do not hesitate to escalate the matter to your boss. Make sure the communication is neutral and clear so that it is not used against you in any way. Take a peaceful stance while discussing with the boss or your superior and explain calmly all the steps you have taken including the confrontation. Also, make it clear that you are willing to give the other person another chance to change to be very fair. This way you are safe the next time some issue comes up.

See Also: Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner

 

Author-bio: Levin George is a Search Engine Optimizer at OfficeRock.com. He actively pursues interests related to latest internet marketing trends. He spends his leisure time reading, meditating and enjoying the joys of technology.

 

The post 7 Ways to Manage Difficult Personalities At Work appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner

Office politics is part and parcel of the workplace. Sometimes, you are left with no option but to navigate office politics smartly to fast-track your career.

It doesn’t mean that you need to jump right in and push your agenda. You need to prepare yourself carefully and know a good time to get involved. Also, you need to stay away from things that don’t matter to you.

Here are six ways to navigate office politics and emerge as a winner:

Build on your influence

Being an influential personality within an organization is the first step toward winning office politics. An effective means of building your power is to focus on the business objective of the organization.

Try to become the dependable go-to person for certain things. When people ask for help, use this opportunity to make professional friends and alliances in the workplace.

Don’t share your private information with your office friends. However, do share non-confidential, work-related useful information that leaves an impression that you care for people and want to help them professionally.

Build on your image

navigate office politics

In politics, perception is everything. So they say! How do other employees view you? The image that you portray is imperative in winning office politics. Our image determines how others will interact with us.

You might have to make small sacrifices to build a trustworthy image of yourself. Also, avoid making promises that you can’t keep. If you are perceived as authentic and reliable, you are almost there.

The best way to create the right perception is to think of yourself as a television; whatever you do in office is being watched by everyone. This will make you responsible and prevent you from doing things that hamper your reputation.

Avoid taking sides

In the case of conflict between two groups in the office, avoid being on any side. Rather, create a platform where both teams can communicate and resolve their concerns. If you can’t do this, then stay away from people who amplify such conflicts.

If required, stand up for the cause you strongly believe in and not for any side. People will see you as a person who can support the right cause. This will help in winning the confidence of colleagues.

Understand others

Observe others and try to understand their reactions, attitude and behavior on important decisions of the company. All friendly people are not your friends.

Similarly, all those who oppose you are not your enemies. Understanding people is one of the most complex tasks. However, you need to observe your colleagues, bosses, and subordinates who regularly help you in making sound judgment. It will also assist you staying uninfluenced by office rumors.

Avoid getting personal

office politics

Office politics can get nasty at times and you may feel angry. Anger may drive you to get personal. Under this kind of scenario, exercising self-control and restraint is critical. Uncontrolled anger may lead you to humiliate others. Moreover, things become uncontrollable once people forget the objective and become personal.

So try to be objective in your communication and avoid personal attacks.

See Also: Keep Calm and Don’t Stress: Recognizing and Preventing Job Burnout

Don’t burn bridges

Do not have permanent enemies. Rather mend fences as fast as possible. Do not hold a grudge for long. Build bridges. Try to settle down the conflicts proactively. Never bring ego in the way of conflict resolution. Even if you don’t trust a person or hate a person, there’s no need to tell this to the person or anyone else. Be the nice guy.

Define your goals

Warring factions characterize office politics, and in many instances, you will find yourself drawn into other people’s wars. Therefore, to avoid such kinds of situations, you must define a goal and stick to it. If anything doesn’t help you attain your aim, avoid it. Your goals and career objectives should be above everything. Do what is best to achieve your goals and nothing else.

See Also: How To Set And Achieve Goals For Success In Career – 7 Tips

Conclusion

A strong faith in your abilities is crucial to winning political battles in office. You can’t choose your colleagues and you can’t control their behavior either. However, you can control the way you react to different situations. These reactions will determine how far you go in your career. And, it is not a one-time thing. You need to work continuously on your personality to control your emotions and reactions in hostile situations. In the end, whether you win or lose, never lose faith in yourself.

 

The post Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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