Wednesday, August 1, 2012
How to Say "No" At Work,
Congratulations to this Month's Winner,
Food for Thought: Worker Weight Gain,
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Email Etiquette in the Office
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, a project of the Pew Research Center, reports that 62% of employed adults use the Internet or email at their job. This is in addition to cell phones and other technology that keep them connected at all times, including when they are not at work. The fact that workers are plugged in at all times can blur the line between what is appropriate and what is not regarding workplace communication. When technology is not used wisely, the sender can get into trouble. This is especially true with email communication which, when used improperly, can be cause for termination.
There are cases where foul language, jokes, and offensive remarks have resulted in termination. If the basic rules of email etiquette had been followed, then these cases could have turned out much differently or not existed at all.
It is also imperative to know that facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language can’t be relayed through email. So emails can come off as offensive, too harsh, too critical, or not formal enough.
The best thing to do when sending an email is to take the time to sit and think about what you want to say. Even walking away from an email and then coming back to it later can make a big difference. Sending an email while angry, frustrated, or under the influence of alcohol can have dire consequences. It is always best to save emotional topics for face-to-face discussions and ensure that all emails are read twice and given a lot of thought.
Here are a few guidelines for sending workplace appropriate emails:
- Never send an email while angry or upset; always take the time to cool down.
- Never send an email while under the influence of alcohol or other behavior modifying medications.
- Don’t use work email for personal reasons.
- Don’t use email with lots of slang and incorrect grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Remember that all workplace communication is a reflection of who you are.
- Don’t send vulgar jokes and or materials through email.
- Don’t send emails that are too long or too short. Keep it brief, but not too brief.
- Don’t use acronyms.
- Don’t use email as a way to send cards. Interview thank-yous and congratulatory emails should be sent through traditional snail-mail.
Following these basic suggestions can save a lot of trouble for yourself and others. And remember that when in doubt, don’t hit 'Send.'
How to Say "No" At Work
Let’s face it, in today’s tough economy those of us that are fortunate enough to be employed are doing everything to keep their jobs. This is sometimes at the expense of our health, relationships, and family. When we are asked to work late, we do. When we are asked to take on extra roles and projects, we say yes! We sacrifice now more than ever, and the reasons are totally understandable. But, at what point should we say no before we eventually suffer burnout?
We are facing workloads that require longer hours and more effort. We are trying to kill two birds with one stone, and, at some point, we end up sacrificing quality work and our personal lives. So what can be done? Let’s start with basic time management. Be sure to arrange priorities into groups of importance. Take time each day to review your most important tasks and give yourself a period of silent time where phones and e-mail are out of reach. Last, leave a few minutes in your calendar for any extra “crises”. These easy time management steps can go a long way to avoiding burnout.
But these days what we are being asked to do goes beyond time management. So if you’ve followed all of these suggestions and are still struggling to stay afloat, perhaps it is time to say “no”. The first thing to ensure is that management and your co-workers see you as diligent and hardworking. So, if you say no to something, they can’t say you aren’t a dedicated employee who works hard and contributes to the bottom line. Then be sure to accept extra challenges and projects when time allows. When it comes time to say “no”, it can’t be said that you never take on extra work. At this point, you’ve established a solid reputation as a hardworking contributor.
When you are asked to take on a project that is too much or your expertise really isn’t needed, talk your priorities through with your boss. Mention the three priorities you have for that particular day or time period and ask where the other project would fit in. This gives an opportunity for your boss to help you re-establish your workload. He or she can arrive at their own conclusion about the heavy workload you are carrying.
Next, if they aren’t picking up on the fact that you have too much to do, offer a suggestion. You can casually say that you would like to contribute to the project, but you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of the work. Then suggest how you could be involved, but not be responsible for the entire project or extra workload.
Remember to say “no” in person. If you use e-mail, it is difficult to infer if a person is angry or frustrated. Finally, don’t be afraid to say “no”. All employees have to at one point in their career, and the things that are important to us in life cannot suffer as a result of our inability to say “no”.
Congratulations to this Month's Winner
Food for Thought: Worker Weight Gain
For those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle or lose a few pounds, the corporate workplace is the biggest battleground. With office birthdays, fresh desserts, and special occasions such as “Bagel Fridays,” it is no wonder that workers are complaining of expanding waistlines. According to a survey of over 5,000 employees conducted by Harris Interactive, 44 percent of workers admit they’ve gained weight at their current job, while almost half blame their weight gain to food in the office. These findings correlate with last year’s findings, revealing that the situation is not improving.
Exactly how much weight are we gaining? Twenty-six percent of workers say they’ve gained more than ten pounds at their current job, while 14 percent admit to gaining more than 20 pounds. However, 16 percent have said that they’ve actually lost weight since they started at their current job, revealing that some are resisting the cookies, doughnuts, and sodas that are readily available.
Some occupations categorized as sedentary or higher-stress work environments see a higher incidence of employee weight gain. Careers for high-risk weight gain are travel agents, attorneys/judges, teachers, administrative assistants, and physicians, to name a few.
If you or your employees work through lunch or barely take breaks even for a drink of water, you have company: more than half of workers blamed their weight gain to sitting at their desk a majority of the day, also admitting they eat their lunch there, too.
Alternatively, 53 percent of workers say they eat out for lunch at least once a week, 23 percent at least three times a week and 11 percent at least five times a week, which results in unhealthy choices. Snacking is also a jean-tightening culprit – 10 percent of workers say they eat lunch out of the vending machine at least once a week, and 71 percent say they snack during the workday. Also contributing to expanding waistlines is stress, skipping meals, and workplace celebrations.
To combat weight gain, exercise is the obvious solution. However, while 59 percent of workers say they exercise regularly, one in ten workers say they don’t exercise at all. To reinforce healthy habits and help make exercise more convenient to workers, companies are implementing healthy living initiatives in the workplace, including gym passes, workout facilities, or wellness benefits for their employees.
It is wise to have resources or advice for employees regarding their health in the office, especially if they reach out to you. Practice the following tips and encourage your employees to do the same for a healthier workplace.
1. Take more steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or stop by a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email. If you use public transportation, get off at an earlier train stop or bus stop to walk part of the way to the office.
2. Snack healthy. Make sure you are eating the right kind of snacks. Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand so you have a healthy option when the hunger pangs start.
3. Pack your lunch. Not only does bringing your lunch save you money, it also helps you control your portions.
4. Drink water. Instead of caffeinated drinks like coffee or soda, drink water. This will help you feel full and satisfy your thirst better, cutting down on calories.
5. Exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym for hours for some exercise – take a daily walk with a co-worker, replace your chair with an exercise ball for part of the day, or keep weights at your desk.
A healthy lifestyle is important for happy, productive employees. Become involved in your employee’s health and be aware of any concerns to ensure a healthy workplace.
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