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Posts Tagged ‘Office Culture’

September 25th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in In the Workplace

Breastfeeding and the WorkplaceIf you’re a working woman who has a baby, is pregnant, or plans on getting pregnant, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with how breastfeeding can work in the workplace.

Those who don’t intend to breastfeed should at least look into the research before making a final decision, because a vast number of studies show that when compared to formula, breastfeeding provides you and your little one with a many benefits, including:
  • Better protection from sickness
  • Reduced SIDS risk
  • Less chance of obesity later in life
  • Few incidences of postpartum depression for mom
  • Protection for mothers against breast and ovarian cancers
By federal law, your workplace is required to provide break time and a private spot (other than a restroom) for you to express your milk as long as your employer has 50 or more employees. Even so, a number of experts - including the Surgeon General - have said that American women have far less support than working mothers in many other countries around the world, so be prepared for the possibility that you may face resistance from your employer.

By getting a little creative and planning ahead, you can find ways to continue to breastfeed. Here are some things to try:

Make your own private space.

Just because the company doesn’t designate an area for breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t make your own. If you don’t have an office yourself, try to find a coworker who is willing to let you use their office or a private bathroom - just make sure to clean up afterward! Those who can’t find a space in the office may want to consider getting their car windows tinted and pumping in their vehicle.

The right pump.

If you’re going to be pumping at work, you will almost definitely want an electric breast pump because of their speed and efficiency. Check reviews for reliability, because you definitely don’t want a pump that’s going to break on you in the middle of the day. You may even want to invest in a hands-free pump. Depending on your setup, this could allow you to keep working and not lose any pay for taking time off.

Leak protection.

It’s not fun to think about it, but the fact is that breastfeeding mothers leak milk, which can be pretty embarrassing if it happens in front of your boss or coworkers. Nipple pads for your bra are a must, but it’s also probably a good idea to bring an extra blouse just in case, as well as towels and other cleaning equipment.
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July 27th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

Things That Affect Your ProductivityIn part 1 of this series, I started to discuss the different ways that your environment can affect the way that you work. I brought up the three types of environmental factors that researchers point to - psychological, territorial, and physical - and discussed how your own psychology can negatively impact your ability to get things done.

Today’s post will focus on the ways in which functionality and territoriality can help or harm your productivity levels. What do those two terms even mean? Read on.

Control Matters

When we go to work, sometimes it can seem like our employers want to control every little aspect of our time there. We have specific lunch times and break times. We only have access to certain filing cabinets and offices. We share a thermostat, with no way to change it. Websites and applications are blocked - and not always the ones that you would expect.

For employers, this allows them to better dictate what we will be doing and how we will be doing it. In their minds, they are helping productivity by dictating the things that we can do and have control over. In some ways, this probably does help, such as blocking time-wasting sites like Facebook that don’t really have any true work use. Unfortunately, taking too much control and “ownership” away from us can actually hurt our productivity.
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July 26th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz   Posted in In the Workplace

How to Improve Workplace MoraleMaking your workforce happy probably isn’t at the top of your to-do list - but it should be! Happier workers tend to have fewer absences, less health problems overall, and higher productivity rates. In short, it just makes sense to try to keep your workers happy.

So, how can you do that? Read on for a number of tried and true methods to raise morale - while improving your company’s bottom line.

Reward, don’t punish. Motivation is a funny thing. If your employees get in trouble every time something goes wrong, their main motivation is going to be not to get yelled at. This might enable you to keep succeeding at a minimum level, but it will never go beyond this. In contrast, if you focus on rewarding good behavior and successes, employees will be more likely to try their very best.

Offer bonuses. Similar to the first suggestion, bonuses are a concrete way of showing employees that doing an exemplary job will be rewarded and encourage everyone to try harder. Not quite able to offer monetary bonuses with the economy the way it is? Try other kinds of “bonuses” like working out discounts at local businesses or allowing people to earn more time off.

Build in playtime. People burn out if they work too much, leading to apathetic workers whose only goal is to get through the day and go home. Often, these same workers will even try to escape from the drudgery of the office during work hours by surfing the net or playing games. It may seem counterintuitive, but don’t discourage this behavior - encourage it by building “playtime” into the work schedule every day for a set period of time. Some offices have even gone so far as to add foosball tables or arcade games to the office so that employees can blow off steam and clear their heads.
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June 18th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in In the Workplace

8 Rules for the Office KitchenEven if you have a private office, the workplace is a shared space. You have to be mindful that there are other people around, each trying hard - well, you hope - to do his or her job to the best of their abilities. People need to be shown respect and courtesy.

Unfortunately, rather than bringing out the best in us, shared spaces can often uncover our baser instincts of selfishness, laziness, forgetfulness, and just plain rude behavior.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the office kitchen, and if you’ve ever had food stolen or been forced to clean up someone else’s pile of dishes, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you want your shared office kitchen to run smooth and avoid arguments and passive aggressive notes, there are several rules you should follow.

1. Replace empties. Doesn’t matter whether it’s an empty pot of coffee - brew another one! - or an empty water cooler, if you’re the one to get the last drop, you should fix the problem.

2. Make a list. If your kitchen is restocked by someone else in the office (a person who should become your best friend, by the way), do them a favor and put up a list that people can write on when certain items are running low like milk or peanut butter. This is also useful as a request list, but don’t go crazy.
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May 17th, 2012 by Juliana Weiss-Roessler   Posted in Career Advice, In the Workplace

What's Too Casual for a Casual Business Dress CodeCasual business attire? Mad Men this isn’t.

Most people are thrilled when they hear business casual. No need to spend hundreds - or thousands - on nice suits or business-appropriate dresses. You can be comfortable wearing clothes that are already in your closet and not worrying about taking forever making yourself presentable.

But what does “business casual” really mean? Sure, you can wear khakis and a button-down, but what about jeans? Is that skirt too short? That top too revealing? Where is the line drawn?

Unfortunately, what “business casual” means is different to everyone, and unfortunately not every company has a dress code. And don’t think you can just get away with going the opposite direction and dressing up - in some workplaces, suits will make you stand out in a bad way.

The best way to know what to wear is to observe those around you and mimic the general style that the majority of them are wearing. There are some outright no-nos that pretty much count across the board, though.

Revealing clothes. Something is not appropriate for a work environment if people can see your midriff, down your shirt, or up to your rear end. And for guys, pant waists that go below your underwear aren’t any more acceptable.

Offensive logos. You might think that shirt with the dead baby joke is hilarious, but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should be wearing to work.
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